The Chisapani-Nagarkot trail isn't just a hike; it's an experience that immerses you in the beauty of Nepal's landscape, challenges your limits, and rewards you with stunning views that will forever remain etched in your memory
Embarking on the Chisapani-Nagarkot hiking trail has been one of the most invigorating and refreshing experiences I've had during my time in Kathmandu. If you're seeking a day hike that offers a chance to reconnect with nature and rejuvenate your body and mind, this 22.0 km journey is an absolute must. I set out early in the morning, fully aware that this adventure might take more than 8 hours to traverse from Chisapani to Nagarkot.
My starting point was the picturesque village of Chisapani, nestled about 31.5 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu. To make my way there, I opted to hire a Jeep, a journey that set me back around $50 USD. As the Jeep navigated the scenic route, I could already feel the anticipation building up. Another option, which I considered for a moment, was the 5- to 6-hour hike from Sundarijal to Chisapani. This route sounded equally enticing, with the prospect of spending a night in Chisapani before continuing the journey the next day.
Setting foot in Chisapani, I felt a rush of excitement and a touch of nervousness about the upcoming adventure. The trail unfurled before me, and I began my descent to the southeast. This initial leg of the journey treated me to the delightful company of various birds and vibrant flowers. After approximately 2.9 km, a serene jewel awaited me: Nagamati Dhaap, a tranquil lake that provided the perfect spot to pause, snack, and bask in the serenity.
But the trail ahead was not all calm and tranquility. The next segment demanded more from my legs: an elevation gain of 515 m followed by a descent of 377 m. The dense forest of the National Park enveloped me as I left Nagamati Dhaap behind. Here, the path was clear but challenging, and I made sure to take short breaks to hydrate and keep my energy levels up. The forest, though beautiful, came with a caveat: leeches. The lack of direct sunlight created a haven for these creatures. My pace was steady as I pressed on for 7.5 km, reaching the pinnacle of this hike at Jhule View Point at 2,227 m. Lunch and a moment of reprieve awaited me in the village of Jhule.
The journey was far from over, but the remaining stretch was less taxing than the previous leg. Leaving Jhule behind, I walked around 500 meters until I reached a trail fork. A tempting path stretched out to my right, but my course was clear: stick to the main trail. Descending around 500 m over 3.6 km brought me to Lapsephedi, a quaint settlement that marked yet another trail juncture. Opting for the left path, I meandered through villages on a narrow, flat path. Approximately 2.3 km later, I reached Jarsing Pauwa, a village offering a charming school, a bustling bus stand, and a healthy dose of local life. On clear days, the village treated me to breathtaking mountain vistas and a panoramic view of the valley.
Jarsing Pauwa's bus stand served as my departure point as I veered away from the main roads, venturing onto a single track. The trail unveiled lush terraced fields and bestowed me with magnificent views. 3.7 km later, Kartike Bhanjyang emerged, opening up the stunning hills of Nagarkot. I seized the opportunity to rest, indulging in tea and snacks while marveling at the breathtaking panorama. The junction at Kartike Bhanjyang presented a choice: a right turn would lead me to Sankhu, the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu Valley. However, my destination was Nagarkot, so I pressed on, ascending a steep path. This final leg involved a 300-meter climb, and soon the sight of concrete buildings and settlements signaled my triumphant arrival in Nagarkot.
Completing this challenging hike was an achievement I relished. The option to stay at one of Nagarkot's inviting lodges or return to Kathmandu by bus provided a sense of flexibility. Looking back on this adventure, I couldn't help but appreciate the insider hints that had guided me, ensuring a night's stay in Chisapani before the hike and pointing me towards great lunch options in Jhule.
As I reflect on the journey, I realize that the Chisapani-Nagarkot trail isn't just a hike; it's an experience that immerses you in the beauty of Nepal's landscape, challenges your limits, and rewards you with stunning views that will forever remain etched in your memory.