7 Reasons Gokyo Lakes Is The Best Route To Everest Base Camp

Expedition: Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes

360 Expeditions

So you have decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition and head to Everest Base Camp (EBC) to see the world’s tallest mountain up close and personal. You are doing your research and learning the finer details of the traditional Everest Base Camp trekking route, when you realise it’s not the only route to Base Camp. There’s the Gokyo Lakes trek, too. And the photos… well, they look incredible. So which route is right for you? How do you choose?

We’ll lay our cards on the table straight away. We think 99% of people should choose the Gokyo Lakes route. Here are seven excellent reasons why.

It is jaw-droppingly spectacular

There is simply no other way to put this… the Gokyo Lakes trek is one of the most breathtaking trekking routes on the planet. In terms of sheer beauty, it surpasses the traditional EBC trek in almost every way. There are so many outrageously spectacular moments that words will not do them justice.

Don’t get us wrong, the traditional EBC trek is wonderful, too. We’re not trying to disparage that route in any way. Tens of thousands of people walk it every year. For many, it is an unforgettable, life-changing experience. But in our humble opinion (that’s right, the whole 360 team is in agreement on this), the Gokyo Lakes trek is the more beautiful of the two.

ebc gokyo nepal

The Gokyo Lakes route is far quieter

As we’ve already mentioned, somewhere between 40,000 to 50,000 trekkers set out to walk the traditional EBC route every year. Considering the relatively short weather window in which trekking the trail is feasible, this works out to a lot of people descending on the traditional EBC route at once. But it’s not just the trekkers. The communities and tourist infrastructure en route need supplies to support this number of people, so it becomes something of a highway at times, with trekkers, guides and yaks heading up and down the trail.

In contrast, the Gokyo Lakes is far quieter and sees much less traffic. This translates to a more tranquil, serene and peaceful experience – something more in keeping with what you expect from a Himalayan trek. For trekkers who have tried both the traditional EBC route and Gokyo Lakes trails, the difference is astounding and the sense of seclusion and solitude you get with the latter makes it a clear favourite.

trekking in nepal ebc

Gokyo Ri and Everest’s many faces

Everest is the reason everyone is here. It’s the tallest mountain on earth, a testament to nature’s grandeur and greatness, and reaching the base camp from which mountaineers depart for the summit is an achievement in itself. With this in mind, you probably want to get as diverse and comprehensive a picture of the mighty mountain as possible.

So, if we were to tell you that you get the best view of Everest from Gokyo Ri, would that convince you that the Gokyo Lakes route is the best option? Though you are further away from the mountain, your position puts Everest into perspective and reveals its true size and relationship with the surrounding peaks.

trekkers on everest basecamp

It’s packed full of unforgettable highlights

Cho Oyu. The Five Lakes. The Ngozumpa glacier. Gokyo Ri. Cho La Pass. The Gokyo Lakes route is back-to-back highlights and boasts an incredible diversity of landscape that you don’t get on the traditional EBC trek. Let’s run through those quickly for you.

At 8,188 metres, Cho Oyu is the sixth tallest mountain in the world and one of the most beautiful. It is the backdrop for much of the time you spend in Gokyo. The Five Lakes are the most perfectly still and bewitching turquoise waters you will ever see. The Ngozumpa glacier is the longest glacier in the Himalayas and an imposing sight, while Gokyo Ri is one of the most beloved and underappreciated trekking peaks in the region. Finally, Cho La Pass sits at 5,420 metres above sea level and is a truly memorable trekking experience. It involves a fantastic glacier traverse and rewards you with striking views.

trekking in nepal

Keep the trekking (mostly) original

While the traditional EBC trek is an out-and-back route, Gokyo Lakes is a circular route, which ensures you’re treading new ground (for the most part). This makes it a better choice for trekkers who want to keep things fresh and see as much of the region as possible.

Generally, the two treks follow the same path between Lukla and Namche, then split at Khyangjuma. From there, the traditional EBC trek carries onto Tengboche, Dingboche and Lobuche, where the two trails meet again. On the return, trekkers doing the traditional EBC trek will simply reverse the route and go back through the same settlements, on the same trail. In contrast, trekkers on the Gokyo Lakes route won’t have experienced this part of the trail and the route will be entirely new for you.

The Famous Lake of Gokyo in Nepal near Everest Base Camp

More of a challenge

We believe the Gokyo Lakes route is more of a challenge than the traditional EBC trek. This may not be a good thing for everyone. Some people want to get to Base Camp as easily and quickly as possible. But the 360 team likes a bit of a challenge. It makes the achievement all the more special. While the Gokyo Lakes route doesn’t require any mountaineering training, it does involve more physically demanding trekking and some technical sections – but nothing beyond the abilities of an experienced walker.

Minimising your impact

Finally, the sheer number of trekkers on the traditional EBC route has a significant effect on the trail and surrounding environment. If you want to minimise your impact, tackling a trail with less traffic makes sense. You can also achieve this in other ways. For instance, currently, there is a big push to encourage trekkers to pick up and take all their waste (both bodily and packaging) with them.

Take on the Gokyo Lakes EBC Trek with 360 Expeditions

At 360 Expeditions, we have considerable experience leading trekking expeditions in the Himalayas. That experience and expertise help us keep you safe, comfortable and happy throughout the trek. But it also enables us to provide advice and insight into where you will find the best views, the most spectacular scenery and the most enjoyable trekking. In other words, it enables us to suggest the best routes and build our trekking expeditions around those routes.

We love the Gokyo Lakes route and – if this article hasn’t made it clear enough already – would wholeheartedly recommend it over the traditional EBC trek any day. But if you still aren’t sure, why not reach out to the 360 team to discuss the trek and whether it’s the right option for you? You can also find more information on our Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes trek page.

Everest Basecamp with 360 Expeditions

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