Kathmandu valley, made of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, is surrounded by hills, so the natural landscape offers people here a diverse range of experiences. From spiritual pilgrimage sites to hiking trails, all lead to stunning viewpoints.
Each hill has its unique charm, making them popular destinations for locals and tourists alike, seeking solace, adventure, and captivating views of the picturesque valley and the majestic Himalayas. Here are a few of the hills around Kathmandu valley:
Champadevi is a popular destination for Kathmandu dwellers. This hill is situated to the south of Kathmandu valley and is revered for its religious importance and natural beauty including bird watching enthusiasts. The distance from Ratnapark to Pharping is around 15 km and is perfect for one day hike or a quick getaway destination.
This hill stands at an elevation of approximately 2,278 metres (7,474 feet) above sea level. There are also a few hiking trails on the hill, ranging from easy to moderate.
The hill is famous for the Champadevi Temple, a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site dedicated to the goddess Champadevi. The trek to the hilltop is an enjoyable experience, passing through scenic landscapes, Salla trees (Shorea robusta) and a view of the mountains in the backdrop.
How to reach: Champadevi is located 15 kms from Ratnapark. You can reach there by car, taxi, or local bus.
Chandragiri is located southwest of Kathmandu valley and offers breathtaking views of the valley and the surrounding mountains. Chandragiri not only offers a breathtaking view from its hilltop but also provides a scenic and adventurous journey to get there. With a 360-degree view, the place is arguably the best hilltop in the valley. It is especially popular because of its accessibility thanks to the cable car.
The hill stands at an elevation of around 2,551 metres (8,369 feet) above sea level, providing a refreshing escape from the urban chaos.
The major landmark on the hilltop is the Bhaleshwar Mahadev Temple, a revered Hindu pilgrimage site. Visitors also enjoy the well-maintained Chandragiri Park, with children’s play areas and picnic spots. Restaurants, cafes and resorts on the top of the hill are also perfect for city dwellers to can enjoy the day out, with a good meal or snack while taking in the views. Other popular activities in Chandragiri include hiking, biking, and ziplining.
How to reach: Chandragiri is located 14 km from Ratnapark. You can reach there by car, taxi, bus or board the dedicated shuttle to the destination. Alternatively, you can also take a cable car ride from Thankot.
Shivapuri is a popular spot for hiking and nature lovers as it is home to the Shivapuri National Park, which is a popular destination for bird watching and wildlife viewing. Shivapuri lies on the northern side of Kathmandu and is famous for its serene ambience and rich biodiversity. The main landmark of Shivapuri is the Shivapuri Mahadev Temple along with Bagdwar and Bishnudwar, the origins of the Bagmati and Bishmati rivers. There are also a few hiking trails on the hill, ranging from easy to challenging. And each destination gives you a different, unique view.
Shivapuri stands at an elevation of approximately 2,732 meters (8,963 feet) above sea level, making it the second-highest peak in the Kathmandu valley. Along with the Mahadev Temple, the place is home to Nagi Gompa, a Buddhist monastery where visitors can experience a sense of tranquillity and spirituality. The trek to the hilltop also views of the forest, glimpses of different birds and a view of the Kathmandu valley.
How to reach: Shivapuri is located 22 km from Ratnapark. You can reach there by car, taxi, or bus. You can start your hike from either Budhanilkantha or Sundarijal.
Nagarjun, also known as Jamacho, is situated to the northwest of Kathmandu valley and is renowned for its natural beauty and religious significance. It provides a perfect spot for hiking and meditation as well as day trips from Kathmandu for locals, hikers, and tourists due to its proximity to the city.
It is the easiest and shortest hike in the valley. The views from the top of Nagarjun are simply stunning as on a clear day, one can see the panoramic views of the Kathmandu valley, with Mount Everest in the backdrop.
The highlight of this hill is the forest which has diverse flora and fauna, including several species of birds and animals.
How to reach: Nagarjun is located 12 km from Ratnapark. You can reach there by car, taxi, or bus to Balaju and then continue your journey on foot.
Phulchoki is located to the southeast of the Kathmandu valley and is famous for its lush forests and commanding views. It stands at an elevation of about 2,762 metres (9,061 feet) above sea level, making it the highest peak among the hills surrounding the valley.
One of the prominent landmarks on this hill is the Phulchoki Mai Temple, a sacred Hindu shrine dedicated to the goddess Phulchoki. From the hilltop, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the entire Kathmandu valley, with sprawling settlements, terraced fields, and majestic mountains creating a picturesque panorama. The hill is well-liked by nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and trekkers who seek a serene escape from the city.
How to reach: Phulchoki is 25 km away from Ratnapark. You can reach there by car, taxi, or local microbus to Godavari. From there, you will have to walk to the top.
Kakani, popular for strawberries, is situated to the northwest of the Kathmandu valley.
Like others too, this hill is also famous for birdwatching as it is home to a variety of birds, including hawks, eagles, and pheasants. And there are even a few hiking trails on the hill, ranging from easy to moderate giving panoramic views of the Himalayas to the hikers and travellers there.
It stands at an elevation of approximately 2,073 metres (6,801 feet) above sea level so the view of the mountains is guaranteed to be amazing. The hill is a popular spot for day trips and picnics due to its accessibility and the breathtaking view of the snow-capped peaks, including Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, and Langtang ranges.
In addition to the views, Kakani is also known for its flower farms, especially during the blooming season, adding vibrant colours to the landscape. The serene atmosphere and pleasant climate of Kakani make it a preferred destination for both locals and tourists seeking a quick escape from the city. While there, do not miss out on its famous trouts.
How to reach: Kakani is located 28 km from Ratnapark. You can reach there by car, taxi, or bus up to Kakani Bazaar.
Nagarkot is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal, both for day trips and short to long vacations from Kathmandu. People reach Nagarkot even just for its stunning sunrises and sunsets.
Nagarkot is located to the northeast of the Kathmandu valley and stands at an elevation of about 2,195 metres (7,201 feet) above sea level. It is a sought-after destination for visitors seeking a serene retreat and also a popular spot for hiking, biking, and camping.
There are also a few hiking trails on the hill, ranging from easy to moderate awarding visitors with stunning views of the Himalayas. Nagarkot offers a range of accommodation options, making it an ideal spot for overnight stays and a peaceful getaway from the city.
How to reach: Nagarkot is located 32 kilometres from Ratnapark. You can reach there by car, taxi, or bus.