Known as the Queen of the Himalayan Lakes, the Rara Lake Trek offers wilderness and solitude as you hike along the pristine mountain lake of Rara. For national and international tourists and adventurers alike, Rara Lake Trekking is a magnificent trip to a remote part of the midwest region of Nepal that resembles something out of a fantasy novel or heaven itself.
In addition to being the largest lake in Nepal, Rara is the second largest lake in the Himalayas at an altitude of 3010m or 9875ft above sea level. It spans five kilometers long and two kilometers wide, therefore the lake’s size remains one of the major reasons for its popularity. In addition to its beautiful surroundings, the lake is a good trekking destination due to the presence of the Rara National Park, and the sight of snow-covered Himalayan peaks further enhances it.
About the Region
Tucked away in the protective confines of Rara National Park, the trek from Pokhara to Rara Lake unveils a captivating blend of natural wonders. The landscape, adorned with spruce, pine, and juniper forests, mirrors the grandeur of snow-capped mountains. This remote sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including 214 bird species and 20 mammal species, such as Himalayan bears, tahrs, musk deer, red pandas, serows, gorals, langurs, and rhesus monkeys.
Embarking on the trek from Pokhara to Rara Lake promises an unparalleled adventure, leading through winding paths that cover mountain pastures and high valleys. The off-the-beaten-path experience is complemented by the tranquil surroundings and 100-meter-deep lake. The ever-changing backdrop, featuring forested hills and snow-covered mountains, provides a dramatic setting. Despite the rich biodiversity, the route offers a peaceful escape, making it an ideal choice for those seeking solitude and a deep connection with nature.
Let’s dive into the allure of Rara Lake and uncover the secrets of the Pokhara to Rara Lake journey. This adventure is merely going to be the trekking experience, it is going to be the chance to witness nature’s wonders in their purest that transcends the ordinary.
Highlights of Rara Lake Trek
- Uncrowned trails
- Observe the rich bio-diversity of Rara National Park
- Panoramic view of the mountains surrounding the lake
- Witness the natural beauty and tranquility of Rara Lake
- Wander through beautiful pine, birch, and rhododendron forests
- Experience the lifestyle and culture of Sinja Valley and Jumla district
- Witness the beautiful landscape and view of the distant mountains of the Dolpo Region.
Multiple Ways to Get to Rara Lake
You can reach Rara National Park from Pokhara by air, by roadway, or through a hike:
- Rara Lake by Helicopter
The easiest and most luxurious way to explore Rara is via Helicopter Ride. Several travel agencies provide the facilities and packages to fly you to Rara National Park from Pokhara. This approach allows you to soak in the natural beauty of the region from the air.
- Rara Lake by Roadway
For those who prefer to reach Rara National Park by jeep, bus, or motorcycle they have the option of a road trip. You can hire a jeep or a van from Pokhara, or immerse yourself in the local vibe by taking a public bus. The roadway journey also promises an exploration of the enchanting landscapes on your way to Rara Lake.
- Rara Lake via Trekking Adventure
Trekking to Rara Lake is a popular choice to get to Rara Lake. As it allows hikers the mesmerizing trails of the Karnali region in Nepal. This trail is remote and less crowded than any other route in Nepal. Trekking experience on this trail gives trekkers the chance to immerse into the culture and lifestyle of West Nepal, making it a captivating and enriching journey.
Permits Required and How to Secure Them?
Rara Lake Trek requires more than just your adventurous spirit, it demands the permits to explore the landscapes responsibly. To step foot on this trail, ensure you have the necessary permits:
- Rara National Park Entry Permit:
A permit to enter Rara National Park is a must for all trekkers. You can secure this permit at the entrance of the National Park in Jumla or obtain it through your trekking agency. This permit contributes to the conservation efforts in the area.
- TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) Card:
For international tourists, it is mandatory to acquire a TIMS card for the Rara Lake Trek. This card provides essential information about trekkers and helps them in emergencies. You can easily obtain a TIMS card at the Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
The Best Time to Visit Rara Lake
When planning your adventure to Rara Lake, timing is crucial to ensure you have the most captivating and enjoyable experience. The best time to visit Rara is Spring and Autumn, here’s why:
- Spring (March to May):
Spring is a good time to explore Rara Lake. During this season, the region comes to life with the bloom of rhododendrons and other wildflowers. The clear skies and comfortable temperatures enhance the beauty of the surroundings, offering breathtaking views of the lake making it an ideal time for trekking.
- Autumn (September to November):
Autumn is widely regarded as the best time for a Rara Lake trek. The weather is crisp, and the skies are clear, offering stunning views of the lake and the surrounding landscapes. The trekking trails are most accessible, and this is a festive season in Nepal.
Itinerary of the Pokhara to Rara Lake Trek
Our Pokhara to Rara Lake trek begins with an adventurous jeep ride from the enchanting city of Pokhara. Brace yourself for a scenic journey of approximately 10 hours, traversing through endless meadows, surreal landscapes, and picturesque valleys. As the rugged road winds up the mountains, we will cross a river via a bridge, offering you glimpses of nature at its best. The shuttle to Nepalgunj provides breathtaking views of gushing rivers and hills cloaked in dense forests. Rest for the night at a cozy lodge in Nepalgunj.
If you want to spare from another extensive jeep ride, you can take a 40-minute flight from Nepalgunj to Talcha Airport, Mugu. The aerial view of snow-capped peaks and unique topography is a adventure in itself. The flight uncovers the awe-inspiring mountains even before our trek begins. From the airport, you will embark on a trail through Rara National Park, through the rich culture and lifestyle of the Himalayan region. After 2-3 hours of trekking, the journey ends at the dazzling Rara Lake.
Venture to Murma Top, the viewpoint offering the most breathtaking view of Rara Lake at an elevation of 3726 meters. The trail leads to Murma Village, inhabited by diverse ethnic groups, providing a cultural immersion experience. Explore the Chaprun Mahadev holy place or opt for the far side of the village for a unique temple encounter. After a 3-hour trek, settle for the night at a guest house in Murma Village.
Catch the sunrise from Murma Top before descending to the village above Rara Lake. Utilize local assistance for a horse ride down the steep hills to Salleri, saving your energy. Board a short 3-hour flight to Nepalgunj, enjoying sublime mountain views throughout the journey.
Concluding our trek, catch an early morning flight back to Pokhara. The 2-hour flight offers a nostalgic review of the trek, allowing you to relive the mesmerizing memories and scenic beauty of the mountains.
Packing List for the Rara Trek
The tallest point on the Rara trek is at an altitude of 3,055 meters or 10,023 feet. This altitude may not be much problem for frequent trekkers, but it is still quite a change for beginners. Furthermore, at such high altitudes, people may experience altitude sickness. Therefore, individuals with lung diseases should avoid this trek as such high altitudes are very difficult to adapt to.
As a result of the cold at the high altitude, we recommend you bring the following items with you to your Trek:
- Warm clothes, including jackets, sweaters, and thermal wears
- Water bottles and thermos
- Tents if you plan to camp by the shore of Rara Lake
- Portable fire stoves
- Snow Glasses and flashlight
- Well-fitting gloves, socks, and shoes or boots
- Trekking sticks
- First aid kit
- Moisturizers and lip guard
- Energy bars
However, if you forget any of these items, you can easily buy them in shops at the starting point of the trek, though the price there would likely be higher than normal.
Who is suitable for this Adventure?
The Rara Lake Trek is suitable for adventurers wanting to discover the remote and unspoiled natural beauty and landscapes of the far-western region of Nepal. This adventure is also ideal for cultural explorers as it unfolds a blend of culture and lifestyle of people living among high-altitude meadows, dense forests, and serene waters. Therefore, Rara Lake Trek is a perfect fit for those who crave isolation, connection with nature, and the thrill of discovering less famous paths.
The Rara Lake Trekking trail passes through the remote and rugged terrain of the far-western region of Nepal, offering an adventure that is both rewarding and challenging due to stunning landscapes, serene surroundings, and a chance to immerse in the culture of the region.
The Rara Lake Trek is characterized by a range of terrains, from well-maintained trails to rocky and steep paths. The trail can be steep with ascents and descents at times. But with proper trekking gear and a good level of fitness, you can navigate these terrains comfortably.
Accommodation Options on Pokhara to Rara Lake Trek
The trek takes you through remote regions of Nepal, and while accommodations are not as abundant as in more popular trekking routes, there are few options available to rest your head. Here’s a glimpse into the accommodation choices along the Rara Lake Trek:
- Basic Lodges and Teahouses:
Along the trail to Rara Lake, you can find basic lodges and teahouses that provide simple and cozy lodging services. These are a popular choice for trekkers who seek a rustic and authentic experience. You can expect warm hospitality and healthy meals after a long and tiresome day on the trail.
Camping is a fantastic option for those who want a more immersive wilderness experience. Trekking agencies can provide camping equipment and support staff to make camping possible, allowing you to sleep under the stars in the serene wilderness. This option allows you to fully immerse in the natural beauty and solitude of the region.
- Tented Camps:
In recent years, a few tented camps have been established near Rara Lake, providing a more comfortable and luxurious option compared to teahouses. These camps offer well-appointed tents with comfortable bedding, private bathrooms, and dining facilities. Staying at a tented camp is a fantastic way to combine adventure with comfort.
- Rara Lake Viewpoint Hotel:
This relatively new accommodation option offers stunning views of Rara Lake. It is a luxurious option compared to the basic lodges and teahouses, providing more comfort and modern amenities, including attached bathrooms and hot showers. The Rara Lake Viewpoint Hotel is an excellent choice for trekkers seeking a balance between comfort and the natural beauty of the region.
It’s important to note that accommodation options can be limited, especially during peak trekking seasons. It is advisable to carry a sleeping bag and a warm jacket, as temperatures can drop significantly, particularly during the colder months.
Want to know about the National Parks of Nepal? Read our blog.
Cost of Rara Lake Trek
The Rara Lake Trek is a remarkable journey into the heart of pristine wilderness, but like any adventure, it comes with associated costs. While the exact expenses can vary based on your preferences and choices, here’s an overview to help you budget for your trek:
Food: $20-$30 per day
Basic meals in local tea houses are more budget-friendly, while more elaborate dining choices may cost a bit more. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $30 per day on food.
Accommodations: $10-$30 per day
Accommodation options along the trek also vary from basic lodges to tented camps and hotels. Depending on your preference, you can find a place to stay within the range of $10 to $30 per night. Teahouses and basic lodges are more economical, tented camps and hotels may be on the higher end of this range.
Transportation Cost: $600 – $900
The transportation cost for the Rara Lake Trek can be a significant part of your budget. Jeep or Bus ride costs may range from $600 to $900, depending on your starting point, route, and mode of transportation.
– NPR 100 for Nepali citizens
– NPR 1,500 for SAARC country citizens
– NPR 3,000 for foreign nationals
Cost of Permit:
– (TIMS): NPR 2,000
Please note that these are approximate costs, and prices may differ based on factors such as exchange rates, inflation, and your personal spending choices. Additionally, the cost of hiring a guide or porter, trekking permits, and any additional activities you choose to partake in should also be considered when budgeting for your Rara Lake Trek.
Risk of Altitude Sickness and how to tackle it?
Altitude sickness is a common concern for trekkers before beginning the journey into high-altitude regions, and the Rara Lake Trek is no exception. The trekking trail takes you to some elevated points. However, the trek route and duration offer enough time for acclimatization and reduce the risk of moderate or severe altitude sickness.
How to get ready for the trek?
To get ready for the Pokhara to Rara Lake trekking journey you should be in good shape and sound health ahead of time. Start with walks and light hikes to build up your stamina. Practice exercises like squats and lunges as they help you handle different terrains. Since you will be ascending to higher altitudes, doing activities like brisk walks will help your body adjust better. Also, try some easy stretches for better movement on the trail.
Mitigating Altitude Sickness on the Rara Lake Trek
Rara Lake Trek Trail leads through the impressive altitudes however, the duration of the trek on the lower altitudes allows your body to adapt gradually to the decreasing oxygen levels. Here are some essential tips to mitigate the risk of altitude sickness:
- Proper Acclimatization
Take your time to acclimatize as you ascend. It is recommended to spend an extra day at higher altitudes to help your body adjust to the lower oxygen levels. Acclimatization is the most important factor in reducing the risk of altitude sickness.
- Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated at higher altitudes and throughout the trek. Dehydration can boost the symptoms of altitude sickness.
- Moderate Pace
Trek at a moderate pace, avoiding rapid ascents. This helps your body cope with the changing altitude.
- Pay Attention to Your Body
Be mindful of any symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, or loss of appetite. If you experience these symptoms, it is crucial to communicate with your guide and consider descending to a lower altitude.
- Consult with a Professional
If you are concerned about altitude sickness or experience any symptoms, consult with your professional guide who can provide guidance and take appropriate actions to ensure your safety.
Follow the above-mentioned precautions and listen to your body to minimize the risks of altitude sickness.
The Rara Lake Trek is an extraordinary journey that promises pristine natural beauty, cultural immersion, and unforgettable memories.
This adventure takes you beyond the realms of ordinary travel. It is an opportunity to unlock the door to the magic of Rara Lake, a place that will leave you in awe of the majestic Himalayan wonders. This trek is the investment of a lifetime, a journey that will enrich your soul and fill your heart with the serenity of remote Nepal. Hopefully, you are attracted to Rara Lake and ready for this magical expedition through our blog.
- Can I travel solo to Rara Lake Nepal?
For International trekkers, it is mandatory to travel with a professional guide and obtain the necessary permits to visit Rara Lake in Nepal. Solo travelers should join trekking and hire local guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. However, if you are a Nepali citizen, you can trek solo on this trail.
- What are the activities possible in Rara National Park?
Rara National Park offers a wide range of activities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The activities possible include exploring the area, bird watching, horse riding, wildlife observation, fishing, and photography. The pristine landscapes and serene surroundings make it an ideal place for unwinding, and enjoying the natural beauty.
- Where is Rara Lake Located?
Rara Lake is located in the Mugu District of the Karnali Province in northwestern Nepal. This remote region is renowned for its sublime natural beauty and is surrounded by the mountains of the Himalayas.
- What is Rara Lake Famous for?
Rara Lake is famous for its unparalleled natural beauty. It is the largest lake in Nepal and is renowned for its pristine and crystal-clear waters. The lake is surrounded by lush forests, high hills, and vast meadows, creating a breathtaking panoramic view. Rara Trek is also famous for its tranquility and the chance to experience an authentic connection with nature. Rara Lake also stands out for its remote location, making it a captivating destination for trekkers seeking a unique and less-crowded experience in the Himalayas.