Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek Overview
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is an adventurous journey in a region that has received little attention lately. This little-known trail leads to both the bases, south, and north of the third highest mountain in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga (8586 m). Joe Brown and George Band with a team of British mountaineers were the first to make it to the top in 1955. In 1977, an Indian Army squad from Sikkim on the Indian side achieved the second ascent of the northeast ridge.
The trekking journey on Kanchenjunga’s lonely routes is incredible. Exotic forests, colorful communities, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful natural joy are all part of the undiscovered trekking trail of Kanchenjunga.
Kanchenjunga is located in Nepal's far eastern region, on the border with Sikkim, a small Himalayan state in India's north-eastern region. Kanchenjunga was regarded to be the world's tallest peak until the mid-1800s. And, until the mid-1980s, this area was off-limits to hikers.
Exploring and savoring the outdoors in this area is an unparalleled pleasure. Kanchenjunga region has a diverse range of vegetation, as well as some of the best mountain vistas in the Himalayas. Fascinating detail about Kanchenjunga is that it is the home of “Yeti”, a legendary beast from the Himalayas.
Many species of flora and fauna, as well as several endangered natural animals, including the red panda, black bear, musk deer, blue sheep, and snow leopard, live in the area where you will be trekking. The scenery is replete with rivers, waterfalls, lush meadows, rhododendron, birch, and pine woods, the Yalung Glacier, and, of course, stunning mountains that accompany travelers on their journey. It is home to a mixed community of Sherpa, and Kirat, providing trekkers with an opportunity to learn about their culture and way of life.
Despite being the third highest in the world, it is not one of Nepal's most popular treks. The reason for this is due to its remote location and the fact that it is a relatively long walk. Also, or perhaps because of scarce information regarding this expedition on the internet.
As a result, there are fewer trekkers in the Kanchenjunga region. However, throughout the journey, you will be mesmerized by the natural heritage with little human interference. This tough adventure will provide you with a wealth of exciting and unforgettable memories to last a lifetime.
Major highlights of Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
- Explore Nepal's less-traveled Eastern mountainous region
- Opportunity to trek to both Kanchenjunga North Base Camp and Kanchenjunga South Base Camp at once
- Walking among the different plants and fauna & some elusive wildlife, such as the snow leopard, blue sheep, and red panda
- Explore Ghunsa, a traditional Tibetan community and one of the largest in the Kanchenjunga region
- The warmth and hospitality of the Kirati people
- Crossing some of the high passes, such as Sele La, Mirgin La, and Sinion La
- Enjoy the expansive verdant alpine meadows, flowing waterfalls, and other natural wonders
- Enjoy the spectacular beauty of the Kanchenjunga Range, Januu Himal, Wedge Peak, Mera Peak, and other Himalayan peaks
- After exhausting walks, meditate at the Ramtang and Oktalung/Oktang Monasteries
How difficult is Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek?
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is a long and difficult trek but isn’t impossible. The Trek difficulty level is determined by several significant characteristics such as high altitude, extended duration, unpredictable weather, off-beaten paths, and lovely scenery. And, this multiday journey takes place in the high Himalayas, following a rough terrain with multiple ascents and descents. This trek is also challenging due to the amount of time you must devote to it. For more than three weeks, you will be walking through rural settlements that require high physical and mental fitness.
The trek begins in Taplejung at 2000 meters and then progressively climbs in height until it reaches the highest point, Pangpema Base Camp, at 5,143m. You'll cross through numerous difficult high mountain passes on the way. So, proper acclimatization should be included in the itinerary to prevent Altitude Sickness, the major challenging factor in the Himalayas.
Each day, you'll need to walk for about 7 to 8 hours to cover a distance of about 10-11 kilometers. If you are not physically fit, the climb in the high Himalayas may be difficult owing to thin air and harsh temperatures. So, it is best to start exercising at least a month before your expedition. Running, jogging, trekking, long walks, cycling, climbing stairs, and swimming are all good cardio activities. Similarly, going to the gym and working out can be an excellent way to prepare for the walk.
What is the Best Time to do Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek?
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek can be done at any time of year, but the best and most popular seasons for trekking in Kanchenjunga are spring and fall. These two are also the main trekking seasons in Nepal. Early March to mid-May and October to late November are the finest months to hike in this area. We advise against visiting during the monsoon season, which lasts from late May to mid/late September. Many locals will go to lower elevations during the winter, and teahouses will close, leaving camping as the sole option, which will be exceedingly chilly.
Kanchenjunga in spring
Spring (March-May) is one of the best seasons for traveling purposes. It's that time of year when the trails in the Himalayan regions are surrounded by lush woodlands and vibrant rhododendrons and greenery aplenty. You can relax and enjoy the tranquility of the mountains, the clear sky, and the ideal weather and temperature. The trails will be drier, and the temperature is pleasant throughout these months, as are the vistas. The Kanchenjunga Circuit trail is made more romantic and pleasurable by the gorgeous flowering settings.
Kanchenjunga in summer/monsoon
Summer (June-August/Early September) is a wet season, thus trekking to the Kanchenjunga region at this time is risky. The amount of landslides between Ghunsa and Pangpema makes walking difficult during the monsoon season, as the rain exacerbates the problem. Hiking in the rain and on a slick trail is tough and perhaps dangerous. The walk becomes difficult when landslide exits, plus fresh landslides can occur at any time.
Kanchenjunga in autumn
Autumn (September – November) ushers in a great setting for hiking as the monsoon door closes and winter draws to a close. The weather is good, and the mountain vistas are spectacular. Wildlife can also be seen enjoying the warmth of the sun during this time. The monsoon rain washes off the Kanchenjunga region clean, revealing the most stunning scenery and fresh air during the post-monsoon/autumn/pre-winter.
Kanchenjunga in winter
The trails are covered in snow during the harsh winter months (December-February/early March), making the walk dangerous. In the Kanchenjunga region, winter is bitterly cold and Sele Le Pass along the trail is impassable. Due to significant snowfall, the KBC track becomes slick and unsuitable for trekking. In addition to that, teahouses in the region remain closed.