Sundarijal Day Hike from Kopan Monastery Overview
The Sundarijal Day Hike from Kopan Monastery is one of the best hikes to do around the Kathmandu Valley. The 4-5 hours easy hiking journey takes you to some of the important and famous locations such as the Kopan Monastery, Tarebhir, and Sundarijal through the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park.
This journey begins with a short drive to the grand Kopan Monastery. Dedicated to Mahayana Buddhism, Kopan Monastery is open for all those who want to do yoga, meditation, and retreat. The monastery also teaches Buddhism under the Gelugpa sect and Mahayana tradition. The monastery complex is both artistically and naturally rich. The arts and architecture of each monument in the monastery complex, the fluttering colorful prayer flags, and the vintage prayer wheels, are already a great sight to see. In addition, the panoramic vista of the Himalayas on a clear day and a picturesque view of the Kathmandu Valley in the northeast is really something to admire.
From Kopan Monastery, the trail slowly climbs through the dense coniferous forest leading to the Tarebhir Hill station which is famous for rock climbing. There we pass by Tarebhir village mainly inhabited by the Tamang ethnic group. The houses are decorated with draping Buddhist prayer flags. The lifestyle of the locals of the village gives a hint into the overall lifestyle of the hilly regions of Nepal. The top of Tarebhir offers the best wide view of Kathmandu valley- especially the northern sides.
Then, from Tarebhir, the trail slowly and easily turns towards Sundarijal through the Shivapuri National Park. The route is filled with natural greenery, wild animals such as deer, leopards, and wild cats, as well as a variety of butterflies and birds. The national park is the youngest national park in Nepal and the only national park in Kathmandu valley territory. It is also one of the best places for bird-watching around the valley area. The hiking trail introduces you to small beautiful streams, watersheds, seasonal flowers, and seasonal fruits. The forest walk really relaxes your thoughts and makes you appreciate nature's splendor.
After a couple of hours of ascending and descending at some point, the route ends at Sundarijal. Sundarijal is fifteen kilometers northeast of Kathmandu valley and is named after the Hindu deity Sundarimai which means "beautiful water’. The major attraction of this place is the man-made water reservoir site which looks astonishing in the middle of the forest. The massive waterfalls and rushing streams of Sundarijal are wonderful, especially during the monsoon season. Also, visitors are attracted by the hydropower dam and water supply station.
The walking journey then ends at the Sundarijal Bus Park where the private vehicle will be waiting for us to get us back to Kathmandu.
Note:The Kopan Monastery to Sundarijal Hiking Trail is also suitable for cycling, and motorbiking activities. Hence, we can see many people hiking as well as motorbiking and mountain biking on this trail during the weekdays.
Kopan Monastery to Sundarijal Day Hike Highlights
- Beautiful Kopan Monastery & panoramic Himalaya vista on a clear day
- A spectacular view of Boudhanath Stupa from Kopan Monastery
- Great & wide vista of Kathmandu Valley and Tribhuwan International Airport from Tarebhir
- Hiking amid picturesque scenery and settlements via lush forest
- Breathtaking Sundarijal waterfall, small streams, hydropower dam, cliffs, and the stunning scenery
- Chance to witness wild animals like deer, leopards, and wild cats, as well as a variety of butterflies and birds
Best Time to do Sundarijal Hike from Kopan Monastery
Day Hiking trips around Kathmandu Valley are possible throughout the year. However, it is best to avoid the wet season, and is considered best to go hiking around Kathmandu Valley during the dry season.
The dry season begins in late September/October and continues until mid-to-late May. This is the season of clear sky, agricultural harvesting, and, up in the mountains, chilling cold.
September to November is the autumn months and is regarded as Nepal's best trekking season. This season has mild temperatures and good hiking conditions, capped off by breathtaking views made possible by the monsoon clearing the air of dust and pollution.
The winter months from December to February are also considered a great time for day hikes around the Kathmandu Valley as they have warm sunny and clear days. The days are definitely shorter than in the other seasons but a short hike like Sundarijal Hike from Kopan Monastery can be succeeded on winter days.
The spring season starts in March and lasts till May in almost every part of Nepal including the Kathmandu valley and its surroundings. Spring is regarded as one of the greatest seasons for any adventure activity in Nepal such as trekking, climbing, and hiking, not only because of the pleasant weather but also because of the beautiful scenery. Hikers will be rewarded with breathtaking views of rhododendron blooming when visiting the Sundarijal from the Kopan Monastery route in spring.
The wet season which is also the summer/monsoon season starts in June, bringing showers, flooding rivers, and lush green flora to the fields. It also brings hot and humid conditions and soaked trails housed by leeches. It is not a highly recommended time to go any hiking including the Sundarijal hiking but you can do it if you are seeking some extra dose of adventure.