Nepal has attracted trekkers from around the world since the 1960s when Col Jimmy Robert’s organized the first commercial trek. Trekking has been the leading activity of tourists in Nepal and thousands take to the Himalayas, some doing a few days of hiking while others take on a month long trek through valleys and high mountain passes. Two of the most popular trekking regions are the Everest and Annapurna where many different trails can be followed while the other popular treks are in the Langtang and Kanchenjunga regions. The most challenging is the Great Himalayan Trails, an extensive trail system that covers Nepal from Humla and Darchula in the west to Kanchenjunga in the east. The diversity of trekking trails in Nepal cannot be found in any other part of the world.
Trekking in Nepal today is completely different to that of the 1960s. In all the main trekking areas, the National Parks and Conservation Areas lodges have been established where trekkers can find accommodation, food and meet other trekkers and locals along the way. The majority of the trails are well maintained and in many cases are sign-posted.
The lodges are well appointed and have facilities for charging batteries and the larger villages often have email facilities. The length, the difficulty and timing of the treks vary greatly and to add to that once outside of the main trekking areas transport becomes more problematic and often involves at least two journeys made on domestic scheduled flights. Many treks in Nepal begin with a domestic flight to the starting point and many are in remote areas with no road access. Several days of trekking is required to reach the higher mountain areas from the local centers of population and administration.
The popular treks in Kanchenjunga, Everest, Manaslu, Annapurna are able to provide lodge accommodation the less frequented treks in those areas and also in other areas west of Annapurna will generally require camping style trek support.
It is important for tourists to know that the main income generating activity of the people from the hill regions is tourism, and they typically earn wages working as trekking porters or guides. Hiring a porter does not mean that you are weak, it means you value the Nepali culture, you are providing an extended Nepali family with an income and at the same time you are making a friend and trekking with a local person who is well versed in the local cultures, festivals, and all the other issues that can turn a good trek into an outstanding experience of a life time.