13 Most Popular Mountain Passes in Nepal
Trekking in Nepal will be incomplete without crossing any passes. Most trekking destinations have such trekking passes as either easily accessible or adventurous. While trekking in the Nepalese Himalayas, numerous crossings are shaped like a horse saddle and sit between mountains, separating two remote regions. Being a country of majestic Himalayas, Nepal shelters hundreds of such mountain passes, and some of them are pretty popular throughout the world, which is commonly known as 'La.'
The mountain passes nerve-cracking are extraordinarily exciting and offer incredible views of the Himalayas, landscapes, neighboring villages, and astonishing 360-degree views. Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Manaslu, Langtang, Annapurna, Upper Mustang, and Dolpo region offer beautiful and famed crossings.
For several centuries, such mountain passes played significant roles in trade and migration between two villages and even the countries. Today, those mountain passes are gateways to base camps, borders between the towns and regions.
Crossing those passes is a bit challenging yet rewarding. In some trekking, mountain passes are the highest places to reach.
Below, you can see some of Nepal's most famous mountain passes that trekkers often cross.
1. Thorong La – Annapurna
The most elevated part of the classic Annapurna Circuit Trek, Thorong La pass, sits 5416m/17769ft above sea level. It is one of the broadest pass and most beautiful crossings in Nepal. Overlooking the giant Damodar Himal, Thorong La sits between Thorong peak and Yakwakang and connects rural Manang and holy Muktinath villages.
Thorong la used to be a trekking route to Tibet; however, it is now actively used for trekking routes. It is the most famous crossing among a dozen other trekking passes in Nepal. However, walking to Thorong La needs good stamina; most trekkers halt overnight at Thorong Phedi or High Camp before reaching this challenging yet rewarding crossing during their Annapurna Circuit Trek. Crossing this pass, trekkers reach Muktinath for an overnight stay. Descending to Muktinath is another challenge itself.
2. Larkya La pass – Manaslu
After Thorong La, Larkey Pass (5106m/16748ft) is the most crossed pass in Nepal that lies in the Manaslu region on the way to Manaslu Circuit Trek. One of the most famous viewpoints of the entire Manaslu region is Larkey La, which offers splendid scenery of the beautiful Himalayan peaks, including Manaslu, Himalchuli, Cheo Himal, Himlung, and their neighboring ones.
Although this pass is not the highest mountain pass in Nepal, it still demands excellent enthusiasm and dedication. Trekkers often encounter rugged terrain and unpredictable weather conditions while crossing this pass.
3. Cho La pass – Everest
Cho La pass is one of the three high passes of the Khumbu region situated at 5420m/17782ft. It is the connector between the tranquil and turquoise Gokyo Lakes in the west and the majestic Everest Base Camp in the east. t offers breathtaking views of the mountains, including Mt. Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and many more.
Graded as technical and considerably steeper, trekkers need to walk passing rocky terrain and snowy paths that make the journey even adventurous. In addition, Trekkers may need trekking gears ass microspikes, trekking gears, etc.
Cho La, tucked between two gorgeous snow-capped peaks, including Lobuche and Cholastse. Therefore, it is good to pass Cho during the autumn and spring months. During these months, trekkers will have mostly unobstructed views and perfect sceneries of the surrounding landscapes in stable weather and favorable climatic conditions.
4. Renjo La Pass – Everest
Renjo La pass, which lies at an elevation of 5340m / 17843 ft, is another beautiful pass along the trail in the Khumbu region of the Himalaya. This crossing connects the valley and Nagpa La and is highly remote, where you will find fewer trekkers, unlike Cho La pass in the region. one could still meet Tibetan traders plunging from Nangpa La pass with their yak caravan.
Trekkers can enjoy the view of the massive Himalayan ranges and Gokyo valley with the lakes below from this point. That can be the shortest among the three passes which don't require crossing the glacier.
5. Kongma La Pass – Everest
One of the three passes of the Khumbu region, Kongma La, sits the easternmost part that stands at the elevation of 5535m/18159ft above the sea surface and is the most skipped mountain passes among three high passes of the entire region.
It is the highest and most strenuous trekking pass among all three Everest High Passes crossings. The route of these passes is more slippery than any other. However, it offers spectacular views of Everest (8,848m), Makalu (8,481m), Lhotse (8,516m), Nuptse (7,861m), Ama Dablam (6,812m) and its ridges, Thamserku (6,623m), and many more. In addition, Trekkers spend overnight at Lobuche, one of the leading overnight stops of the classic Everest Base Camp Trek.
6. Kang La Pass – Annapurna
Situated between Nar Phu valley and Manang villages, Kang La Pass sits at 5,320m/17454ft. While trekking Nar Phu valley adjoining the journey to Annapurna Circuit trek, trekkers need to cross this pass. You can witness spectacular sceneries of almost every mountain of Annapurna and Manaslu ranges from the access, including Annapurna III, Manaslu, Gangapurna Tilicho and Himlung, etc.
Not only the mountain ranges, but you can also see the magnificent sceneries of the Annapurna region; valleys, lakes, small villages, glaciers, alpine backwoods, and diverse landscapes, which is just awe!
It would help if you had a special permit and trek with a guide in the restricted area.
7. Ganja-la pass – Langtang
One of the most popular trekking passes of the Langtang Himalayan range of Nepal, the Ganja-La pass sits at 5122/16804 asl. The precipitous crossing of the Ganja La (5,106m) from Kyanjin Gompa in Langtang to reach Tarke Ghyang in Helambu will be the most important and memorable trekking expedition you will ever make.
Trekkers can witness the astounding view of Langtang Lirung (7225m), Ganesh Himal (7406m), Naya Kang (5844m), Ganchempo (6387m) and Yala Peak (5500m), and other neighboring massifs from the top. Trekkers will walk following the Langtang valley trek while ascending and following the Helambu trek trail while descending.
8. Meshokanto La Pass – Annapurna
One of the scenic mountain passes of the Annapurna region, Meashokanto La pass, sits at 5099m/16729ft. It is a part of the Annapurna Circuit trek that emerges between Manang and Jomsom.
Leaving the main trail of the Annapurna Circuit trek, trekkers arrive at Tilicho Lake and further to Meshokanto La pass. Ascending from the crossing, trekkers reach Jomsom; an administrative headquarter of the Mustang district, a beginning point of the Upper Mustang trek.
9. Selele Pass – Kanchenjunga
Selele Pass is the footing of the third highest peak of the planet Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586m), situates at 4290m/14071ft, and works as a connector between the village Ghunsa and Cheram. After walking via dense rhododendron, moss, and juniper forest, you can attain the pass.
While crossing this pass, trekkers can witness famous peaks like Kanchenjunga, Jannu peak, Chang Himal, and neighboring mountains. Although it is a bit challenging to cross this pass, trekkers will get dramatic experiences views of captivating Himalayan vistas along diverse terrain during this trek.
10. Amphu Labtsa Pass – Everest
A glaciated pass situated at the head of Honku Valley, Amphu Labtsa pass elevates at 5845m/1917ft over the sea surface. Being technical, it is a physically demanding pass that remains frozen almost every month a year. Therefore, it will be more challenging for trekkers with no prior climbing or trekking experience.
Despite being endurance testing, the view from every tough climb is worth inspiring. The peak point of the trek offers breathtaking sceneries of Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and several other giant massifs. It is a perfect destination who are not afraid of taking risks.
11. Salpa Pass – Arun Valley
One of the most popular alternatives to walking into Everest is following the Arun valley's unique habitat lying at the height of 3350m/10991ft.
It's a beautiful mountain pass that follows an ancient trade route where locals used to bring agricultural items to Namache Bazaar and Tiber via Nangpa-La.
This pass is quite simple and full of spectacular views of Makalu such as Mera Peak, Everest ranges, and many other Himalayan ranges. Visitors get accustomed to such stunning scenery from an unplumbed peak above rice terraces and verdant backwoods.
12. Lauribinayak La Pass – Langtang
Another famous crossing of the Langtang region located at 4610m/15124ft, Lauribinayak La Pass, rewards with astonishing sceneries of Langtang Lirung, Ganesh Himal, Dorje Lakpa, Manaslu, Himal Chuli, Gosaikunda, and several other mountain massifs. In the precise weather conditions, trekkers will also see some of the mountains on the Tibetan side.
Reaching Lauribinayak Pass, one needs to pass through the Gosainkunda Lake trek. After passing this holy lake, ultimately, you'll get crossing and enter the Helambu region. It is a relatively shorter and easier pass than other high mountain passes. However, it is a desolate location encircled by landslides and glaciers.
13. Saldang La Pass – Dolpo
Saldang La Pass lies at 5200m/17060ft above sea level in the Upper Dolpo region. Hikers can see the breathtaking views of Dhaulagiri and Kanjirowa Himal from the top. So long with the majestic views, you can witness Tibetan culture, traditions, pristine wilderness, and Himalayan beliefs as this region's main attractions.
Nepal is a mountainous country that witnesses hundreds of mountain passes to cross while trekking mountaineering. one of them is the peak points of the trek/expedition. Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, and Dolpo regions offer most of Nepal's trekking passes that provide scenic views of the majestic Himalayas, lush hills, deep alpine backwoods, glacial lakes, small ethnic villages, and many more.