By Peter Potterfield
Today's Featured Hike: Lukla to Everest Base Camp
Round-Trip: 70 miles, 16 days
When to Go: Pre-monsoon (March or April) gives you the rhododendrons in bloom and lots of climber action, but post-monsoon (November) gives you drier weather. Go with guide services that use local Sherpa guides, cooks, and porters—it’s part of the experience.
Arguably the greatest of all high-mountain journeys, this stroll through Nepal’s Khumbu district lets you see three of the highest peaks on Earth (Everest, Lhotse, and Lhotse Sar) in one glance—and dozens more Himalayan giants along the way. A favorite is the view from Thyangboche, called by renowned mountain explorer W.H. Tillman the “greatest view in the world.” But it’s the deep immersion in the Sherpas’ Buddhist culture that will bring you back for the friendly villages, the monasteries, and the polyglot scene of world travelers who come for the high-octane pilgrimage to Everest.
Insider Tip: Go slow on the way up. Healthy hikers could cover 35 miles in two days, but the need to acclimatize means you’ll take ten days on the trek in to Everest, but only three on the trek out. The enforced downtime allows you to savor the experience—and the culture of people who live there.
Photograph by Alex Treadway, National Geographic