The Ganja La Pass Trek is an 11-14 day trek that covers the Langtang Valley and then crosses the 5122m (16,800 ft) Ganja La Pass before continuing on. The trek involves at least three nights of camping in a remote area with one of the tougher technical passes to cross.
While the Langtang Valley is known as a moderate trek crossing Ganja La Pass is known for being one of the toughest passes to cross in Nepal. However, the views from the pass are the best in Langtang.
Though a guide is not mandatory and many people trek Langtang without a guide I would strongly advise anyone considering the Ganja La Pass Trek to take a guide and porter. There's camping equipment needed. The pass itself is tough and there's even a ladder in place these days to get over one section.
Tent on the Ganja La High Camp
The highest pass is indeed the Ganga La Pass at 5122m. There's also Kyanjin Ri (4300m) and or Tserko Ri (4984m) to climb which adds to this treks challenging aspect.
Max Altitude: 5,122m
Distance: 81.33 km (50.54 mi)
Accommodation: Lodge / Camping
The Ganja La Pass Trek takes place in the Langtang National Park located north of Kathmandu in the Langtang region of Nepal's central development region. After the pass you enter into Helambu area.
In many ways its easier to thing of the Ganja La Pass Trek as the Langtang Valley trek plus a high pass out of the valley into the Helambu area.
The Langtang area was severely damaged in the 2015 earthquake. Landslides continue to remain an issue during the monsoon season. You should be cautious and only attempt this trek in the peak season.
There are up to three days of camping on this trek so you should be prepared with proper equipment including tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, and food.
Later the Langtang Valley has steep mountainous valley walls. Up ahead are the large white mountain peaks that you will have to reach and indeed climb!
The camping days and the Ganja La Pass days are the hardest for most trekkers. Ganja La Pass is steep, with broken trails, high boulders and indeed rock faces to climb up. An experienced guide is highly advised as accidents have occurred here. Going slowly with experience by your side is the best way to make the most out of this trek.
This map shows you the most popular Ganja La Pass trekking route.
Please note this map should not be used as a practical trekking map. Weather conditions, time of year, natural events and physical changes do happen to the trek paths. Detailed trekking maps can be obtained in Nepal at very low costs and in my own trekking in Nepal guidebook..
The Ganja La Pass Trek is not a well-known trek. The main reason for this is that it involves camping and a difficult high pass. Langtang, on the other hand, is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. Ganja La Pass offers the best of both worlds for trekkers who are up for a challenge. A world-famous trek followed by camping and a rarely attempted high pass out of the Langtang Valley.
Highest point of the Ganja La Pass trek
At 5122m (16,800 ft) Ganja La Pass marks the highest point on the trek. However, as you are camping you can also go up to there are several look out points you can reach on day trips from the Langtang side. These include Tserko Ri (4984m).
View from the top of Ganja La Pass
Highest sleeping point on the Ganja La Pass trek
The highest sleeping point can be at Ganja La Phedi 4300m (14,104 ft) which is one of the nights in a tent. Or, as you are camping you can also go up to high camp at 4869m which has space for tents (3 hours from Ganja La Phedi).
Total distance of the Ganja La Pass trek
The full distance trekked on the Ganja La Pass trek is about 81.33 km (50.54 mi). However, do note you can extend this distance as the trek on this page ends in Sermathang where there are jeeps. You can trek for an additional two days all the way to Tarkegang or Tharepati.
How long have people been trekking the Langtang Gosainkunda route?
The Langtang Valley part of the trek has been trekked since Nepal first opened it's doors to commercial tourism in the 1960s. The Ganja La Pass itself is somewhat of an unknown trekking area or at least undocumented up until now.
Locals in the area have reported missing trekkers in this area for years before the 2015 earthquake as solo trekkers went for day trips and got lost. Again, these missing trekkers are also unconfirmed for the most part and could well be part of old stories told in the area. However, it does give an indication that the Ganja La Pass should not be underestimated and you should go with a guide.
Is there any wildlife to see on the Ganja La Pass trek?
Yes, Wildlife can be found throughout the Langtang National Park area. Animals include Himalayan black bears, Himalayan tahr (mountain sheep), rhesus monkeys, musk deer, and red pandas. Wildlife is protected in this area and there are inspection points.
What mountains can you see from the Ganja La Pass?
Langtang Lirung 7,234 m (23,734 ft), Langtang Ri 7,205 m (23,638 ft), Dorje Lakpa 6,966 m (22,854 ft), Loenpo Gang 6,979 m (22,897 ft), Changbu 6,781 m (22,247 ft), Yansa Tsenji 6,690 m (21,950 ft), Kyunga Ri 6,601 m (21,657 ft), Dogpache 6,562 m (21,529 ft), Langshisha Ri 6,427 m (21,086 ft), Gangchenpo 6,387 m (20,955 ft), Morimoto 6,150 m (20,180 ft), Tsogaka 5,846 m (19,180 ft) Yala Peak 5,520 m (18,110 ft) are visible from within Langtang National Park and Ganja La Pass.
Highlights of the Ganja La Pass trek include:
- Crossing Ganja La Pass
- Views from several high mountains
- Camping in the mountains
- Close to Kathmandu
- Moderate Langtang trek with several viewing points of mountains
- Abundant wildlife
- Valley trekking
- Village trails
- Friendly locals
Arranging a safe Ganja La Pass Trek
Finding an experienced guide who has crossed Ganja La Pass is important. Unfortunately in Nepal many guides and trekking agents will say they know the pass, but few will have crossed it. You will need due diligence to find a guide who has made this crossing for the sake of your safety.
Package treks & tours bought online
Package treks & tours to Langtang are very easy to find but add in Ganja La Pass and you are down to a handful. After a few trekking agents read this article, even more, will probably pop up online! Once again with online tours, you'll be at the mercy of the trekking agency to know if they have a guide who as actually done this trek or not.
Many online Ganja La Pass treks are sold with 14 or more days. Do read the itineraries carefully to be sure none are "extended just for profit". Package tours usually include a guide, food, accommodation, camping equipment, cooking equipment, and permits. Costs can be from USD $1400+
Pro's of a package tour to the Ganja La Pass Trek include that everything is done for you ahead of time.
Con's include paying a higher than average price. You will not get to meet your guide beforehand. And the biggest question of all is they have done the trek before or not. Many online prices have additional hidden costs for solo trekkers. Many will have hidden extras examples of these include guides transport fees, meals, your meals etc.
Package treks bought in Nepal
Those with a couple of days in Kathmandu can arrange a package trek to Ganja La Pass with a lot more ease. The downside will be trying to figure out if the guide knows the pass or not - mobile photos help but look out for those copied from the internet. Selfies help!
Likewise, be sure you are going at the right time of year and the trekking company tells you this. If they don't, walk away.
It's also important you make sure that both you and the trekking company
agree on what's included in the total
price. This should include your camping equipment, permits, bus fees, meals etc.
The Langtang side of the trek has accommodation but we aware of trekking companies trying to make out you need to pay extra due to the earthquake. Langtang village was completely destroyed but the New Langtang is up and running.
Pro's of a local package trek to Ganja La includes meeting your guide before your trek and getting to see your tents/equipment. Being able to customize your treks itinerary to your own needs. See costs for pricing but expect it to be lower than the online packages.
Con's include having to spend a day going between trekking companies and possibly even waiting to meet the experienced guide.
If you'd like to take the hard work out of this before you arrive then do try my Find a Trekking Guide Service as I've been with experienced Ganja La Pass guides.
Hiring a local Ganja La Pass Guide yourself
There are many local guides that can take you on a Langtang Valley trek. However, do not listen to the bluster that they've crossed Ganja La Pass. There's a huge difference in difficulty between the two. You do not want to be crossing Ganja La pass without an experienced guide who has done it before.
You'll also need a porter to help with the tents, sleeping bags and cooking equipment. I get many trekkers saying they can carry their own gear but the reality is the gear is heavy and you'll need to carry supplies. Do not take Ganja La Pass lightly.
Pro's here include a more independent trek.
Con's include having to get your own permits, making sure the porter is good, interviewing guides, getting camping equipment and getting cooking equipment. If you've not trekked in Nepal before and are attempting Ganja La Pass then my advice is to hire a guide who will do all this for you.
If you are looking for a guide on the Ganja La Pass Trek I recommend you read my article on How to find a trekking guide in Nepal. However, do be aware that many agencies will simply say that they have an experienced guide for Ganja La but don't actually have one. Yes, they'll take this type of change.
You may save some time by using my Find a Guide Trekking Service.
Independently trekking the Ganja La Pass Trek yourself:
Ganja La Pass is hard! There are elements to the pass that will require an additional set of hands. Do not go in the offseason as it's often blocked. Unless you are very experienced with trekking alone in Nepal and have an emergency satellite phone then Ganja La Pass should not be attempted alone.
The Langtang Valley part of this trek is a different type of trek and people do often go alone. Locals have told stories of solo trekkers attempting Ganja La Pass and either coming back down or disappearing.
If you are looking for a guide for the Langtang trek I recommend you read my article on How to find a trekking guide in Nepal.
You may also use my Find a Guide Trekking Service.
Nepal's traditional peak seasons offer the best months for trekking within Langtang national park and the Ganja La Pass. Do note that the Ganja La Pass is often blocked by snow. Do not attempt to cross the pass in the winter or monsoon seasons. Even in the early first season be aware that the pass might be blocked and there will be snow / ice that will prevent one from proceeding on the trek. There is no weather station nor nearby village to obtain snow blocks. Once again, the peak season is the best time of year to attempt this trek.
Langtang National Park & Ganja La Pass Weather by month
|Precipitation / Rainfall
There are no weather stations on Ganja La Pass. It's important to note that extreme cold winds and cloud can rush in around viewpoints, passes, and peaks even in Langtang Valley. Trekking in the middle of peak seasons is recommended.