The peaceful, lakeside town of Pokhara is surrounded by monstrous snow-capped Himalayas. There are a number of magnificent viewpoints that look over Pokhara but also towards the Himalayas. The World Peace Pagoda is a popular viewpoint but arguably the best viewpoint in Pokhara is the Sarangkot Hill Viewpoint. These days there is a cable car that will take you all the way to the viewpoint. However, if you are looking for a challenge or for some preparation for your big trek, why not hike up?
In this blog post, I will share everything you need to know about hiking up to Sarangkot Hill Viewpoint in Pokhara.
SARANGKOT HILL HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of my hike was 8.3 kilometers.
Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 3 hours because of the steep terrain
Hike Difficulty: This trail is pretty difficult due to the steep nature of the route. The path goes through the forest for the most part and is relatively well-defined but the steep stairs and exposure to the sun will be tough for many hikers. Think of it as a good warm-up for your trek.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 809 meters
My Strava Map Upload: Hiking to Sarangkot Hill
SARANGKOT HILL HIKE TRAILHEAD
There seemed to be a few options for the trailhead to the Sarangkot Hill trailhead. The main trailhead came about 10-20 minutes into the hike once I’d passed through most of the lower houses. It was only then that I found a clear sign. I think the best place to start is at the Cable Car Station as the signed trailhead in the forest starts just after that.
I began in Sedi Village and then turned up 5/18 street and wound my way up to the cable car station.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING UP TO SARANGKOT HILL VIEWPOINT
At 1,610m in elevation, Sarangkot Hill gives a panoramic view of Pokhara and a number of Himalayan Peaks such as the iconic Fishtail Peak (Machhapuchhare). In recent years, the installation of a cable car has made this viewpoint explode in popularity among visitors. The sunrise and sunset views are phenomenal and due cause an influx of tourists.
For those looking to enjoy the views from Sarangkot Hill Viewpoint but not keen on a big hike, the Annapurna Cable Car is your best option. The cable car ride takes just 10 minutes and is actually quite modern, similar to European standards. The current price as of 2022 is just 700 NPR for a round-trip ticket, which equates to bout $5 USD. That’s quite a good value considering the modern nature of the infrastructure.
I decided I wanted a bit of a challenge and to get my legs going again after returning from my Annapurna Circuit Trek. The hike isn’t too popular but I did come across a few other motivated tourists on the forest track. Usually, when a cable car is involved, it means there is a steep ascent. This path is no different. The trail up to Sarangkot Hill winds along, underneath the cable car with 800m of incline. It’s no easy hike.
I began by walking from the Lakeside area in Pokhara to the small village region of Sedi. Here I found the 5/18 street and followed that up some backroads until eventually reaching an official trail sign for Sarangkot Hill.
Once I reached the sign, the trail became a narrow path through the forest. Occasional openings allowed views of the lake, the cable car, and Pokhara town down below. It was hot, humid, steep, and tough going through this section of relentless incline. I managed to catch a few glimpses of the World Peace Pagoda in the distance.
About halfway through the hike up to Sarangkot Hill are a number of small viewing areas. Little plateaus with seats or small sheds are the perfect spot to watch the sunrise or sunset. Most are accessible by car (as is Sarangkot Hill).
The final stretch up to Sarangkot Hill becomes quite civilized with school kids wandering home, little villages, and massive mountains poking their way out of the clouds in the backdrop. There seemed to be a number of different routes up to the top so do be wary of that if you choose to follow my exact route. Mine was a nice route but there may be a better one!
Once I reached the Sarangkot Hill Viewpoint, it had been eight kilometers and counting from when I began in Lakeside. It had taken a bit longer than expected and been quite a hot and steep ascent. I had to pay a small fee to enter the viewpoint area, which was under heavy construction at the time.
The viewpoint itself wasn’t overly crowded with many locals assuming positions in hidden, areas that didn’t require payment. At the summit, there’s a small tower and an information board displaying all of the peaks you can see on a clear day. Sarangkot Hill Viewpoint is best known for sunrise but I decided to go up for sunset and the conditions were dreamy.
A little further on, there is a bar and restaurant tower, a small entertainment area for kids, and lots of new viewpoints popping up each week. With the growing popularity of this viewpoint among tourists, the infrastructure is coming in fast to try and provide food, drinks, entertainment, and nice seating and viewing areas for tourists.
I took the last cable car down for $3 USD to avoid walking home in the dark and to save my energy. I had just completed the Annapurna Circuit days earlier after all!