Goechala trek

Goechala trek

The Dzongri-Goechala trek offers a dramatic landscape for you to trek through from lush valleys, oak forests, alpine meadows to snow-covered trails and glacial moraines.

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Goechala trek Overview

Trek to Goechala

Sikkim is one of the most untouched regions in India and offers a wide variety of spectacular natural beauty for trekkers to explore. The Dzongri Goechala trek is one of the top treks in Sikkim.

Nestled amidst varied and vibrant flora and fauna, the Goechala trek in Sikkim is the doorway to the astounding Kanchenjunga National Park. This exciting trek through verdant valleys, beautiful orchards and rich forests to Goecha La summit gives you stunning views of Kanchenjunga, the third tallest mountain in the world.

About Goechala Pass, Sikkim

The Dzongri Goechala trek is undoubtedly the top trek in Sikkim and will take you through forests of ancient oak and rhododendron trees, across alpine meadows with great open views, and to the hill station of Darjeeling. While on the trail, you’ll ascend to a height of 16,000 feet.

About the Goechala trek

The trek is a moderate trail but it can be long with an unforgiving climate. There are a couple of days when the trekking can get quite steep, bringing this to a rating of one of the more challenging treks in Sikkim. You’ll climb from about 5,800 feet to a dizzying 16,000 feet over 10 days, into remote and stark landscapes.

The Dzongri Goechala trek

If you’re doing the Goechala trek, you’ll be passing Dzongri as well. It is a fascinating trail that takes you from Yuksom to Dzongri and onwards to the high pass of Goecha La.

You'll be able to admire Kanchenjunga from the pass, and you'll also visit the scenic village of Tsokha, a Tibetan settlement. This is a complete experience for those searching for all that the Himalayan highlands have to offer.

Itinerary of the Dzongri Goechala trek

The trek starts in Yuksom and winds upwards into the Kanchenjunga National Park. You’ll trek through bamboo and conifer forests, with delicate ferns and orchids dotting your trail.

You’ll cross bridges, stay at homestays or camp in the open, and cross boulder-strewn riverbeds. At Dzongri, you’ll stop for a day to acclimatize to the increasing altitude. As you near the Goechala Pass, you’ll have to navigate vast glacial moraines and other challenging sections.

Trek Summary

  • State: Sikkim
  • Nearest city: Gangtok
  • Total days: 10 - 11 days
  • Grade: Challenging
  • Max altitude: 16,300 feet
  • Total distance: 87 - 94 km
  • Season: Summer, spring and winter
  • Avg temperature: -5 to 25 Degrees Celsius

Goechala Trek - 11 days

Sketch itinerary:

Day 1:

  • Start point: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station
  • Endpoint: Yuksom
  • Day start time: 15:00 hrs

Day 2:

  • Start point: Yuksom
  • Endpoint: Sachen
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Trekking distance: 8 km
  • Trekking time: 6 hrs

Day 3:

  • Start point: Sachen
  • Endpoint: Tshoka
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Trekking distance: 7 km
  • Trekking time: 5 hrs

Day 4:

  • Start point: Tshoka
  • Endpoint: Dzongri
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Trekking distance: 9 km
  • Trekking time: 7 hrs

Day 5:

  • Start point: Dzongri
  • Endpoint: Dzongri
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs

Day 6:

  • Start point: Dzongri
  • Endpoint: Thansing
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Trekking distance: 10 km
  • Trekking time: 6 hrs

Day 7:

  • Start point: Thansing
  • Endpoint: Lamuney
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Trekking distance: 4 km
  • Trekking time: 2 hrs

Day 8:

  • Start point: Lamuney
  • Endpoint: Thansing
  • Day start time: 01:00 hrs
  • Trekking distance: 18 km
  • Trekking time: 2 hrs

Day 9:

  • Start point: Thansing
  • Endpoint: Tshoka
  • Day start time: 03:00 hrs
  • Trekking distance: 18 km
  • Trekking time: 2 hrs

Day 10:

  • Start point: Tshoka
  • Endpoint: Yuksom
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Trekking distance: 15 km
  • Trekking time: 6 hrs

Day 11:

  • Start point: Yuksom
  • Endpoint: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs

Detailed itinerary:

Day 1:

Your meeting point is at New Jalpaiguri Railway station where the operators will be waiting for you. You will then take a locally arranged transport till Yuksom.

The drive will take an estimated 6 hours; to say it will be scenic would be an understatement. You will have the evening all to yourself. Discover the town and pick up last-minute supplies.

Overnight stay will be in a guesthouse or tents. Make sure you are well-rested because the adventure begins the next day.

Day 2:

The Dzongri Goechala trek gets underway today. You will make your way to Kanchenjunga park and will instantly be able to feel it in the air as you get closer to the forest.

Passing close to the valley of River Rathong, you will climb your way to the Tshushay Khola falls. You will quickly perceive the altitude change as you reach Sachen at a height of 8650 feet. You rest your weary bones in tents in Sachen.

Day 3:

The trek today isn’t about distance but height. You will gain in altitude further as you climb to 9700 feet. You will make your way across the old-fashioned wooden bridge that hangs above river Perk.

You will take a pit stop at Bhakim with some warm tea and snacks before moving along towards Tshoka. It is an abandoned Tibetan village situated picturesquely with the snowy Kanchenjunga in the background. The night will be spent in tents.

Day 4:

Day 4 is one of the most rewarding and challenging days of the entire experience. You will have a difficult ascent with steep sections. At a quick water break, you will drink water right from the source, a stream near Kockchurang.

The hike continues towards Dzongri which is at a mind-boggling height of 12,980 feet. Overnight stay will be under stars within tents.

Day 5:

After one of the most tiring days of the trip yet, you will have a well-deserved recuperating day at Dzongri. You will rest at the camp and take short walks in order to acclimatize.

If you are a photography enthusiast, it doesn’t get much better than this spot. The snow-covered peaks and valleys offer a splendid view. Drink plenty of water to help the body with the change in altitude and have a long night’s sleep in tents.

Day 6:

The slow-paced rest day gives way to a day filled with movement and action. You will descend into rhododendron shrubs and the open fields that lay in Kockchurang.

The hike is long and downward sloping with many flora and fauna to keep you company. There are over 30 species of rhododendron alone and many rare birds on this path.

Thansing signals the end of the trek. It is a grand meadow situated at the same height as Dzongri. The night will be spent in tents surrounded by the intoxicating smell of flowers.

Day 7:

The Dzongri Goechala trek has a more comfortable pace today. The roads are relatively flat with greenery enveloping the entire path. There is only one steep path before you reach the camp.

The evening will have no scheduled activity except a small briefing session regarding the next day. You can spend your time relaxing and gawking at the star-studded night sky.

The next day is an early start, so make sure to tuck yourself in relatively soon. The stay will be in tents overnight.

Day 8:

Early at 01:00 hrs, the day begins. It is Goechala day and you will start in the dark with your fellow adventurers as you all march towards Samiti Lake. What follows is a steep climb to viewpoint 1.

You then continue towards Goechala Lake, which is again a steep distance which has you reaching a height of 16000 feet. Depending on the weather, you can head towards viewpoint 2.

If things go our way, Kanchenjunga will reveal itself to you. Soak in the view and then you head back to the camp in Thansing. Make sure you retire soon because tomorrow is another early start.

Day 9:

The alarm will ring at 03:00 hrs in the morning. Today is another long day of hiking. However, it is a descent day where you will make your way towards Phedang.

The trekking path is basic with scenic views and exquisite flora. Post a light refreshing lunch and a short break, you move to Tshoka. You slice through dense forests with a bewildering range of flora and fauna

Upon reaching the destination, you can call it a night and sleep early to give your aching body some respite

Day 10:

From Tshoka, you make your way to Sachen through Bhakim. The walking path is a fun zig-zag downward slope with a hillock climb at the end.

As you make quick work of the hillock and look towards the horizon, you will see Yuksom town. You retire for the night in a guesthouse to get some rest. However, feel free to use the time to explore if you have the energy.

Day 11:

The journey of epic proportions ends today. You will be provided transport back to the station after a hearty breakfast. Expect to reach the destination by 17:00 hrs and bid goodbye to the wonderful Dzongri Goechala trek.

Inclusions:

Transportation to and from NJP railway station and Yuksom is included in the overall cost. All the equipment needed for camping such as sleeping bags, kitchen tents, alpine tents, and washroom tents is also in the inclusions.

Meals and refreshments will be served based on the packages selected. Please check with your operator for the final details. Accommodation will be provided on a sharing basis in homestays or tents depending on the situation.

The services and expertise of the trek leader and the entire support staff are a part of the expenses as are the services of the porters and the mules in order to lag around the shared equipment

Exclusions:

The operators do not provide transportation from your base city to NJP station and this needs to be arranged at your own cost. As such all personal expenses that are not part of the inclusions will also be borne on an individual basis.

The services of porters and mules to carry your personal bags is not a part of the costs but can be made available at an extra cost of INR 3200 per person, if booked in advance.

Any expenses not a part of the inclusions including meals and beverage costs will be charged on an additional basis. The Dzongri Goechala trek costs also do not cover adventure travel insurance.

Trek to Goechala
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Snow Trek to Goechala
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Best time to go/Weather

Most trekkers go for the Dzongri Goechala trek during the summer, because the weather is clear and pleasant. However, when you book a snow trek to Goechala Pass, you can expect to have the trail all to yourselves most of the way.

Getting there

The starting point for the Dzongri Goechala trek depends on the package and the trek that you have chosen. Some packages also include pick-up and drop-off from your base city to the starting point. Check with the operator for the final details.

The closest airport is Bagdogra which is well connected to most metro cities. From here, you can take a taxi to Yuksom, a 6-7 hour drive.

New Jalpaiguri Junction is the closest railway station to Sikkim and is linked well with the rest of the country. You can take a private or shared taxi to Yuksom for the trek.

What to wear

Among the clothes that you will need for the Dzongri Goechala trek are 2 track pants, 2 non-cotton full sleeves t-shirts and 1 fleece t-shirt. Also needed would be 1 fleece jacket, a woollen sweater, and a down feather jacket.

A pair of waterproof jackets and pants along with 2 pairs of thermal innerwear need to be brought along. Carry a poncho and pairs of socks, woollen, and cotton.

A sturdy and durable pair of trekking shoes are critical for the hike. Bring one woollen cap as well as woollen gloves. Do not forget your sunglasses and a cap for sun protection.

Expensive jewellery and gadgets should not be on your person during any of the hike days. Denim and shorts are not allowed on the trek. No open footwear is permitted.

What to carry

The operators will provide you with all the necessary equipment and gear which includes but is not limited to tents, sleeping bags, kitchen tents and the rest.

FIrst-aid kit including oxygen cylinders will also be available with them. Technical equipment, if needed, will be handy

You need to carry with you a backpack which can withstand the rain, a walking stick, and a head torch. Carrying water bottles is a must as is a personal medical kit along with all your medication.

Bring along some sunscreen, lip balm, and moisturizer for your skin. Carry some toilet paper and wipes. Some energy bars and dry fruits can help perk up your energy levels during the Dzongri Goechala trek.

Preparation/Fitness

The Dzongri Goechala trek falls in the moderate to challenging grade and thus cannot be undertaken by everyone. It has steep climbs and inclement weather conditions.

As such, a moderate level of fitness is required for this trek. It is recommended that you prepare for a few weeks before undertaking this trek through a mixture of strength and cardio training. Prior hiking experience is needed to conquer the Golecha trek.

FAQs about the Goechala Trek

What is the best season to go for the Goechala trek?

The best time to undertake this trek is during the summer months. The weather is pleasant and more suited for a comfortable hike. The winter months offer a gorgeous landscape but the weather conditions add to the difficulty of the hike.

Can a beginner go for the Dzongri Goechala trek?

This trek is not suited for beginners and prior hiking experience would be preferred. It also requires good levels of fitness because it takes place at high altitudes with steep climbs.

Is the trek risky?

A: The Goechala trek is challenging but definitely not risky. The guides and the trek leaders are experts with years of experience and ensure that your hike proceeds smoothly along time tested paths.

Besides all the equipment and safety gear is of high quality and ensures maximum safety of all the adventurers.

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