Langtang National Park

The Langtang National Park is the nearest Himalayan Park from the capital city of Kathmandu. The National Park is the fourth national park in Nepal and was established in 1976 as the first Himalayan national park. The protected area exceeds an altitudinal range of 6,450 m (21,160 ft) and covers an area of 1,710 km2 (660 sq mi) that extends over parts, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchok districts of the central Himalayan region encompassing 26 Village Executives. It is linked with the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve in Tibet. The high altitude sacred lake of Gosainkunda falls within the park. The Gosainkunda lake (4,300 m (14,100 ft)) and the Dorje Lakpa range (6,988 m (22,927 ft)) bisect the park from east-west to southeast. The summit of Langtang Lirung (7,245 m (23,770 ft)) is the highest point in the park.

The northern and eastern border of the national park coincides with the international border to Tibet (the southern mountainous terrain of the Nepal-China border). The western boundary follows the rivers Bhote Kosi and Trisuli. The southern border lies 32 km (20 mi) north of the Kathmandu Valley. The park lies in the pinnacle, the meeting point between Indo-Malayan and Palearctic realms, and is embellished with important ecosystems of both realms as a conservation priority.

Langtang represents a good spectrum of vegetation types along the altitudinal range between 1,000m and 7,245m. Landscapes produced by complex topography, geological setting and altitude can be experienced while walking three days from the Bhotekoshi river to Langsisa. Langtang National Park is the third most popular trekking destination among the protected areas of Nepal.

The park's rich vegetation is characterized by the Sal (Shorea robusta) forests in the southern section of the park and it is gradually taken over by hill forests (2,000-2,600m) consisting of Chirpine, various species of Rhododendron and Nepalese alder. The temperate zone (2,600-3,000m) is covered mainly by oak forests that fade to old growth forests of silver fir, hemlock, and larch in the lower subalpine zone (3,000–3,600m). The Nepalese larch (Larix nepalensis), the only deciduous conifer in the region, is found in the park and a few other places. Throughout these zones, different species of Rhododendron such as R. arboretum, R. barbatum, R. campanulatum and scrubs of R. lepidotum, to name a few, form a colorful under-story. Tree species such as birch, silver fir, Sorbus, and twisted Rhododendron campanulatum are found near the tree line. Above 4,000m elevations, Juniper and Rhododendron shrubs (R. anthopogon) slowly dissolve into the expansive alpine grassland meadows (LNP, 2001).

It is observed that Langtang expansive high altitude meadows are a boon for numerous ungulate species such as the Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster) and the Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus). The red panda (Ailurus fulgens), Himalayan black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), Ghoral (Naemorhedus goral) and serow (Capricornis sumatraensis) are the key species of Langtang National Park and more than 250 species of birds are found here. Langtang is the only protected area in Nepal that provides a breeding ground for Dark-rumped Rosefinch (Carpodacus edwardsii) during summer.

Langtang National Park is situated in the central Himalayan region of Nepal. It is the nearest Himalayan Park from Kathmandu. The Bhotekoshi and the Trisuli Rivers form the western boundary of the National Park while the Nepal-China border forms the northern to the north-eastern border. The geographical location of the park is approximately 85° 15’ to 86° E and 28° to 28° 20’ N with an area of 1,710 sq. km. extending to parts of Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchok District. The ridge of Gosaikunda and Lekh- Dorje Lakpa divides the park into eastern and western sectors.

Langtang National Park is a vital part of the Sacred Himalayan Landscape which starts from the mid to the eastern Himalayas including Quomolongma Nature Reserve, Sagarmatha National Park, Makalu Barun National Park, Kanchanjunga Conservation Area and northern protected areas of West Bengal, Sikkim, and Bhutan. The eastern Himalayas is one of the 200- Ecoregions.

The buffer zone of Langtang National Park was constituted on 27 April 1998 and includes the settlements inside the park and a mutual impact zone outside the park with an area of 418.3 sq. km. A buffer zone management committee, 21 user committees and more than 336 user groups are working to manage the buffer zone to reduce the biotic pressure in the park by generating resources to meet their needs.


September through May offers a variety of natural splendors, from lush temperate river valleys with screeching langur to spectacular old growth forest and glacial-carved cliffs rimmed by snow-covered peaks. The weather is also relatively dry except January-February when one may come across the snow. Autumn is the best time to visit the Park. By April bursts of red, pink, and while rhododendrons stretch into towering canopies of fir and oak forests. The advent of warm weather makes the Yak and Chauri herds ascend to the higher elevation, making occasional camps in the pasturelands, to follow years of tradition. From June to August, skies are heavy with monsoon rains. During August, a lively festival at Gosaikunda Lake attracts thousands of Hindu pilgrims and September witnesses’ spectacular display of wildflowers, while livestock herds, once again, return to lower pastures.


The seasonal climatic pattern is dominated by the southerly monsoon, which occurs between June and September. The incidence and type of precipitation is a mainly assorted effect of aspect, altitude and the presence of a rain shadow area (e.g. Langtang and Lende Valleys). The north-south aligned Helambu drainage basins are exposed to the full effect of monsoon air streams, as far west as the upper Tadi Khola. Rainfall data shows that Sermathang and Tarke Gyang receive the most precipitation. The Langtang and Lende valleys are sheltered from southerly airstreams by the Gosainkunda Lekh-Dorje Lhakpa Range and Langtang Himal respectively. Consequently, monsoon arrives later and departs earlier from these inner valleys. The drainage of the park can be divided into two main watersheds. South of the Gosaikunda Lekh-Dorje Lhakpa range, drainage is southwards and then east into the Soon Koshi. The drainage north of this is initially westwards into the Bhotekoshi-Trisuli rivers and then southwards. The park occupies a tectonically interesting and important geographic position within the Nepal Central Himalayas. Igneous, metamorphic and migmatite rock types are found within the park. Hot springs, occurring near Timure and Syafrubesi along the Bhote Koshi, are an indication of deep-seated tectonic activity still present in these relatively young mountains.

The average monthly rainfall peaks in August in Kyangjin. Based on the 1989-98 observation of rainfall data supplied by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, the maximum average rainfall is 160mm during this month. Average annual rainfall in Sarmatian, based on the data from 1989 to 2006, slightly exceeds 900mm during July and the rainfall mostly occurs from June to September. Similarly, the average monthly rainfall reaches its peak in August in Dhunche with 500mm.


The average monthly maximum and minimum temperatures recorded in the Kyangjin Meteorological Station based on observations between 1989-1998 by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology are presented in the following graphs with two moving averages of the previous and succeeding data. The temperature reaches its maximum point in July- August and falls to a minimum in December-January. The minimum average temperature falls below zero degrees from November to April.

Based on observation from 1989 to 2006, the average monthly maximum temperature in Dhunche reaches 24 degrees and varies with a narrow limit with this figure from May to September. Between December and January, the minimum temperature of the same meteorological stations falls below 5 degrees.


Relative humidity data is only available in Dhunche station within Langtang National Park. Average monthly relative humidity is the highest between June and Oct exceeding 80% both in the mornings and evenings.

Flora and Fauna

Sub-tropical vegetation characterized by Sal (Shorea robusta) forest in the southern section of the park is gradually taken over by hill forest (2000-2600m) consisting of Chirpine, Rhododendron, and Nepalese alder. The temperate zone (2600-3000m) is covered mainly by oak forest fading to old growth forest of silver fir, hemlock, and larch in the lower subalpine zone (3000-3600m). The Nepalese larch (Larix nepalensis), the only deciduous conifer in the region, is found in this park and few places elsewhere. Throughout these zones, different species of Rhododendron such as R. arboretum, R. barbatum, R. campanulatum, and R. lepidotum (scrubs) to name a few, form a colorful understory. Tree species such as birch, silver fir, Sorbus microphylla, and twisted Rhododendron Campanulatum are found near the tree line. It is here at 4000m Juniper and Rhododendron shrubs (R. anthopogon) slowly dissolve into expansive alpine grassland meadows. Langtang expansive high meadows provide summer habitat for numerous ungulate species such as musk deer and Himalayan Tahr. The park is also well known for its populations of the red panda, Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, wild dog, ghoral, serow and more than 250 species of birds.

Plant Diversity

More than 1,000 plant species are found in LNP, amongst which 21 species are endemic. The park's rich vegetation is characterized by sal (Shorea robusta) forests in the southern portion of the park and it is gradually taken over by hill forests (2,000-2,600m) consisting of Chirpine (Pinus roxburghii), Rhododendrons and Nepalese Alder (Alnus nepalensis). The temperate zone (2,600-3,000m) is covered mainly by oak forests fading to old growth forests of silver fir, hemlock, and larch in the lower subalpine zone (3,000–3,600m). The Nepalese Larch (Larix nepalensis), the only deciduous conifer in the region, is found in the park and few places elsewhere. Throughout these zones, several species of Rhododendron such as R. arboretum, R. barbatum, R. campanulatum and the scrubs of R. lepidotum, form an incredible under-story. Tree species such as birch, silver fir, Sorbus microphylla, and twisted Rhododendron campanulatum are found near the tree line. Above 4,000m elevations, Juniper and Rhododendron shrubs (R. anthopogon) slowly merge into the serene wild land of expansive alpine grassland meadows.

Among the 21 endemic plant species in the park, Carum carvi in Langtang valley, two species of Meconopsis in Gosaikunda area, one species of Meconopsis in Sindhupalchowk, one Primula species in Gosaikunda and one Primula species in Chandanbari, one Zanthoxylum species in Godatabela, and two Rhododendron species in Lauribinayak are among the crucial endemic plants in the park. A checklist of endemic plants found in the park has been presented in the Annex.

In 2005, the Department of Plant Resource and the Edinburg Royal Botanical Garden, UK jointly organized an expedition in Langtang National Park for the Lichen flora study. More than 800 specimens of different lichen species have been collected. Lichens listed under Usnea, Sarkaria and Peltigera families have conservation importance. Birch forests of Kyangjin, pine forests in Thulo Syafru and Rhododendron mixed forests in Thadepati possess excellent lichen diversity. Lichens under the Usnea family constitute the musk deer diet whilst Parmelia nepalensis is traded to make dye. In the Arun Valley of eastern Nepal, Parmelia nepalensis is eaten after detoxification with ash; however, such practice has not been reported in the Langtang region.

Taxus wallichiana under Taxaceae family, Aconitum bisma, A. gammiei, A. spicatum, A elongate, A. rivularis under Ranunculaceae family, Michelia kisopa under Magnoliaceae family, Nardostachys jatamansi under Valerianaceae family, Saussurea deltoidea; S. gossypiphora; S. taraxacifolia; S. densiflorus, S. chenopodifolius under compositae family, and Rheum nivale under Polygonaceae family are threatened species due to feeble distribution, over-exploitation and illegal trade.

Faunal Diversity


The mammalian fauna of the central Himalayas is the intermediate of Indo-Malayan and Palaearctic fauna. Most of the Indo-Malayan species are found in the lower altitude; however, the red panda as hearsay is the only element of Indo-Malayan fauna that ascends up to 4,800m. There is a noticeable dearth of mammalian species in the Himalayas of Central Nepal (i.e. Langtang area) which probably suggests the result of a forked post-Pleistocene route of dispersal from the north, causing a species gap in the central region (Coughley, 1969 stated in DUHE, 1977).

46 mammal species have been recorded in Langtang National Park. The Assamese monkey, grey wolf, red panda, clouded leopard, leopard cat, snow leopard, musk deer, and Tibetan sheep are included in the protected list of the National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973. The occurrence of the wild dog (Cuon alpinus) and the wolf (Canis lupus) is still nebulous. However, several anecdotes of attacks of wolves on baby horses and yaks and the retaliatory killing of wolves by herders by poisoning before the establishment of the national park have been reported in the upper Langtang valley.

The occurrence of great Tibetan sheep is strongly assumed in the headwaters of the Lende River in Chhusumdo and Chhojang Valley in the Nepal-Tibet border. Dead specimens of clouded leopards were found in Ghatte Khola and another dead specimen of a leopard cat was collected from Syafrubesi in 1999 (LNP, 2003).  There is a believable record of the clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) in the north of Melamchi Gaon several years ago (Fleming Jnr Pers. Comm., stated by DUHE, 1977). Snow leopards have been reported to occur in upper Langtang, upper Yangri and upper Lendi valleys. The red panda is frequently sighted in Polangpati, Ghodatabela and the southern flank of Cholangpati, Panch Pokhari, Yangri, and Maginigoth areas.

Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) can be found in elevations between 3,300 to 5,300m. Researchers have captured numerous photographs of foxes along the trails in which camera traps were placed to photograph snow leopards in Kyangjin and Ganjala.

The Himalayan black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus) is frequently sighted in Timure, Thulo Bharku, Melamchi, Briddim, Thulo Syafru, Lokil, and Ghodatabela. Black bears are likely to be found throughout the temperate forest in the park. Several villagers are attacked and mauled by these bears every year.

The common leopard (Panthera pardus) is fairly common in the temperate region. Interestingly, its habitat overlaps with that of the snow leopard in the Langtang Valley since the common langur, one of its important preys can be found in high altitudes up to Nathan Kharka of upper Langtang valley. The killing of livestock and feral dogs by the common leopard in Dhunche, Bharku, Syafrubesi, Ranch, Kutumsang, and Sarmatian has been frequently recorded.  The ghoral (Naemorhedus goral) is frequently seen in Timure, Bridim, Sherpa Gaon and Bamboo areas. Local people reported sightings of serow (Capricornis sumatraensis) in Ghodatabela and lower Langtang Valley. The Himalayan Tahr is an important prey species of the snow leopard and is predominantly found on the south-facing slopes in Langtang valley and Lendi valley. Importantly, unlike Sagarmatha National Park, the mountain ungulates like ghoral, Himalayan Tahr and serow are extremely trepid and more agile in Langtang National Park and reflects the poaching stress inside the park.


More than 250 species of birds are found in Langtang National Park. The Himalayan Munal (Lophophorus impejanus), the national bird of Nepal, and satyr tragopan (Tragopan satyra) are protected birds found in the park. Upper Langtang valley provides an excellent breeding ground for Ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii), a globally threatened bird species. Wood snipe (Gallinago nemoricola), another globally threatened bird species, is found in the birch forests of Kyangjin. The Snow partridge is frequently seen in the Gosaikunda valley in summer. Tibetan snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus), Himalayan snowcock (Tetraogallus himalayensis), Tibetan partridge (Perdix hodgsoniae), Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus), Himalayan Griffin (Gyps Himalayensis), Eurasian Griffin (Gyps fulvus) and the Red Headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) are a few of the attractive birds found in the park. Trekkers are often enticed by the Yellow-Rumped Honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus) in Bamboo and Lama Hotel, and the gliding Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) in Lauribinayak and upper Langtang valley.

Important wetland-dependent birds in Langtang are the Bar-Headed goose (Ancer indices), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Common Teal (Anas crecca), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) and Common Merganser (Mergus merganser).

There are 12 globally threatened bird species found in Langtang National Park including the satyr tragopan (Tragopan satyra), Yellow-rumped honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus), wood snipe (Gallinago nemoricola) cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus), red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), pallid harrier (Circus macrourus), greater spotted eagle (Aquila clang), imperial eagle (Aquila beliaca), yellow-breasted bunting (Emberiza aureola), hoary throated brewing (Actinodura nipalensis), Nepal wren babbler (Pnegpphyga Immaculata) and ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii). The park has the highest known density of Nepal wren babbler, a restricted range species (Baral and Inskipp 2005). And so on.

Places of interest

Three main trek routes:

  1. Langtang Valley
  2. Helambu
  3. Gosaikunda Lake

Gosaikunda Lake route cover much of the Langtang National park and the southern Helambu region. Langtang and Helambu regions are connected through Lauribina La. All routes have the facilities of locally operated hotel/lodge, teahouse, and campgrounds for groups.

The park offers a choice of moderate to more difficult hiking with duration ranging from 3 days to 3 weeks. Lodges operate year round except during the peak winter when the trails are blocked. Trekkers who take extra time to explore trailside wilderness (e.g. near Ghora Tabela and Kyanjin) hilltop viewpoint (Kyanjin), and cultural sites (notably in Langtang village and Melamchi Ghyang.

Tarkeghayang and Shemathang) will be well rewarded. One has to be self-sustaining to venture remote areas of the Park such as Panch Pokhari (five lakes), east of Helambu, the toe of Langshisha glacier, and upper-level valley from Kyanjin: and over the challenging Ganja La pass in upper Langtang Valley.

Acclimatization and Safety

High Altitude Sickness (HAS) can be life-threatening if elevation is gained too rapidly without proper acclimatization. Medical doctors advise against ascending more than 400m a day once above 3000m elevations. Alternatively, one can spend an extra night at 3000m and 3500m before ascending higher. Overexertion and dehydration contribute to HAS. Drink at least 3-4 liters of water every day besides tea and coffee which act as diuretics. Watch the health of your companions and porters. Symptoms of HAS are headache, dizziness, trouble in breathing and sleeping, loss of appetite, nausea and general fatigue. If someone develops HAS symptoms, take the person to lower elevation immediately. The Langtang-Helambu trails are rocky and slippery after rain or frost. Watch out for falling rocks while crossing landslides but do not stop. Never hike alone. Hiring local guides is strongly recommended on Ganja La (5120m) trek and on Lauribina La (4600m) during winter. Carrying a comprehensive first-aid kit is advisable as there are no medical facilities out of Dhunche. Telephone facilities are available at Singh Gompa and at major settlements in Helambu.

Langtang Valley Trek (Dhunche-Kyanjin)

  • Starting Point Destination Hours Altitudes
  • Kathmandu Dhunche 8-10 1960m
  • (car/bus) Syafrubensi   1420m
  • Dhunche Thulo Syafru 4-5 2120m
  • Thulo Syafru Bamboo 3-4 1975m
  • Syafrubensi Bamboo 4-5 1975m
  • Bamboo Lama Hotel 3-4 2840m
  • Lama Hotel Ghora Tabela 3-4 3000m
  • Ghora Tabela Langtang 3-4 3420m
  • Langtang Kyanjin 2-3 3900m
  • Dhunche to Helambu via Gosainkunda
  • Sundarijal Pati Bhanjyang 5-6 1770m
  • Pati Bhanjyang Kutumsang 4-5 2470m
  • Kutumsang Tharepati 3-4 3630m

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