Goechala Trek gives you the best views of Kanchenjunga – the third highest mountain in the world, provides an inspiring backdrop for the Goechala Trek. Until the discovery of the height of Mt Everest in the 19th century, Kanchenjunga was considered to be the highest mountain in the world. Viewing its huge flanks rising high above the foothills, it is not hard to understand why, while the many 7,000 metre peaks complete an impressive panorama.Yet there are more than mountain views to whet the appetite of the seasoned trekker.
New Jalpaiguri Railway Station(NJP) is located in the Jalpaiguri District which is considered to be the Gateway to the Northeast. All major cities and towns are connected to NJP via the Indian Railways. The closet airport is Bagdogra Airport which is about 16km from NJP. From NJP we take a taxi to Yuksom in Sikkim. This journey will take us approximately 6 hrs. Yuksom is a beautiful town in West Sikkim which was once the capital of Sikkim. Yuksom serve as the base camp for Goechala Trek. Overnight stay in Yuksom
This is the first day of the Goechala Trek. After walking across open fields we enter the beautiful valley of the Rathong river. En route appreciate ancient Oak, Conifer and Bamboo forests and the luxuriant ferns and delicate orchids that line the trail . Yuksom (1760m) marks the entrance to the Kanchenjunga National Park. Just after leaving the village you can see Bakhim on a ridge high above the confluence of the Rathong and Prek Rivers, which will give you an idea of how to pace yourself for the day. Sachen is located at about 7200 feet above sea level. At Sachen we will find a lot of Log huts were we will spend the night.
The trek from Sachen to Tshoka involves quite considerable attitude gain. We continue walking until we reach the bridge over the river, Perk. Prayer flags in the distance are an indication of the start of the Goechala trail. We trek through Oak and later Rhododendron forests. On the way we pass through Bakhim. Bakhim has a forest rest house and a tea and snack stall. We can stop and rest for a while and enjoy the view of the Yuksom Valley. From Bakhim, Tshoka, is about an hour. From a distance you will see a trekkers hut on a plateau. This is Tshoka. Overnight stay in Tshoka.
On the fourth day of trek, we have a steep climb. You will be surrounded by Rhododendron forests all around. After about half an hour in to the trek the trail changes to a well laid out path with wooden logs. In some time we reach Phedang (12,050 ft) and a source of water nearly Phedang is a perfect place to stop for lunch. We then continue for Dzongri. Through this leg of the trek you will be reaching over 13,000 feet, so headaches are common due to the thin air and less atmospheric pressure. In about 5 -6 hrs we reach Dzongri. Overnight stay at Dzongri. Dzongri Trek is a short trek of around 7 days.
We start a steep ascend to Dzongri top early in the morning, which will take us about an hour. From where we will get a 180 degree panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga range. If we start early at 4 am we can reach the top just in time for the sunrise. Experience how the golden rays of the sun interact with this magnificent mountain range. After enjoying this spectacular view we retrace our steps to Dzongri. Have our Breakfast and then we start our trek for Thansing. We descend from Dzongri to Kokchurang and then climb to Thansing. The trail from Dzongri descends through the Rhododendron shrubs to grass fields.
Today is the smallest day of the Goechala trek which takes around 2 hrs to reach Lamuney. The trek passes through the alpine meadow of rhododendrons and juniper. Because of some religious region camping is not allowed after this. Lamuney is a open and windy area. Overnight at Lamuney.
The trek to the rarefied climes of the Goechala is rewarded with unrivaled views of the massive East Ridge of Kanchenjunga high above the Talung Glacier as well as views of the high ridges and peaks that enclose the upper Prek Valley. Looking north there is a vast mountain region yet to explore, but for now the Goechala is as far as you are permitted to go. The pass is often shrouded in mist and cloud not long after sunrise, so an early start is necessary. The trail heads along the far side of the lake and through moraine before crossing a sandy section alongside the Onglakhing Glacier. From here, you can see the pass at the head of the valley. However, the trek through the lateral moraine is tiring – more so if there has been a recent snowfall.The Goechala is marked with fluttering, colorful prayer flags, framing the peak of Kanchenjunga. Lead the same trek towards Lamuney and then move forwards to reach the destination for the day- Kokchurang. You can choose to set up your tent near the bank of the river or you can also reside in the trekkers hut.
From Kokchurang we trek back to Tshoka via Phedang the way we came. It is going to be downhill walk only but you will be tired and happy at the same time as you have been to Goechala.
We retrace our steps back to Yuksom via Bakhim and Sachen and reach Yuksom our base camp for Goechala Trek Trek. Next day we take a cab back to NJP.
We drive back from Yuksom to NJP.
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