Sikkim is one of the most untouched regions in India, and offers a wide variety of spectacular natural beauty for trekkers to explore. On the Goechala trek, you’ll have a chance to see the lush forests of the lower hills, as well as the meadows and rocky peaks at the higher altitudes. The highlight however, will be the spectacular views of the mighty Kanchenjunga Peak.
If you’re doing the Goechala trek, you’ll be passing Dzongri as well. The Dzongri-Goechala trek 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.
The Goechala 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 pass Sachen and Tsokha, cross bridges and boulder-strewn river beds, stay at homestays, and enjoy the wide open views. 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 will have some fun on these challenging sections. Find theGoechala trek difficulty level
The Goechala trek is one of the top 10 treks in India, but it is not recommended for beginners. The trekking hours are long, and the climate can be very harsh. In addition, you’ll be climbing from 5800 feet to a dizzying 16,000 feet, so you can expect some long, steep climbs. With all the factors combined, the Goechala trek difficulty level is quite high, and so is not suitable for those with no prior trekking experience. Read our blog about How to Prepare for High Altitude Trekking.Best season for the Dzongri-Goechala trek
There are two seasons that are most popular for the Goechala trek: the summer months of April and May (bright pleasant days, still some snow on the trail, full ponds and lakes) or September and October (clear skies, bright autumn foliage, superb views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, good weather, now snow).
Some trekkers choose to go in the winter season to do the snow trek to Goechala. The thick snowfall makes the trek slippery and difficult, and you will have to use some snow trekking equipment for the trickier parts. These factors, combined with temperatures dropping to -18 to -20 degrees at night, make it completely impossible to recommend this trek in winter to beginners.
Apart from Dzongri-Goechala trek, there are many other trekking options in Sikkim you might want to explore.
It is not recommended that beginners do the Goechala trek. The trek is a long and tiring one, with at least 8 days of trekking at high altitudes. However, if you are extremely fit, with a regular exercise schedule that involves cardio, you might be able to complete this trek or at least trek as far as Dzongri. Do make sure you travel with a responsible, experienced operator and inform them that you’re a beginner.
The most popular time for the Goechala trek is April-May and Sept-October. In summer, the days are bright and the weather is pleasant, but you’ll still have some snow on the trail. After the monsoon, the trail is green and lovely, with clear views, but it can be colder. Experienced trekkers might choose to do the snow trek to Goechala. This is a much more difficult and challenging trek, with slippery trails and temperatures as low as -18 to -20 degrees at night, but the trail is more or less empty and you’ll have gorgeous views.
Depending on the season in which you’re going, you’ll have to carry different gear. Your operator will send you a comprehensive packing list, so do check twice to make sure you’re not missing anything. You must have a sturdy backpack, strong trekking boots, a thick warm jacket with a waterproof shell, and a fleece sweater, as well as thermals for both upper and lower body. Don’t forget a wool hat, gloves, and a scarf to protect you from the cold.