Goecha La Trek:

Upcoming Goechala trek in Spring-Summer 2024: Group tour starting on 13th April 2024, as per the given itinerary. Customised tours for your groups as per your preferred date is also possible.

Goechala Trek is among those trails that are popular with both Indians and people all over the world. Goecha La Trek ranks pretty high on the list, if not a chart-topper. The trail is a typical Eastern Himalayan moist and almost evergreen forest with a truly majestic view of Kangchenjunga, up close along with a series of surrounding peaks.

Available upcoming Group Departures in Autumn/Fall 2023: 18th Nov 2023 as per given itinerary. Submit the Booking Enquiry Form to get all relevant information in email. Customised private tours are also possible for groups of minimum 2 persons and above.

Below is your Complete Guide to Goechala Trek for 2023. Click on a link to jump to a specific part of information.

Brief itinerary
About Goechala Trail
Trail profile – Distance vs Altitude graph
How difficult is the tek?
Goechala View Points 1,2,3
Best time to visit
Weather pattern and observations
Expected temperature
Flora-Fuana – wildlife and birds
Sikkim permits
Booking for foreigners
How to reach basecamp

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1: Drive from NJP or Bagdogra (IXB) to Yuksom  (~ 1710 m/5600 ft) – 160 Km by car – 8/9 hours. Lodge or homestay accommodation (twin or triple sharing).
Day 2: Trek to Sachen (~ 2200 m/7215 ft) – 8 Km – 4 hours, a half day hike. Camp (twin sharing tent).
Day 3: Trek to Tsokha (~ 2960 m/9700 ft) via Bakhim – 7 Km – 4 to 5 hours,  half day of climb.
Day 4: Trek to Dzongri (~ 3965 m/13005 ft) – 12 Km – 6 to 7 hours via Phedang. Challenging day due to sustained climb. Camp.
Day 5:  Rest and active acclimatisation day at Dzongri. Sunrise views from Dzongri top (~ 4120 m) and back, 2 hours. Camp at Dzongri.
Day 6: Dzongri to Lamuney (~ 4150 m/13700 ft) via Thangsing – 14 Km – 7 to 8 hours. A moderate day.
Day 7: Trek to Goecha La (View Point 1, ~ 4600 m/15,100 ft) and back to Kochurang – 16 Km – 8/9 hours. Long day. Camp
Day 8: Kokchurang to Phedang traverse and then descend to Tsokha – 18 Km – 6/7 hours. A moderate day. Camp.
Day 9: Tsokha to Yuksom – 15 Km – 5 to 6 hours. All descent. Lodge or homestay accommodation (twin or triple sharing).
Day 10: Return to NJP or Bagdogra by car – 160 Km – 8/9 hours (by 6 pm)

Important notes on the itinerary:

  • You need to reach latest by 10 am on Day 1 at NJP, Bagdogra or Siliguri city. You will return to NJP/Bagdogra in 8 hours drive from Yuksom on Day 10, i.e. around 5 to 6 pm.
  • Foreigners, i.e. non Indian passport holders need to reach trek base Yuksom on Day 0. This is to process the Trekking Permit/Protected Area Permit (PAP) from Gangtok. Read the permit requirement section for details. You can visit Dubdi monastery and other places around Yuksom the next day and start your trek from Day 2 as mentioned above.
  • All trekkers need to submit the Medical Form at Yuksom along with 2 recent passport size photos. These are MUST to obtain the necessary permits.
  • Last ATM at Jorethang and none at Yuksom.
  • All major mobile networks work at Yuksom. After that you will not get a signal.

About the Goechala trek and the trail:

This trail inside Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP, buffer overlay region is called Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve), a UNESCO heritage site, is indeed a must to do “Bucket-List” trek for all mountainand  nature lovers.

Lamuney campsite the final one for Goecha La trek
Peak panorama from Goechala Sunrise Point/View Point 1
Misty Kanchenjunga from Dzongri top in Spring/Summer
Dzongri top and mount Pandim in November (P.C. Soumya Deep)
Dzongri campsite: After a snowfall in November (PC. Soumya Deep)

The route climbs steadily to cross a ridge at Dzongri, then proceeds north to the Oglathang Valley to reach the high altitude pass , Goecha La at its head. The trek splits in two parts.

First half till the high point of Dzongri. Dzongri top offers amazing panorama of high peaks in Sikkim and Nepal. Kanchendzongha Range, Kabru North, South and Dome, Pandim, Rathong, Kokthang, Tinchenkhang, Jopuno, Siniolchu are notable. During later half, the trail enters into the scenic wide open meadows and Prek Chu river valley and finally ends up in moraine ridge at Goecha La. The route has very thick vegetation, along with hundreds of bird species, butterflies and wildflowers, especially different varieties of Rhododendrons. Here we will visually walk through the trail to Goecha La.

Mesmerising forest walk from Tsokha to Phedang
A morning at Kokchurang (Early May)
Kochurang: Late autumn/fall in mid November (P.C. Soumya Deep)
Spring special: Rhododendron buds
Samity lake on the way from Goecha La Sunrise Point

Altitude and distance profile of the trail:

Altitude and Distance with profile graph: Goechala trail

Who can trek to Goechala? Difficulty level

Goechala is a trek for experienced hikers having fairly good physical fitness. Technically it’s not a difficult grade trek but one may get into trouble if not prepared adequately. Let’s have a look into the following facts:

  1. Goechala is a “Moderate” grade trek while strenuous at the same time.
  2. Sustained walk of more than 80 Km over a span of 8 days.
  3. Total altitude gain of almost 3000m/10000 ft of which the climb to Dzongri is a rigorous one.
  4. Multiple nights of camping at or above 4000m/13100 ft.

To get more understanding and details check the article on Goechala trek difficulty and challenges. To conclude, its safe to take Goechala as your next trekking destination if you have completed a couple of multi day high altitude hikes and are leading an active lifestyle.

What is Goecha La View Point 1/2/3 and Goecha Lake?

With effect from spring 2017, trekkers are NOT allowed to go ahead of GoechaLa Viewpoint 1, a.k.a. Goecha La Sunrise Point. So this is the point till we trek and return at present. This is as per the notice from Kanchendzongha National Park (KNP) authority and is strictly enforced. Till 2016 trekkers had an option to go further to Viewpoint 2 (Goecha Lake) and actual Pass Viewpoint 3 (Goecha La) following the well marked trail ahead.

This restriction is probably due to the findings of Snow Leopard presence through night vision camera trap in recent times around View Point 2. It is obvious that our presence should not bother these dwindling population in their natural habit.

No permit beyond Goecha La View Point 1/Sunrise Point

So, as per current permit, we will visit Goecha La View point 1 for sunrise and return. As the name suggests View Point 1 is the best point to view the magnificent sunrise on the panoramic peaks. This point is optimally placed on the trail that you are not too close to certain peaks that you miss the sunrise on others. From Sunrise point you can see Kanchendzongha dominating the vista and a vast panorama of peak sweeping towards the south which are on our left. You can see glaciers, streams, lateral and median moraine ridges on the left and locate a sheer ice fall of  Pandim on your right.

Sunrise from Goecha La Sunrise Point/View Point 1 during mid April

From the sunrise point you can see a rectangular sand bed ahead and down below, called Zemathang. It takes around 1 and half hours to reach Viewpoint 2 (Goecha lake) fromthe  Sunrise point.

Goecha Lake, beside View Point 2  

From here the pass is another 30 minutes ahead over the boulder and some moraine/scree zone. Overall it should take someone around 4 hours for a round trip from View Point 1 to Goecha La Pass and return. However as already said it is strictly prohibited by laws to proceed beyond ViewPoint 1.

GPS measuring ~ 5000 m/16400 ft at Goecha La Pass (View Point 3)

What is the “best” time for Goecha La trek?

As like most of the high altitude treks, there are two seasons for Goecha La. The first being the Spring during April and May – the blooming season. The later, Autumn/Fall, known for clear weather and spectacular mountain views during Oct and November.

Being in the Eastern Himalayas this area observes longer monsoon. Clouds start to hover from April and prolong till October beginning. There are two distinct seasons when this year trek is particularly beautiful:

1) Spring/Summer trek during Rhododendron bloom: April and May is spring time,  blooming time. Flowering starts as early as March in the lower elevation, and gradually towards end of spring on higher altitude. Rhododendron and Giant Magnolia are two most famous along with several other wild flower species. Cloudy or misty atmosphere is common during Spring. Though clear mountain views are not uncommon, specially during morning. For bird watching this is certainly a better season to visit.

Walk to Dzongri during Rhododendron bloom
Dense Rhododendron stretch between Tsokha and Phedang

2) Fall/Post Monsoon for clearer weather: From October to end of November. In the beginning of October clouds start moving out from this region and weather becomes clearer. November is  particularly known for its crystal clear views of the mountains. From end of November it becomes very cold at Dzongri and higher. Also being very high altitude the chances of snowfall is high.

Goecha La trek during fall promises high chance of clear weather

Check out this photo story of Goecha La trek in autumn during mid November.

Best season and weather pattern: Observations and cautions

This is perhaps pretty important if not the most important thing while planning your Goechala trek. Afterall who will not be keen to get the “perfect” weather on this spectacular trail rather than risking with unwanted weather?

Be it pre or post monsoon season, take it with a pinch of salt on it. Climate is evermore changing and you should be careful while selecting a particular week even within the so-called “best season”.

Here are our observations based on our operations since a decade now:

  • Don’t plan to start this trek in late May, rather complete it by mid May. Chances of rain are significantly high in late May or later.
  • Although the post monsoon season “normally” starts by late September, we have seen rain continuing in early October in recent years. Plan this trek from mid October onward for autumn/fall season if your schedule permits.
  • Complete the trek by the end of November. December is typically not a good time for this trek from various aspects including lack of colour, absence of various fauna enroute, very cold conditions on high camps and chances of snowfall (which can make logistics very difficult).

Expected temperatures on Goecha La trek:

Sikkim/Darjeeling region is known for its moist weather, almost year around. At higher altitude dampness adds on top of the natural cold conditions.

Usually the minimum temperature of a place is attained early in the morning, 3 to 5 am.  During Goecha la trek, there are couple of days (one being the Dzongri top and the other to Goecha La) when you have to leave camp early in the morning.

In spring/summer, expect the minimum temperature to be around 0°C at Dzongri and Lamuney. At Goecha La View Point 1/Sunrise Point expect colder temperature, specially in the morning. Temperature can dip to – 5°C. Earlier in season will lead to lower temperatures.

In autumn/fall environment becomes colder and temperature will go down. Temperatures plummet further in late October/November. In November temperature may go down as low as -5°C to -10°C at Dzongri and -10°C to -15°at Lamuney (during late November). Do account strong wind at times which in turn can make you feel colder. This is the wind chill factor and feels like temperature can be as lower than the actual. Temperature inside tent will be around 10°C warmer than that of outside. During daytime the temperature will be cool and may vary from 5°C to 20°C depending upon altitude.

Don’t forget to check the List of things to carry in Goecha La trek or download the PDF.

Wildlife and bird species enroute:

Being inside Himalayan biodiversity hotspot, this trail is teeming with birdlife, all the way from Yuksom to Goecha La. Spring/summer season needs particular mention. At lower altitude you can spot different species of Bulbul, Woodpecker, Barbet, Sunbird, Thrush, Treecreeper and Tits. At mid altitude Flycatchers, Fulvetta, Magpie, Wren babblers, Laughingthrushes are abundant. On higher altitudes watch out for variety of Finches, Accentors, and Grandala. If you are a keen birder, then don’t miss this field report and guide for birding on Goecha La trail.

If you are keen in birds, look carefully around bushes before reaching Dzongri. You may easily spot a Blood pheasant, which is the state bird of Sikkim.

Grandala: You can spot around or above Dzongri

Regarding other wildlife, chances are high that you may spot Yellow-throated marten, Pika, Mountain weasel, and Himalayan Blue Sheep.

Himalayan Blue Sheep or Bharal around Samity lake

Red Panda is not a common on this trail, you may get a glimpse if you are lucky 🙂

Red Panda record shot between Tsokha and Phedang (PC – Kiran Limboo)

Permit requirements to enter Sikkim and trekking to Goechala:

Sikkim is a permit intensive state to travel. There are different permit required be your are an Indian or a foreigner, whether you trek or a sightseeing car tour. If you are a Non Indian citizen, then you will require additional permits. Read a complete guide on permits which are required to travel in Sikkim for Indians and foreigners.

For Goecha La trek you will need the following, as if you are:

(A) Indian Nationals:

Trekking permit is required inside Kanchendzongha National park (KNP) and the local police verification at Yuksom police outpost. Two recent passport size photos, One personal photo ID card with address proof in it (Aadhar/Driving Licence/Voter ID/Passport) along with photocopies of the same are to be submitted along with a self declaration at Yuksom police outpost. Check here for new permit and safety regulations inside KNP.

(B) For Foreign Nationals:

Any foreigner (some relaxation to Nepalese and Bhutanese citizens) will require erstwhile Inner Line Permit (ILP) and now called Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to enter the boundary of Sikkim. Note that this is FREE OF COST.

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders are ALSO treated the same as a foreigner regarding entry and trekking permit inside Sikkim. We need at least two OCI/Foreign nationals to process the Trekking Permit (PAP).


  • Nationals of Pakistan, Myanmar, Nigeria and China/Hong Kong can only apply for ILP/RAP through Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi.
  • Any other foreign national (now Including Bangladesh) can apply and obtain the ILP (RAP), Free of cost, at the police check points while entering into Sikkim state by road. You need to have original Passport, INDIAN VISA/e-VISA with photocopies and 3 copies of recent passport size photos. Below are the ONLY three ILP issuing office on Sikkim border:
  • Note that foreigners can’t enter Sikkim via trekking routes from West Bengal/Darjeeling e.g. from Sandakphu Phalut to Singalila cross

1) Melli – South Sikkim – On your way to West Sikkim (Yuksom, Pelling, Hilley, Uttarey, Khecheopalri, Pemayangtse etc.) from NJP/Bagdogra/Siliguri.

NOTE: ILP issuing time is from 8 am to 8 pm everyday (We recommend to reach latest by 5 pm)

2) Rangpo East Sikkim – Assistant Director, Tourism Department, Sikkim Tourism Office, : – On your way to Gangtok and East/South & North Sikkim.

3) Rammam Checkpost when you travel from Darjeeling to West Sikkim via Naya Jorethang. Previously foreigners were not allowed on this road but from 2022 it is open for all. This cuts down the time to reach West Sikkim in case you are already in Darjeeling.

If you produce an itinerary of your trip usually you will get an ILP up to 30 days. The State Government is authorized to extend the same by a further period of 30 days. The extension of the permit can be obtained from FRO at Gangtok and office of Superintendent of Police of the North, West and South Districts.

You will need an additional Protected Area Permit (PAP, often referred to as Trekking Permit) for trekking to Goechala and most of the other Sikkim treks. This is issued to a minimum group of 2 foreigners on strength of signed and valid  ILP/RAP.

So how do you as a foreigner can book Goecha La trek with HT in Sikkim?

  • We will require at least one additional day to process the PAP/Trekking Permit. This can’t be processed in advance and we can only apply once we receive your signed copy of ILP. This means that you can’t start the trek the very next day you enter Sikkim. We would recommend a couple of days in advance.
  • To open booking, we will require a minimum of 2 foreign nationals trekking together. Later we can take solo trekker booking in the same group/date in case of Fixed Group Departures.
  • We charge an additional ₹ 4000 as Service Charge + 5% Govt. Tax per person to process the Trekking Permit/PAP and also to counter the differential of various permit fees/entry tickets inside Kanchendzongha National Park (KNP) for Non Indian nationals. In this process we get your PAP from Gangtok and send it back to the respective trek base (here Yuksom).

In simple words, it is not difficult to get the required permits to trek inside Sikkim, if you are  a  group of minimum 2 persons and reach Yuksom on Day 0 to follow our trek itinerary.

Do carry multiple copies (both hard and soft versions) of your recent passport size photos and photocopies of your documents (Passport/Visa/ILP) to avoid a showstopper on mountains!

Access to Goecha La trek base, Yuksom:

You need to reach NJP (by train) or Bagdogra (by flight) in West Bengal for your Darjeeling or Sikkim trips. These are located on two sides of the outskirts of Siliguri city. Kolkata is well connected to Siliguri through flights and overnight trains and busses (due to road dynamics even a Volvo may take 15/16 hours!) .

Do carefully check for the latest arrival timings on Day 1 of the itinerary (latest by 9 am) before you book your train or flight tickets.

We will arrange a pickup and drop from NJP/Siliguri to Yuksom and back. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis and you pay directly to driver/owner on spot. Typically a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Maxx type Jeep charges ₹ 7000 one side which can accommodate comfortably 5 to 6 and up to 8 persons. Tempo Traveller type vans are not available in this route. This cost is NOT included in the TREK FEE.

For details on how to reach nearest railways station/airport and move to trek base independently/public transportation check the details in GETTING THERE TAB.

Here is a road map with major points enroute from NJP/Bagdogra to Yuksom.

NJP/Bagdogra to trek base Yuksom
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Why treks with HT?

Highest Point4600 m/15100 ft
Trail Length90 Km
Expertise:10 years on ground experience
Support staff:Qualified local & office staff
Group size:Small groups up to 15
Insurance:Travel insured trek and tour itinerary
Easy Bookings:25% Booking Deposit
Goecha la trek

Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 13 reviews
November 2, 2022

Last week a group of 7 individuals part of the HT group all completed the Goechala trek very successfully. We were given complete support and immense guidance even before the start of the trek by Himalayan trekkers. When we got to Yuksom, trek leader Ram and his staff were caring for us and made sure we were all taken care off very well and they supported our finish. The final touch by the chef by baking us a wonderful cake in the absence of an oven was very overwhelming.
Looking forward to more of these Himalayan treks with HT.

April 25, 2022

It was a great experience in the month of April 2022 for a group of six people and we experienced all forms of nature while trekking right from hail storm to snow flakes and even rainfall. The trek was tiring but we all made it to the summit at the end of the day. All thanks to our trek leader. MR. RAM, a local guide. He helped us in every possible way. We got best of services compared to other trek groups starting from having enough food on the way till having drinkable hot water during camping any time. Nothing fall short and none of us fell sick. All the best, keep having best foot forward the way you are doing and looking forward for more bonding with you in coming days.

April 29, 2021

The 4 of us did the Goechala Trek with Himalaya Trekkers in April 2021. We requested HT for an exclusive trek for our group and they gave us a great trekking experience. Right from the planning phase, Rhik and Mr. Roy were responsive and made sure all our requests were taken care of.
Their guide Dominic was there at the Bagdogra airport to pick us up and was with us throughout the trek – he is an amazingly warm and fun person to be with. At the base camp, 2 people from our group didn’t have all the required documents in place and Dominic was kind enough to put everything together before we started the trek.
During the trek, the food, luggage transfers and all the camping arrangements were well taken care. We just enjoyed ourselves while the HT team took care of everything.
Overall, a fantastic experience and we’re sure to trek with HT again.

November 20, 2019

I was with HT at the Goecha La pass in November 2019. Great organization, wonderful People and a beautiful Route. Very good Guides, delicious Food, amazing Views. It was my first such a high Trip and from the beginning I felt good and safe there and if I ever go again, I will definitely go with HT 🙂

October 29, 2019

opted for the Goecha La trail in late September, my second hike with HT.
Our point of contact, Rhik, was a great guy – friendly, warm and very helpful. He took good care of operations. Also, took note of trekkers feedback. Kiran, our tour guide, was probably the best part of the entire package! It was fun completing the challenging trail with him. He took care of our meals and guided whenever required. Some of us have already made him our go-to guide for our next big Sikkim adventure! The hike group comprised a diverse bunch of folks – warm, friendly and future hike buddies.
The best part about HT is that they don’t ‘school’ you – you’re expected to figure out basic things by yourself. I really appreciated this aspect.
All the best, onwards and upwards!

October 24, 2019

It was my first Trek, to Goecha La and trust me, I was very unprepared, even after repeated and personal advice from HT organizers (Rhik) on “Do and Don’t”. At the base camp, we got a fantastic guide (Kiran)- and I was convinced to buy a trekking pole and replace jeans by Trekking trousers and started my journey on running shoes, which was torn in a day. It is a whole story, how I managed the rest of the days, but our guide and other crews played a very important role. We met different groups on the way; it was a great opportunity to compare them. I could share the organisational trouble faced by other trekkers from other group and I was convinced that I choose the best by accident. Next time, HT for sure (if they have package of my interest). Remember, they take at most 15 trekkers in a group – it helps as you get a lot of personal attention. Hope they keep it that way !

October 21, 2019

I did the Goecha la trek with HT in October 2019 and I also did Kuari pass (Curzon’s trail) in November 2018. Both of the experiences with them were overwhelming. I would always recommend Himalaya trekkers because of their excellent trek leaders, professionalism and hospitality while trekking. I must mention that they always provide the best suggestion for any kind of trekking guidance one needs. I am sure about one thing that I will be trying to complete all my bucket list treks only with Himalaya Trekkers. Thanks for all the wonderful memories that I have made while traveling with HT.

September 22, 2019

Oh yes! Rhik was simply awesome. What a nice guy! Professional and knows his stuff. We had a great time with HT. Totally recommend them! The trek was well organized, they gave us good quality sleeping bags, tents were always pitched and ready and food was hot and tasty.

April 23, 2018

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for a truly fantastic trip. The whole team – organised by MB – were nothing short of brilliant. MB in particular is a fantastic guide and was always helpful, making sure that all members of the group were safe and catered for – he is a real asset to your company. I will not hesitate to recommend HT to my friends and family.

October 2, 2017

We were ready for an adventure in the Himalayas and that is exactly what Himalaya Trekkers provided for us. Pre-trek communication and organization with Sapta and Rhik provided both an efficient and a comprehensive preparation, laying the foundation for a once in a life time, never-to-forget experience. The trekking team in Sikkim led by MB delivered exceptional personalized service, responding to every concern with respect and diligence. Catering, led by Bhim was as delicious as it was creatively gourmet. When we next trek it will be with Himalaya Trekkers.

November 5, 2015

I did Goecha La Trek with Himalaya Trekkers in Oct 2015. The trek was really exhilarating and exciting. Saptarishi, founder at Himalaya Trekkers was really helpful in providing the inputs for both physical and logistical preparation. The trek itself was quite well managed and organized by the trek leader. The excellent part was that the group size was only 8. We could enjoy the company of each other during the trek and were able to enjoy the scenery around the camping sites. Overall, the trek leader, helpers and cooks were really friendly and there was a good atmosphere between the group. I will highly recommend Himalaya trekkers to any one who is looking to do treks in Himalayas.

April 28, 2015

It was a pleasant experience. I would like to mention first that I truly believe your guidelines on aerobic fitness development helped us enjoy the trek better. The stay at Yuksom was simple and comfortable, thus more to our taste. The guide (Bheem), the cook and Milan were really nice fellows. While they took care of the essentials, they also left us be by ourselves a lot. Eg., not instructing novices like us continually on how to walk, but only pointing out where we were wrong etc… The food was, well, above expectation by far. We would hire the cook ourselves at Chennai if he would just come (notice we never mention his name..? Yes, we do not care for competition). The view, throughout the route, was extraordinary! We are a bit sad that we could not proceed beyond Dzongri. However, only we are to blame for it. Better shoes next time. And yes, if we decide to go on a trek again, we’ll most likely give you a ring.

November 16, 2014

Himalaya Trekkers is the best availed opportunity for trek lovers, if u are planning for any trekking they are your best solutions. They organise as per your conditions suitable which is beyond golden words. Keep it up.

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