The Best Mountain Biking Tracks Around Nepal

Nepal is the perfect place for mountain biking enthusiasts. From the Upper Mustang and Annapurna region to mountain biking near Pokhara, Samantha McMahon shares her favorite places to go.

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Photo © Samantha McMahon

With the majestic Himalayas as a backdrop – or for the more adventurous bike riders, part of the trail – it’s easy to see why there’s a boom in mountain biking as an attraction for travelers and locals alike.

Whether you’re looking for more grueling, multi-day adventures, or a beginner looking to explore Kathmandu and its surrounding valley, there are a multitude of companies in both Kathmandu and Pokhara to help you out.

Mountain Biking in the Upper Mustang and Annapurna Circuit

For those who are relatively fit, experienced riders, or those looking to challenge themselves tremendously, Upper Mustang and the Annapurna Circuit are popular multi-day mountain biking destinations.

The Upper Mustang will expose you to the unique Thakali culture, which feels more Tibetan than Nepali.

The route also takes you close to Nepal’s border with Tibet, passing centuries-old monasteries and meeting the incredibly peaceful and friendly people who inhabit this remote region.

Upper Mustang, along with the Annapurna circuit, will expose you to the challenges of riding at altitude, with the Annapurna Circuit reaching 5,416m at its highest point.

The Annapurna Circuit is likely to require some carrying of the bike, however you will forget about that as you are surrounded by views of some of the world’s highest mountains.

Mountain biking in the Annapurna region. Photo Credit: Samantha McMahon

Mountain Biking Day Trips in Kathmandu Valley

If multi-day trips at high altitude sound a bit daunting, don’t fear, as there are a number of beautiful day trips on offer too.

The Kathmandu valley offers many great options. This ride is a unique cultural experience, as you pedal through local villages and see places that are less frequented by tourists.

On the ride, expect to be greeted with numerous “Namastes from the locals, and hear local children giggling and running alongside or behind you, trying to keep up.

Mountain Biking in Shivapuri National Park

Just on the outskirts of Kathmandu is the Shivapuri National Park – an excellent day trip option if you’re based in the capital.

A bike ride through Shivapuri National Park will make you forget that you are barely out of Kathmandu, as your surroundings change from city walls to lush green forests, or flying down narrow sections of single track.

Mountain Biking Near Pokhara

Pokhara also offers numerous day trips that will expose you to rugged trails and incredible views of the mountains and lakes in the region.

If you’ve just finished a trek, enjoyed a few days realxing in Pokhara, but are now feeling ready for an adventure – hire a bike and enjoy a nice flat ride around famous Fewa Lake.

If adventure is your thing, head into a bike shop near Lakeside and speak to the local guides who will take you to some of the more difficult local trails. These may involve some tough climbing, but will reward you with some exhilarating downhill slopes.

Pokhara day trip on my mountain bike. Photo Credit: Samantha McMahon
Mountain biking near Pokhara. Photo Credit: Samantha McMahon

Bike Hire

Both Kathmandu and Pokhara have numerous bike shops, where you can hire or buy bikes, and also organise bike trips.

If you want to ride by yourself, they will give you plenty of information on where to go.

In Kathmandu, the tourist hub of Thamel is the best place to start when looking to hire a bike or book a trip, and in Pokhara, the main streets around Lakeside.

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