Top National Parks for Adventure Travelers in Nepal

Whether you’re looking to get up close and personal with Rhinos and Red Pandas, or you prefer whitewater rafting among breathtaking landscape, our local insider Elen shows you why Nepal’s National Parks are a must on your itinerary.


Whatever the kind of natural experience you’re after, chances are you can find it in Nepal.

In the jungle national parks of Chitwan and Bardia, you can come face to face with rhinos and maybe even spot a tiger.

In the Everest region, be awed by numerous peaks above 6,000m. And in the remote far west of the country, you can get away from it all – including other people.

Sagarmatha National Park. Photo credit: Elen Turner

Jungle Parks and Reserves in Nepal

Located on the hot, jungly plains of Nepal, the Chitwan and Bardia National Parks, and the Koshi Tappu and Parsa Wildlife Reserves are ideal ways to get up close and personal with wildlife in Nepal.

Chitwan National Park. Photo Credit: Elen Turner

Chitwan National Park has run extremely successful rhino conservation efforts, and there are now more than 600 of the great animals in the park.

Busy Sauraha is the most popular point of access, but there are quieter lodges and homestays spread throughout the region.

The Barauli Community Homestay, in particular, allows you to get to know the local Tharu people, as well as join wildlife safaris.

Although previously decimated in the decade-long Maoist insurgency, the Bardia National Park in the far west is recovering well, and is a good place to look for Royal Bengal Tigers.

A visit here can be combined with a ten-day whitewater rafting trip down the Karnali River.

The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, in the east, is a bird-spotter’s dream, with 439 species of birds living in and around the marshes and wetlands.

The Parsa Wildlife Reserve, which is adjacent to Chitwan, used to be a royal hunting reserve, but is now Nepal’s largest protected area for wildlife. It’s particularly notable for its tropical and subtropical forests.

Around Kathmandu

Shivapuri National Park. Photo Credit: Elen Turner

For a quick trip from Kathmandu city, the Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park is the best option.

Though split in two between Shivapuri in the north, and Nagarjun in the west, the main point of interest is the Shivapuri entrance, by the town of Budhanilkantha.

Stop there to check out the floating Vishnu statue surrounded by serpents, and then hike in the park.

Leopards are occasionally seen in the area, though it’s unlikely you’ll encounter them in the day.

Mountain Parks and Reserves in Nepal

Sagarmatha National Park. Photo Credit: Elen Turner

The Sagarmatha National Park is the area around Mt. Everest (known as Sagarmatha in Nepali).

Completing the Everest Base Camp trek is one way to see the park, as is the Gokyo Lakes trek.

If you’re not on a tight budget, helicopter tours are a stunning way to witness the grandeur of the landscape and move around quickly.

Aside from the mountains, the bird life is especially important in this park, and you can see Nepal’s national bird, the colorful danphe.

Mount Everest. Photo Credit: Elen Turner

Within the Dhaulagiri Himalayas is the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve.

Although extremely isolated – you can trek for three days here and not encounter a settlement – Dhorpatan is a stunning place to incorporate into treks between Upper Dolpo and the Annapurna region.

It’s the only hunting reserve in Nepal, and is home to a large variety of mammals, including the elusive snow leopard, red pandas, musk deer, and blue sheep.

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