So you’ve ridden your mountain bike to Nagarkot a couple of times and you are at your wit’s end bragging about it to your pals. We present to you five very different biking routes in the valley based on your riding style and experience level. Raze to the ground the hills surrounding the valley for that instant adrenaline fix and a different perspective on our simple yet splendid culture.

Helipad Kapan All-Mountain
In this grueling all-mountain ride, you get to witness Kathmandu in its finest glory and hammer down fantastic rocky and jagged trails of Kapan. Passing by an array of monasteries along the way gives a unique glimpse of the mythical lives of Buddhist monks, some of whom you’ll be surprised to know, brandish iPads and fancy shades. Kapan’s Helipad ride demands high levels of stamina, skills and true grit.

Trail and logistics
Helipad’s tough but short uphill starts from Narayanthan. Once there, take a left before reaching Budhanilkantha’s gate. Pause at Helipad after ascending for 3km and regain your breath while enjoying some fine panorama of the valley. Once ready, start the intense rocky downhill section of Kapan though the jungle with a few technicals and jump sections en route. The trail is narrow with a cliff on the right side, which may lead to brief palpitations. The last few hundred meters of the trail is composed of scary rocks with unforgiving drops, recommended only for advanced adrenaline-pumping bike junkies.
There are ample affordable options to eat before and after the trail, but the actual trail itself is desolate, so do carry light ration. On rare occasions, you come across chana-chatpates at Helipad who await hikers and picnic goers.

Skill and fitness Level
Helipad’s trails are a mix of flats, rocks, uphills and downhills – a perfect all-mountain route. You need to have high fitness levels to ride up to Helipad and advanced skills to endure and navigate the bumpy trails down.

Bike and Gear
Though they have dual-suspension, all-mountain bicycles that are lighter than downhill bikes but tough paths mean you need one with shock absorbers that have at least 120mm on the front and 100mm on the back. You’re strongly advised to wear knee and elbow protection, besides obviously a helmet and gloves.

Difficulty: Strenuous

Style: All-mountain
Trail: Lazimpat to starting point (Narayanthan): 10km
All-mountain technical Trails: 12 km

Trail composition
75% Single Tracks
25% Jeep Tracks
0% Paved Road

Shivapuri Rock Garden Downhill
Shivapuri is one heck of a trail that drops from Nagi Gompa and is a true test of your mettle and skills alike. Though you get pretty awesome views of the city, you can’t afford to keep your eyes anywhere else but the trail in front of you (unless you want to tumble into the bushes or worse, veer off the cliff). This means riding downhill, you’ll be missing most or all of the mesmerizing views of the city. Be warned: If you aren’t a professional rider, this trail is not for you.

Trail and logistics
The starting climb of this biking trip up to Nagi Gompa is a backbreaking one, especially with the sort of bike you’ll be riding. Alternatively, if resources permit, you could hire a pickup truck till the Gompa to keep it easy on yourself. The actual downhill ride of 4km track starts at a blue gate about a kilometer from the gompa’s stairway. The trail was created by locals as a shortcut to reach the base of the hill. So expect rocky steps and loose soil in most parts.

Options to dine along the route are virtually zero, so once you’ve entered into the park through the Mulpani gate in Budhanilkantha, you’ll be surviving on the food that you’ll be expected to stuff in your day bag beforehand. Water is in abundance at Shivapuri, but it’s strongly recommended you carry water purification tablets to survive that salmonella.

Skill and fitness level
Make no mistake; this trail is meant only for the most experienced of bikers. In fact, the trails are so rugged that you’ll have a more difficult time walking down than biking. If you’re not planning to ride up the first few kilometers, you don’t need to be in top form.

Bike and gear
You need a heavy-duty full suspension bicycle with preferably 140mm front shocks and 120mm rear capable of handling long and frequent jumps. A normal biking helmet will do fine if you’re a really experienced rider, but care to invest on a good full-face downhill helmet if you’re new to extreme mountain biking. Protective gear, including elbow and knee protection, is a must. For safety, do not use ear phones while riding.

Style: Downhill
Trail: Lazimpat to starting point (Shivapuri Gate): 11km
Rock Garden and technical: 9 km

Trail composition:
    80% Single tracks
    20% Jeep tracks
    0% Paved road
    (You’ve been warned!)

Good to know
Be safe, go prepared
Safety comes first in your list of priority, so don’t forget to wear a proper helmet and gloves in all the rides. For downhill and all-mountain trips, a full face helmet as well as elbow and knee guards are essential. Under scorching heat in longer cross country rides, wear shades to protect yourself from the glare (and occasionally dust) which you might face while riding. Further, make sure your bike is in good condition and there are no faults with the brakes, the rear one in particular.

Pesky monsoon
Monsoons are a nuisance for any mountain biker, not only because they wash away the trails and make them incredibly slippery, but also because bike parts tend to wear out easily. The first thing to give in will be your brake pads that’ll require an expensive replacement. Not to mention, darn leeches fall from tree branches and instantly start creeping towards you whenever you stop. So if you’re not on a training regimen, do yourself a favor and let your bike rest during most monsoon days.

Hydrate and refuel
Drink plenty of water during your bike ride and never ride in an empty stomach because you will likely burn out during or after the ride. Especially for routes without proper water access, carry some drinking water as well as purifying tablets in your backpack. When it comes to replenishing energy, high carb foods like chocolate and granola bars do the trick. Ration your supplies and never drink carbonated drink before climbing an uphill – they give you morbid cramps.

Get Started
El Yak Mountain Biking organizes regular trips within and outside the valley, guided by professional bikers. To join a ride or purchase bikes, parts and apparels log on to or contact / 4006695.

Epic Mountain Bike stocks most bikes from major brands across the globe including accessories, parts and second hand bikes. Visit one of their showroom at Jhamsikhel or Baluwatar or log on to

Himalayan Rides operates specialised biking tours inside and outside the valley including trips in lower Mustang valley and Chitwan.
For more information visit

Rajkulo Singletrack Cross Country
Conquer the entire southern front in this adventure that takes you through old parts of the town, including Chapagaon, Bungamati and Khokana. Ancient heritage, immaculate culture and daily lives of Newari folks are as mesmerizing as the trail itself which follows Rajkulo, Lalitpur’s pivotal irrigation canal, passing vast farmlands. The trail is fairly flat but requires extreme focus and balance at all times, else you’re in for a plunge into the canal.

Style: Singletracks Cross-country

Lazimpat to starting point (Nakhipot): 9km
Rajkulo singletracks distance: 12km

Trail composition:
90% Single tracks
5% Jeep tracks
5% Paved road

Difficulty: Challenging

Trail and logistics
Ride the road up to south of Nakhipot and take a single track trail starting from Ramailo Gaon. Admire the fine views of Pharping and the grand Lele valley ahead as you traverse along the edge of Bhaisepati. The singletracks of Rajkulo is an easy flat with the canal on your left and a shallow cliff on your right onto farms.

You will not have any problems finding an eatery of your choice as you pass towns and villages in the city outskirts. Stop at tea shops that dot the entire route of this trip.

Skill and fitness level
Though the trail runs mostly flat and appears rather pleasant, Rajkulo’s route can get challenging on some parts. With a little concentration on the trail, you should be fine. But you’d rather enjoy the moment than be scared of taking a fall, feel free to walk your bike. Worry about your skills more than fitness on this one.

Bike and Gear
You’ll need a simple mountain bike with front suspensions, but a light full-suspension bike is recommended for a few precariously tapered parts. Keep your phone and valuables in a sealed ziplock in case you take a dip in Rajkulo. You never know!

Bhimdhunga Circuit Jeeptrack Cross Country
The circumnavigation of Jamacho on this 24km ride is quite a rewarding experience as you travel on jeep trails on Nagarjun’s protected forest. Pick up dust and blaze through the jeep tracks of Bhimdhunga that have little to no traffic on most sections. Secluded villages, lush forests and a good time on your bike - you couldn’t ask for more! With little to no traffic, you have the liberty to speed in this invigorating 3-hour jeeptrack ride, suitable for intermediate riders.

Style: Jeeptrack Cross-country
Trail: Lazimpat to Starting point (south of Ramkot): 11km
 Bhimdhunga Jeeptracks: 13 km

Trail composition
0% Single tracks
95% Jeep tracks
5%  Paved road

Difficulty: Moderate
Trail and logistics
We reach Dhading once we cross Ramkot’s bus stop past Sitapaila. As with most trails in Kathmandu valley, this one too shoots uphill on gravelled roads and dirt tracks. Though there are some villages on the way, major settlements are still largely absent. The track is wide and undulating, and ends at Mudkhu checkpoint, some four kilometers from Balaju.

Community taps and food shops you find during your ride make your ride easier because that means you don’t have to carry much stuff on you. Keeping everything light, your ride will be quite a pleasurable one.

Skill and fitness level
There are a few uphills and much of the trail is fairly flat with hardly any technical sections. If you can manage the first climb, the rest of the ride is a breeze.

Bike and Gear
For this ride, a hardtail bike will suffice and no special protection (except the usual helmet and gloves) is required. However, since you’ll be riding in the sun, you want to protect your eyes with a decent pair of shades and sunblock.

Godavari-Bhaktapur-Bouddha Culture Cross Country
Meet a mix of ethnic groups and enjoy wonderful conversation with locals as you sip on tea during pit stops. Your presence will draw an army of curious kids who’ll jump to conclusions: “Oi kuire!” before beleaguering you with endless silly questions. Notice interesting architecture and lifestyle that have since long been forgotten and abandoned by city dwellers.

Style: Cross-country
Trail: Lazimpat to Starting point (Godavari): 17km
Mix of paved roads, jeeptracks and singletracks: 35km

Trail composition:
20% Single tracks
70% Jeep tracks
10% Paved road

Difficulty: Piece of cake

Trail and logistics
Veering off Godavari to ride amidst pristine farms and ancient settlements, you’ll ride along the laps of Phulchowki and Suryabinayak. The route climb into dense forests over Lamatar from where you go mostly downhill on gravelled jeep tracks and wide singletracks that join paved road just before Suryabinayak’s ascent. Feel ecstatic to get a bird’s eye view of Bhaktapur as you roll down, but don’t lose focus from the steep road ahead.

There are countless number of eateries you’ll come across during this trip, so keep your backpacks light and wallet heavy.

Skill and fitness level
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! The trails require minimal, if any, technical skills but longer distance covered means you need stamina to sustain 50km riding in the mid-day sun.

Bike and Gear
A simple hybrid bike with a front suspension will keep your behind comfy on bumpy sections. Make sure your brakes work well because little kids and ducks will be found gracing your path, and there are a couple of long descents.