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Goecha La Pass In Sikkim

Goecha La Pass In Sikkim

Goecha La Pass is a high mountain pass located in the Indian state of Sikkim, in the Himalayan mountain range. At an altitude of 16,207 feet (4,940 meters), it offers breathtaking views of the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga, and surrounding mountains. 

The pass is part of the popular Goecha La trek, which starts from the small town of Yuksom in West Sikkim. The trek takes you through lush forests, alpine meadows, and past pristine high altitude lakes before reaching the pass. It is a challenging yet rewarding trek that attracts adventure enthusiasts from all over the world.

Significance of Goecha La Pass

Goecha La Pass serves as a base camp for mountaineers attempting to climb Kanchenjunga from the Indian side. The pass provides the closest and clearest view of the southeast face of Kanchenjunga. 

Goecha La Pass, Sikkim
Goecha La Pass, Sikkim

The pass is also of great religious significance to the local people. The Buddhists consider the Kanchenjunga range to be sacred and believe that the mountain gods reside there. Prayer flags and cairns can be seen along the trail and at the pass, placed by locals and trekkers for blessings and safe passage.

Goecha La Pass Border Country

Goecha La Pass is located entirely within India, in the state of Sikkim. However, the Kanchenjunga range that provides views, lies on the border between India and Nepal

The pass is around 40 km from the India-Nepal border as the crow flies. On a clear day, you can see the peaks of the Kanchenjunga range straddling the border from the pass.

Goecha La Pass War History

Goecha La Pass itself has not played a direct role in any wars. However, the strategic location of Sikkim between India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet (China) has resulted in a history of border disputes and military tensions in the region.

In 1962, there was a border conflict between India and China. Sikkim was an independent kingdom at the time but maintained close ties with India. The Nathula Pass, another mountain pass in East Sikkim, was a major flashpoint during this war. While GoechaLa was not directly involved, the war highlighted the strategic importance of Sikkim’s mountain passes.

How to reach Goecha La Pass

The trek to Goecha La Pass starts from the town of Yuksom in West Sikkim. Yuksom is around 150 km from Siliguri and 170 km from Gangtok, the two major cities with connectivity to the rest of India.


To reach Yuksom, you can take a flight or train to Bagdogra airport or New Jalpaiguri railway station respectively. From there, you can take a shared taxi or private vehicle to Yuksom. The drive takes around 6-7 hours. Once in Yuksom, the trek to Goecha La Pass takes 5-6 days, depending on your pace and acclimatization.

Best Time To Visit Goecha La Pass

The best time to visit Goecha La Pass is in the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. During these months, the weather is generally clear and stable, making for good trekking conditions.

In spring, you can see rhododendrons in bloom along the trail. In autumn, the skies are crisp and you get the clearest views of the mountain ranges. Avoid the monsoon months of June to August as the trails become slippery and there are high chances of landslides. Winters are extremely cold with heavy snowfall.

Goecha La Pass Height

Goecha La Pass is located at an altitude of 16,207 feet (4,940 meters) above sea level. This makes it a very high altitude trek that requires proper acclimatization.

The trek starts from Yuksom at 5,670 feet and gradually climbs up to the pass over a period of 4-5 days. This gives your body time to adapt to the reducing oxygen levels. However, it is still a challenging climb and altitude sickness is a risk that needs to be taken seriously.

Goecha La Pass height in feet is 16,207 feet.

Goecha La Pass height in meters is 4,940 meters. 

My Experience Of Goecha La Pass

I did the Goecha La trek a few years ago and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The stunning views, the challenging terrain, and the sense of accomplishment on reaching the pass made it truly special.

Starting from Yuksom, the trail initially passed through dense forests with the sound of the Rathong River keeping us company. Crossing the Prek Chu River over a suspension bridge was quite thrilling. The sight of the Kanchenjunga range in the distance kept us motivated.

As we climbed higher, the vegetation changed to rhododendron forests and alpine meadows. Dzongri was a beautiful campsite with amazing views of the mountains. The sunrises and sunsets were magical. But the real highlight was reaching Goecha La Pass and getting a 180 degree panorama of the Kanchenjunga range up close. It literally took my breath away!

Things To Keep In Mind While Visiting Goecha La Pass

Goecha La is a high altitude trek that requires physical fitness and acclimatization. Train well in advance and be prepared for the challenges.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a risk at these altitudes. Ascend gradually, stay hydrated, and alert your trek leader immediately if you experience any symptoms.

Weather can change rapidly in the mountains. Be prepared with proper clothing in layers, good quality trekking shoes, and protection against rain/snow.

Respect the environment and local culture. Do not litter the trail, avoid making noise, and be mindful of local customs and beliefs.

Permits are required for trekking in Sikkim. Make sure you arrange them through a registered trekking agency well in advance.

History of Goecha La Pass

Goecha La Pass has been used by local shepherds and traders for centuries to cross the Himalayan ranges. However, its popularity as a trekking destination is more recent.

The first recorded trekking expedition to Goecha La was led by the British explorer Douglas Freshfield in 1899. He was exploring the Kanchenjunga range and used the pass to get close to the mountain. 

In the early 1900s, other European explorers and mountaineers followed in Freshfield’s footsteps and used GoechaLa as a base for attempting to climb Kanchenjunga. The first successful ascent of Kanchenjunga was made in 1955 by a British expedition led by Charles Evans.

As trekking gained popularity in India in the late 1900s, Goecha La became a sought-after trek for its stunning views of Kanchenjunga. Today, hundreds of trekkers attempt this challenging route every year in the spring and autumn seasons when the weather is favorable.


Goecha La Pass is a true gem in the trekking crown of India. With its stunning views of the Kanchenjunga range, challenging terrain, and pristine natural beauty, it offers an unforgettable experience for trekkers in Sikkim.

If you are up for an adventure and want to witness the grandeur of the world’s third highest mountain up close, then Goecha La Pass is the trek for you. Just make sure you are physically prepared, respect the mountains, and soak in the incredible journey. The memories will last you a lifetime!

FAQs Related To Goecha La Pass

1. What is the best time to do the Goecha La trek?

The best time to do the Goecha La trek is in the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is clear and stable.

2. How difficult is the Goecha La trek?

The Goecha La trek is considered a moderate to difficult trek due to the high altitude and long distances covered each day. It requires good physical fitness and acclimatization.

3. What is the highest altitude reached on the Goecha La trek?

The highest point reached on the Goecha La trek is the Goecha La Pass at an altitude of 16,207 feet (4,940 meters).

4. How long does the Goecha La trek take?

The Goecha La trek typically takes 10-11 days to complete, starting and ending at Yuksom. This includes a couple of days for acclimatization and buffer.

5. What permits are required for the Goecha La trek?

Trekking permits are required for the Goecha La trek as it goes through the Kanchenjunga National Park. These can be arranged through a registered trekking agency.

6. What kind of accommodation is available on the Goecha La trek?

Accommodation on the Goecha La trek is in tents at designated campsites. Some campsites also have basic trekkers’ huts available.

7. Is there mobile connectivity on the Goecha La trek?

Mobile connectivity is limited and intermittent on the Goecha La trek. The last point with reliable connectivity is Yuksom.

8. What is the level of fitness required for the Goecha La trek?

The Goecha La trek requires good cardiovascular endurance and strength. Prior trekking experience and a regular fitness routine are recommended.

9. What equipment and gear is needed for the Goecha La trek?

Essential gear for the Goecha La trek includes good quality trekking shoes, warm and waterproof clothing, sleeping bag, backpack, and trekking pole. A full packing list is usually provided by the trekking agency.

10. Are there any risks of altitude sickness on the Goecha La trek?

Yes, there is a risk of altitude sickness on the Goecha La trek due to the high altitudes reached. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath. It is important to acclimatize properly and alert your trek leader if you experience any symptoms.

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