Annapurna circuit trek is one of the most well-liked treks in the world. This route was first opened in 1977. This trek is renowned for its breathtaking vistas of the Annapurna Mountains and barren high mountain routes. It also contains deep, dramatic gorges, hot springs, charming farming communities including Buddhist and Hindu temples. You can experience a journey of cultural immersion and natural beauty as you trek through the Mustang valleys, delving into the rich Tibetan heritage that permeates the region. Moreover, in Yak Kharka, there is a remote possibility of witnessing a snow leopard and blue sheep.
The best time to hike Annapurna circuit is during March to May and from early October till December. During March to May, the Annapurna Circuit routes are adorned with colorful blooming rhododendrons, and various beautiful bird species can also be spotted.
- Facts about Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Highlights of Annapurna circuit
- Best time to trek Annapurna circuit
- Annapurna Circuit trek temperature and weather
- Annapurna Circuit Trek Rain Conditions
- Annapurna Circuit Trekking Season
- Sickness & Prevention Measures
Frequently Asked Question
- 1. What to pack for Annapurna circuit trek?
- 2. When is the best season to visit Annapurna circuit trek?
- 3. Which months are the best months to hike Annapurna Circuit trek?
- 4. Can I trek Annapurna Circuit in the rainy season?
- 5. Cheapest time to visit & trek the Annapurna Circuit?
- 6. How to prepare for the Annapurna circuit trek?
- 7. When to trek Annapurna circuit?
Facts about Annapurna Circuit Trek
- The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a popular destination that attracts tens of thousands of trekkers each year.
- It is ranked third among all treks in Nepal in terms of popularity.
- The distance of the trek ranges between 160 km and 230 km, depending on the route taken.
- Some parts of the trek are now paved, allowing for the occasional motor ride.
- The trek starts in Pokhara, which is located about six hours northwest of Kathmandu.
- Accommodation and snack houses are readily available along the route.
- Menus can include up to 40-50 different dishes, ranging from classic Nepalese cuisine to more adventurous options like yak steak with blue cheese sauce.
- Tea houses offer rooms on a per-night basis.
- The trek offers breathtaking views of many mountain peaks, including one over 8000 meters, thirteen over 7000 meters, and sixteen over 6000 meters.
Highlights of Annapurna circuit
The Annapurna region is typically understood to encompass places near the Dhaulagiri Range, the Annapurna Range, and the valley of the Kali Gandaki River. Peaks in the Annapurna Circuit Trek include Machhapuchhre (6,993 m), Nilgiri (7,061 m), and Annapurna I (8,091 m). The majority of these peaks are visible throughout the region on clear days, with Dhaulagiri I (8,167 m) immediately to the west.
Major tourist attractions in the Annapurna region, such as Thorong-La Pass, Tilicho, Manang, and Mustang, are protected under the Annapurna Conservation Area Project. The circuit also offers breathtaking views of some of the world’s highest mountains, including Annapurna I, Annapurna II, III, IV, Dhaulagiri, and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail).
The Annapurna Circuit Trek offers not only natural attractions but also cultural ones. The following table contains brief highlights of the attractions of the Annapurna Circuit, properly segmented according to their nature:
|Kali Gandaki Gorge
|Thorong La Pass
|Marshyangdi River Valley
|Annapurna Mountain Peaks
|Gangapurna Glacier Lake
Best time to trek Annapurna circuit
There are specific periods of year when the weather is at its best to make a trek in Nepal. Most people agree that the best time to hike Annapurna Circuit is either in the month of September till December or from April to May.
During these two seasons the weather is typically clear and dry. And, hiking to high altitudes gets quite easy as it won’t be too cold. Due to the large number of trekkers traveling to the Himalayas during these two seasons, they are also the busiest trails to trek.
Annapurna Circuit trek temperature and weather
Annapurna Circuit trek’s weather and temperature can fluctuate greatly due to various topographies and altitudes. It covers everything from subtropical meadows to semi-arid terrain. The following table shows the details of the year round weather within the trek circuit:
|1°C to -8°C
|Cold and Snowy
|3°C to -8°C
|Less cold, slight snow storm and rainfall
|6°C to -8°C
|Warm and Sunny
|15°C to -4°C
|Warm and few rainfall
|17°C to 0°C
|Rainy and Moderate Hot
|24°C to 0°C
|Rainy and Damp
|15°C to 0°C
|Rainy and Muddy
|18°C to 0°C
|Slight rainfall and Bright warm
|14°C to 0°C
|Warm, Clear and Dry
|14°C to 0°C
|Cold, Dry and Clear
|4°C to -1°C
|Cold and Very dry
|2°C to -4°C
Note: The weather is erratic high in the Himalayas. And, the windstorms, snowfall and rain can occur at any time. Weather patterns have gotten even more unpredictable as a result of climate change. Be ready for snow or storms even in October. Make sure you bring clothes and accessories. Please go through packing list for trekking in Nepal for further convenience.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Rain Conditions
Rainfall in the Annapurna circuit trek varies as per the season and its climatic condition over any year. As natural process, winter gets less rainfall and the summer and monsoon brings more of it. The following table shows the detail of average rainfall as per the month within the Annapurna circuit area:
|Average Rainfall (in mm)
Annapurna Circuit Trekking Season
Generally speaking, the best seasons for the Annapurna Circuit Trek are spring and fall. The variation in seasons brings about changes in many aspects of the Annapurna Circuit Area. Therefore, trekkers must make plans according to the specific season. Here are the seasons throughout the year in the Annapurna Circuit Area:
1. Spring Season (March – May)
One of the most beautiful and magnificent seasons of all is spring, which offers a variety of blooming flowers, new vegetation, and brilliant blue skies for hikers, making it one of the most desirable times of the year.
Between 25 and 30 percent of people make the journey during this time because there is little or no rain, and the weather is moderate, although it can be chilly at higher elevations. This is also the perfect time to hike and take in the stunning scenery of the several intriguing locations on the circuit.
2. Summer Season (June – August)
As the summer and monsoon coexist, the Annapurna region will experience hot and rainy weather at the same time in the summer. Annapurna circuit trek gets heavy shower throughout the monsoon season. Due to the constant rain throughout the rainy season, the trails become muddy and slippery.
The water levels in rivers, streams, and waterfalls rise as a result of monsoon rain. This season consists of far more downsides than advantages. The pathways are frequently washed away and the hikers must be prepared for rock-falls and landslides in specific areas.
3. Winter season (December – February)
Winter in the Himalayas is the coldest time of the year, with severe blizzards and heavy snowfalls. The bitterly cold and unpleasant temperatures force people from higher elevations to move to lower elevations to avoid the long and dreary winter.
At higher altitudes, the temperature drops significantly, making it challenging to survive. Heavy snowfall is a common occurrence that can result in the closure of certain routes, and most teahouses remain closed during winter due to locals migrating to lower elevations. The cold and snow can also lead to the closure of major passes and higher regions such as the Upper Mustang and Thorong La passes.
4. Autumn/ Fall season (September – November)
The best time to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Annapurna Circuit is during the autumn/fall season. This is when trekkers travel to the Annapurna region to hike on well-known routes like the Annapurna Base Camp Trek and the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
In autumn, the weather and temperature conditions are the most consistent throughout the year, with sunny, bright, and clear skies that offer alluring views. The trails are not dusty, and the nights are also clear, making it a great season to observe the stars. Rain is also unlikely during this season.
While trekking across the Himalayas on the Annapurna Circuit in autumn, hikers get to discover an entirely new area of stunning panoramas, passing breathtaking landscapes painted against an indigo backdrop.
Sickness & Prevention Measures
When trekking the Annapurna Circuit, the most important consideration is your health. As you ascend to higher altitudes, the risk of altitude sickness increases. The trek starts at a minimum altitude of 1,350m/4,429ft (in Kathmandu) and reaches a maximum altitude of 5,416m/17,770ft (at Thorong Phedi to Muktinath via Thorong La pass).
Travelers should be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and its remedies. Altitude sickness can manifest in various degrees, with common symptoms like headache and nausea. However, these symptoms can worsen and, in severe cases, even lead to death. It’s easier to travel to lower sections of the Annapurna Circuit than ascending to higher regions, so it’s important to plan your trek with proper understanding and prevention measures. Extreme altitude sickness comes in two different forms:
1. High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE):
- The lungs swell with fluid.
- A dry cough,
- Pink or rusty spit,
- Blue lips, nails, and skin,
- Extreme exhaustion,
- Low fever,
- Gurgling breath, and
2. HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema):
- The brain swells with fluid.
- Severe headache,
- Loss of balance or coordination,
- Blurred vision;
- Slurred speech,
- Confusion, and
- Altered behavior
As preventive methods, try to avoid any direct flight to high-altitude regions. If possible, hikers need to spend a minimum of two to three days for getting acclimatized. The acclimatization is a must before climbing above 2,500m/ 8,200ft. Get the guidance on High altitude sickness in Himalayas from Himalayan Glacier blog.
In case of emergencies, contact your guides and get to the lower altitude as fast as possible with proper rest and care. Remember panic won’t solve the problem.
Despite the Annapurna Circuit’s high snowfalls, rough terrain, and challenging paths, it’s still worth visiting during the right season. The best season to hike Annapurna Circuit Trail is always Spring and Autumn/ Fall. Whereas, the best time for this trek is always during March to May and early October till December.
To ensure an enjoyable trip, make sure to bring appropriate trekking equipment and avoid unnecessary weight in your backpack. Proper acclimatization is also important to complete the circuit with ease.
Consider contacting Himalayan Glacier, which has over 30 years of experience in adventure travel and thousands of satisfied customers. Our experienced guides are available to make your trip unforgettable. In addition to the Annapurna Circuit trek, we offer other special tours. To join our upcoming groups, please call or message us on WhatsApp at (+1-410-307-0007).
Frequently Asked Question
1. What to pack for Annapurna circuit trek?
Wear as many layers as you can, and bring clothing that dries quickly. Also, wear thermal clothing at night for ease. Slippers are helpful when taking a shower. In the high mountains, tuck a sports leg under hiking pants. For example:
- Gears: Trekking bag, poles, sleeping bag, torch etc…
- Headwear: Sun glass, sun cap, buff etc…
- Body wear: thermal tops, waterproof jacket, down jacket etc…
For more detail check the link packing list for Annapurna base camp trek
2. When is the best season to visit Annapurna circuit trek?
The best season to visit Annapurna Circuit Trek are in the spring and fall season. Variation in season changes many elements in the Annapurna Circuit Area, therefore, trekkers must make varied seasonal plans.
3. Which months are the best months to hike Annapurna Circuit trek?
March to May and October to December are the best month to hike Annapurna circuit. The route offers trekkers to view and enjoy colorful bloomed rhododendron and variety of birds during these seasons. One small obstacle during these main seasons is the busier trail.
4. Can I trek Annapurna Circuit in the rainy season?
In general, Trekkers are not recommended to travel during rainy season. The chances of missing the track is higher. Moreover, the casualty level increases due to muddy and slippery path. The pathways are frequently washed away and the hikers must be prepared for rock-falls and landslides in specific areas.
5. Cheapest time to visit & trek the Annapurna Circuit?
The cheapest time to visit Annapurna Circuit Trek is in the months of March to May and late September till December.
6. How to prepare for the Annapurna circuit trek?
It is simple for preparation. Try to train yourself strategically. Make your backpack like a professional with all necessary essentials only. Get all the required altitude sickness medicines. Pack the right footwear and trekking poles. Drink a lot and eat everything that is healthy and nutritious. Be careful on protecting your skin and eyes.
7. When to trek Annapurna circuit?
There are specific periods of year to hike Annapurna Circuit trek is either in the month of September till December or from April to May. During these two seasons the weather is typically clear and dry. And, hiking to high altitudes gets quite easy as it won’t be too cold.