Annapurna Circuit Trek circumscribes the holy grail of trekking in Nepal, that of the Annapurna Range rising heaven-high. The 128-mile route is like a whole twelve-course meal of everything that one could ask for on a Himalayan trek. Starting inside a jungle in the Annapurna Conservation Area, trekkers proceed to rice paddies adorning hill terraces and little villages pretty as a picture. After a couple of days, the scenery changes to deep canyons with pathways so narrow that sunlight can only filter in trickles. Advancing further, one is ushered into a vast choppy sea of 20,000 feet peaks rising and falling all around with fumes of spindrift snow unfurling from their ice walls. Close-quarter view of ridge-line silhouettes the Annapurna Massif, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre and other high peaks burn into the retinas of the onlookers in the brightly reflecting sun on the snow surface. Besides the view, taste of delicious Nepali food, local villages and journeying a living trade route, there is something else to the Annapurna Circuit Trek of 14 days. It makes for a world party of joyous trekkers, pilgrims and spiritual seekers coming from far and wide. Given the popularity of the ABC circuit trek in Nepal and the many decades it has remained constantly relevant within trekking communities, you would be amiss to expect pure solitude on the journey. It’s a busy trek all the year round!
Traversing over two different river valleys encircling the Annapurna Massif, the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal is an immensely popular trek among trekkers the world over. A 21-day itinerary that touches upon villages and market settlements with teahouse accommodation, gompas or monasteries set to scenic backdrops, high-altitude lakes, the high mountain pass of Thorung La at 5,416m and the beautiful temple of Muktinath at 3,800m. Hailed as one of the classic treks in the Himalayas, the Annapurna circuit trek tour offers diverse scenery and a considerable level of challenge. Though the trek is accessible independent of organized trekking organizations, it’s still better to go guided to ensure safety and successful completion.
Admired as one of the Himalayan classic treks, the Annapurna circuit trek Nepal has immense treasures for mountain lovers all along the 128 mile route. Here are the highlights-
How High Is The Annapurna Circuit Trek?
The highest point on the Annapurna circuit trek map comes with Thorung La Pass at the elevation of 5,416m. Another high altitude station of significance is the Muktinath Temple at 3800m.
Very much like all the other treks of Nepal, Annapurna Circuit Trek has 4 different seasons -- spring, summer, autumn and winter, each having its unique flavor of pleasure and adventure.
The climate remains warm and clear. There are high visibility chances of peaks and landscapes. Crossing the high pass of Thorung La is easiest at this time of the year.
In the month of May, the Tiji Festival held at Lo-Manthang is a special attraction.
Summer (Late May-Early June)
A wet summer with torrential rainfall is common in most of the areas in Nepal. The climate will remain hot during this season on the round Annapurna trek. Rain and mudslides are frequent and in addition to that mosquitoes and leeches make summer the least enjoyable season on this trek.
The local Yarlung Mela or the horse festival is held during full moon in august.
Autumn on the short annapurna trek circuit of 15 days draws the most number of trekkers in this region. Post-monsoon clear skies, pleasant temperature, light rain and humid weather in the lower reaches make autumn the ideal season. November is slightly colder and therefore must be prepared for amply.
Dashin and Tihar festivals take place at the lower reaches of Nepal during this time.
Winter (December to February)
Freezing sub-zero temperature and heavy snow render the upper reaches of the route hard to access. High passes like Thorung La remains closed. Among the attractions, there is the stunning sunshine and marvelous views. Many teahouses remain open in the winters.
Losar or local New Year celebrations are among the cultural attraction of trekking the ABC circuit trek during this season.
The trek officially begins from Besisahar, a few hours’ drive away from Kathmandu. Trekkers are required to reach Kathmandu, from where they are usually picked up.
Are There Any Shops Available On the Annapurna Circuit Trek?
There are lots of stores open for utilities, food, and medicine on the Annapurna circuit trek Nepal, especially during the peak trekking seasons.
How Long Does It Take To Complete The Annapurna Circuit Trek?
A 15-day itinerary from Kathmandu to Kathmandu is the shortest itinerary while the long itinerary is of 21 days, including extra acclimatization days and more relaxed transfers.
Altitude Sickness remains a concern on the Annapurna Trek. However, observing the ground rules of remaining hydrated, eating right, restraining from alcohol and smoking, prior fitness preparation for the trek, and remaining active during the journey would help you acclimatize suitably. A course of Diamox is a viable option to keep altitude sickness at bay, preferably with medical guidance.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the busiest routes in the Himalayas. Barring the monsoon and late winters, the route is always found buzzing with trekkers.