Nepal » Trekking in Nepal » Annapurna Region » Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

  • Overview
  • Itinerary

Offering encounters with diverse cultural settlements and landscapes varying from sub-tropical forests to semi-arid desert, the Annapurna circuit is considered to be the classic Himalayan trek, as well as one of the world's best trekking routes. Highlights of this trip include trekking across the stunning Thorong La pass (5,416m) in upper Manang and descending into the Kali Gandaki valley, home of the deepest river gorge in the world. Trekkers on this route are blessed with amazing up-close views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges for much of the journey. Though not as challenging as the Everest base camp trek, the Annapurna circuit is just as rewarding. The journey involves long days of walking and many steep climbs and descents, as well as rest days at spots of cultural interest and amazing natural beauty. The highest pass across the Thorong La is a challenging feat and acclimatization is necessary during the journey. People who are in good physical conditioning and ready to challenge themselves will enjoy this trek the most.

Max altitude: 5,416m/17,769ft
Difficulty: Challenging
Days out of Kathmandu: 18
Trekking style: Teahouse
Best time to go: Feb - Nov

Day 1: You will be received at the airport by representatives and SLC level students from the Mitrata-Nepal children's home and provided transportation to your hotel.

Day 2: Sightseeing around Kathmandu
Dig in to the culture around Kathmandu valley today - try Newari khaja and soak in a nice vista in Kiritipur, take an amazing cable car ride to the temple at Manakamana, see the living Goddess at Kumari temple, or visit Nepal's famous Hindu pilgrimage site at Pashupatinath. We will meet in the evening before dinner to discuss trip preparations and answer any questions before our departure in the morning.

Day 3: Kathmandu to Khudi (800m/2,624ft): 9 hours driveWe begin with a scenic journey through a rolling-hill patchwork of farmlands and rural settlements along the Trishuli river. From Kathmandu we travel by bus toward Pokhara, heading north at Dumre to Besisahar, and finally to Khudi, where we spend our first night enjoying terrific views of the Manaslu range.

Day 4: Khudi to Sirung (2,200m/7,217ft): 6-7 hours walk
Our first day of trekking begins with a moderate climb through a forested sanctuary of hills and waterfalls, rice terraces, and pastures. We encounter several villages populated by goat herders, and cross our first suspension bridges on the way to Sirung.

Day 5: Sirung to Chamje (1,410m/4,625ft): 5-6 hours walk
Leaving the rolling farmlands behind us, we ascend into stunning fern and deciduous forests. This part of our journey will be a bird-lover's delight as we encounter a multitude of Nepal's amazingly diverse bird population. The hike begins at an easy slope but becomes challenging as we pass through Jagat (1,300m/4,265ft), a site of traditional stone settlements, and finally brings us to our overnight spot at Chamje.

Day 6: Chamje to Dharapani (1,960m/6,430ft): 5-6 hours walk
Entering the Manang region, we pass through a landscape dotted with waterfalls and cliffs, fields of barley and corn, and forests of bamboo and rhododendrons. Enjoy amazing views from the suspension bridge high above the Marsyangdi river. We stop at Tal Manang, a settlement built at the base of a waterfall, where we can stop for a swim and enjoy the stunning azure-blue water on our way to Dharapani.

Day 7: Dharapani to Chame (2,710m/8,891ft): 5-6 hours walk
As we leave Dharapani we are blessed with amazing views of the Annapurna range. We make a moderate climb with a few steep passes en route to Chame, where we find evening relief from our long day's hike in the hot springs located not far from the village.

Day 8: Chame to Pisang (3,300m/10,826ft): 5-6 hours walk
The scenery changes significantly as we climb in elevation - the forests become sparse and we find ourselves in the shadows of massive himalayan peaks. Our first sight of snow on the ground is complemented by several high suspension bridge passes over the Marsyangdi river and surreal views of Annapurna II, Himalchuli, and Ngadi Chuli. We stop for the night in Lower Pisang, where we can visit the hilltop monastery, called Urgen Choling Gomba.

Day 9: Pisang to Manang (3,519m/11,545ft): 6-7 hours walk
From Pisang, there are two routes heading to Manang - one which follows a low road across the valley floor, and a second more challenging trail which heads through Upper Pisang and Ghyaru. Trekkers who opt for the high trail are blessed with outstanding panoramic views of the Annapurna and Pisang peaks. Either trail will take us to Manang, where we stop for a day to rest and acclimatize.

Day 10: Manang (3,519m/11,545ft): Rest
In preparation for our coming days of rapid altitude gains, we take a day of acclimatization rest in Manang. Several sights worth visiting are located in the vicinity of Manang, including the beautiful glacier-blue Gangapurna Lake and an incredible view from Chongkar Viewpoint (4,000m/13,123ft). Also visit the Himalayan Rescue Association in Manang for information regarding Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Relax for the evening and prepare for the ascent.

Day 11: Manang to Yak Kharka (4,110m/13,484ft): 3-4 hours walk
From Manang our ascent continues out of the Marshyangdi Valley, continuing northwest up the valley of Jarsang Khola through wild yak pastures and snowcapped ridge line studded with pines. The barren plains where horses and yaks graze flanked by snowcapped peaks jutting out of the narrowing valley provide for breathtaking scenery during our ascent to Yak Kharka.

Day 12: Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi (4,600m/15,091ft): 3-4 hours walk
This section of the trail takes us through stunningly desolate terrain buttressed by towering cliffs and rock walls as we exit the Manaslu region and emerge in the grandeur of Chulo peak's west face. We reach Thorong Phedi, a remote settlement catering to trekkers, where we spend the day acclimatizing in preparation for tomorrow’s journey across Thorong La.

Day 13: Thorong Phedi to Muktinath (3,800m/12,467ft): 7-8 hours walk
Today is the pinnacle of our journey - crossing the Thorong La pass at 5,416m/17,769ft, the highest point in the Annapurna circuit. The sense of accomplishment felt after crossing this pass can only be rivaled by the majestic views of Himalayan peaks from above the cloud line during the hike. After crossing the pass we make a descent to Muktinath, a holy pilgrimage site to Hindus and Buddhists.

Day 14: Muktinath to Marpha (2,670m/8,759ft): 4-5 hours walk
The morning in Muktinath can be spent visiting a temple dedicated to Vishnu, and a Buddhist Gompa. From here we trek along a plateau above the world's deepest gorge, the Kali Gandaki, and pass several villages to Marpha, Nepal's famous apple capital. We can sample local apple treats when we stop for the night in Marpha.

Day 15: Marpha to Kalopani (2,530m/8,300ft): 5-6 hours walk
Leaving Marpha we travel through quaint apple orchards and pasture, stopping in the morning to visit the Shree Nilgiri brandy distillery. We continue on to Thakali village, and Kalopani, where we have great panoramic views of six Himalayan peaks.

Day 16: Kalopani to Tatopani (1,200m/3,937ft): 6-7 hours walk
We descend into lush forests, crossing the Kali Gandaki several times on suspension bridges. We stop at Ghasa, Tal Bagar, and Dana, a village which served as a customs post until the 1930's. In the evening we arrive in Tatopani, the resort town of the Annapurna Circuit. Enjoy a relaxing evening of ideal accommodations and a hot spring bath.

Day 17: Tatopani to Ghorepani (2,850m/9,350ft): 7-8 hours walk
Dramatic views of the Ghar Khola unfold as we journey through several farming villages surrounded by terraced fields of wheat, rice, and corn. Head to sleep early tonight at Ghorepani for an amazing sunrise at Poon Hill tomorrow morning.

Day 18: Ghorepani to Tadapani (2,710m/8,891ft): 6-7 hours walk
This morning will be a special surprise. We awake before dawn and make a short climb to Poon Hill to watch a spectacular scene unfold as the sun illuminates the snowy maze of peaks spanning from Dhaulagiri to Manaslu. The view from Poon Hill is one of the best on the Annapurna Circuit. After breakfast we make a zigzag descent through forest trails to Tadapani.

Day 19: Tadapani to Ghandruk to Pokhara (850m/2,788ft): 5-6 hours walk, 1 hour drive
We continue our hike through the Annapurna foothills to Ghandruk, the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal. Explore the colorful village and learn about Gurung culture at the museum or handicraft center. After lunch we walk to Nayapul, where we catch a bus for the one hour drive to Pokhara. Spend the night dining and relaxing after the amazing journey.

Day 20
: Pokhara to Kathmandu: 6 hours drive
We leave for Kathmandu after breakfast. You will be transported to the hotel of your choice.

Days 21 and 22: Spice up your sightseeing around Kathmandu with optional days spent volunteering at the Mitrata-Nepal children's home. This is a great opportunity to meet the children for whom your travels with Mountain Sisters will benefit. Join us for dance and music classes, help out in our gardens and chicken coop, or assist with lessons in our student's classrooms.

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