Annapurna Circuit

Description

  1. Length in days 18 days
  2. Start of trail Nayapul
  3. End of trail Besi Sahar
  4. Traildino grading SW, Strenuous walk, mountain trail
  5. Hut tour grading T2, Mountain walk

Kali Gandaki Valley from Kagbeni - by Henk

18 days.

The classic trek, hiking around the Annapurna Circuit, “The Best Trek in the World”, may soon be a thing of the past. Even in 2007 some 70.000 hikers registered at Jomsom. This was coming close to the number of 76.000 reached in the year 2000, before the communist uprising.

But now, there is a road into the valley of the Kali Gandaki up to Muktinath, below Thorung La pass. In the Manang valley, on the other side of the Annapurna massif, a road is under construction. Although the road is not asphalted, walking is very dull and tiring along a wide dusty stretch with passing jeeps. Nevertheless it will cause the old pathways to fall into disuse eventually. Possibly, sufficient good alternatives will remain. Also the trek to Annapurna Sanctuary, the climb to Poon Hill, and for the toughest hikers the circuit between Thorung La and the 5000 m high Tilicho Lake, will continue to attract hikers.

Trekking the Annapurna Circuit takes about 18 days. Starting point is Pokhara, a peaceful hippie-town on the shores of pictur-esque Phewa Lake, with a view on the snow-capped Himalaya. From there most hikers catch a bus to the town of Besi Sahar, and start hiking up the deep valley of the Marsyandi. In a week's time you will gain over 5000 m in altitude, and pass through all kinds of biotopes, from rice growing villages of the Gunung to Tibetan barley fields. Along the way you will see lovely villages, pass countless  mule caravans and forests of rhodondendron. As you enter deeper into the valley, you will get a better view of the An-napurna III and the Gangapurna. There are alternative trails higher up along the slopes: be sure to take these for superb views.
The valley ends in a wild alpine environment, and for many hikers the climb across Thorung La (5416 m) will be their metaphorical 'high'. Climbing across is exciting, not without danger, and above all exhausting. This is the Himalaya you can only dream of.

After reaching the western side of the massif, the trail leads  through the Tibetan style towns of Muktinath and Kagbeni into the valley of the Kali Gandaki. It ends with yet another 3 day hike to Poon Hill, from where you can enjoy a final overview of a large portion of the Himalaya. Finally you will reach the main road near the village of Nayapul, at about an hour's drive by bus or taxi to Pokhara.

Some practicalities: the hike is technically easy, but requires a lot of stamina. Finding a place for the night is easy, as there is a wide choice of lodges. However, it does get busy in October, and also in November and April. During the monsoon in June, July and August hikers are few. The majority of hikers set out on the Annapurna Circuit in an anti-clockwise direction. The reason is,  from the eastern side there are more lodges, enabling you to cut the climb up Thorung La pass into several short stretches. Starting from Muktinath on the west side is also possible, but implicates a single stretch climb of 1600 m, starting at an altitude of 3800 m.

Opinions

Rate 8.0 | 3 votes | No 2. in Nepal
  • Helen November 2003
  • Rate 8
  • Positive Great variety in landscape and villages along the way. Crossing Thorung La was a huge achievement.
  • Henk Nouws December 2008
  • Rate 8
  • Positive Colorful. Crossing the Thorung La pass is unforgettable. Wild mountain scenery. Kind people.
  • Negative The road ...
  • Traildino December 2008
  • Rate 8
  • Positive Incredible mountain scenery. The crossing of Thorung-la - 5.400+ - is spectacular. The people are very kind and interesting. At the end of December one is virtually alone.
  • Negative The new road is great for the villagers, but not for walking. In places, one can still find the old path, but it's withering away. Thorung-has no road of course.
More opinions…

Map

Annapurna Circuit

Hike Reports

  • Annapurna circuit

  • Patrick Mahaffey February 2009
  • I hiked for 4 weeks with my teenaged daughter along the classic 'Annapurna Circuit' trek. It was one of the best hikes in the world between huge Himalyan mountains and past charming medieval stone villages. Sadly, a road had been completed along...
0
More hike reports…

Photo Albums

Patrick MahaffeyFebruary 2009

More photos albums…

Books

De Zwerver
Netherlands
2013
  • Wandelgids Annapurna - A Trekker´s Guide - Nepal | Cicerone |
  • Trekkinggids met de gedetailleerde beschrijving van de klassieke Annapurna-trek, maar ook vele varianten en dagtochten. Goede etappe-beschrijvingen met veel praktische info. Seen from the lakeside town of Pokhara in central Nepal, a tremendous wall of snow and ice-capped mountains dominates the northern horizon; the Annapurna Himal. With no... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Cicerone Press , United Kingdom
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
» Click to open
Cicerone Press
United Kingdom
2013
  • Annapurna
  • An essential guidebook to the Annapurna region; the most popular trekking area in Nepal and a magnet for those who love mountains. 14 diverse treks update old favourites such as the classic Annapurna Circuit, and introduce exciting new routes in the Himalayas. Packed full of information on trekking seasons, local culture and recommended equipment. Read more
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
» Click to close
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2012
  • Wandelgids Annapurna Treks | Rother verlag | Stephan Baur,Susanne Kauper
  • > Der Himalaya, das Dach der Welt, zieht viele Bergsteiger und Wanderer magisch an. Kein anderes Land wird so eng mit Trekking im Himalaya verbunden wie Nepal; das Annapurna-Gebiet zählt wohl zu den bekanntesten Trekkinggebieten der Erde. Es sind die Gegensätze, die diese Region so einzigartig machen: schneebedeckte Eisriesen und grüne... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • eBooks.de, Germany
» Click to open
eBooks.de
Germany
» Click to close
More books…

Maps

Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Around Annapurna (125K) with Tilicho and Naar/Phu Enlargements
  • The Annapurna Circuit at 1:125,000 with trails along the Marsyangdi, Thorung Pass and the Kali Gandaki, with on the reverse enlargements at 1:50,000 of the Tilicho Lake and the Naar - Phu areas. The map is part of the Nepa Maps series which provides extensive coverage of trekking areas of Nepal on detailed contoured maps with trekking routes... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Annapurna Trekking Atlas
  • Trekking Atlas of the Annapurna region from the Kolkata/Calcutta based Milestone Books, combining 15 maps at scales from 1:50,000 to 1:82,000 and an overview map of the whole Annapurna Circuit at 1:125,000. The main Annapurna circuit via Muktinath and Jomson is presented on 12 pages, with three more pages covering the eastern approaches to the... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
  • Wandelkaart NP108 Mustang - Nepal | Himalayan Maphouse |
  • > Zeer gedetailleerde topografische wandelkaart. Dit is een nieuwe serie kaarten die de Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) in Nepal volgt. Kaart 1 begint in het oosten van Nepal, de volgende kaarten lopen richting noordwest  tot India.  >  > Watervaste trekkingkaart met ingetekende GHT High route en andere belangrijke trekkingroutes in de omgeving:... Read more
More maps…

Walking holidays

Sawadee
Netherlands
  • CHULU FAR EAST
  • This superb challenging trek is ideal for those wanting to extend their Himalayan climbing experience. Our trek starts by following the classic Annapurna Circuit trail, ascending the Marsyangdi Valley through a wonderful variety of landscapes and cultures. At Pisang we leave the main trail and head off towards the Chulu Massif. Rising above the... Read more
More walking holidays…

Forum

  1. Cancel