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Chapter 2: Best Time to Hike Annapurna Circuit

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Trekking in the Annapurna circuit region needs to get well planned concerning what is the best season and when to go. Most people choose to trek the Annapurna Circuit in autumn or spring due to its’ moderate weather and better hiking conditions when heading into high altitudes.

There are certainly ideal times in terms of weather, vegetation, clear skies, and ease of walking. October and November or April and May are widely considered to be the best times for the Annapurna circuit trek.

Deciding the best time to hike, it’s a tricky game. Following is the month-based weather condition:

  • December through February – too cold
  • May – too hot
  • June through September – too wet, almost 70% of the annual rainfall occurs along the possibility of rock falls and landslides on the trail
  • October through November and mid-March to mid-April – the best time to hike the Annapurna circuit

In the peak season:

  • Monsoon season ends
  • Heavy rains have cleared the air, making views of the Himalayas especially dazzling
  • Slopes aren’t too moist and slippery
  • The temperature is just right, neither too hot nor too cold
  • Rhododendrons and other flowers are in bloom, decorating the trails in spectacular colors

With good physical strength and proper backpacking, you can go on this trek any time of the year. Each season offers trekkers a unique flavor and adventure. For better information about the best time for the trek, here is a breakdown of weather conditions:

Autumn Season

This season is considered the best time to trek the Annapurna circuit where trekkers flood into the region.  You can experience the most stable weather and temperature conditions of the year. Days are consistently bright and sunny with crystal skies with amazing landscapes.

Advantages of Autumn season:

  • Perfect climate and weather
  • Great visibility and unobstructed Scenes
  • The celebration of Dashain and Tihar, the major festivals in Nepal
  • Radiant nature enriched with greenery
  • Captivating views of Annapurna I, II, III, IV, and Dhaulagiri range

Disadvantages of Autumn season:

  • Heavy traffic on the trails
  • Expensive accommodation and food
  • Trekking staff is stretched to the limit as a result of the high season and festive mood
  • Less road transportation during the festivals

Annapurna Circuit Weather and Temperature in this season:

Autumn (September, October, and November) experiences three different kinds of weather conditions.

  • Post-Monsoon Weather (Early Autumn, i.e., early September):  It still sees light rainfalls and humid weather in the lower regions of the trek.
  • Stable Weather (Mid Autumn, Mid- September to mid-November Weather):  There are Stable Weather and the least chance of rainfalls and snowfalls. Annapurna circuit weather in November sees slightly colder with chilly mornings and nights.
  • Pre-Winter Weather (Late Autumn): This weather occurs as Autumn comes to its end. The temperatures become colder on both days and nights.

Tips to trek in the region

  • Book early for your accommodation as tea houses, cafes, and restaurants are busy and fill very fast
  • Carry lightweight warm gears for the nights
  • Carry rainproof gears if you’re trekking in early September

During this Annapurna trek’s best season, a trekker will have the most refreshing views of the snow-capped mountains. You also can view the majestic Annapurna I, II, III, IV, and Dhaulagiri range along with the surrounding landscapes, hills, rivers, and gorges in their full glory.

Another great thing during this season is the majority of Hindus in the lower regions of Nepal celebrate the biggest festivals of the year- Dashain, and Tihar. You will have the unique opportunity to observe the locals and how they celebrate and participate in the festival activities.

Spring Season

Spring is considered the second-best time for trekking in this region.  Also, this season is known as the season of color. Rhododendron blossoms cover the hills and the forest. You will be fascinated by the combo of fresh air with the sweet fragrance of wildflowers is refreshing.

The skies are clear and the dazzling views of Himalayan ranges, valleys, hills, and mountains make it wonderful. The weather tends to remain stable for a long span of time. During Spring, there are very few chances of snowfall and rainfalls in the Annapurna trekking region.

With the arrival of Spring, the wildlife and plants in the region rejuvenate after their winter hibernation. You’ll see the sprouts of green vegetation around and the trees grow buds for infant leaves.

Advantages during this season:

  • Colorful forest with lots of Rhododendron blossoms through trails in the lower regions
  • Warm temperature
  • Clear and great panoramic views of the surrounding peaks
  • Chances of witnessing wildlife species
  • Observe Teej festival, the greatest festival celebrated by Hindu women

Disadvantages during this season:

  • Possible remaining snows on the trail in early March
  • Becomes hotter in late Spring

Annapurna Circuit Trek Weather and Temperature in this season:

  • Post-Winter Weather (Early Spring):  In early March, you will experience the remaining of winter weather. In early Spring, the temperature is colder and you even encounter a few snowfalls on the trail.
  • Warm and Stable Weather (Mid Spring): The region begins to warm up day by day and is good for those who get irritated by cold.
  • Humid Pre-Monsoon Weather (Late Spring): During late May, the region becomes hotter, and you might even encounter a few rainfalls in the lower elevation. Rainfalls along with storms become more frequent when Spring progresses towards monsoon.

Tips to trek in the region:

  • Book accommodation in advance
  • Carry gears for cold if you are trekking in early March

Trekking Annapurna circuit during this season greets you with one of the greatest festivals, i.e., the Teej Festival. This day’s festival takes place on the premises of the King’s palace in Upper Mustang. You can witness the local culture where local people come in their finest clothes and jewelry. They celebrate the festivals, especially with songs, and dance.

Along with this, mornings and evenings will be cold when you are at higher altitudes but overall temperatures will range from 7 to 24oC, with an average of 15. There is no rain during this time and the skies will be mostly clear.

Summer Season

During this season, you will see frequent heavy downpours in the Annapurna trekking region. Due to the frequent rainfall, the trails in the monsoon become too moist and slippery. Also, the monsoon rain causes the water in the rivers, streams, and waterfalls to rise.

While you trek through the jungles, there are chances of getting leech and mosquito bites. It’s recommended to carry some insect repellents during the trek. You might also face the risks of avalanches and landslides.

It’s tough to cross Thorong La Pass challenging as the trails are muddy and slippery. During this season, Nepal experiences wet summers with torrential rainfalls and increased temperatures. Late May or early June marks the beginning of Summer. While August marks the end of Summer.

Advantages during this season:

  • You may visit Manang, Upper Mustang, Muktinath lies in the rain-shadow area of the Annapurna mastiff
  • With a smaller number of trekkers, where you can trek at your own pace and not rush to your next destination
  • Cheaper accommodation and food than in the high season

Disadvantages during this season:

  • Quite hot during this season
  • Most parts of the Annapurna trekking trail experience torrential downpours and mudslides
  • Mosquitoes and leeches bite

Tips to trek in the region:

  • A good pair of walking shoes or trekking boots along with trekking poles (sticks) will help you negotiate any slippery parts of the Annapurna circuit trek
  • Carry salt or repellent to avoid leeches’ bite

The rainfall brings the best out of nature. Vegetation is washed clean, and the snow-capped mountains are stunning in the mornings after a night of rain. Views of the surrounding forests, rivers, gorges, and waterfalls in their full glory are the great bliss of this season.

During this season, you may attend the local Yarlung mela or the horse festival that takes place during the full moon in August. This popular, 3-day festival observes horse races, archery, songs, dances, and merrymaking in the Mustang.

Winter Season

Annapurna trek in December through February (Winter)means you will see heavy snowfalls at higher elevations on the trek. The snowfalls are generally accompanied by harsh blizzards. Even the local people in the higher altitude migrate towards the lower elevations to escape the dreary winter.

At the elevation of 5416 meters, Thorong La Pass is situated. Due to its high altitude, the pass experiences very cold and snowy weather. As a result, the pass remains dipped inside the huge piles of snow and remains closed for trekking.

Advantages during this season:

  • Quieter trekking trails with less number of trekkers
  • Experience the stunning sunshine and the Himalayan way of life
  • Cheaper accommodation and food
  • beautiful snowy scenery of white, snow-covered peaks and surrounding

Disadvantages during this season:

  • Temperatures at higher altitudes will be below the freezing point
  • Heavy snowfall at higher altitudes
  • Thorong La Pass and Upper Mustang remain closed due to the cold and snow

During this season, you can observe the Christmas celebration and new year in some of the remotest regions in Nepal. Besishahardes this, people in the region celebrate Tamu Loshar, Gyalpo Losar, and Mageshangrati in the highlands of Nepal.

Losar means New year in the local community’s dialect. The local Gurung community celebrates Tamu Loshar in different parts of Nepal. You will further observe the upper regions in the trek like Jomsom, Mustang, and Manang celebrating Gyalpo Losar. Local people wear cultural dresses visit monasteries and make merry at their homes, and community places.

Annapurna Circuit Trek Weather conditions throughout the months of the year:

September, October, and November:

  • October is generally considered to be the best time to trek in the region
  • Monsoon clears the air and makes dust-free trails
  • Peak trekking season – and tea houses will be busy, especially in Manang

November and December:

  • Approaching cold days and even colder nights during the Annapurna circuit trek in November
  • Possibility of delays or detours due to snow in Annapurna circuit trek December

January:

  • Heavy snowfall makes for treacherous conditions over the Thorong La pass
  • The route can be blocked

February, March, and early April:

  • Warmer, longer days
  • Rhododendrons in full bloom

May:

  • Warm at lower altitudes
  • Pre-monsoon rainfall may occur

June, July and August:

  • Torrential rain and heavy flooding in lower sections
  • Risk of landslides to the unstable slopes
  • Lush and green scenery
  • Obscured views of the Himalayas

FAQs

What is the best time to trek to the Annapurna circuit?

The Autumn season is considered as the best time to trek in the region.

What is the best month to climb Annapurna?

The best month to climb Annapurna in October.

Can you trek Annapurna throughout the year?

No, you can’t. During the Winter season, high passes and high regions are closed due to snowfalls and severe cold. Whereas during the Monsoon season, there is a risk of landslides, mudslides, and floods in the lower region.

If you are looking for information regarding routes of Annapurna Circuit trek read Routes and Maps of the Annapurna Circuit Trek chapterIf you are wondering how to choose the best trek operator, find detail information from this How to Choose the best Annapurna Circuit Trek Operator chapter.

The cost chapter Cost of Annapurna Circuit Trek explains all types of cost and fees of Annapurna Circuit trek. If you need information regarding visa and permit of Annapurna Circuit trek read Visa and Permit for Annapurna Circuit Trek chapter.

The Annapurna circuit packing list chapter explains the main items to Packing for Annapurna Circuit trekking.  Learn in detail about the food and lodging during trekking Annapurna Circuit in the Accommodation and Food during Annapurna Circuit Trek chapter. If you want information about Annapurna Circuit trek ground transportation read the chapter Annapurna Circuit Ground Transportation.

In other chapters of this Annapurna Circuit Trek guide, we have explained in detail of Internet Facility in the Annapurna Circuit region, how and where to find the AnnapurnaTrek Guides and Porters and how much dangerous and safe is Annapurna Circuit Trek. Moreover, you can explore our Nepal tours and treks package page to find several amazing Annapurna circuit trekking deals.

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