Trekking Guide to the Annapurna Region
Annapurna is a Sanskrit name meaning Goddess of the Harvests which aptly reflects the beautiful, verdant valleys and fertile terraced fields of this glorious trekking region of Nepal. With a variety of walking trails from gentle paths through the foothills to classic high mountain treks, the Annapurnas are justifiably one of the most popular and stunning trekking regions anywhere in the world.
Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp
Where is it?
The Annapurna massif is located in north-central Nepal roughly 200km to the west of Kathmandu.
How to get there
You can either fly or drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The drive takes about 6 hours whilst the flight time is only about half an hour. Pokhara is the gateway town for treks in the regions but is also a lovely, laid-back place to spend a day or two.
When to go
Spring and autumn are the main seasons for trekking in the Annapurnas – from late March to the end of April and October to the end of November. Although trekking in the foothills is possible as early as February and as late as Christmas.
The mountains of the Annapurnas
Annapurna I, 8,091 m, is the highest peak in the massif and is the tenth highest mountain in the world. It is also the only peak over 8,000 m in the Annapurnas although there are thirteen peaks over 7,000 m and sixteen more over 6,000 m. One of the most notable mountains in the Annapurnas range is sacred Machhapuchare due to its beautiful ‘fishtail’ shaped summit. The entire massif and surrounding area are protected within the 7,629 square kilometres (2,946 sq mi) Annapurna Conservation Area, the first and largest conservation area in Nepal.
The people of the Annapurnas
The foothills of the Annapurnas are the heartlands of the Gurkhas; renowned for their brave military service. It is still considered an honour to be selected to join the British military and many soldiers retire back to their village homes here after their army career. Prince Harry met several ex-Gurkha soldiers during his recent visit. Read more about it here.
The majority of the local people however are farmers due to the fertile nature of the region. Walking paths in the lower foothills and valleys of the Annapurnas often pass through terraced fields and farming communities where traditional methods are still in use.
Treks in the Annapurnas
A superb trek through a verdant rural landscape, between a group of high quality lodges set against a backdrop of some of the highest and most beautiful mountains in the Himalaya.
With its relatively low altitude and short duration, a trek into the breathtaking mountain amphitheatre of the Sanctuary is the perfect first Himalayan trekking experience. This classic trek stays in tea houses but there is now an ‘in style’ alternative that uses the best lodges en route –
A truly world class trek that circumnavigates the entire Annapurna Massif taking your from terraced foothills to dramatic, high passes and into the world’s deepest gorge. If you have less time to spare, the Mini Annapurna Circuit still offers sensational views and excellent acclimatisation.
Bordering Tibet, this remote and challenging trek crosses two high passes and explores little visited valleys and isolated communities to complete a satisfying traverse of the Annapurna mountains.
Read our Trekking Guide to the Everest Region.
Read our Trekking Guide to Wild Nepal.