Best Time Of Year To Do Annapurna Circuit Trek

Best Time of Year to do Annapurna Circuit

The exhilarating trek of the Annapurna Circuit is a once-in-a-lifetime journey amidst spectacular mountainous landscapes and the greatness of the Himalayas. Choosing the best time of year to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek allows you to complete your high-altitude Himalayan endeavor with high convenience and safety.

During the Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will trek across the varying landscapes ranging from sub-tropical to alpine zones with huge climatic variations. We will start to trek from Dharapani and pass all the way through subtropical meadows to cross the Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters. This pass is the highest point of the trek, with unpredictable weather conditions and freezing temperatures. Again, the climate changes drastically as we descend to the arid landscapes of the drier Mustang region. As there is a significant change in climatic states from the start to the end of the Annapurna Circuit trekking journey, you should be wise in choosing the best time for the trek that will treat you to an excellent adventure experience.

While you can successfully trek the Annapurna Circuit throughout the year, spring and autumn offer perfect trekking conditions with wonderful mountain views. You can expect dry, stable weather and moderate temperatures during these seasons. Venturing deep into the high Himalayas is quite easy at this time, as there is less chance of snowfall and rain. With numerous trekkers flocking to the Annapurna Circuit during spring and autumn, they also provide the busiest trails to trek.

Annapurna Circuit Weather During Each Season

Annapurna Circuit trek in April

Spring (March to May)

Spring is a pre-monsoon season and a busy time for the Himalayan trekking adventures.

It is one of the best time of year to do Annapurna Circuit Trek to experience a surreal journey in a painting-like world with a symphony of colors. The Annapurna region forests and valleys are adorned with heavily bloomed rhododendrons of diverse hues such as white, red, pink, yellow, purple, and orange. Additionally, you can also see the hypnotic scenery of several Himalayan wildflowers carpeting the hillsides. As spring is a time of renewal and growth, the new vegetation and trees with emerging leaves make the landscapes turn into lush greenery. Such a colorful bloom and sprout of spring make it one of the most desirable times to trek in the Annapurna Circuit.

The winter snow gradually melts in spring, leading to mild temperatures. This will allow trekkers to enjoy comfortable walks without being drowned in sweat or freezing due to the cold. As the chance of rainfall and snowfall is significantly minimized during this time, the trekking trails remain dry and well-defined. You can traverse easily, smoothly, and safely on clean routes, which will make your journey enjoyable. The sky is less cloudy and clear in spring, giving an unobstructed panorama of the lofty Himalayas. The days are long and bright and the extensive daylight hours allow you for a slow and relaxed journey. You can observe the views and scenery thoroughly and still reach the destination on time. Given the ideal conditions for trekking the Annapurna Circuit in spring, you can find crowded trails with a huge flow of people, making the most out of the favorable season.

For wildlife enthusiasts, the Annapurna Circuit Trek in spring is like an extra reward. You can see the increase in wildlife activity who come out for food and hunt after a long winter hibernation. So, there is a chance to spot valuable birds and animals of the Annapurna region during this time.

While the temperature is moderate, the alpine altitudes can still be cold. You will usually experience the gentle blow of mild wind, which can be stronger and chilly in elevated regions. However, there is a gradual increase in temperature as the season progresses. During the late spring, there can also be occasional rain showers as the monsoon approaches. So, packing warm clothes for higher altitude cold conditions and a set of rain gear for sporadic drizzles is recommended.

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn is another of the best trekking seasons in Nepal. It is a post-monsoon period with stable and dry weather conditions. This season presents a crystalline sky as the monsoon rain settles in. You can marvel at the spectacular panorama of the snow-clad mountains in the clear sky. The air is fresh to breathe, and there is upgraded visibility in the environment with no dust and haze in the atmosphere. You can observe the mountainous scenery and Himalayan ranges in the best clarity.

The weather is stable during this time and remains consistent over a period of time. The wind is mild, and the temperature is moderate and pleasant. The adverse weather conditions like hurricanes, snow storms, high winds, thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, etc, are reduced. Precipitation is considerably low, allowing for the unobscured views of the surrounding beauties. But there can be the chance of lingering monsoon rain during early September and light snow furries around late November. So, pack rain clothes and warm jackets while trekking around these times respectively.

The days in autumn are long and warm, with bright sunshine. The sunlight hours are longer and you can leisurely enjoy the trek. The trails are not dusty or slippery, contributing to comfortable and smooth walks. The nights are cool and clear, with stars twinkling brightly overhead. The hills are seen as captivating, with vibrant hues of fall foliage as the tree leaves change color into red, orange, and yellow. The forested trails are covered with multicolored autumn leaves, luring the trekkers who visit the Annapurna Circuit during this time. However, you will have to share the trail with many other fellow trekkers because, as in spring, this season also receives a huge mass of visitors venturing deep into the Annapurna Circuit.

The cultural experience of autumn in the Annapurna Circuit is unparalleled as local traditions and celebrations will await you. During this time, you can experience the vibrant celebration of major Hindu festivals in Nepal: Dahain and Tihar. You can get an opportunity to partake in these festival celebrations while on your adventurous journey, which will help to widen your cultural prospects.

Winter (December to February)

annapurna circuit trek in nepal

The winter season in the Annapurna Circuit comes with a mix of challenges and rewards. At this time, the Annapurna Circuit is transformed into a winter wonderland, with heavy snowfall in the higher elevations. Snow starts to cover the trails, and trekking the region during winter is a mesmerizing experience of walking through the pristine Himalayan landscapes thickly blanketed with snow. As people visiting the Annapurna region will be relatively less on the trails, you can take in the tranquility of the Himalayas.

While the snowfall is frequent, adding beauty to the Himalayan landscapes, it also makes the trail slippery and challenging to navigate. Heavy snowfall can even lead to blockage of certain routes, and more especially, high mountain passes like Thorong La (5,416 meters/17,769 feet) may be impassable due to huge snow accumulation. It will be relatively easy if you carry spikes, ice axes, and crampons, which help you tackle the snow-covered trails and cross the Thorung La Pass efficiently.

Winter presents bitterly cold, unpleasant temperatures with the possibility of fierce blizzards at higher altitudes. As the temperature plummets significantly, the frigid weather conditions during this time increase the risk of frostbite and hypothermia. So, you should carry appropriate layers that could keep you warm and cozy even during extreme cold conditions. Fleece jackets, sweaters, zero-degree sleeping bags, and multiple layers of insulated clothes are mostly essential while venturing into the alpine Annapurna region at this time. If you are cautious about the right and proper packing, you’ll have a wonderful experience of trekking the Annapurna Circuit in winter, regardless of the temperature and weather conditions.

The high part of trekking in winter is a vivid mountain view in a crystal-clear sky. This is because rainfall is scarce during this time, and there are no dark rain clouds covering the sky. Thus, you can get a grand unobstructed view of the Majestic Himalayas in the Annapurna region, as they shine brightly and are clearly visible even from a distant place.

Monsoon/Summer (June to August)

The monsoon/summer season, including the June, July, and August months, brings heavy rainfall in the Annapurna Circuit, especially in lower regions. Due to the rain, the Annapurna Circuit trail is transformed into a lush greenery. The environment seems fresh and vigorous. The dust in the air is swept away by the rain, providing you with a refreshing trekking experience.

However, the constant rain brings challenges of muddy and slippery trails. The wet and dirt trails can lead to slips and injuries. There is also an increased risk of potential landslides, rock falls, and avalanches due to the frequent heavy downpours. Visibility is greatly affected due to the fog, clouds, and rain drops in the atmosphere. But since the northern part of the Annapurna Circuit around the Mustang region remains dry as it lies in the rain-shadow area, this trek is a unique experience in the monsoon.

The beauty of waterfalls, rivers, and lakes in monsoon is added by the rising water levels which make them seem like gushing. The rain-fed waterfalls and rivers (like Marshyangdi and Kali Gandaki), rain-nourished flora, and rain-washed landscapes seem vibrantly splendid. On the other hand, the pathways are frequently washed away, and it will be difficult to find the routes. However, due to the availability of alternative routes on the Annapurna Circuit trek, you can skip the eroded trails and blockage due to landslides.

The lower Annapurna region receives a lot of rain during the monsoon and the lowland forests of rhododendron and pine are covered with bugs and leeches. As the Annapurna Circuit trails are infested with clingers, packing insect repellent along with proper trekking boots and gaiters is essential. As the summer coexists with the monsoon, the Annapurna region also experiences a hot climate at the same time. The weather is generally wet and humid, with mild wind and occasional thunderstorms. For solitude seekers, summer/monsoon is the best time of year to do Annapurna Circuit Trek, as there won’t be many trekkers on the trail.

The Yartung festival, celebrated by the Mustang people, falls on a full moon in August. It is celebrated for 3 to 4 days around the end of the monsoon. The festival features traditional music and dance and horse-riding races. Trekking the Annapurna Circuit in the monsoon is thus enriching from a cultural perspective.

After analyzing the high and low parts of trekking in summer/monsoon, you can decide whether or not to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek during this time. With prior experience in high-altitude adventures and careful preparation, a monsoon trek of the Annapurna Circuit can be a unique and rewarding experience.

Month by month Temperature Analysis of the Annapurna Circuit

annapurna circuit trek difficulty

Months Characteristics Temperature range
January Chilly Daytime: -5 to 0 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: -15 to -10 degrees Celcius

February Cold, frosty, and snowy Daytime: 5 to 0 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: -10 to -5 degrees Celcius

March Reduced cold, light snow, and rainfall Daytime: 5 to 10 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: -5 to 0 degrees Celcius

April Sunny and warm Daytime: 10 to 15 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: 0 to 5 degrees Celcius

May Gentle heat and occasional showers Daytime: 15 to 20 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: 5 to 10 degrees Celcius

June Rainy and moderate heat Daytime: 20 to 25 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: 10 to 15 degrees Celcius

July Damp Daytime: 20 to 25 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: 15 to 20 degrees Celcius

August Heavy rain and muddy Daytime: 20 to 25 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: 15 to 20 degrees Celcius

September Slight rainfall and bright days Daytime: 15 to 20 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: 5 to 10 degrees Celcius

October Warm and dry Daytime: 10 to 15 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: 0 to 5 degrees Celcius

November Cool and dry Daytime: 5 to 10 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: -5 to 0 degrees Celcius

December Cold Daytime: 0 to 5 degrees Celcius

Nighttime: -10 to -5 degrees Celcius

Right Packing Lists for Annapurna Circuit Trek in Different Seasons

Choose a Peak Season

Spring and Autumn

Spring and autumn are the best time for Annapurna Circuit Trek featuring similar kinds of temperatures and weather conditions. The days are bright and pleasantly warm, with stable weather and mild temperatures. Still, the morning and nighttime temperatures at alpine elevations can be colder. You need to pack layered clothing for varying temperatures during this time.

Considering the dry and cool climate of these seasons, you can pack a mix of light to medium-weight clothing for daytime trekking and chilly nights, respectively. Here are the recommended packing lists for the spring and autumn seasons.

  • Sweatproof shirts and pants
  • Breathable tops and bottoms
  • Flexible hiking trouser
  • Sunhat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Warm jacket for mornings and evenings
  • Sturdy trekking boots
  • Liner and insulated socks and gloves
  • Rain gear (in case of uncertain rainfall)

Winter

Winter, the coldest season of all, brings heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures to the Annapurna Circuit. So, it is not the best time to do Annapurna Circuit Trek. As the temperature drops sharply, it is essential to pack warm, heavy clothes, such as thermal and insulated layers, to keep yourself safe and comfortable. Follow these packing lists for your winter trek of the Annapurna Circuit.

  • Scarf
  • Beaine
  • Woolen trousers
  • Sweaters
  • Fleece jackets
  • Down jackets
  • Woolen socks
  • Furry slippers
  • High-quality warm sleeping bag
  • Crampons and ice axes (to navigate seamlessly through icy and snowy sections in higher altitudes)
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen)

Monsoon/Summer

The monsoon/summer climate is characterized by intense heat and heavy rainfall, with both scorching sun and recurrent downpours. Monsoon is usually not considered the best time to visit Annapurna Circuit. But with proper packing, the trek can be uniquely rewarding. So, pack the following items to adjust to the hot and wet weather of this time and ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

  • Rain jackets and pants
  • Waterproof backpack cover
  • Gaiters
  • Quick-dry clothing
  • Moisture-wicking base layers
  • Breathable shirts and trousers
  • Lightweight T-shirts
  • Thin tops and bottoms
  • Liner socks
  • Light sport shoes
  • Flipflops
  • Liner gloves
  • Anti-leech socks
  • Insect repellent
  • SPF 50 + sunscreen
  • Sun hat or a wide-brimmed hat
  • UV protected sunglasses

How to Choose the Right Season for the Annapurna Circuit Trek?

Annapurna Circuit Trekking Difficulty

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a worthwhile odyssey in every season in its own unique way. In whatever time of the year you trek, you will get to enjoy the captivating scenery of the highland regions, traverse diverse, pristine landscapes, taste the delicacy of delectable local cuisines, and experience the rich cultures on the way. You can choose the suitable season/month that best aligns with your preferences and requirements. Carefully think about what you want to experience during your trekking adventure and what kind of climate you like for travel.

If you are a nature lover and seek the mountainous scenery filled with floral fantasia, spring is the perfect time to consider going for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. You also have the chance to catch glimpses of wildlife and their activities in the region during this time. If you are a cultural explorer and want to have a rich cultural experience in the mountains, autumn is the ideal time for you to visit the Annapurna Circuit, which coincides with several festivals and celebrations.

For solitude-seeking trekkers, escaping from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be the foremost priority. You can opt to trek the Annapurna Circuit during winter when the region skips the crowds, and you can enjoy the grandeur of the Himalayan nature in its full glory. The majestic Himalayas and the spectacular Himalayan landscapes at this time shine brightly with pristine snow, which will leave you awestruck.

Usually, trekkers avoid monsoons for their adventurous Himalayan treks due to challenging weather and trail conditions. However, for anyone seeking thrill and rewards after conquering challenges, the monsoon gives you the best experience. Though we do not recommend you to trek the Annapurna Circuit during monsoon, if you are an experienced trekker well-prepared for cold conditions and wish to test your limits through monsoon challenges, June to August is an excellent time to go for this adventure.

Recommended Season for Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna circuit trek

The weather in the mountains is unpredictable and changes frequently. So, it is essential to select a suitable time for a successful trek in the Annapurna Circuit, considering the climatic factors. In my view, the most favorable time to trek in the Annapurna Circuit is spring and autumn. These seasons come with ideal trekking conditions, such as stable weather, milder temperatures, reduced rainfall, scarce snowfall, clear skies, dry trekking routes, bright and long days, perfect visibility, and crisp air. For the best experience of excellent visibility, blooming landscapes, comfortable temperatures, and panoramic mountain vistas, spring is highly recommended. Likewise, if you prefer a bit quieter trails and the visual splendor of autumn leaves, with other experiences similar to spring, autumn is the right time to do this Himalayan trek.

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Useful Tips for Easy and Smooth Trek in the Annapurna Circuit During Different Seasons

annapurna circuit trekking

Spring and autumn

  • Spring and autumn are the peak seasons for Himalayan adventures, making the trails and teahouses possibly crowded. So, it is wise to book accommodations in advance and obtain permits beforehand for the journey.
  • Due to the pleasant weather and temperature, there is increased animal activity and migratory birds flying to the region. You can photograph the unique species of birds and animals through your camera and use binoculars to watch the fascinating view of distant creatures and scenery.
  • Autumn experiences fewer crowds than spring, which is a good option for solitude seekers. You can immerse in the serenity of the Himalayas while enjoying a comfortable trekking journey in favorable weather conditions.

Winter and Summer/Monsoon

  • In winter, the trails are quieter, with only a few trekkers exploring the region. You can have a peaceful trekking experience amidst the pristine, snowy Himalayan landscapes. However, you need to be prepared for chilly weather by packing warm layers to stay cozy and safe. Consider starting each day trekking early in the morning to reach the destination on time, as the days in winter are shorter.
  • As winter and monsoon are the shoulder seasons for trekking in high-altitude regions, the chances of every teahouse being open and fully operated can be less. So, it is wise to check the accommodation availability before embarking on the trek and make reservations. The best way to travel is to buy a comprehensive trekking package with a registered trekking agency.
  • In monsoon, people visiting the wilderness Himalayan regions are relatively lower than at other times of the year. This means you can enjoy a laid-back and solitary trekking experience. But, since the trials can become muddy and slippery, you need to bring proper gear like water-resistant trekking boots, gaiters, stable trekking poles, etc. As there can also be bugs and leeches around the lowland forested areas, carry insect-repellent

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