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When is the best time to trek Annapurna Circuit?

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Annapurna Circuit is one of the best treks of Nepal for its gorgeous scenery, diverse landscapes, and cultural highlights. You can successfully trek all four seasons, but some months offer better trekking conditions with amazing mountain views. The best time to trek Annapurna Circuit is spring from March to May and autumn from September to November. These seasons offer moderate temperatures, clear skies, little-to-no rain, and less chance of snowfall.

Annapurna Circuit Trek traverses a vast region from tropical to alpine zones, so the trek experiences a wide range of climatic variations. Starting the trek at Besisahar, the trails wind through sub-tropical meadows and head up to Thorong La Pass (5,416m), the trek's highest point. After the pass, the climate change again as the trail descends into the drier Mustang region, where the landscape becomes semi-arid. So, due to the varied landscapes, the Annapurna Circuit weather condition is considerably different than in other trekking regions of Nepal.

Before planning a perfect adventure, you need to consider several variables like weather, crowds, trail, and trekking conditions. So, don't let unpredictable weather ruin your trek- check out our guide for choosing the ideal time to embark on the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Climate and Weather of Annapurna Circuit

The weather and climate of the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal can significantly impact the trekking experience, and it's essential to plan accordingly. The region experiences four distinct seasons, each with unique weather patterns and challenges. With knowledge of the weather conditions, you can effectively prepare for your adventure and fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking surrounding of this region. 

Spring (March to May)

Spring is an excellent season for trekking the Annapurna Circuit. The region is blessed with clear weather, offering moderate temperatures. The average temperature during the day in lower elevations ranges from 15 to 20°C, while at higher elevations, it ranges from 5 to 15°C. The temperature at night can drop to around 5 to 10°C in lower elevations and below freezing at higher elevations. The humidity is low to moderate, and the wind is usually mild, although it can be stronger and colder at higher elevations. 

Summer/Monsoon (June to August)

Summer is the wettest season in the Annapurna Circuit, and it's not the best time to trek due to the wet and muddy trails. The weather is generally wet and humid, with heavy rainfall and occasional thunderstorms. The average temperature during the day in lower elevations ranges from 20 to 25°C, while at higher elevations; it ranges from 10 to 15°C. The humidity is usually high, and the wind is mild, with occasional thunderstorms. The visibility can be affected by rain and fog, which can make trekking challenging.

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn is the best time to embark on the Annapurna Circuit trek. The weather conditions are typically dry and clear. The average temperature during the day in lower elevations ranges from 15 to 20°C, while at higher elevations; it ranges from 5 to 10°C. Also, at the end of the season, the higher pass, like Thorong La, remains freezing, as the temperature can drop as low as  5°C. 

Winter (December to February)

Winter is the coldest season in the Annapurna Circuit, and the weather is generally dry, with snowfall in the higher elevations. The average temperature during the day in lower elevations ranges from 10 to 15°C, while at higher elevations; it ranges from -5 to 5°C. The temperature at night can drop to around -5 to 0°C in lower elevations and below -10°C at higher elevations.

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Best seasons to Trek Annapurna Circuit

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The best trekking season in Nepal is generally considered to be autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May). The weather is stable, with moderate temperatures and excellent visibility, making for comfortable and picturesque trekking conditions.

Trekking in Spring Season (March to May)

Spring spans from March to May and is the best trekking season in Nepal. The modest climate, long trekking days, bright and warm temperatures, and astonishing mountain views make this the best time to trek Annapurna Circuit. The countryside is lush and green, the trees bloom, and the forest trails are colored with vibrant rhododendron. In spring, the pristine, high-altitude Ice Lake is frozen during the early season, beautifully tucked high among the lofty peaks. Also, crossing the Thorong La Pass might be challenging due to heavy snow during the early month of this season.

This popular trek is the best at this time, not just because of the pleasant weather but also the unique festivals and events central to the culture of this trekking region. The highlight of this season is the famous Tiji festival at Lo-Manthang. If you trek in May, you can be a part of this age-old vibrant tradition.

Trekking in Autumn Season (September to November)

Nepal's autumn comes in September, October, and November, the peak trekking time in Nepal. The weather is generally the best for trekking. You can expect pleasant temperatures, low humidity, and sunshine in autumn. The days are warmer, and daylight hours are longer. After the monsoon, the trails are clean and fresh.

On top of that, autumn is a little cooler, and forest trails are so beautiful as the leaves on the trees change color into vibrant red, orange, and yellow. Days at a higher elevation are not too cold, so you can cross Thorong La Pass without much struggle during this time of year. You'll get a vivid view of Nepal's Manang and Mustang regions' sky, mountains, and unique landscapes from the top.

Pros and Cons of Trekking the Annapurna Circuit during the Best Seasons

Pros

  • Dry and clear weather, with low humidity and moderate temperature, make for comfortable trekking conditions. 
  • Vibrant and social atmosphere due to increased number of trekkers. 
  • Picturesque scenery with blooming wildflowers and lush vegetation.
  • Excellent visibility offers a panoramic view of the stunning mountain vistas, landscapes, and cultural insights.  

Cons

  • Crowded trails and limited accommodations due to increased demand. 
  • Higher prices for accommodations, food, and services.
  • Commercialized trekking experience with less sense of wilderness and adventure. 

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Other Trekking Seasons to Trek Annapurna Circuit

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While spring and autumn are the best seasons for trekking the Annapurna Circuit, the region can also be trekked during the winter months (December to February) and monsoon months (June to August). However, these seasons come with their own challenges and considerations for trekking, such as cold and snowy weather in the winter and heavy rainfall, and potential landslides in the monsoon season. 

Trekking in Summer/Monsoon Season (June to August)

Monsoon starts in mid-June in the Annapurna region. Although torrential downpours, slippery trails, leeches, and bugs make the monsoon period generally hard to trek throughout Nepal, this is not true in the case of the Annapurna region. The southern area of Annapurna, mainly the lower trail of Annapurna Circuit, receives a lot of rain during the monsoon, and the Rhododendron forests are filled with leeches. However, the northern section of the Annapurna Circuit around the Mustang region gets far less rain as it lies in the rain-shadow area. So, the Annapurna Circuit trek is unarguably one of the best summer treks in Nepal. 

Further, the main highlight of this season is the Yartung festival. Local Mustang people celebrate this festival enthusiastically on a full moon in August. During this festival, you can witness thrilling horse races. Another bonus of trekking in the Annapurna Circuit during monsoon is the beauty of waterfalls, rivers, and lakes. Due to additional rainfall, many trails meander past impressive falls that are at their best during this season. 

Trekking in Winter Season (December to February) 

The weather of Annapurna Circuit in winter is exceedingly cold as the snow starts to cover the trails gradually. January is the coldest month of the year. The trail is covered in snow it'll be hard to cross Thorong La Pass during this time of the year. You can try if brave enough to bear freezing temperatures and traverse high passes in heavy snow.

By December, cooler weather has set in, and it's not uncommon for it to dip below freezing in the morning and night. You'll notice that the nights are considerably cold than daytime temperatures, with overnight below 0°C. Also, there will be less daylight compared to the light of summer/spring evenings. If you are sensible about the clothing you pack, you'll have a superb trekking experience, despite the weather conditions you encounter. 

Pros and Cons of Trekking the Annapurna Circuit during the Other Seasons

Pros 

  • Fewer crowds, allowing for a more secluded and peaceful trekking experience. 
  • Lower prices for accommodations, food, and services. 
  • Unique and dramatic landscapes, such as snow-capped mountain vistas in the winter or lush greenery in the monsoon season. 
  • Flexibility in itinerary and accommodation due to less demand.

Cons 

  • Cold and snowy weather in the winter can create challenging trekking conditions, with potential hazards such as slippery paths and icy river crossings. 
  • Heavy rainfall and possible landslides in the monsoon season can make some parts of the trail impassable or dangerous. 
  • Limited availability of accommodations, food, and services, with some teahouses and villages closed or inaccessible.
  • Increased risk of altitude sickness due to lower temperatures and potential weather-related obstacles.

Conclusion

Annapurna Circuit Trek, a hidden gem of Nepal's Himalayas, is considered one of the best circuit treks in Nepal. During the trek, alluring mountain vistas, highland villages, diverse cultures, and scenic trails are expected. 

Nonetheless, high-altitude trek like Annapurna Circuit requires more planning and attention than low altitude trek. This is because mountain weather is unpredictable and dangerously changeable. So, consider the best time to trek Annapurna Circuit for a successful trek: autumn and spring. Clear skies, warmer, longer days, astonishing mountain views, and comfortable trekking conditions make these seasons the best time for Annapurna Circuit.  

However, autumn and spring are also when the trails are busiest, but if you are seeking the best weather conditions with captivating mountain scenery, that's a trade-off you have to wish to make. If you need further details on the Annapurna circuit weather, please contact us; one of our travel experts will reply shortly. 





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