Best time to visit the Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna is a sensational trekking route three seasons out of four – wildflowers in spring, clear skies in autumn and quiet trails in winter.
It’s possible to trek the Annapurna Circuit for most of the year, just avoid the June-August monsoon season when rivers flood and landslides occur. Autumn (Sep-Nov) brings clear skies, plus the bugs and dust have been washed away by the rains. Spring (Feb-mid April) has warmer, longer days, with the rhododendrons blooming in full-throttle, but lower altitudes can be hazy in May. You can also trek in winter. Snow often blocks the Thorong La pass, building delay or a detour into a trek, but Nov-Dec are wonderfully quiet. Do wrap up, though; temperatures are crisp by day and below freezing at night.

Pokhara Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
3
17
22
FEB
4
19
31
MAR
9
25
53
APR
13
28
91
MAY
16
29
194
JUN
19
29
342
JUL
20
28
479
AUG
20
28
405
SEP
18
27
275
OCT
14
25
89
NOV
8
22
12
DEC
4
18
19

Annapurna Circuit, month by month

September, October and November – autumn in the Himalayas – with October generally considered to be the best time to trek the Annapurna Circuit. The monsoon has cleared the air, and dust-free trails. This is peak trekking season – and tea houses will be busy, especially in Manang. It is possible to trek the Annapurna Circuit in winter – with November and December offering a welcome respite from the autumn trekking crowds. Be prepared for cold days and even colder nights – and the possibility of delays or detours due to snow. Heavy snowfall in January makes for treacherous conditions over the Thorong La pass – and many trekkers will find the route blocked. February, March and early April bring warmer, longer days and a pleasant alternative to the busy autumn trekking season, awash with pink rhododendrons in full bloom. May is warm – particularly at lower altitudes – but brings the risk of pre-monsoon rainfall. So you’ll need to be well prepared with wet-weather gear. In June, July and August the monsoon hits full force – with torrential rain bringing the risk of flooding the rivers in the circuit’s lower sections and landslides to the unstable slopes. While it doesn’t rain every day, and the scenery becomes lush and green, views of the Himalayas will be mostly obscured behind cloud. All in all, avoid if you can.

Our top Annapurna circuit Vacation

Annapurna Circuit & Tilicho Lake trekking vacation

Annapurna Circuit & Tilicho Lake trekking vacation

Trek in the beautiful Annapurna massif region

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Annapurna Circuit festivals & events

Andrew Appleyard from our leading Nepal trekking experts Exodus Travels shares his experiences of Tihar, or Diwali, held in October or November each year in the Annapurna villages:
“We arrived in some of the small villages near the start of the Annapurna Circuit during Diwali. All the streets were painted with flowers and lit up by candles – and people were dancing in the streets. It was absolutely magical. I’d definitely recommend timing your trek to coincide with the festival if you can. I found myself in the kitchen of one of the teahouses – which had been about to close before our group arrived – helping the owner’s wife cook up pancakes for our team.”

Yartung Mela

The Yartung festival – Yartung Mela – is held over the August full moon each year in the northern Annapurna villages (particularly Kagbeni and Manang). Here, local Thakali communities come together in traditional dress to celebrate the end of the summer with high-thrills horse racing, singing and dancing.

Tamu Lhosar

Join in traditional Himalayan communities’ New Year celebrations – Tamu Lhosar – on 15th Poush of the Nepali calendar (December/January to the rest of us). Monasteries are decorated with colourful lights, while families raise flags over their houses, visit temples for blessings, feast and perform cultural dances.
Written by Joanna Simmons
Photo credits: [Page banner: Yongyut Kumsri] [Intro: Matt Zimmerman] [Yartung Mela: Boerniefischer] [Tamu Lhosar : Nichalp]
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