The Annapurna Circuit Trek Guide

Updated on October 6, 2019
melbel profile image

Melanie has been interested in cultures, languages, and travel since her youth. She loves adventures and continues to explore new places.

The Himalayas offer beautiful sites unmatched anywhere in the world! Here, the rocky, green terrain at Annapurna's base camp is shown.
The Himalayas offer beautiful sites unmatched anywhere in the world! Here, the rocky, green terrain at Annapurna's base camp is shown. | Source

If you're looking to go trekking in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Annapurna region is it! This region is very popular among hikers and mountain climbers alike as it's considered "the ceiling of the world" complete with some totally unmatched views!

If you're going to be hiking Annapurna's famous trails, chances are you'll start out in Pokhara, a beautiful city nestled in the foothills of these great mountains.

Pokhara itself is considered to be one of the top three most beautiful places in the world. Home to nearly 2.5 million inhabitants, the city is located in the Pokhara Valley on Phewa Lake. The lake itself offers a gorgeous reflection of the sacred (and famous) fishtail mountain, Machapuchare.

So where in the world is this beautiful place? The Annapurna region is due west (and slightly north) of the Everest region. Despite Everest's fame, the Annapurna region is actually considerably more popular among trekkers. This is perhaps due to the region's ease of access as compared to the Everest region.

Buddhist prayer flag on the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Buddhist prayer flag on the Annapurna Circuit trek. | Source

Climbing Annapurna

Annapurna is the most dangerous of the fourteen 8000+ meter peaks to climb with an expedition fatality to successful ascent ratio of roughly 38%.

Popular Annapurna Treks

There are a number of popular trails for trekkers who come to see the beautiful views that these mountains offer. One trek, called the Kali Gandaki River Valley trek, offers trekkers the chance to hike part of the ancient trade route between India and China.

What's awesome about the Gandaki River is that it is older than the Himalayas themselves! As the land around the river was pushed up by tectonic forces, the river cut through the rock thus forming the Kali Gandaki Gorge. This gorge, also known as Andha Galchi, is actually the deepest gorge in the world.

Another popular trail is the Annapurna Sanctuary trek. Those hiking this trail generally meet up in Pokhara, although technically the trail doesn't start up until hikers reach the village of Dhampus. This two-week long trek offers beautiful views of the peaks of the Annapurna. The term "sanctuary" relates to the presence of the Hindu goddesses, Annapurna and Gangapurna, for whom the mountains were named.

One of the most popular treks in this mountainous region is the Annapurna Circuit trek. Depending on the pathways travelers take on this trek, it can last from two weeks up to three weeks (and in some cases, a month.) This trek is often considered one of the best treks in the world, but road construction in this region is encroaching on this beautiful hike.

Mountains in the Circuit

There are a number of different paths that cut through the Annapurna region. Because of this, trekkers see different mountains on their trip depending on the path taken. There is no shortage of peaks in the area, so, regardless of the route, trekkers are in for a treat.

The highly popular Annapurna circuit trek is not only famous for beautiful views of some of the highest peaks in the world, but also the stunning surrounding landscape and the mystical feel of the local culture. To the right is a chart outlining some of the mountains on this trek.

The Annapurna circuit by bike
The Annapurna circuit by bike
Annapurna I
26,545 feet (8091 m)
Annapurna II
26,040 feet (7937 m)
Annapurna III
24,786 feet (7555 m)
Annapurna IV
24,688 feet (7525 m)
Annapurna South
23,684 feet (7219 m)
Tilicho Peak
23,406 feet (7134 m)
24,457 feet (7455 m)
22,943 feet (6993 m)
A view of Annapurna (left) and Machapuchare (right) and their reflection in  Phewa Lake from Pokhara.
A view of Annapurna (left) and Machapuchare (right) and their reflection in Phewa Lake from Pokhara. | Source

Quick Facts: Trek Routes

12-13 Days
Ghorepani Poon Hill
9-10 Days
Annapurna Sanctuary
14-15 Days
Annapurna Circuit
15-21 Days
Moderate - Difficult
15 Days

Cultural Experiences in the Himalayas

The Annapurna region will offer you up four sub-regions (called districts): Lamjung, Mustang, Manang, and Myagdi. Trekkers will be immersed in the varied culture of this region. An example of these cultural differences can be seen in the lowlands of Lamjung and Myagdi where the people are predominantly Hindu. In Manang (where the Gurung people live) and Mustang, you will meet Tibetan Buddhists.

The Annapurna Circuit takes visitors through a number of tiny villages, many of which are considered sacred. One village, Ranipauwa, is near the holy site of Muktinath. This place is sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. The meaning of Muktinath to the Hindus is "place of salvation."

Along the path, trekkers will see a number of Buddhist prayer flags and even prayer wheels. Those interested in Buddhist culture are in luck as a large percentage of the people in the high mountain areas of Nepal celebrate Buddhism.

The people in the Annapurna region are very friendly. Many offer rooms for travelers to stay overnight at tea houses. These rooms are very inexpensive, but they also offer meals. The money made from meals is where the local people make a bulk of their money. Because rooms come at such a low rate, it is customary for guests to eat both breakfast and dinner in the where they are staying.

Annapurna Circuit Map


get directions


get directions


get directions


get directions


get directions


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Melanie Palen


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Insightful! I couldn't help read your article the moment i noticed "Nepal" kudos!!

      • tammyswallow profile image


        7 years ago from North Carolina

        This is a fabulous hub with stunning photos! You make me want to travel the world with your hubs. Well done!

      • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

        Marcy Goodfleisch 

        7 years ago from Planet Earth

        What magnificent views! I haven't learned much about this area; I'm so glad I came across your hub. Voted across, and SHARED. Thanks for the interesting read.

      • Simone Smith profile image

        Simone Haruko Smith 

        8 years ago from San Francisco

        Oh wow melbel - I'm ready to pack my bags this second! Excellent Hub - I hope I may have the chance to hike the Annapurna circuit someday!


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)