The Annapurna Region dominated by the grand Annapurna Range attracts a lot of domestic as well as foreign trekkers from all over the world. Some of the reasons for its popularity are the easy accessibility of trailheads from Pokhara and the diverse culture and landscape.
Situated in the north-central part of Nepal, Annapurna Region played an important role in popularising commercial trekking in Nepal. The first commercial treks in Nepal were offered by Jimmy Roberts, a retired British army officer, and lead to the Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Base Camp. These two treks are regarded as classics and continue to shine on the top ten lists of the world’s best treks. Like Everest Region, Annapurna Region also has well-facilitated teahouses along its trekking trails.
From mist-laden Lumle, the wettest place in Nepal, to the arid deserts of Mustang, the driest area in the country, the Annapurna Region’s diversity in the landscape is breathtaking.
The river valleys of Marshyangdi and Kali Gandaki have some of the picturesque trekking trails in the world. These trails offer a rich cultural experience as they weave past traditional villages of Gurungs, Magars, Thakkalis, Lobas, and Mananges.
The massive wall of the Annapurna Massif stretching in an unbroken chain for more than 50 km guards the region. It includes Annapurna I (8,091m), the tenth highest mountain in the world, 13 peaks above 7,000m, and several 6,000 and 5,000 meters peaks. The Kali Gandaki River basin which lies between Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri has the world’s deepest gorge.
The rhododendron forests covering most of the trail in the lower reaches of the Annapurna Region burst into a riot of colors during spring attracting massive crowds of trekkers along the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trail.
The region is home to several lakes including Phewa, Begnas, and Tilicho, one of the highest lakes in the world.
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) covering an area of 7,269 sq. km. encompasses most of the trekking trails in the Annapurna Region. The ACAP protects a rich and diverse Himalayan ecosystem and is home to 1,226 species of plants, 105 mammals, and 518 species of birds.
As part of its effort to conserve the environment, ACAP has banned the sale and use of bottled mineral water. Teahouses on the trail are encouraged to use solar power and biogas plants instead of wood as fuel.
The proceeds from the ACAP permit fees go towards financing the building of toilets, garbage pits, community clinics, and providing telephone services.
Stunning mountain scenery, pristine and untouched forests, neat rows of terraced fields, and an opportunity to interact with a diverse group of ethnic communities make a trek through the Annapurna Region an experience to cherish and remember.
The hillside villages are home to the brave Gurkha soldiers who are known throughout the world for their valor and fierce fighting spirit.
The hills around Pokhara are ideal for short day hikes and excursions. The hike to the Himalayan sunrise viewpoint of Sarangkot and Naudanda is quite popular among hikers looking for a short and easy hike. Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek which can be completed in four days is one of the easiest and shortest Himalayan treks.
Though a road is being built along the classic Annapurna Circuit route, its popularity has not diminished. While some believe the road has taken away the charm of the trail, it has made life easier for the locals living in the remote mountains and has opened opportunities for jeep and motorbike tours. The highway has made it possible for trekkers to complete the Annapurna Circuit Trek in a little over 2 weeks as compared to more than 20 days it used to take previously.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek which skirts the Modi Khola and leads one to the spectacular ring of mountains known as the Annapurna Sanctuary is a favorite among trekkers. The trek can be completed in one to two weeks.
Some of the short treks in the Annapurna Region include Annapurna Panorama Trek, Muldai View Point Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Khopra Ridge Trek, Ghandruk Australian Base Camp Trek, Poon Hill Tatopani Hot Spring Trek, etc. If you want an immersive cultural experience, you can explore the traditional villages by choosing Ghale Gaun Homestay Trek, Sikles Trek, or Sirubari Homestay Trek.
For pilgrims, Muktinath Yatra takes you to the holy temple of Muktinath in Lower Mustang. Upper Mustang Overland tour takes you to the mystical kingdom of Lo and ancient cave dwellings.
If you are feeling inspired to explore and walk along the ancient trails of the Annapurna Region, go through our list of treks given below and choose the one that feels right for you.