Trekking season in Nepal
- ℚ. Which is the best trekking season in Nepal for you?
- Annapurna Circuit Trek in winter (January and February)
ℚ. Which is the best trekking season in Nepal for you?
☛ Season for trekking plays a vital role in determining how memorable and awesome trek it might be. Some people may ruin their journey due to the bad choice of season while some get a chance, beauty of Himalayas, lush hills, valleys, rivers and other landscape at its fullest.
Generally, autumn season (September- November) and spring season (March- May) are considered the best trekking seasons in Nepal. However, the best season for your visit might differ according to your purpose for visit in Nepal.
Here is an overview of four different seasons in Nepal.
❁ Autumn season (September – Mid-December)
Want to experience the beauty of Nepal , then this season is the best one for you. This is the most preferred season when the weather is stable, dry and clear, the sky is clear and blessed with the best views of the mountains ever. Also, the trail is neither too wet nor too slippery. The lush valleys, hills, forests, river and waterfalls, you can see the blend of the natural beauty in its most beautiful attire.
❄ Winter season (December – February)
December to February is the coldest time of the year in Nepal. If you think cold weather is not a big deal, then this season is also a good season for trekking. However, trekking to high altitude is not recommended as everything is covered with snow and the temperature is very low. But because the weather is dry, this season can be awesome for those who would love to opt for trekking to the lower altitude regions of Nepal.
⚘ Spring season (Mid-February – May)
Imagine yourself walking through a dense rhododendron forest with the colorful rhododendron flowers decorating the trees! Yes, it can be true if you opt to travel to Nepal from March to May. At this time of year, the temperature rises but the possibility of precipitation remains. The flower blossoms and the environment is lush, beautiful and colorful which makes the atmosphere vibrant.
☀ Summer season (June – August)
Generally, summer is not so preferred time of the year for trekking. Monsoon starts which makes the skies cloudy, roads muddy and slippery. Leeches in the trails and the unclear mountain views due to the clouds on the sky, everything about this season is not so charming.
However, trekadviser is with you no matter whatever the season. The weather may be sunny or rainy, cold or moist, we take you to your preferred places at any time of the year.
Annapurna Circuit Trek in winter (January and February)
Many trekkers often wonder which is the best month or best trekking season in Nepal particularly in the Annapurna region? Are the conditions favorable to do the Annapurna Circuit or ABC trek in winter? Let us address these questions in the following article.
Temperature, climate and rainfall
☛ With 7,629 km of land, including Manang, Mustang, Kaski, Myagdi and Lamjung districts, and an altitude varying from 790 m to 8,091 m, Annapurna region is the largest protected area in Nepal. In such a huge area, the climate varies greatly from place to place. On your way to Annapurna in January or February, you can either clench your teeth in the shivering cold of Thorong La or walk in the mild climate of Besisahar.
The minimum temperature during January is -9 °C to 1 °C. But sometimes the temperature plummets down to a freezing -15 °C.
January and February are dry months in Nepal, so precipitation is quite low in the Annapurna region during this time. Annapurna trekking in January and February usually means very little rainfall, but there has been an undue amount of rainfall for the last 10 years, especially in February. That means, there is a slight possibility of some rainfall during these months also.
ℚ. Is trekking in January and February possible?
☛ In short, YES.
Despite the off-season, there are tourists who prefer to hike in the region in January and February. Most trekkers who did the trekking in those months often say that they had a very good time. However, it is very important to mention that winters can sometimes be quite dangerous. Heavy snowfall and avalanches often block higher passes, which means, you have to fall behind to avoid a catastrophe. You have to be very careful while passing the high passes. If the days stay warm, the Annapurna hike in January and February is quite feasible. The trek in January and February have obstacles as well as opportunities. Let’s discuss them briefly.
Pros of Annapurna trek in January and February
☛ January and February are some of the driest months in Nepal and obviously in the Annapurna region as well. In fact, in the Manang and Mustang regions beyond the Annapurna Base camp, there is little
to no rainfall during these months. This means that during the Annapurna trek in January and February you will have a clear view of the beautiful mountains, free of dust, clouds and haze.
Many hikers often stay away from the cold in January and February. So you don’t have to worry about photos because most sights and paths are almost empty. You will get plenty of opportunities to shoot your favorite panorama from your favorite spot. On the other hand, off-season trekking offers the benefits of winter discounts and cheaper accommodation.It is often said that tea houses are closed in winter, but that is not entirely true. They have a rotation system where some teahouses remain open while others remain closed. The tea house owners move to warmer places in lower elevations.
Cons of Annapurna trek January and February
☛ The biggest obstacle in the trekking Annapurna in January and February is the shivering cold. Manyhikers said they needed to retreat without finding their way to Annapurna Base Camp, as the temperature was -20 °C. The passes at the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit are often blocked
due to bad weather and snowstorms. The teahouses and lodges are not isolated. Instead, the teahouses fire the cast-iron ovens with yak dung to heat the rooms. Often this does not help much to keep the cold out. The Annapurna trek in January and February is mostly fairly modest and without too much difficulty.
However, once you have reached the point between the Bamboo and the Machhapuchare (Fishtail) base camp, there is a risk of avalanche. The avalanches in this area claimed the lives of many hikers.
Therefore, it is essential for hikers to be very careful on the way from Bamboo to Fishtail Base Camp. The most difficult pass in the Annapurna trek is Thorong La pass. The harsh winter weather and the icy tracks make it even more exhausting. You have to be mentally prepared for these severe conditions before the trek.
Tips for trekking in January and February
☛ Trekking in January and February can be a little dangerous if you are traveling alone. The paths are isolated and if you get hurt the help may be a little too far away. To be on the safe side and to avoid such circumstances, we highly recommend you to travel with a group and hire a good experienced guide.
☛ We all know that nights are longer in winter and shorter in days. If you are hiking inJanuary or February, it is better to start the trek early in the morning, so that you can cover longer distances before dark. Before making your way to Thorong La or Bamboo to Fishtail Base Camp,or any other long distance check out the weather forecast and closed paths in the area in advance to avoid inconvenience and accidents.
☛ Water bottles can freeze at night. To prevent this, you can wrap it in a down jacket. Bring a warm year-round sleeping bag. Stay warm with high-quality layered clothing, sturdy and reliable hiking boots, thermos water bottle to keep you hydrated, warm gloves, caps and down jacket. Keep a good pair of hiking boots and leggings in order to prevent stones, pebbles or snow from entering your shoes.
☛ Do not consume any alcoholic beverage when trekking to a higher altitude. Drinking alcohol will only dehydrate your body. Carry Diamox tablets with you to avoid the problem of altitude sickness, if you are traveling alone. Otherwise, your guide should have those tablets with him/her.
☛ During January and February, try to plan a few extra days on your journey, as flight delays and blocked trails can hinder your plan.