Short Annapurna Circuit Trek Overview
Trek within the Annapurna Conservation Area and explore the hidden corners of the Annapurna region on our shortest Annapurna circuit trek. A 12 days journey in Nepal that takes you close to stunning western Himalayan mountains and the tenth highest mountain in the world.
If you want to experience the best of the Himalayas, then the short Annapurna circuit trekking is the one. Opened in 1977, the Annapurna Circuit has become one of the most loved trekking routes in Nepal. It is a classic trek that starts below 1,000 meters and takes you to the highest pass of the country, Thorong La, at 5,416 meters (17,769 ft). The Short Annapurna Circuit trek explores Mt. Annapurna (8,091 m), the tenth-highest mountain in the world.
Starting the trek through subtropical forests, you'll slowly ascend to alpine pastures and a mountain pass before descending to Muktinath (3,800 m) and driving past Kali Gandaki gorge. The Kali Gandaki gorge is the deepest in the world. The short Annapurna circuit trek lets you enjoy varied landscapes, including the trans-Himalayan once you drop down from Thorong La.
Annapurna circuit trekking is always known as a long trek that usually is 18 days or longer than this. To cater to trekkers bound by time, we have designed the shortest Annapurna circuit trek itinerary, which is only 12 days long. In these 12 days, you spend around 8 days in the mountains, and rest time involves your arrival, departure, and commute between the starting/ending point of the trail. And trust us, nothing is missed, even if it is a short trek.
Enjoying the most dramatic mountain panorama, you'll walk past lush rhododendrons, oak, pine, fir, bamboo, etc forests. Trekking from one valley to another, you get to enjoy night stays in some of the most picturesque villages and come across stunning waterfalls & cold streams. Meet with welcoming mountain people and immerse in diverse cultural heritages. Visit ancient monasteries and temples on the way.
Tibetan-like Buddhist villages, white-washed houses, narrow gullies, spectacular mountains, ice flows, etc are charms of the Annapurna circuit trail!
Major attractions of short Annapurna Circuit Trek- 12 Days
Scenic drive to Dharapani
The drive from Kathmandu to Dharapani is very long and also leads you to the starting point of the short Annapurna circuit trail. Following Trishuli and Marshyangdi rivers, the road winds alongside verdant hills and terraced fields. You get to witness beautiful waterfalls and occasional settlement areas on the way. The later part of the drive includes snow-capped mountain views, which makes the ride very therapeutic.
Overnight stays in beautiful villages
A low-key one of the best things about the short Annapurna circuit trekking is the villages the trail passes by. You'll not believe your eyes how beautiful these villages are and the scenery you get to see from each village. Chame, Pisang, Manang, and Yak Kharka are some of the villages where you will stay overnight while trekking.
Trek through the wilderness of the Annapurna Conservation Area
The Annapurna Conservation Area is not only home to hundreds of flora and fauna but also protects the locals and all the natural elements inside the park. The initial part of the short Annapurna circuit route is inside this park and later joins the lower Mustang area (from Muktinath onwards). The trail has waterfalls, meadows, pastures, streams, rivers, etc.
Side trips in Manang village
On day 6 of our short Annapurna circuit trekking, we have an acclimatization day in Manag village. Very crucial to avoid altitude sickness. We take this opportunity and go on a hike to either Gangapurna Lake (3,525 m) or Cave Gompa (4,000 m). Both hiking options have impressive routes dotted with striking mountain views.
Welcoming mountain community and their ancient cultural heritage
Unlike other parts of the Himalayas, the Annapurna region is home to people from different communities. You'll meet Chhetris, Brahmins, Magars, Gurungs, Thakalis, and many other ethnic groups on the way. All of these people have distinct languages, cultural practices, norms, and values, which enhances the trip in some sort. You get to visit ancient temples and monasteries.
Cross the Thorong La pass and learn about one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in Nepal
Thorong La pass stands 5,416 meters (17,769 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Damodar Himal, north of the Annapurna Himal. The pass connects Manang village (Manang district) in the east to Muktinath and Ranipauwa village (Mustang district) in the west, completing the Annapurna circuit.
Muktinath is a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to lord Vishnu. This temple is a famous and important pilgrimage site and also has huge importance to Buddhists. Located at 3,800 meters, Muktinath temple has centuries-old legends and beliefs. The site is visited by hundreds of pilgrims every year.
Drive along Kali Gandaki gorge and beautiful villages to Pokhara
Our short Annapurna circuit trek ends at Muktinath. From here, we drive to Pokhara. The route goes along the deepest gorge in the world, Kali Gandaki gorge, and passes by beautiful villages Marpha, Kagbeni, etc. The ride offers a breathtaking mountain panorama and ends in Pokhara. You'll have the evening free in Pokhara to relax and enjoy the tranquility of Phewa Lake.
Witness stunning mountain panorama and distinct landscapes throughout the trail
These are the list of some of the mountains you get to see on this adventurous trek- Mt. Annapurna I (8,091 m), Annapurna South (7,219 m), Annapurna II (7,937 m), Annapurna IV (7,525 m), Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Mt. Nilgiri (7,061 m), Mt. Fishtail (6,993 m), Mt. Gangapurna (7,455 m), Mt. Hiunchuli (6,441 m), Tilicho Peak (7,134 m), Pisang Peak (3,250 m), Chulu Peak (6,059 m), Gundang (5,312 m), Khatungkang (6,484 m), etc. Then comes the never-ending landscapes that will keep you motivated to keep walking and rejuvenate your soul.