Annapurna Circuit Trek Distance Guide

  • Last Updated on Jul 11, 2024

There is no need to introduce the Annapurna Circuit Trek. This trek is often ranked among the best in the world and promises an amazing experience as it winds around Nepal's stunning Annapurna Massif. The Annapurna Circuit offers you a vantage point to see the magnificent Machapuchhre (6993 m), Hiunchuli (6441 m), Annapurna I (8091 m), and Annapurna South (7219 m).

The Annapurna Circuit trek entices travellers with the prospect of an amazing journey through some of Nepal's most breathtaking scenery. Every step on this trail, which spans 5,416 meters (17,769 feet) and winds through verdant foothills scattered with terraced fields, is a monument to the magnificence of nature and the resiliency of the human spirit.

But this is no journey for the weak of the heart. Trekking over a variety of terrain entails overcoming obstacles like altitude sickness, and erratic weather that can range from sunny days to unexpected mountain storms, as well as managing tight spaces and steep ascents. However, it's precisely these difficulties that add to the thrill and satisfaction of reaching Thorong La Pass or taking in the Annapurna massif.

The Annapurna Circuit offers a cultural tapestry woven with encounters in isolated villages, where the customs of the Gurung, Thakali, and Tibetan communities unfold before your eyes, going beyond the physical feats. Trekkers create bonds with the mountains and other travellers from all over the world through the homeyness of teahouses and the friendly welcome of the locals.

A legendary trek that circles Nepal's magnificent Annapurna massif is the Annapurna Circuit trek. It's an arduous but worthwhile trip through a variety of environments, quaint towns, and breathtaking mountain views. Usually, the hike takes eighteen days to finish. However, how far will you hike? This distance guide will help you get ready for this amazing journey. You can make sure that your journey on this amazing Himalayan odyssey is smooth and unforgettable by being aware of the distances involved and planning appropriately.

The Annapurna Circuit is not a straight line. Depending on the altitude, terrain, and requirements for acclimatization, the distance you travel each day will change. It's a moderate climb with lots of ups and downs, so expect a variety of walking experiences.

While total distance can vary depending on the specific route chosen, here's a general breakdown:

Total Distance: Expect to cover anywhere between 170-200 kilometres (105-125 miles) throughout the trek.

Daily Distances: Most days involve moderate hikes of 5-7 kilometres (3-4 miles). However, some sections might be shorter for acclimatization or longer due to challenging terrain.

Table of Contents

The Facts of Annapurna Circuit Trek

Distance: 170-200 kilometers (105-125 miles)

Duration: 15-18 days (depending on the pace and acclimatization needs)

Cost: US$30-35 per person per day (This is a base estimate and can vary depending on the chosen itinerary, group size, guide and porter services, food choices, and accommodation standards)

Permits: Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)

Guide: A licensed guide is compulsory for the Annapurna Circuit trek. This regulation is in place for safety reasons due to the high-altitude nature of the route.

Starting Point: Besisahar

Finishing Point: Nayapul

Highest Point: Thorong La Pass (5416 meters / 17,769 feet) - Conquering this pass is a highlight of the trek and requires good physical fitness due to the altitude.

Accommodation: The Annapurna Circuit is a teahouse trek. You'll stay overnight in guesthouses (teahouses) located in villages along the route. These guesthouses offer basic but comfortable accommodations and meals.

Food: A variety of food options are available at teahouses, including Nepali cuisine (Dal Bhat - a lentil soup and rice dish is a staple), Indian curries, Chinese dishes, and even some Western fare.

Highlights of the Annapurna Circuit Trek

Here are some of the highlights you can expect on the Annapurna Circuit Trek:

Getting to Thorong La Pass: For many, reaching Thorong La Pass (5,416m), the highest point of the trek, is the highlight. In addition to offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, it gives one an incredible sense of accomplishment. This demanding day requires a high level of physical fitness due to the altitude.

Sunrise at Poon Hill (3,210m): Witnessing the Annapurna mountain range turn into a rainbow of hues at this spectacular sunrise is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For the early-morning hike to Poon Hill, a viewpoint with amazing views, warm clothing is advised.

Manang Acclimatization Day: Held at 3,540 meters above sea level, the Manang Acclimatization Day is a crucial day of rest for acclimating to the high altitude. However, it doesn't have to be limited to relaxing. The surrounding mountains' splendour can be appreciated by taking short hikes to nearby viewpoints like Ice Lake or Manang Valley Viewpoint.

Muktinath (3,800m): Descend from Thorong La Pass to Muktinath, a sacred site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Explore the Muktinath Temple and take in the unique religious and cultural ambience.

Ghandruk (1,950m) and Ghorepani (2,860m) Villages: To learn about and experience the rich culture of the Gurung people, travel to these villages. Take in the tranquillity of these mountain communities, learn about their traditions, and sample the cuisine.

Diverse Landscapes: The Annapurna Circuit offers a wide range of landscapes, from lush valleys and rhododendron forests to breathtaking high-altitude scenes with glaciers and snow-capped peaks. A visual feast emerges daily.

Natural Hot Springs at Tatopani (1,190m): After conquering the difficulties of high altitude, reward yourself with a well-earned nap and relaxation in Tatopani's natural hot springs.

Views of the Annapurna Mountains: Throughout the trek, you will be surrounded by the breathtaking Annapurna mountain range, which is home to Annapurna I, the tenth-highest peak in the world. As you navigate the circuit, take in these amazing colossi from various perspectives.

Day-to-Day Annapurna Circuit Trek Distance Breakdown Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400m)

Arrival in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Upon arrival, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring the vibrant city or relaxing in preparation for the trek.

Day 2: Drive to Besisahar (820m) & Chamje (2,710m) - Duration: 8-9 hours

This day involves a scenic journey by local express bus to Besisahar (around 6-7 hours) followed by a jeep ride to Chamje, a small village nestled amidst the mountains offering stunning views of the Manaslu range (approximately 1-2 hours).

Day 3: Trek to Dharapani (1,860m) - Distance: 9km, Duration: 5-6 hours

The trek begins! Today's moderate hike from Chamje to Dharapani takes you through villages like Bahundanda and Syange, lush forests, and along the Marshyangdi River.

Day 4: Trek to Chame (2,670m) - Distance: 11km, Duration: 6-7 hours

The trail continues to ascend, offering stunning views of the Manaslu and Annapurna mountain ranges. You'll arrive at Chame, a picturesque village known for its traditional Tibetan houses and hot springs.

Day 5: Trek to Pisang (3,300m) - Distance: 8km, Duration: 5-6 hours

The path gets steeper as you enter the Manang Valley. You'll encounter more Tibetan influences in Pisang village, surrounded by dramatic landscapes.

Day 6: Trek to Manang (3,540m) - Distance: 11km, Duration: 4-5 hours

Manang is a crucial acclimatization point for the high-altitude sections of the trek. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and explore the village.

Day 7: Acclimatization Day in Manang (3,540m) - Duration: 4-5 hours

Take a short hike to nearby viewpoints or explore the village to aid acclimatization. Manang offers stunning Himalayan vistas. Visit the Manang Valley Ice Stupa,

Day 8: Trek to Yak Kharka (4,090m) - Distance: 6km, Duration: 4-5 hours

The trail leads you to Yak Kharka, a small settlement with basic teahouses. The scenery becomes increasingly high-altitude with glaciers and snow-capped peaks in sight.

Day 9: Trek to Thorong Phedi (4,450m) - Distance: 4km, Duration: 4 hours

A short trek to Thorong Phedi, located at the base of the Thorong La pass, is the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit trek. Prepare for the challenging climb the next day.

Day 10: Trek to Muktinath (3,800m) via Thorong La Pass (5,416m) - Distance: 10km, Duration: 7-8 hours

Conquer the Thorong La Pass, the highlight of the trek. This challenging yet rewarding section demands good physical fitness due to the high altitude. Embrace the sense of accomplishment and witness breathtaking panoramic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.

Descend to Muktinath, a sacred pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists.

Day 11: Drive to Tatopani (1,191m) - Duration: 6-7 hours

After the high-altitude challenges, enjoy a relaxing jeep ride down to Tatopani, a village known for its natural hot springs. Relax and soothe your muscles after a strenuous journey.

Day 12: Trek to Shikha (3,800m) - Distance: 9km, Duration: 4 hours

The trail ascends again towards Shikha village, offering beautiful scenery and diverse flora and fauna. Explore the village and soak in the mountain views.

Day 13: Trek to Ghorepani (2,860m) - Distance: 6km, Duration: 3 hours

The path leads you to Ghorepani, a popular vantage point for trekkers.

Day 14: Hike Poon Hill (3,210m) and Trek to Tadapani (2,630m) - Distance: 16km, Duration: 7 hours

Witness the majestic sunrise over the Annapurna mountain range from Poon Hill, a viewpoint offering breathtaking panoramas.

Descend to Tadapani for an overnight stay.

Day 15: Trek to Ghandruk (1,940m) - Distance: 9km, Duration: 3 hours

The trail descends through rhododendron forests to Ghandruk, a large Gurung village with stunning mountain views. Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Gurung people and explore their traditional way of life.

Day 16: Trek to Nayapul (1,070m) and Drive to Pokhara (827m) - Distance: 10km walk, 40km drive, Duration: 4 hours walking, 1.5 hours driving

The trek's final leg takes you to Nayapul, a small town at the end of the Annapurna Circuit route. From here, you'll enjoy a scenic drive to Pokhara, the second-largest city in Nepal, nestled beside Phewa Lake. Explore the lakeside town, unwind in cafes, or try exciting activities like paragliding.

Day 17: Drive to Kathmandu (1,400m) by tourist bus - Duration: 6-7 hours

Relax on the scenic journey back to Kathmandu, the bustling capital city of Nepal.

Day 18: Departure

Bid farewell to Nepal, taking home unforgettable memories of your Annapurna Circuit adventure.

A more extended route that fully appreciates the majesty of the area is the Annapurna Circuit trek. The Short Annapurna Circuit Trek is an excellent choice, though, for people who are pressed for time or who might not feel comfortable covering the entire distance and high altitude. With this shortened version, you can see the main attractions in less time while still retaining the essence of the traditional trek. This is an explanation:

Distance: 62 to 100 miles, or 100 to 160 kilometres, can be covered by the Short Annapurna Circuit, depending on the route and available transportation.
Duration: The Short Annapurna Circuit is an excellent choice for people looking for a shorter adventure, as it usually takes 6–12 days to finish.

The following are the main variations from the Classic Trek

• Starting Point: Many Short Annapurna Circuit treks begin at Bhulbhule (approximately 845 meters), but instead of driving to Manang (approximately 3,540 meters), they skip the first leg. By doing this, the overall distance is greatly lowered, giving you more time to explore higher-altitude regions. 

• Highlights: The Short Annapurna Circuit emphasizes well-known sites such as the holy pilgrimage site of Muktinath and the 5,416-meter-high Thorung La Pass.

Advantages of the Annapurna Short Circuit:

  • Time-Efficient: Perfect for people who wish to see the stunning Himalayas but have a short vacation period.
  • Less Difficulty: Skipping the first lower sections reduces the total elevation gain, which may make the hike easier for certain hikers.
  • Concentrate on High Points: Gives top priority to taking in the breathtaking scenery at high altitudes and recognizable sites.

Crucial Points to Remember:

  • Thorong La Pass: Although the hike is shorter, it still reaches high altitudes, so adequate acclimatization is necessary to prevent altitude sickness.
  • Fitness Level: The Short Annapurna Circuit requires several hours of daily hiking with some steep sections, although it is less strenuous than the full circuit.
  • Weather: Be ready for erratic conditions, particularly at higher elevations.

An itinerary for the Short Annapurna Circuit might look something like this:

  • The distance between Manang, Yak Kharka, Thorong Phedi, Muktinath (through Thorong La Pass), and Tatopani is roughly 50–60 km / 31–37 miles.
  • The distance between Tatopani, Ghorepani, Poon Hill, Tadapani, Ghandruk, and Nayapul is roughly 50–60 km/31–37 mi.

Remember, this is just a general guide. The specific distances and route variations will depend on your chosen itinerary and transportation options. By opting for the Short Annapurna Circuit, you can still experience the magic of the Himalayas while fitting it into a shorter timeframe or with a more moderate difficulty level.

Things to Consider

  • Fitness Level: The Annapurna Circuit hike is a moderate to strenuous hike with a large elevation gain. It is advised to have prior experience trekking and to be in good physical shape.
  • Acclimatization: Enough acclimatization is essential to prevent altitude sickness because of the high altitude. It's critical to take rest days and increase gradually.
  • Permits: Before beginning the trek, obtain the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) card.
  • Guide: For increased safety and enjoyment, it is strongly advised to hire a certified guide. They can offer useful insights into the area, logistical support, and navigational expertise.
  • Travel Season: March to May is the ideal time to start this journey; September to November is the best window for clear skies and comfortable hiking.

Get excited about this once-in-a-lifetime adventure as you get ready to explore historic monasteries, relax in natural hot springs, and enjoy the delectable simplicity of dal bhat beneath the starry Himalayan skies. Seize the chance to unplug from the bustle of daily life and reacquaint yourself with the breathtaking splendour of nature.

The Annapurna Circuit walk is more than just a walk; it's a life-changing adventure of self-discovery, with every trail sign and mountain view serving as a new chapter in your epic. So grab your sense of wonder, lace up your boots, and embark on an adventure that will push your boundaries and leave you with lifelong memories.

So there you have it!

Ram Adhikari

Ram Adhikari