The Annapurna Circuit is a trek within the mountain ranges of central Nepal. The total length of the route varies between 160–230  km (100-145  mi), depending on where motor transportation is used and where the trek is ended. This trek crosses two different river valleys and encircles the Annapurna Massif. The path reaches its highest point at Thorung La pass (5416m/17769  ft), reaching the edge of the Tibetan plateau. Most trekkers hike the route anticlockwise, as this way the daily altitude gain is slower, and crossing the high Thorong La pass is easier and safer.

The mountain scenery, seen at close quarters includes the Annapurna Massif (Annapurna I-IV), Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, Pisang Peak, and Paungda Danda. Numerous other peaks of 6000-8000m in elevation rise from the Annapurna range.

The trek begins at Besisahar or Bhulbhule in the Marshyangdi river valley and concludes in the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Besisahar can be re...Read more

The Annapurna Circuit is a trek within the mountain ranges of central Nepal. The total length of the route varies between 160–230  km (100-145  mi), depending on where motor transportation is used and where the trek is ended. This trek crosses two different river valleys and encircles the Annapurna Massif. The path reaches its highest point at Thorung La pass (5416m/17769  ft), reaching the edge of the Tibetan plateau. Most trekkers hike the route anticlockwise, as this way the daily altitude gain is slower, and crossing the high Thorong La pass is easier and safer.

The mountain scenery, seen at close quarters includes the Annapurna Massif (Annapurna I-IV), Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, Pisang Peak, and Paungda Danda. Numerous other peaks of 6000-8000m in elevation rise from the Annapurna range.

The trek begins at Besisahar or Bhulbhule in the Marshyangdi river valley and concludes in the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Besisahar can be reached after a seven-hour drive from Kathmandu. The trail passes along paddy fields and into subtropical forests, past several waterfalls and gigantic cliffs, and through various villages.

Annapurna Circuit has been voted the best long-distance trek in the world, as it combined, in its old full form, a wide variety of climate zones from the tropics at 600 m asl to the Arctic at 5416 m asl at the Thorong La pass and cultural variety from Hindu villages at the low foothills to the Tibetan culture of Manang Valley and lower Mustang. Continuing construction of a road has shortened the trail and changed the villages. The Beisahar-Manag road has been built which passes through the trekking trail much of the time. With the construction of roads, mountain biking is becoming popular, with Mustang, in particular.

The Annapurna area was opened to foreign trekkers in 1977 after the disputes between CIA-backed Khampa guerrillas operating from the area into Tibet, the local populace and the Nepal army were settled. The original trek started from the market town of Dhumre situated at the Kathmandu - Pokhara highway and ended in Pokhara, and took about 23 days to complete. Road construction started in the early 1980s both from Dhumre to the north and from Pokhara to the west and then up the Kali Gandaki valley. The road has now reached Manang on the Marsyangdi river valley and Muktinath on the Kali Gandaki side. Of the trek's original 23 days, only 2 sections of 2-3 walking days in the length of the trek are now without a motor road, namely Thorong La pass and the section over Ghorepani/Poon Hill. In some places, new trails and routes have been marked so that the road can be partly avoided. The existence of the road has nevertheless changed the area, appearance, and atmosphere of the villages. The road facilitates transport, increasing the popularity of mountain biking in the area. Since 2011, companies in Muktinath and Jomsom rent out mountain bikes to tourists. As the road sees very little traffic, one can ride downhill (dirt road and/or single track) from Muktinath to Tatopani and descend almost 3000 meters in 2–3 days.

New areas near Annapurna have been opened for trekkers in the past years, such as Upper Mustang, Nar-Pho Valley, Manaslu, and Tsum Valley. Currently, trekking in these areas is restricted and subject to extra permits, costs, and other limitations.

In October 2014, Seth Wolpin achieved the fastest known time in 72 hours and 4 minutes. He started in Besisahar and finished in Nayapull, following all the New Annapurna Trekking Trails.[1][2]

It is reported[3] that time has been recently surpassed by Greek athlete and philanthropist Lefteris Paraskevas, who, in May 2017 completed the classic route of the Circuit, from Besisahar to Nayapul, in 68 hours and 22 minutes.

2014 blizzard

In October 2014, a sudden blizzard killed over 43 people, half of whom were Nepalese.[4][5] It was caused by the tail end of a dying cyclone that had ravaged the eastern coast of India; there were about 350 hikers caught in the blizzard.[6]

^ "The Annapurna Circuit: Going round and round. -". 30 October 2014. ^ "Annapurna Circuit Trek Fastest Known Time FKT | Trail Running Nepal". ^ "New Annapurna Circuit Fastest Known Time (FKT) | Trail Running Nepal". ^ "Nepal blizzard: survivor tells of friends' deaths on Annapurna circuit". The Guardian. 2014-10-16. Archived from the original on 2023-04-23. ^ Nepalese tragedy ^ Hikers caught in blizzard
Photographies by:
Ummidnp - CC BY-SA 4.0
Dmitry A. Mottl - CC BY-SA 3.0
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