The Annapurna mountains region of western Nepal is one of the most spectacular and accessible regions of the Himalaya mountains. Geologists use the term “Annapurna Massif” to describe the region as this part of the Himalayas is actually a huge uplift topography that has many summit peaks, some over 7,000m and 8,000m high. Annapurna is not just a single peak. The massif boasts Annapurna I, II, III and IV and many more peaks as well. So when people say they are going to trek or visit Annapurna it can mean many things as there are many trek and tour options in this beautiful part of Nepal.
This image of the Annapurna Massif was created by: Solundir. Courtesy of Wikipedia.org
You can drive all the way to the top of the Sarankot mountain lookout just west of Pokhara. Even though you will still be some distance from the actualy Annapurna mountains the view is spectacular. Go there at dawn, dusk or anytime in between. The view across the many peaks is breathtaking, and you only had to take a few steps from bus to railing to experience it. Too easy and almost too beautiful.
One way to see the stunning mountains with hardly any effort at all is to get yourself over to the regional capital Pokhara, just a short flight west of Kathmandu. Even the flight into Pokhara can deliver some great mountain views. However, taking a tandem paraglider flight over the foothills is by far the best way to experiences this awesome aerial view of snow-capped peaks and ranges. If you travel with Langtang Ri we can easily arrange a flight to Pokhara and the paraglider experience for you. A one hour morning flight where you watch the valley mists lift and dissipate as the sun awakens one Annapurna peak after another is something very special. Don’t for get your camera and start the flight with fresh batteries and lots of memory space in your camera – you’re going to need it.
Paragliding along the Annapurna Massif foothills near Pokhara
Dhampus easy trek:
With just a day or two of easy walking in the southern part of the Annapurna Sanctuary you can get up close to the icy peaks. Dhampus is a small farming village just north of Pokhara. The walk to the village is easy and great for families with active children. There is some great accommodation options ranging from home-stay, where you can enjoy some cultural experiences of the local people, through to high quality guesthouses with all the comforts and stunning balcony mountain views that travellers may expect. This is a great option if you are limited on time or prefer to keep walking to just a comfortable day or two. CLICK HERE to see details of our of our popular Dhampus treks. It also includes a trip to the Chitwan National Park.
Ghorepani and Poon Hill:
The next option is to trek to the stunning mountain vista point of Poon Hill, just above the village of Ghorepani in the south western corner of the Annapurna Sanctuary. This is one of the great Himalayan treks. You get to experience the natural grandeur of walking the huge Annapurna foothill valleys and staying in quaint and welcoming teahouse accommodation in villages along the route. The topography and scenery changes every day and around every corner. While there is some hard walking and long stretches of steps to climb some days, the effort and rewards are worth every breath and heart beat. The highlight is to stand on Poon Hill at dawn and watch the sun rise across the entire massif. This is an unforgettable experience. The majesty of nature on show for just you. CLICK HERE for our very popular Poon Hill trek in the Annapurna Sanctuary.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek:
The trek to Annapurna Base Camp takes you into the very heart of the massif and the site of mountain climbing folklore and history. From base camp some of the greatest mountain climbers of the last century set off to test themselves against the many peaks of Annapurna – many met their fate on the surrounding icy peaks. Standing at base camp and looking up at the jagged ranges and summits will probably leave you thinking these peaks must surely be impossible to climb. So trekking to Annapurna Base Camp is a fantastic Himalayan wilderness experience and one of the great treks of the world. CLICK HERE for our fantastic Annapurna Base Camp trek.
Annapurna Circuit Trek:
This is another of the greatest treks in the world. This trek can take two or three weeks to complete and takes you on a looping trail around the northern reaches of the massif. The mountain scenery along this trail is stupendous. You walk through a deep valley that winds between 7,000m high summits to the north and south and visits beautiful villages perched on hilltops and valley walls. The looping route also means you walk to the north of the highest peaks and so can remain sheltered from the summer monsoon rains. So this Annapurna Circuit trek can be experienced just about any time of year. The final part of the treks also takes you over a challenging high mountain pass and then down into the wide river valley that heads further north to the mystical Upper Mustang region. But that is a destination for yet another stunning Himalayan trek.
There are also possibilities of adding additional side-treks to the main circuit trail and visit remote and fascinating regions and villages such as Naa and Pho. These are isolated little communities high in rugged mountain valleys that rarely see visitors. CLICK HERE for the details of our Annapurna Circuit trek.