What makes Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficult?

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"In a sentence, Annapurna Circuit Trek is a moderately difficult trek with great adventures"

The mountainous country of Nepal attracts thousands of tourists each year. From the picturesque views of the Himalayas, enthusiasts can explore the lifestyle, culture, traditional values, festivals, and more.

Among others, most of the tourists visit Nepal for trekking. Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Dolpo are the main trekking regions where chiliad of trekking-related activities is organized.

Among them, Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of them which welcomes numerous trekkers who really wish to explore the diverse climate, flora and fauna, historical and cultural aspects of Nepal.

Trekkers witness the picturesque views of Annapurna I (10th highest peak of the world), Annapurna II, Annapurna South, Annapurna IV, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Tukuche, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Tilicho, and many other peaks from different vantage points.

Visiting apple orchids, the world's deepest gorge, and some of the most important religious shrines of Nepal are other benefits of this trek.

Before trekking, most of the trekking aficionados are often curious about the difficulty of this trek. Annapurna Circuit trek is considered a moderately difficult trek on the high-altitude terrains of the Annapurna region which reaches Thorong La Pass-5416m above sea level.

En course, trekkers feel both doable and adventurous at the same time. The factors that affect this trek making it difficult are clarified in this article.

Annapurna Circuit trek difficulty: Trek Duration

Unlike other treks, Annapurna Circuit offers various packages from 10 days to 25 days. It depends where you commence and finish the trek. But most of the trekkers prefer 19 days' trek including arrival and departure dates.

Trekkers should walk 5-6 hours in a day passing the rough terrains, riversides, rocky ridges, steep ups, and downs somewhere. Next, passing Thorong La witness the longest walk around 8-9 hours in the high elevations which may be hazardous.

Trekkers who choose packages of fewer days should cover more distance. Those itineraries have fewer or no acclimatization days and require strong stamina and physical fitness which may be hectic.

Annapurna Circuit trek difficulty: Trek Distance

As already mentioned, Annapurna Circuit Trek depends on where motor transportation is used and where the trek ends. So, the total distance varies from 160 – 230 km. Of course, trekkers should encounter high pass, hilly areas, rough terrains, grasslands, and yak pastures.

Excursionists have to walk 8-15 kilometers each day throughout the journey. Trek is easier walking in the lower elevated lands whereas the level of difficulty increases with the altitude.

Professional trekkers can finish this journey in even shorter periods than their itinerary. But they may suffer from altitude-related problems in the higher elevations making the journey more difficult. Longer packages with appropriate acclimatization days are recommended to reduce such hazards.

Annapurna Circuit trek difficulty: Altitude Sickness

As trekkers walk in the higher elevated lands, the density of oxygen and atmospheric pressure gets thinner than that of the sea level. Your body needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Starting the trek from the lower elevation, the Annapurna Circuit trek gradually ascends to 5,416m above sea level. Trekking 3,000 and above, trekkers may feel common symptoms of altitude sickness are nausea, diarrhea, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue, and insomnia, and more.

Those symptoms should be addressed immediately. Trekkers need to descend immediately towards a lower altitude to avoid further complications.

To avoid such symptoms, you need to acclimatize properly. Acclimatizing helps your body adjust to its surroundings. Drinking plenty of water, maintaining your own pace, following the instruction of your leader also helps to escape from AMS.

Annapurna Circuit trek difficulty: Weather and Temperature

The weather and temperature in the Himalayas remain always unstable and almost unpredictable. Climatic conditions play great roles in trekking. It depends when you trek as well.

Trekking in September to November and March to May becomes quite a favorable climatic atmosphere than trekking in Winter (December to February) and Summer (June to August).

In winter, the upper part of the trekking routes is blocked due to the snowfall and temperature decrease up to -10 to -15 in the nighttime. The days are chill but the breeze, slippery way, and dumps may affect the journey. There is a possibility of heavy snowfall while trekking as well.

Trekking in the summer months, trekking can be affected by heavy downpours. Although there is neither extremely hot nor cold in trekking destinations, landslides, floods, and slippery routes may add difficulty while trekking.

If you choose spring and autumn months, the temperature remains quite favorable for trek ranging from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius during the daytime and 5-7 degree Celsius at night. The skies remain crystal clear and offer panoramic views of the mountains and surroundings in these months.

Annapurna Circuit trek difficulty: Budget

Annapurna, Everest, Langtang are popular trekking destinations of Nepal where thousands of trekkers march each year because they are the most affordable trekking destinations in the world. To begin and end the trek, people can travel by local buses/vehicles which are quite cheaper.

However, trekking in the higher elevations, you should spend a bit more money. It is because of the inconvenience of the transportation system. All the eateries, clothes, gears, and others are carried by horses, donkeys, mules, or porters which may cost more.

In the lower elevated lands, the cost is cheaper and as the altitude increases, the cost for food, accommodations, and everything increases too. Having a stable budget helps to make the journey more comfortable.

Hiring guides and porters makes it even easier. From navigating the trails, searching the proper accommodations, caring in the emergencies, and carrying your duffle bags they make your journey memorable, stress-free, and enjoyable.

Annapurna Circuit trek difficulty: Proper Training

One of the high-altitude treks, Annapurna Circuit reaches 5416m above sea level which demands prior preparation or trekking experience.

Novice trekkers without preparation may face challenges and difficulties during the trek. Walking in the high elevations, rough terrains, rocky ridges in the less oxygenated lands may create altitude-related problems, fatigue, exhausted and more.

With some cardiovascular exercises as cycling, swimming, running, walking stairs with backpacks, short hikes trekkers should prepare mentally and emotionally to complete the journey easily.

Annapurna Circuit trek difficulty: Backpack

Right gears should be chosen for the right place and time. An unnecessary backpack may add difficulty to the trek. But, as you are walking for a couple of weeks, the needed equipment should not be missed as well.

Trekking with porter makes the journey burden-free. Carrying all the backpacks, it is challenging to walk 6-7 hours a day for two weeks or more.

In case you are walking alone, recommended to pack wisely keeping all the needed gears without including unnecessary items

How can I minimize the Annapurna Circuit Trek difficulty?

  • Stay Hydrated and get plenty of neutered food.
  • Maintain your own pace. Slow and steady wins.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Trek with reliable companies, guides, and porters.
  • Check the weather and temperature before the trek and pack accordingly.
  • Acclimatize properly.
  • In case of any difficulties, please contact your tour leader or agent company immediately.
  • Be physically and mentally determined.


An epic journey of the Annapurna region Annapurna Circuit Trek offers panoramic views of the Himalayas, vistas, diverse landscapes, and deep gorges. Nature, culture, and lifestyle can be understood properly while trekking.

This classic adventure trek welcomes numerous adventure lovers each year. With a little bit of preparation, you can make this trek doable and relaxing.

Author: Krishna Sapkota

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