About Annapurna Circuit Short Trek
The Annapurna Circuit Trek remains one of the most fabled and alluring long-distance walks on the planet. It is a proverbial trekker’s-rite-of-passage trek that on average takes 20 days to complete.From humid subtropical to high alpine to arid climates, this trek covers an astonishing diversity of climates and biomes. As you traverse the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), you can also look forward to encountering any number of the extraordinary plants and animals that call this biodiverse region home.
Inrecent years, a more condensed version of the Annapurna Circuit Trek has been developed to account for changes in trail options and scheduling constraints. This slightly shorter version is called the Annapurna Circuit Short Trek, and can be completed in 14 days, including arrival and departure. This trip and the itinerary below focuses on the Annapurna Circuit Short Trek.
Our journey begins in the bustling subtropical town of Besisahar, located on the banks of the Marshyangdi River and surrounded by deciduous forests and beautiful mountainside villages. If you are in right spot, you can even catch a glimpse of Annapurna II, Machhapuchhre, and LamjungHimal. If you need any additional supplies or snacks that you were unable to pick up in Kathmandu, this is the next best place to buy them before hitting the trail.
Departing Besisahar, we hug the Marshyangdi River and gain appetizing views of Himalchuliand Manaslu, the 8th highest peak above sea level, to the northeast. As we continue along the Marshyangdi River, the Annapurna Circuit trek affords wonderful views of mountainside settlements populated primarily by Brahmins and by the ethnic group Gurung.
As the days pass, and our love for dud cha—milk tea—grows, we begin to enter the austere landscapes of the high alpine. We gain significant altitude while we are increasingly distracted by the views of the snowcapped Himalayas and find ourselves in Manang. With the Gangapurna Glacier hanging practically outside our windows, and the sweeping views of the peaks we are here to take in, Manang offers exceptional moments of pure mountain goodness.By now we have discovered that we have legs of steal and gargantuan appetites.
Soon we find ourselves powering for a traverse of the famed Thorong La, a high altitude pass at 5,416 meters and the highest elevation of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. From the pass we descend to Muktinath, a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists, and home to the Muktinath Temple. During our descent we are assailed by views of Dhaulagiri, the 7th highest peak above sea level, as we enter the broader area between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.
From Muktinath we move on, continuing our descent in the Lower Mustang, an arid region that is an extension of the Tibetan plateau and home to the Kali Gandaki ravine, by some accounts the deepest ravine in the world. From here we head for Jomsom, a windy market town hugging the banks of the Kali Gandaki River, and the final destination of our epic trek. In Jomsom we grab a flight to Pokhara, and bring our journey to a close.