Get ready to fast pack through multiple ecosystems as we start in subtropical jungle (yes, there may be monkeys) and work our way up to Throng pass (5,405m, 17,728ft). Below please find our ‘Annapurna Circuit Itinerary’ designed for fast packers. We will not follow the usual Annapurna Circuit Route, instead we will use alternative trails and get off the beaten path as much as we can. We will encounter different ethnic groups like Gurungs, Magars and Thakalis and views of Annapurna, Gangapurna, Dhaulagiri, Himchuli and many other famous mountain peaks throughout our adventure.
Cumulative stats: 228k, 142.6miles, Total Gain: 11,846m, 38,863ft, Total Loss: 11,282m, 37,013ft, Max Elevation: 5,405m, 17,728ft. GPS Files*
* Note – You are welcome to use these files for your own adventures on the circuit. But please use them at your own risk and consider a donation to Wide Open Vistas.
Day 1 – Saturday Sept 16th
Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel, shopping, dinner and debrief
Please arrive early on this day (or earlier if you can!). We will meet you at the airport and help you get to the hotel. No problem. We will probably walk to Thamel for dinner and last minute money changing, gear purchases, and drinks. And yes, we will give you a nice tote bag with maps, a nice shirt, and some other goodies.
Day 2 – Sept 17th
Transport from Kathmandu to Besisahar by Jeep
This journey is long, scenic, and bumpy. It will take ~8 hours depending the road traffic condition. We will drive along the Trishuli and Marshyangdi Rivers which are popular rafting rivers, past green forests, rice fields and a lot of local villages. Chances are we will hit the trails in the late afternoon in Besisahar which is the classic start for the Annapurna Circuit and try to make it to Bulbule village. The first 5k are unfortunately terrible with narrow dirt jeep track and some traffic with a damn being built nearby. Hang in there, it gets dramatically better after this stretch.
Day 3 – Sept 18th
Stage 1: Besisahar (760m) to Tal (1,665m) Distance: 35.7k.
We’ll start early and will be on some great trail after passing through the village of Bahudandra. Get ready for some wonderful trails, waterfalls, and the beautiful village of Tal.>
Day 4 – Sept 19th
Stage 2: Tal (1,665m) to Chame (2,684m) Distance 22.9k.
We will run along the river, following trail as much as we can instead of the new jeep track. There is some great trail out of Tal and also a wonderful stretch on the east side north of Dharipani (sharp right over the river as if going up the Manaslu Circuit then follow the river). Expect some climbing and maybe some warm temperatures. We will do some amazing trail north of Danaque with a wonderful forested suspension bridge and waterfalls. Our evening stop will be in the far side of Chame Village where we will hope that the hot springs are flowing. If we are lucky we will have some views of the east face of Lamjungmountain.
Day 5 – Sept 20th
Stage 3: Chame (2,684m) to Manang (3,537m), Distance: 33k.
A long and tough day but some really amazing views of the Annapurna Range as we cross to the east side of the valley and climb high up – travelling through Upper Pisang. Be ready for a really tough climb up to Ghermu where we will top out with some fresh carrots and a tour of the local school. We will traverse high trails through millet and buck wheat fields, finally dropping down into high desert with hugely eroded cliffs and an incredibly landscape. Rolling trails to Braga and then a final push on jeep track into Manang. Don’t worry, tomorrow will be easier.
Day 6 – Sept 21st Manang (3,133m)
First Rest/Acclimatization Day.
We will host our second annual Children’s Race at the local school in the morning. After that – go explore and try to get as high as you can. Hike up to Khangshar (3,701m) and loop over to the main trail leading to Thorung La before dropping south back to Manang.It is one tough climb. Or head back to Braga and then straight up to Ice Lake. Get an early start! Remember – climb high, sleep low.
Day 7 – Sept 22nd
Stage 5: Manang (3,520m) to Yak Kharka (3,807m): Distance: 9.4k.
We will head up toward the pass, taking our time and hiking together. Please don’t race this section as exertion predisposes people to mountain sickness. There should be great views as we move through Old Manang and Kangshar. Be prepared for it to get chilly here and let us know if you are feeling the altitude. It is usually too cold to bathe in Yak Kharka. A ‘Kharka’ is a small patch of grass where live stock may graze. There will likely be some yak in the area. This is just a small collection of 3 lodges and things are pretty rustic!
We buy Raksi (local moonshine) from this lady every year – above Manang – Day 7
8 – Sept 23rd
Second Rest/Acclimatization Day.
Try to climb the ridge to the east, or go up toward Thorung Phedi. Bottom line, get high so you can sleep low. We may choose to move to Thorung Phedi entirely if everyone is feeling good.
Day 9 – Sept 24th
Stage 6: Yak Kharka (3,807m) to Muktinath (3,798m) via Thorung Pass (5,416m) Distance: 21.2.
This will be a tough day for all! Up and over early – we will travel in groups. It should take 2-3 hours to Thorung Phedi which is run by our friends Kumar and Katie. Then less than an hour to high camp and then 2-4 hours from there to the pass. Thorung La will allow us to pass between two beautiful mountain ranges: Kathung Khang (6484m) and Yakawakhang (6482m). From the pass we will descend 2-4hrs to Kali Gandaki then Muktinath which is an important pilgrimage place for both Hindu and Buddhists. We will stop at the temple before Muktinath those that are brave will pass under the 108 holy water spouts in the temple as many pilgrims do. The water may be ice cold but it is supposed to have healing powers. From there – a short walk to the Bob Marley lodge which has great food and a good vibe.
Wahoo! Thorung La – 5,416m/17,769ft
Day 10 – Sept 25th
Stage 7: Muktinath to Marpha (2,711m) 32km.
This is a tough day! We will start by heading down to the ancient village of Jharkot. The people who live here are Thakali and are similar to Tibetan and Sherpas people. We will pass through the larger town of Kagbeni which is the gateway to Upper Mustang. We will follow trail close to the river before crossing over and travelling through two semi abandoned TIbetan villages over the Radio Tower pass which will be windy as hell and likely will have huge views of Tilicho Peak. We drop down on slippery trails to Jomsom and do a flat push with some jeep track to Marpha which is an awesome village with big apple orchards. We will drink apple brandy and watch a dinner performance by a local woman’s group (fueled by apple pie of course).
Day 11 – Sept 26th
Stage 8: Marpha (2,711m) to Ghasa (2,110), Distance: 26.9.
This is a fantastic section of trail – we will cross over to the east bank shortly after leaving Marpha and pass near a Tibetan Refugee camp before travelling trough apple orchards and along beautiful trails along the side of the river and up on bluffs. Our stopping point will be the awesome Eagle Nest Guest House where we can have locally grown pop corn and hot showers with views over the valley. Kalopani offers a panoramic view of Annapurna 1, Dhaulagiri 1 and Tukuche peak.
Day 12 – Sept 27th
Stage 9: Ghasa (2,110m) to Gorepani (2,811m). Distance 30.2
There will be a whole lot of climbing going on! Tatopani is a great place to fuel up before the climb.
Day 13 – Sept 28th
Stage 10: Ghorepani – to Naya Pul (1,019m) then to Pokhara. Distance: 17.1km
Today is our last day running,but we will start with a hike about 30 minutes to Poon Hill (3210m) early in the morning taking in the sunrise and views of Annapurna South 7219 m., Fishtail 6993 m., Himchuli 6441 m., Dhaulagiri 8168 m. We will start running from Poon Hill and mostly descend all day to Naya Pool where we will once again encounter motor vehicles and asphalt. After some cold drinks, we will take a bus for ~2hrs to Pokhara where the party will continue.
Day 14 – Sept 29th
Drive back to Kathmandu.
The drive will be along the Marshangdyi river taking about 6-7 hours if traffic and conditions are good. you are on your own for dinner once we arrive in Kathmandu. Many will want to walk to Thamel. This is the last day of the program. Your lodging in the hote and a group dinner will be provided!
Day 15 – Sept 30th
Breakfast is provided but then you are on your own. We recommend you reserve this day to cover for any trip delays and for sight seeing. Please let us know if you would like to have us book the hotel for you on this night.