Passing through some of the most stunning scenery in Nepal, the Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the most popular in the world.
Combined with the half-dozen other significant treks in the region, roughly two-thirds of all trekkers who visit Nepal annually make their way to and around the world’s tenth highest peak.
For 10 to 14 days, depending on the route taken, trekkers will traverse high mountain passes, get the opportunity to see unique plants and wildlife and visit traditional Gurung villages.
While there are several variations of the trek, which usually starts from Naya Pul, a village north of Pokhara, mos trekkers will get the chance to see the Annapurna massif, Dhaulagiri, Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhre.
Quick Facts about Annapurna Base Camp
- Annapurna Base Camp sits in a high glacial basin 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Pokhara. Trekkers will pass through diverse forests and a spectacular waterfall en route to the camp.
- Among the most popular cultural destinations on the Annapurna Base Camp trek is the Ghandruk museum, which is full of every time items historically used by the local Gurung people.
- On the way back down from the base camp, many climbers opt to stop at the Jhinu Danda hot springs to unwind after the arduous ascent to the camp.
History of Annapurna Base Camp Trek
While portions of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek have been used by climbers exploring the Himalayas since the 1940s, the camp did not become a popular trekking destination until much later.
Until 1977, the area was closed to foreigners as a result of internal conflict in Nepal. However, once the area reopened, this all began to change. By 1985, the Annapurna Conservation Area was established and the base camp became immensely popular.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for 150,000 trekkers to arrive in the region each year, many of whom will at some point make their way to Annapurna Base Camp.
Experience Required for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
The Annapurna Base Camp trek is considered to be a fairly strenuous undertaking. Trekkers will need to be physically prepared for multiple consecutive days of steady ascents at pretty high altitudes.
In a half-week, trekkers will ascend from 1,760 metres (5,770 feet) up to 4,130 metres (13,550 feet). Many trekkers will also hike up Poon Hill and the Machhapuchhre base camp during the expedition, meaning plenty of additional elevation will be gained and lost.
Trekkers should expect to spend between five and six hours hiking about 10 kilometres (six miles) per day over rough terrain. As a result, most guides recommend some light training for a few months before heading to the start of the trip.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek Route
While there are several variations to the Annapurna Base Camp trek, the hiking portion of most expeditions begins from the village of Naya Puy.
From the tiny village in the foothills of the Himalayas, most guides will head northwest to Ghorepani and make a slight detour to climb Poon Hill and watch the sunrise over the Annapurna massif.
Trekkers will then continue hiking through elevated Himalayan valleys, passing through various villages before arriving at Machhapuchhre base camp (3,700 metres/10,595 feet) and then climbing to Annapurna Base Camp.
Some treks will include brief detours from Machhapuchhre base camp to the Annapurna Sanctuary. Other variations of the trek will do the aforementioned route in reverse.