Due to its location, the Annapurna circuit weather is considerably different than in the other major regions. This is fantastic as it makes trekking possible throughout the year! This is unlike much of Nepal where you need to factor in freezing conditions and the monsoon season.
Before planning any trek, it’s critical to understand the local weather and climate. This is very true in Nepal as, depending on the region and time of year, weather and temperature can vary drastically.
Annapurna Circuit – Climate And Landscape
Often considered to be one of the finest treks on earth, the Annapurna Circuit is second in popularity only to the Everest Base Camp trek. The trek is notable for its climatic changes, stunning views and wild scenery.
The trek begins at Besi Sahar and takes you through sub-tropical meadows and rice fields before heading up into the alpine peak section. The highlight is without doubt Thorung La Pass which, at 5,416m, provides one of the most spectacular views in all of Nepal.
After the pass, the climate changes again as you descend down into the much drier Mustang Region where the land becomes semi-arid.
Annapurna Circuit Weather By Location And Season
The Annapurna Region is actually situated in what is known as a ‘rain-shadow’ area. As such, it receives far less rain than most other regions in Nepal.
A rain-shadow area is protected from prevailing wind and rain by a large range of mountains – in this case the Himalayas. Although not sheltered from all rain, the northern section of the trek can actually get less than 10% of monsoon rainfall.
Annapurna Circuit weather can be separated into four distinct season. Below we look at each season in more detail.
Annapurna Circuit Weather – October to November
By far the most popular trekking season in the Annapurna region. Hikers flock to the region to experience the clean, fresh and vitalised area after the Monsoon period.
On the lower reaches of the Circuit the weather is generally warm with an average day temperature of 15 degrees Celsius and night temperatures remain above freezing.
As you get higher in altitude temperatures drop quite considerably. From about 4000m up the days have a cold nip to them and evenings / early mornings are freezing.
You will definitely need warm layered clothing and a 4-season sleeping bag. For a full Annapurna Circuit packing list, click here.
In Oct-Nov views are generally crystal clear, rain fall is very low and there are more sunny days during this period than any other.
The night sky is particularly good during this period and you’ll be amazed at the billion stars that appear every night in bright clarity!
Because of the favorable weather, this is the busiest period.
Annapurna Circuit Weather – December to February
This is the coldest weather period in the Annapurna region. Depending on your altitude, day temperatures will be very cool and night temperatures will drop well below freezing. Be prepared for delays or complete closure of the Thorung La Pass.
If the pass is closed you will have to back-track on yourself and won’t be able to complete the Circuit. We therefore suggest skipping this period of the year.
Nonetheless tea houses remain open during the cold winter period and if you do decide to trek in this season you’ll find a warm meal and place to rest your head each night.
The winter period generally consists of cloudy days that obscure views, there are frequently crystal clear days that are often more clear than mid-summer!
Towards the end of the winter period around March you’ll start to see the dazzling displays of Rhododendrons as they begin to bloom around Ghorepani. These are not to be missed and turn green hillsides into red, white and pink flames of colour!
Although cold during this period, rain is not frequent and neither are other trekkers.
This is also the period where avalanches are most common and you’ll need to be aware of this as you trek the higher passes covered in snow.
Annapurna Circuit Weather – March to May
The flowering Rhododendrons and warmer weather bring more trekkers during this period. This is the second most popular trekking season and the snow that plagued the route is all but dissipated on the lower sections.
April is a beautiful time for crystal clear views, especially when you combine them with the bright red hills of Rhododendrons. The average day time temperature at lower altitudes is around 10 degrees Celsius. Nights are usually freezing.
Obviously the higher you go the colder it gets. Over 4000m is usually freezing cold in the evenings and mornings, with a cold nip in the air during the day.
During May a strange haze often appears over the mountains that can be seen at low altitudes. At high altitudes the view is vividly clear and scientists are still a little confused by this strange phenomenon.
May is usually much warmer than April as the heat builds towards the Monsoon period.
Day time temperatures can get towards 20 degrees Celsius at lower latitudes and night temperatures are around 5 degrees (again, at higher altitudes you should expect freezing cold weather).
The lower sections of the Annapurna Circuit can get uncomfortably hot, particularly in the Mustang region where the climate turns arid. Drink plenty of water and remember to wear layers.
Annapurna Circuit Weather – June to September
Mid-June sees the arrival of the Monsoon period.
Because of torrential downpours, hordes of leeches and huge mud-slides, characterise this period.
However, thanks to the Annapurna’s location, much of the Circuit can be trekked during this period, particularly in the northern sections where rain fall is incredibly low. We however don’t recommend trekking in the monsoon season.
The southern section around Pokhara gets heavy rainfall and is best avoided in the wet season. However, the Mustang region lies within the rain-shadow area mentioned above and makes trekking perfectly possible during the Monsoon.
Whilst Pokhara get 800mm of rain per month during this period, areas such as Jomsom and Mapha get as little as 50mm!
You’ll encounter very few other trekkers and you’ll have the added benefit of seeing all the beautiful flora species flower at this time which makes the trek particularly lovely.
Be warned though that rain clouds will obscure much of the landscape and you’ll still need to be watchful of mud-slides.
If you have further questions about the Annapurna Circuit weather, please just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you shortly.
Thank you and happy trekking!
References: Government of Nepal, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Meteorological Forecasting Division
Hello, I am a college student and I have a study abroad in Southern Africa until May 25th at which point I plan to fly to Nepal to do this trek. Will the monsoon detract from the experience enough to warrant me postponing this trip indefinitely? I plan on trekking the Anapurna circuit to Kagbeni, then going to Lo Manthang before finishing the Anapurna circuit.
Hi David, the monsoon in the Annapurna region is generally lighter than in the southern and eastern sides of Nepal. That being said you are still likely to encounter rain, lots of cloud cover and unpleasant weather conditions in the monsoon season. Personally I haven’t trekked in the Annapurnas during this time so have no first hand experience, but would say that if you are restricted to this timeframe the Annapurnas provides the best chance for avoiding the worst of the monsoon. Hope this helps!
Hi David, thanks for your great information on the Annapurna circuit (and Annapurna packing list guide!). I’m heading over with a mate on the 22nd April for 3 weeks. We’re starting at Kathmandu, heading up to Thorung High Camp, up to Muktinath then back down around to Pokhara, finishing off in Chitwan. I have quite a lot of gear already, including a 2 month old 5 degrees celsius rated Denali mummy sleeping bag. We’ll be staying in tea houses for most of the trek (hotels before and after trek), do you think a 5 degrees rated synthetic sleeping bag suffice for April/May?
Hi Tony, Sounds like you have an awesome adventure lined up. You should be fine with your current sleeping bag. Almost all teahouses have extra blankets if you are cold and you can always wear your thermals in bed! All the best!
Great, thanks David
Wonderful information! Thanks for posting this.
I am planning to do the same hike end of Jan. I have 11 degrees C Quechua sleeping bag and plan to sleep in tea houses. I have Patagonia thermal inners and other winter gear from Columbia and Patagonia.
Is it possible to hike during the end of Jan? Will my sleeping bag do the work?
hi,tony , good luck for your adventure journey.
hope to meet you there, we too heading at same day.
Hi, me and my friend are planning to hike Annapurna Circuit In mid-June. I was wondering how low does the temperature go? Does it go below zero? Do we need very warm clothing? Thanks!
Hi Agne, yes, you need warm layered clothing for the Annapurna Circuit. Once you get above 3,500m the evenings and early mornings are very cold. Crossing the Thorung La can also be very cold. For a detailed packing list see: https://www.mountainiq.com/resources/annapurna-circuit-packing-list/
Super! Thanks. We’re just thinking if we really need that super thick third layer. Could it be a lighter jacket if we have a thermal clothing first layer, then a fleece for the second layer?
Hi, I’m heading off on the circuit in a few days and wondering if it’s necessary to take a sleeping bag? I have a warm down jacket and several pairs of thermal underwear and am happy to sleep in it all – would prefer this to lugging a sleeping bag around. But I also don’t want to spend the whole trip freezing!!
Hi Trish, I would recommend taking a warm sleeping bag. Teahouse rooms can get super cold! Most teahouses have blankets but these are typically not very warm or hygienic. All the best!
I’m confused how warm my clothes have to be when I walk Annapurna Circuit in the end of April/May.
YOu say at days it’s warm, so it sounds like there is no down-jacket necessary when I wear a layering consisting of long underwear, fleece pullover and rain jacket. 5 degrees at night sounds like I don’t need a down-sleeping bag, but a light one and get a wool blanket in the tea houses.
On some other websited it’s written that when one reaches high altitudes it’s very cold so one definitely need a down-sleeping bag and down-jacket. But is it in the end of April and May really that cold in high altitudes??
Thank you a lot!
Hi Adele, yes you definitely need warm clothes, including a warm winter jacket (down or synthetic) and a four season sleeping bag). As you get higher up on the Circuit temperatures drop dramatically. Nights will be freezing all year round at altitudes over 4000m. All the best!
I was hoping to ask a quick question about the circuit. I have read that a guide is required, but my wife and I were hoping to not use a guide as we like to travel at our own pace and not have someone rushing us along. We are more of the slow walking type, with no real need to rush from point to point. Does anyone know if the law went into effect or is still in effect about needing to have a guide for the circuit?
Sorry, I realize this is a bit off topic for this page, but I have not found anywhere better to post it. Thanks!
I’ll be hiking the Annapurna Circuit this July, so I’m expecting to hike in rain. Would you please advise whether a lightweight rain jacket is better or should I get a warmer rain jacket? I plan to layer, and I’m concerned about my rain jacket being too hot at the lower elevations. (I live in the mojave desert, so I have no experience hiking in rain. )
Hi Jennifer, I would take a lightweight hard shell rain jacket that you can wear over your layers. This will allow you to use the jacket lower down on the trail where temperatures are higher, and high up on the Circuit, where you can wear the hard shell over your warm winter jacket. The Patagonia Torrentshell is an affordable waterproof jacket, or jackets from Berghaus, Montane, Arc’Teryx or The North Face are all good. Just Google: Waterproof hard shell jacket to get recommendations. Cheers!
Hey there. I’m starting my trek 24 September from Bhulbhule, heading up to the Nar Phu Region. As it’s the end of the monsoon season, did you still have any issues with leeches/mossies?
Hi Daf, you should be absolutely fine by late September. All the best!
Hi Mountain IQ,
We’ll be trekking the Annapurna Circuit in August. Do you think ski wear e.g. jacket and trousers would be sufficient? Also would you recommend leech socks?
Hi Paula, you should be fine with ski wear for the higher reaches. Just make sure you have a number of layers to compliment your ski wear. Leech socks are probably a little overkill, but better prepared than not. All the best!
Hi, A few friends and I are planning to trek part of the circuit late this August clockwise (understanding that most do it counterclockwise) but because we have limited time we will only be doing parts of it. Unfortunately, I will need to turn back early (between Jomsom and Muktinath) to go back to Pokhara. I am trying to figure out if I need to either trek back to the beginning or will there be accessible buses/jeeps to catch near Jomsom or Muktinath? Will the monsoon season play a major role on how accessible the road conditions will be? Any help would and advise be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Hi Nico, There are transport options from Jomsom and Muktinath so you should be able to arrange a bus back to Pokhara. See the section below suggested itinerary here: https://www.mountainiq.com/guides/trekking-in-nepal/routes/annapurna-circuit/
I am reading everywhere leeches, leeches and leeches. What can I expect during the monsun period. Will they climb my hiking boots and crawl into my trousers?
Best regards, Paul
Below the tree line during the monsoon season there are leeches, generally you can steer clear by wearing long trousers and just being vigilant when you pass through a highly vegetative area. All the best!
It’s me again. Sorry for so many questions. In the Internet it is written that people disappear on the A/C. Is it because people get lost by taking the wrong route or they get kipnapped?
Almost certainly lost, not kidnapped! Although I wouldn’t say many people get lost every year and those that do usually find their way back to the main towns. Cheers!
Hello, thinking of trekking the Annapurna Circuit in May – what is the avalanche risk like at this time of year? Has it mostly dissipated by this point of the year? (This is my main concern other than altitude sickness!)
Avalanche risk for trekkers in the Annapurnas is very low as you will not be exposed to snowny pistes, like climbers in the region. Landslide risk is however quite high in the Annapurnas. May is usually a stable month, higher risks is around the monsoon season. Hope this helps!
Hello – I am considering the Annapurna circuit in mid-September (starting on the 11th or 12th). Unfortunately I can’t start later than this. How do you think the weather will be during the early/mid-September period, will it still be rainy and cloudy? Thank you!
Weather in mid-September can be a little wet still, but in general you shouldn’t be hit by monsoon rains. That being said, the monsoon season seems to be getting later and later in recent years. All the best for your trek!
Me and my fiancé have planned to trek from Jomsom down to Phokara from mid-may to end of May. How do do you think the weather be like? I’m a bit concerned about the “haze” you mentionned…many thanks.
Hi Tiffany, it is possible that it will be foggy and quite wet, but generally mid-May is okay. By June though the Monsoon arrives and the likelihood of wet weather is relatively high. All the best!
I’m planning on doing this trek within the next couple weeks. Have any idea on the weather and etc?
Expect very cold weather on the higher reaches of the trek and possibly a lot of snow. I would take yak tracks just in case and make sure you pay attention to weather forecasts as you approach the Thorung La pass as weather can change rapidly at this altitude and you don’t want to find yourself in a snowstorm. All the best!
Has anyone hiked the AC without a guide? Is it legal? I know we still have to pay for the permit, etc. We’re going mid May, and are experienced hikers! Thanks!
Hi Sarah, it used to be legal, although I think the rules changed after the 2014 snowstorm: https://www.mountainiq.com/2014-annapurna-circuit-snowstorm/. I might be wrong and you may still be able to trek without a guide. Can anyone else chime in?
Can Annapurna Circuit be done safely and enjoyably in late monsoon months, August to first half of September?
Hi Susan, yes, late August into September is generally fine. All the best!
Hi, a friend and I are thinking of hiking the AC in the time frame between May 20 and June 6th. If possible maybe even starting a week later. What is the weather like during this time? I know it is the beginning of monsoon season and wonder if you can speak to whether we will encounter many leeches and what views will be like.
Hi Rachel, it is possible to trek the Annapurna Circuit in a shorter time frame but it could mean you have to skip sections at the beginning and from Muktinath, and instead take a car. Also you need to consider altitude sickness risks if you don’t give yourself enough time to acclimatise before the Thorung Pass. In terms of weather you should be okay as the monsoon season can arrive late in the Annapurna region. All the best!
My friend and I will be hiking the circuit this year. I am pro, lets start in October, and she is no lets start mid September to avoid the crowds.
Just curious as to how much of a difference with people there will be. Also realistically can you still get great view in September. Cheers!
Hi Abby, the difference in trekker numbers is not significant enough to notice. Mid September is usually fine for views, especially as you get higher up the trail. Of course, if the monsoon season drags on for a bit then a later start in September / early October is ideal.
I am going to do the ABC trek mid August next month. I was advised that it will be less rain at that time. Is it correct? I try not to carry a rain coat.
Also, can you please advise how cold it will be in the base camp area? I will bring a good sleeping bag which is good at 0 – 4 degree, however I am wondering if I should still need a thermal reactor up in that high altitude. Also, will the base camp get very windy? Thanks very much.
Hi James, mid August is towards the end of the monsoon season in Nepal so encountering rain is still quite likely. As a precaution I would recommend bring wet weather gear. The temperatures at night and in the early mornings as you get higher up the ABC trail can get very cold. A good winter (4 season sleeping bag is a must). It can also get quite windy so layered clothing with a warm winter jacket is important. I recommend checking out our packing list for the Annapurna Circuit as it applies to ABC as well. https://www.mountainiq.com/resources/annapurna-circuit-packing-list/
we’re looking at doing the trek in early May.
your write up mentions the snow being mostly cleared from lower altitudes but how much snow might be wexpected over the higher sections? do you think that we would we need particular kit for this part?
Hi Jon, it is difficult to predict weather so far out, especially since things can change quickly and dramatically at altitude. In generally there shouldn’t be much snow in May, although you may encounter snow on the Thorung La Pass. In terms of kit, here is a detailed packing list: https://www.mountainiq.com/resources/annapurna-circuit-packing-list/.
Hi – I’ve been spending a bit of time looking through comments to posts on various blogs following on from my trek on the Annapurna Circuit and as I recognise many of the questions I had up to leaving five weeks back I thought it might be useful to offer my thoughts.
I trekked through November and due to what I thought were time constraints essentially did half the circuit on foot, taking the bus from Jomsom to Pokhara after eleven days. That was a mistake and I wish I’d given myself more time, though you will find sections of road that are just unpleasant to walk due to high levels of dust. From Jomsom, many caught the bus to Tatipani to pick up the older trails again and I should have done the same.
But to the question of gear which was mostly my concerns and puzzlement before leaving. I’m always on a tight budget so despite drooling over all the fancy North Face/Rab gear online, I have to find cheaper kit to cope. As Mark says, the early mornings and evenings get pretty cold as you head higher and you’d be a fool not to have a down jacket of some description, even with the extra hassle of carrying something so bulky at the lower altitudes (I certainly found it awkward). However, by the time you’re over 4,000m you’ll be wearing most of that extra gear and pleased you have it with you. Don’t forget the fleece-lined trousers! I found an old Alpha Industries down parka on eBay for $50 which has now become my go-to jacket of choice due to being so reliable. This, along with a wicking base layer, thin fleece top and a casual Uniqlo ultralight high street down jacket that stuffs down really small became my daily dress in various combinations as the day progressed. By the time you hit base camp, you’ll be wearing all of this! Footwear is another thing and whilst I certainly did see people in trainers, it’s ill-advised. Sure, much of the trail is pretty flat but other sections most certainly are not and you’ll be glad of the extra thick soles of proper walking boots and ankle protection they offer to avoid a bad foot placement becoming something much more serious. It’s an exhausting journey and as the air thins so your legs become increasingly tired and simple missteps become more of a hassle. I overcompensated for a missed step, shot my other foot forward for balance and promptly penalty kicked a rock that hasn’t moved for millions of years and certainly wasn’t going to make an expection in my case. Result? A seriously painful toe for the next hour but at least one which was adequately cushioned from something far worse which might have stopped me in my tracks from continuing.
On the sleeping bag issue. I took the risk of going with a three-season down bag, which packed down much smaller than my older, heavier and warmer bag. With a silk liner and whatever blanket you’ll get at a teahouse, I was never outside my comfort rating. No one has asked about trekking poles but I’ll comment here; They’re something of a mixed bag personally. I couldn’t use them initially because I was having to carry my down jacket until I figured a way of hanging it off my rucksack, but then decided I didn’t really feel the need for them for most of the route. It’s worth bearing in mind they add a 25% energy deficit to your exertions as you’re using muscles not intended for walking, so bear this in mind when feeding yourself. They most definitely are needed once you’re heading for base camp, if only to hang off and struggle for air on the steep climb. I found they’re more useful to control your descent (and it’s a long one once over the pass), acting as brakes. So I was glad to have them for the final push but didn’t feel a real need to use them beforehand.
Apologies for hijacking your blog, Mark but I thought as someone who has been back less than two weeks from the trek, my observations might be useful.
Hi! Yesterday me and my brother booked our flights for february 23rd up and until april 22nd 2019. Now I read that this will be the overflow from winter to spring. How cold can we expect around this time of the year? Are we still more in the winter season or already spring season you think? Not sure what we should prepare for.
Thank you very much in advance.
Hi Bianca, February is the tail end of the winter season. April is early Spring in Nepal. Both periods are fine for trekking the Annapurna Circuit, but if you can I would start a little later than your arrival date, say mid to late March to give yourself the best chance of good weather. Here’s a detailed packing list: https://www.mountainiq.com/resources/annapurna-circuit-packing-list/
How will the Annapurna circuit be in this first week of Jan 2019? Is it safe to trek?
It is safe to trek but there could be a lot of snow – the Thorung La Pass may be closed. It is worth checking with locals as you proceed up the trail to get a sense of the conditions and make sure to keep a close eye on the weather.
I will be trekking the circuit from march 19 though the first week of April. I tend to run very hot ( I usually have two layers less than everyone else I’m with). My question is that I have a Patagonia nanopuff (warm when wet – and it is!!!) jacket and both merino and capilene base layers, plus a fleece layer. The guide company ” provides down jackets.” Should I go ahead and trust that they will be warm enough or bring my own?
The caveat is that I’m larger (women’s size 12/14 top) and I’ve found in Asia sizes are not made for us ?
Hi Teresa, to err on the side of caution I would bring your own jacket.
Thanks for your great article, it helped me a lot!
I am going to trek the Annapurna Circuit soon, starting the 26th August.
I have read that the northern area of the circuit is rain-shadow, but I don’t know what villages this northern area correspond to.
We are thinking on shortening a bit the trek, what villages do you think are rain-safe to start and finish our trek?
Do you think there will be snow at all? In the Thorong La pass maybe?
Thank you so much for your great help!
Hi Berta, yes, much of the Annapurna Circuit is in a rain shadow. Unfortunately you still need to start your hike lower down the trail, unless you are pre-acclimatised. The villages further up the trail are at high altitude and many are not accessible by road. Most people start the Annapurna Circuit from Besisahar and finish their trek in Jomsom, where you can fly back to Pokhara. Encountering snow higher up the trail is possible, but generally alte August and September are clear. The most likely point to encounter snow would be the Thorung La. Hope this helps!
Thanks for the info. Appreciate your detailed write up and pics.
Hello, my husband and I are thinking of doing the ABC trek with our two kids aged 11 and 9 during late November, spilling over to the first few days of December. We have previously done EBC but for our kids, this will be their first major trekking experience. Would anyone know if kids this age could handle the ABC trek?
And even though historically Oct-Nov is supposed to be the dry season, has there been a shift in the monsoon season this year? Is it still raining? And if raining, would we have to deal with leeches? Any advice/ comments would be a great help! Thanks!
Thanks for this great blog and your expert answers.
I‘m planning on doing the Annapurna circuit from 1st to 15th March this year with two friends and couldn‘t find a lot of information about this time period.
We‘re wondering how many snow we should expect and how cold it‘ll be. Do you think the pass could be still closed at that time? Is there a high risk of avalanches? Would you recommend to take yak tracks?
Thanks for your help!
Hi Hanna, thanks for getting in touch. It’s difficult to predict weather conditions this far out, but March is a relatively good time to trek the Annapurna Circuit. My advice is to have a plan B but expect plan A to play out. In other words there may still be lots of snow from the winter and it is possible that the pass could be closed, so being flexible with your itinerary is key. But I suspect the pass will be open. I would take yak tracks just in case. Hope this helps!
Thank you so much for you quick response, this helps a lot.
Thanks for the info.
I am currently doing Annapurna circuit, sitting in the guest house as you read this.
My and friend has taken the advice of this article and realised that it has not been inaccurate. We have experienced rain on the trek from dharapani onwards.
We experience chilly winds constantly and from 3000m onwards, there was snow fall.
We at our lodging at 3200m right now and the town is caked in snow. We were cold when we reached. And we have yet to even reach the highest point.
Our guide has told us that the weather has been consistently like this above 3000m. So this was not unique weather.
Stay safe everyone, and pack for cold. The silver lining is that there are outdoor shops around you as you hike.