Annapurna Circuit Weather - What To Expect

Annapurna Circuit Weather – What to Expect on Your Trek


When you factor in freezing conditions and the monsoon season, much of Nepal cannot be trekked for large portions of the year.

However, because of the Annapurna Circuit’s location, weather is considerably different here than in the other major regions and actually makes trekking possible throughout the year!

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.

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 – Location

The Annapurna Region is actually situated in what is known as a ‘rain-shadow’ area and, as such, 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 favourable 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 whilst night are usually just on 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

About the Author Andrew Roux

Andrew is one of the senior writers at Mountain IQ. A native of South Africa, Andrew has hiked and climbed all over the world. His favourite destination is Nepal and his most memorable hike was to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro!

Leave a Comment:

David Lariviere says March 12, 2017

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.

    Mark Whitman says March 12, 2017

    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!

Tony says March 15, 2017

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?

    Mark Whitman says March 15, 2017

    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!

      Tony says March 19, 2017

      Great, thanks David

    kalaiselvi says March 17, 2017

    hi,tony , good luck for your adventure journey.
    hope to meet you there, we too heading at same day.

Agne says April 5, 2017

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!

    Mark Whitman says April 6, 2017

    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:

      Agne says April 7, 2017

      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?

Trish says April 7, 2017

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!!

    Mark Whitman says April 10, 2017

    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!

Adele says April 11, 2017

Hello 🙂

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!

    Mark Whitman says April 11, 2017

    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!

Richard Tumin says May 5, 2017

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!

Jennifer says May 30, 2017

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. )

    Mark Whitman says May 30, 2017

    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!

Daf says June 11, 2017

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?

    Mark Whitman says June 11, 2017

    Hi Daf, you should be absolutely fine by late September. All the best!

Paula says July 5, 2017

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?


    Mark Whitman says July 5, 2017

    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!

Nico says July 16, 2017

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!

Paul says August 13, 2017

Hy guys!

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

    Mark Whitman says August 17, 2017

    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!

Paul says August 13, 2017

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?


    Mark Whitman says August 17, 2017

    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!

Ali says August 19, 2017

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!)

    Mark Whitman says September 1, 2017

    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!

Drew says August 20, 2017

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!

    Mark Whitman says September 1, 2017

    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!

Tiffany says January 13, 2018

Hi Andrew,

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.

    Mark Whitman says January 13, 2018

    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!

Schuyler says January 18, 2018

I’m planning on doing this trek within the next couple weeks. Have any idea on the weather and etc?

    Mark Whitman says January 18, 2018

    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!

sarah says March 16, 2018

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!

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