With several peaks over 7000 metres and with the soaring silhouette of Annapurna I rising to 8091 metres, the Annapurna massif is regarded as one of the most spectacular mountain regions in the world.
Considered by some as the secondary destination for trekkers in Nepal, the Annapurna trails actually offer a far greater variety than the Everest region. You can choose between relatively easy walks through the fertile foothills and terraced farmland or more demanding, high altitude treks, such as the classic Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Sanctuary routes.
Access to the main trails is incredible easy. The starting point for most treks is the pretty lakeside town of Pokhara, just a short drive from Kathmandu. With a relaxed feel it’s the perfect place to spend a few days gathering last minute kit and enjoying the delicious cakes from one of the many bakeries lining its streets. A good pre-trek warm up is to hike to the Japanese Peace Pagoda, where the views of the Annapurna Range in the distance give a glimpse of what to expect along the way.
For those wanting a gentle option a four day hike through the foothills is an ideal way to begin. Passing small villages there is plenty of time to soak up the relaxed atmosphere while the great bulk of the sacred fishtail mountain, Machhapuchhre is visible for much of the time. A sunrise climb to the top of Poon Hill gives the chance to see the entire Annapurna Range turn pink as the day begins as well as helping work up a hearty appetite for breakfast.
Experienced trekkers will enjoy the challenge of the Annapurna Circuit, a route that starts in the lowlands before climbing above the tree line to rocky terrain and then crossing the Thorong La Pass (5416m) above the snow line. A shorter trek to Annapurna Sanctuary offers rare and inspirational chance to sleep within a natural amphitheatre surrounded by the giants of Annapurna I (8091m), Machhapuchhre (6993m) and Gangapurna (7455m) among others.