The Annapurna region is the most versatile and rewarding trekking destination in Nepal. The main Annapurna Circuit Trek takes you through a wild and varied landscape, from subtropical jungle to high alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks.
However, the Circuit is just the starting point for exploration in this region. Many side trips can make your trekking even better. Here are the five best side trips to take on your next Annapurna Circuit trek.
Tilicho lake (4919m)
The first and most obvious choice for a side trip is Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world. The trail to Tilicho branches off from the main Annapurna Circuit trail at Manang and takes two extra days to complete.
It’s well worth it, though, as the scenery is stunning, and you’ll get bragging rights for completing the highest lake trek in the world.
Tilicho lake is a stunning glacial lake nestled in the mountains. The views are breathtaking, and it’s worth the extra effort to get there.
Gangapurna lake (3540m)
The 3,540-metre high glacial lake is created from the glaciers of Mt Gangapurna (7,454m), Annapurna IV (7,525m), Khangsar Kang, and Glacier Dom. It can be reached by 20 minute’s walk from Manang village.
The Gangapurna Lake, which appears blue during the summer and autumn, white throughout the monsoon season, and is blanketed in snow during the winter, is venerated by the locals
Poon Hill (3219m)
Poon Hill is one of the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal. The hill, at an elevation of 3219 meters, offers stunning views of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges.
It can be reached by a short and easy hike from Ghorepani, which is a stop on the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Poon Hill is the perfect place to watch the sunrise or sunset over the Himalayas, making it an essential part of any trip to Nepal.
Milarepa Cave (4250m)
Milarepa’s Cave is located at 4250m (13,943 feet) in braka, a small village of Manang. This is the place where the great Tibetan Yogi Milarepa is said to have meditated for years. There’s even a tale about a hunter who tried to shoot Milarepa at this location.
The cave is not difficult to find and can be reached by 2 hours of walking from the village. Although the cave is on the smaller side, it’s worth going for both the interesting backstory and picturesque surroundings.
Kagbeni is a beautiful medieval village situated at the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and Mustang rivers. The village is home to several ancient monasteries, temples, and caves.
This little village is one of the most beautiful places in the Kaligandaki Valley, which many trekkers don’t care about while heading to Jomsom or beyond. This is one of the must-see locations in the valley and an excellent place to visit and explore.
Should I make a side trip during my Annapurna Circuit trek?
The answer to this question depends on what you want to get out of your trekking experience. If you’re looking for stunning scenery and the opportunity to explore some of Nepal’s most beautiful places, then definitely take a few side trips.
If you just want to complete the main Circuit, you can probably skip the side trips and save some time. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have an incredible time on your Annapurna Circuit trek.
Choosing the right side trip
With so many options available, choosing the right side trip for you can be hard. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision:
-How much time do you have?
-What is your fitness level?
-What are your interests?
-What is the weather like?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and choose the right side trip for you.
Risks Associated with side trips
While side trips can definitely add to your trekking experience, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved.
Side trips often take you off the beaten path and into more remote areas, where help may not be readily available if you need it.
Make sure you’re well prepared before setting out on any side trip and always let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
Another risk is getting injured, as many side trails are more challenging than the main trail. Be sure to take your time and watch your step, especially if you’re not used to hiking at high altitudes.
Finally, remember that the weather can change very quickly in the mountains. Check the forecast before setting out, and be prepared for anything.
These are just some of the many side trips that you can take on your next Annapurna Circuit trek. You will have an amazing time in this beautiful region with so much to see and do. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!