The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek is a newly established and unique adventure trail within the Annapurna circuit region. While the classic Annapurna Circuit Trek has seen a decline in popularity due to the conversion of most of its route to dirt roads, the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek offers a refreshing and less-trodden alternative. This trek is one of the rarest and most exotic in the Himalayas. Despite its name suggesting an association with the popular Annapurna destination, it remains a lesser-known route in Nepal. The trek encompasses seven high mountain passes, taking trekkers through uninhabited valleys, and connecting the western slopes of Mt. Manaslu to the Grand Barrier. You will traverse untouched forests with a chance to spot the elusive Red Panda and explore the intriguing valleys of Nar and Phu.
The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek has become an attractive choice for trekkers seeking longer and more peaceful wilderness experiences. Spanning 20 days, this trek challenges adventurers with four passes above 5,000 meters. Unlike treks through villages, this route offers a perfect blend of wilderness and culture. Along the way, you'll share butter tea with yak herders, engage in Yarsagumba harvesting with locals, and create lasting memories and stories to share. This trek provides diverse opportunities to experience flora, fauna, and awe-inspiring mountain views throughout the year. The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek is a truly exceptional adventure, offering an off-the-beaten-path experience and a chance to immerse oneself in the untouched beauty of the Himalayas.
Annapurna Seven Passes Trek
The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek is an extraordinary and lesser-known adventure that begins with a few days on the Annapurna circuit trail before diverting towards Khotro and the hidden village of Nache. We venture off the beaten path, traversing dense forests to reach Dona Lake, connected to Mt. Manaslu. Crossing the Tripple pass, we join the Manaslu Circuit trail at Thoche and then set off on another offbeat route to Tache village. From here, we enter complete wilderness, trekking through forests and high-altitude pastures to the base of Mt. Kang Guru.
Continuing our journey, we conquer two passes, Khuchumro and Yarcha, to enter the restricted Nar & Phu region. The trek takes us through narrow canyons and breathtaking valleys where few trekkers have ventured. The solitude and tranquility of this valley create a unique and serene experience. The Nar Phu Valley Trek opened only in 2003 and is one of Nepal's most remote and least explored treks. It leads to the wild and sparsely populated valleys of Nar and Phu, offering an intriguing glimpse into medieval Tibetan culture and customs that remain largely untouched by modern influences.
To explore the restricted area of Nar Phu Valley, a special permit from an authorized trekking agency is required, along with an obligatory guide. The permit is valid for only seven days, necessitating completion of the trek within this timeframe. Passing through the dramatically placed village of Phu, we cross several passes to reconnect with the Annapurna Circuit main trail at Ngawal, passing through the villages of Nar along the way. The adventure continues into the Manang Valley, where we encounter more tourists, albeit briefly, before leaving the highway and entering another captivating valley leading to the Grand Barrier, a massive mountain barrier at 7000m.
The journey includes a visit to Tilicho, the world's highest lake at 4949m, and crossing the breathtaking Mesokanto La pass at 5190m, which offers unparalleled views of Tilicho Lake and the majestic peaks of Annapurna II, III, Ganga Purna, Mt. Manaslu range, and the Chulus. Leaving the Manang valley behind, we enter another enchanting Mustang valley before concluding this remarkable adventure with a mountain flight from Jomsom to Pokhara. The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek promises an unforgettable experience of remote wilderness, unique culture, and awe-inspiring mountain vistas.
- Kongma La Pass
- Cho La Pass
- Renjo La Pass
- Amphu Lapcha Pass
- Thame Pass
- Meso Kanta Pass
- Tilman Pass
As with any high-altitude trek, thorough preparation is essential. Traveling with a reputable trekking agency or guide is highly recommended, and it is crucial to schedule acclimatization days to minimize the risk of altitude-related illnesses. The best time to undertake the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek is during the stable weather conditions of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the views are clear and the weather is favorable.
What justifies the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek?
The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek is deemed necessary due to the increasing development of roads in the region, which has affected traditional trekking routes and the tourism sector. With the decline in traditional trekkers and the rise of those using jeeps to access various points and start their trek, the charm and beauty of the original 21-day Annapurna Circuit Trek have been compromised.
Tourism plays a crucial role in the economic well-being of the local communities, and without it, there is a risk of migration as livelihood opportunities diminish. Additionally, tourism is essential for preserving and promoting the local culture and traditions, keeping them alive for future generations.
While the number of trekkers in the Annapurna Circuit region has remained relatively stable at around 20,000 per year, the shift in the type of trekkers has impacted the overall experience. To cater to the different preferences and time constraints of trekkers, the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek was introduced, offering a variety of choices and routes. This alternative trek aims to preserve the natural beauty of the region, provide economic benefits to the locals, and ensure that the unique cultural heritage remains intact.
Despite the challenges and slower growth compared to other trekking regions in Nepal, the introduction of the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek offers hope for the future, providing opportunities for both longer and shorter treks, and potentially increasing the number of visitors in the coming years.
What Makes this trip Stands Out?
This trip stands out for several exceptional reasons:
Trekking across 7 high altitude passes, each offering stunning mountain vistas.
Camping by the secluded and hidden Dona Lake creates a unique wilderness experience.
Exploring the restricted area of the Annapurna's eco-touristic destination, untouched and preserved.
Witnessing the awe-inspiring views of three of the world's fourteen 8000m peaks - Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Dhaulagiri, and Mt. Annapurna I - along with other dramatic mountains.
Venturing into the restricted and newly accessible Nar and Phu Valley provides a rare and exclusive trekking opportunity.
Immersing in the time-honored cultures of the ethnically Tibetan Nomadic tribes, experiencing their traditions and lifestyle.
Camping by the mesmerizing Tilicho Lake at 4949m, the highest lake in the world, surrounded by majestic mountains.
Visiting ancient monasteries and ruined fortresses along the historic Trans-Himalayan trail.
Enjoying breathtaking views during the mountain flight from Jomsom, flying through the world's deepest gorge.
What are the highlights of the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek?
The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek offers a diverse range of highlights that make it a trek for all seasons and interests. During the summer season, trekkers can witness the beauty of wildflowers in the meadows of Namkyu, set against the backdrop of majestic mountains like Mt. Kangaru, Annapurna, and Lamjung Himal. In autumn, the trek showcases the enchanting changes in the colors of the trees, particularly in the jungle area from Namkyu to Meta. And for those seeking breathtaking mountain views, the Phu Pass, Kangla Pass, and Naar Pass provide the best vantage points. This trek caters to various preferences and offers something special throughout the year.
What changes might we expect for the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek in the future?