Situated in the Gorkha region of Nepal, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the most unexplored trekking destinations in Nepal. Encircling the world’s eighth highest peak, this trek promises to give you an isolated and front-row seat to nature’s grandeur.
With newly gained popularity and limited footfall, the Manaslu Circuit trek takes you on a journey of over 177kms, full of tranquility. During this trek, you will be surrounded by the stunning panoramic vistas of several mighty mountains like Mt. Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Shringi Himal, Annapurna II, and other surrounding peaks.
During this captivating journey, you will experience an ever-changing backdrop of different landscapes including terrains, fields, beautiful waterfalls, and more. The Manaslu Circuit trek route takes you to the Nepal-Tiber border area along the trails of the Budi Gandaki River.
This remarkable trek provides the visitors with a tandem of post-card perfect scenery and a soul-filling cultural experience. Along with this, the trek also provides you with an adventurous experience along the rough and challenging trails.
As you travel through the ancient salt-trading route along the Budhi Gandaki River, this trail takes you to the Nepal-Tibet border. The blooming rhododendrons add colors to your memory, along with other beautiful flora and fauna.
Being a restricted area, the Manaslu Circuit Trek requires you to obtain a special restricted area permit and prohibits you from trekking alone in this region. Once you have obtained the permit, the trek starting from Machha Khola at 900 m (2952 ft) takes you to an elevation of 5215 m (17,105 ft) at the Larkya La pass.
The Manaslu Conservational Area spanning from Arughat to Larke La pass alone features six climatic zones within a matter of 100kms. Differing in altitude as well as topography, the sections of the trek display tropical, subtropical, temperate, subalpine, alpine, and arctic climatic conditions.
Fostering a wide range of habitats as well as plant species in the diverse bio-climatic zones, Manaslu region is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. It inhabits 33 species of mammals, 110 species of birds, 11 species of butterflies, 2000 species of plants, 11 types of forests, all along the Manaslu Circuit trail.
All in all, the Manaslu Circuit trek could be the perfect next adventure for a person seeking thrill as well as tranquility in the midst of the magical Himalayas.
However, the unpredictability of this off-the-beaten region could pose a challenge in deciding the perfect time for the trek among the travelers. Despite the Manaslu Circuit region being open always, specific seasons cater to certain specific preferences of the trekkers.
To get the best out of this trek according to your trekking preferences, it is always good to select a suitable season based on your needs. After all, the season affects your entire experience of the trek ranging from the trail to the temperature to the entire atmosphere of your journey.
In this blog, we explore the trekking experience in the Manaslu region during every season. So read on and pick your preferred season that can aspire you to tackle all the challenges and even drag your feet till the end if need be.
Spring Season for Manaslu Circuit Trek: Season of Scenic Delights (March to May)
With Spring begins the peak trekking season in Nepal, spanning from the month of March to May. During these months, the travelers get to experience the Manaslu region in its most vibrant form with the blooming landscapes and pleasant weather and temperatures.
If you are someone whose trekking preferences are comfortable weather, blooming flora, and many photography opportunities, spring season is the perfect fit for you. Hailed as the best time for trekking the Manaslu Circuit route, Spring season offers you a delightful trekking experience along these trails.
The biggest advantage that these months offer as the optimal trekking season are the moderate temperatures. Starting from a sub-tropical climate, you can experience temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F) at lower altitudes. The average temperature at this altitude is 20°C (68°F), which is comfortable for trekking.
However, as you reach higher altitudes, the temperatures range from 5°C (41°F) to 10°C (50°F) and drop up to -0°C (32°F) at night at altitudes over 2,500 meters (8202 ft). Therefore, you must be prepared with appropriate gears to combat the cold as well.
Adorned with the hues of red, pink, and white, the Manaslu Circuit trail welcomes the trekkers to a background painted with colors. The blooming national flowers of Nepal- Rhododendrons, locally known as Laligurans, paints a post-card perfect scenery for the visitors.
Springtime brings the lush forests to life with a vibrant display of magnolias, alpine flowers, and other different seasonal flora. Adding more beauty to the canvas, the stunning waterfalls create a picturesque setting making the Manaslu Circuit trail come to life.
The season also makes the wildlife more active, presenting you with opportunities to spot several local animals and birds. Some of the species you might encounter are Himalayan Marmots, Langur monkeys, and a wide range of beautiful birds.
The skies are clear, and you get the immaculate view of the mighty Himalayan peaks like Mt. Manaslu, Shringi Himal, Ganesh Himal, Annapurna II, and other beautiful mountains. These stunning vistas present you with the perfect opportunity to photograph the peaks with the backdrop of blooming flowers.
The Manaslu region being a testament to the Tibetan culture, you might get to experience local festivals like Lhosar during these months. You get to immerse in the Tibetan culture while witnessing the traditional performances and being part of the local celebrations.
However, certain challenges might come your way during the spring season if you are someone who prefers a quiet experience of trekking. Being the ideal time for trekking, Spring season is the choice for many trekkers.
Despite the trail having a low footfall compared to other treks, the spring season brings a significant number of crowds to the trek. As a result of this trekker traffic, you will find the trail filled with trekkers along with limited availability at the tea houses.
As the trekkers’ traffic is maximum during this peak season, it is advisable to book your accommodation, guides, and permits in advance.
Manaslu Circuit Trek in Monsoon: A Challenging Adventure (June to August)
Spanning from June to August, Nepal welcomes the monsoon/summer season during which the country experiences a noticeable shift in the climatic conditions. While monsoon is usually not a preferable season for trekking, embarking on the Manaslu Circuit Trek in the Summer/Monsoon season presents the trekkers with its own set of pros and cons.
The temperature of the Manaslu Circuit trail during monsoon is not a problem as it ranges between 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F) at lower altitudes. As you ascend higher, the temperature gets cooler, averaging between 5°C (41°F) to 15°C (59°F). You might experience temperatures of 5°C (41°F) during nighttime at an altitude of over 2500 meters (8202 ft).
However, the trail will experience frequent cloud covers blocking your view and the less and less predictable weather of this region might cause sudden fluctuations in the temperature. The visitors are sure to experience frequent and intense rainfall throughout the trek, especially at lower altitudes.
The landscape gets rejuvenated with the rains, making the vibrant scenery full of greenery and blooming flora. With blooming rhododendrons and wildflowers, the hillside comes to life. Despite the challenging weather, the heavy rainfalls add to the beauty of the cascading waterfalls, offering you a scenic view of the region.
If you are someone who enjoys serene and intimate trekking experience, the monsoon season in Manaslu Circuit is the best catch for you. The trails have fewer crowds given that monsoon is an off season for trekking.
Festivals like Janai Purnima can give you a chance to indulge in the local hospitality as you immerse yourself into the unique perspective of the Himalayas during the monsoon. Although, you must take precautions against leeches and other insects as monsoons lead to an increased number of leeches along the trail.
The rainfall makes the trail much more challenging as the trekkers are to experience muddy and slippery trails. As the Manaslu Circuit route contains many steep ascents and descents, the trail becomes treacherous posing increased risk of accidents.
While these challenges can be dealt with using proper gears and complete caution, the trekkers might also face other predicaments due to the rainfall. Unexpected disruptions like landslides, trail obstructions, or swollen river, can cause potential disruptions in the itinerary of the Manaslu Circuit trek.
Trekkers going for Manaslu Circuit trek might miss out on the essence of the trek as you might not be able to get a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas due to the cloud cover. The wildlife is also not very active during monsoon.
As Monsoon is not a preferred trekking season along the route, teahouses are not open during the season. Despite the perk of experiencing the Manaslu region and the Himalayas in a different light, it is not recommended to trek the Manaslu Circuit during Monsoon. The trail is not safe as the disadvantages weigh over the advantages.
Experiencing the Manaslu Circuit Trek in Autumn (September to November)
The autumn season spanning from September to November attracts equal number of tourists as Spring season as it is also a prime trekking season in Nepal. Autumn season is considered an optimal time for trekking the Manaslu Circuit region due to the favorable weather, comfortable trails, and the beautiful scenery it brings along.
At lower altitudes of the Manaslu Circuit trail, the trekkers will experience mild temperatures ranging from 10°C (50°F) to 25°C (77°F). As the trail extends to higher altitudes, the temperature range drops to 0°C (32°F) to 10°C (50°F). Nights are slightly colder, and at even higher altitudes like the Larkya La pass, trekkers should be prepared to encounter temperatures going up to and below -5°C (23°F).
As you move along the rough terrains of the Manaslu region, you will witness a vibrant atmospheric setting. The skies will be clear with zero to mild rainfalls, and you can experience panoramas of ethereal mountains.
Autumn represents the pre-winter season. Therefore, all the mountains that you see will be snowcapped. You can get the stunning vista of Mount Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Himchuli, Shringi Himal, and others. Although, you must be prepared with appropriate gear as you might witness snowfall even in the month of October due to global warming.
The trail passing along the Budi Gandaki River along with the majestic waterfalls provides the trekkers with enchanting background music of flowing water. Along with this, the trekkers will encounter chilled breezes indicating the arrival of winters, experiencing an unparalleled tranquility.
The lush blooms of rhododendrons and other alpine flowers will start to transform into a palette of vibrant colors such as red, orange, and yellow. With the change in foliage, the trekkers will encounter lots of scenic views along with many photography opportunities.
People embarking on the Manaslu Circuit trek during the autumn season get to witness the Manaslu region in all its might. It is the time of peak seasonal beauty along with the flora, fauna, and the mountains presenting a perfect picturesque setting to the visitors.
Along with this, autumn season offers the trekkers with cultural experiences, the highlight being the local celebration of the Hindu festival of Dashain. The rugged trail of the Manaslu Circuit trek along with the monasteries, prayer flags along the trek in the dry months of autumn is a true testament to the untouched beauty of this region.
However, you might come across some challenges as autumn is a sought-after season. Possibilities are you might find congestion in the trek resulting in limited options for accommodation. Due to the trekker traffic, getting permits can also be a challenging task.
The crowd during the trek could disrupt your tranquility and might not provide an experience as intimate. The Manaslu region having unpredictable weather, you might come across some unforeseen weather challenges as well.
Therefore, it is advisable to make timely bookings for accommodation, guides, and the permits, along with preparation of appropriate gears.
Trekking to Manaslu Circuit in Winters (December to February)
The winter season adventure in the Manaslu Circuit trail completely transforms the experience of this trek. Encompassing the months of December, January, and February, this season presents unique challenges amidst the mighty mountains in the Manaslu region.
The winter season along the trails of Manaslu Circuit comes with its own challenges and rewards. The biggest challenge being the difficult and extreme weather conditions of the region.
The temperatures at lower altitudes range from 5°C (41°F) to 10°C (50°F), while at the higher altitudes it can go below the freezing point. Trekkers need to be prepared with proper gears as the temperatures go below the range of -10°C (14°F) to -15°C (5°F) during nighttime.
Blanketed in snow, the trek offers an ethereal landscape with white vistas and tall snow-capped mountains in the background. Differentiating the experience from all other seasons, you will find frozen waterfalls and crystalline views throughout the Manaslu Circuit trek.
The trekkers can experience snowfall at times providing them with perfect photography opportunities amidst the serene trekking journey. As the season poses several challenges, there is a minimal crowd in the trail during winters. Therefore, people who want intimate trekking experience can enjoy the breathtaking scenery on the trek.
In this winter wonderland, the trekkers can experience stark yet contrasting views against the pristine snow created by the bare trees in the region. You will not encounter much wildlife as it is the season of hibernation.
Despite the cold, the skies are almost clear, offering you a crisp view of the essence of the trek, i.e. the towering mountains like Manaslu and other surrounding peaks. As the Manaslu region is quiet and calm during the winters, you might not experience a grandiose cultural experience during this season.
However, as we ascend towards the Larkya La pass, the journey becomes more and more difficult. The snowfall might lead to blocked trails while making navigation more and more difficult. In case of blockage, your entire itinerary might be affected, leading into a predicament.
Besides this, there might be an increased risk of avalanche due to the unpredictable weather. The trekkers might also experience medical challenges like frost bites or other inconvenience due to the extreme cold.
Some of the teahouses or lodges might be closed or limited due to the extreme weather. Therefore, it is important to inquire and plan accordingly with enough preparation. With proper preparation and precaution, you can enjoy the unparalleled beauty of the Manaslu region draped in snow during the winters.
Therefore, all the seasons have their own challenges and rewards during the Manaslu Circuit trek in Nepal. The prefect season for you depends on your own preferences. We recognize the importance of being able to customize your experience to your next trekking adventure.
Be it indulging in the energy of the peak season or traversing the trail in solitude during off season, the choice of picking the best season for you lies in your hands. Regardless of the season you pick, be sure to go with adequate preparation and planning so that you can truly enrich the memories of the beautiful and serene Manaslu region.