10 Day Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary
10 Day Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary
Last Updated on September 14, 2020
If you are planning a trip to do the Annapurna Circuit, check out my full companion guide for Annapurna Circuit trek, with information on costs, applying for all the right permits, whether you need a guide, as well as all the teahouses on the trail.
Can You Really Do The Annapurna Circuit In 10 Days?
2020 Status Update: A lot has changed since I trekked the Annapurna Circuit in 2013, but I reached out to my guide back in Nepal to get all the latest information. Over the past 7 years, roads that were being constructed while I was there have been completed and more have popped up as well. This means that the trek, which used to take 3 weeks from start to finish, can now be done in as little as 8 days. The catch is that you’re no longer doing the entire circuit, but starting further along the route and ending earlier.
No matter how things have changed or how fast you ultimately end up hiking, it is extremely difficult to finish the entire Annapurna Circuit loop in 10 days as it was before. You, however, can easily complete the circuit up to the Thorung La Pass in 10 days and take a bus to finish out most or all of the other half of the loop starting in Jomsom. There’s now even an option to start as far in as Manang, which used to be Day 8 for the original 20 day itinerary, and Day 4 for the 10 day itinerary before. Even though the 10 day itinerary is still considered short, it’s the least amount of time that I would recommend because you lose the first few days of acclimatizing when you start at Manang, which is at 3540m.
From what I’ve heard, the 10 day itinerary is what many people with limited time were doing in the first few years after I did it. It’s really about 8 days of trekking because you spend the first day getting from Kathmandu to Beshisahar and then take a jeep to the village of Chame (29 km into the trek) to begin hiking on day 2. The last day is transportation from Jomsom to Pokhara, where you can fly back to Kathmandu or take another 6-7 hour bus. Here’s what a 10 Day itinerary typically looks like if you go with a tour/guide.
Fast 10 Day Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Bus from Kathmandu to Beshisahar. This takes about 6-7 hours with stops along the way.
Day 2: Drive by 4WD from Beshisahar to Chame. This takes about 5 hours.
Day 3: Hike about 5-6 hours Chame to Pisang. You end up at around 3200m elevation by the 3rd night.
Day 4: Hike 5-6 hours from Pisang to Manang. You slowly gain another 340m.
Day 5: Spend the day in the village of Manang to acclimatize. You have the option of doing a 5-6 hour trek to an ice lake that’s at 4600m to acclimate.
Day 6: Hike 5-6 hours from Manang to Ledar. You spend the night at 4200m elevation. This is the biggest elevation gain so far, hence the extra day in Manang to acclimate and rest.
Day 7: Hike 5-6 hours from Ledar to High Camp at 4833m. There’s a short, but steep hike at High Camp that a lot of people do during the day to be at a higher elevation before sleeping at 4833m.
Day 8: Hike before dawn from Highcamp to the Thorung La Pass. You reach the highest point of elevation on the trek at 5416m. From here you descend down to Muktinath at 3760m. This takes about 8 hours.
Day 9: Hike about 6 hours from Muktinath to to Jomsom dropping down to 2720m.
Day 10: Take a 9-10 hour bus or a 1 hour flight from Jomsom to Pokhara.
For advanced and acclimated hikers: To get from Besisahar to Birethanti/Naya Pul and complete the full trek, it’s 211 km or 131 miles. That’s comes out to about 13 miles a day over 10 days. While this seems very doable, you would have had to already be acclimated to altitudes near 4500m. For people who are properly acclimated, it is definitely possible to hike the 107 km or 66 miles to High Camp (the stop before the Thorung La Pass) in 5-7 days. You can skip the day of acclimating in Manang and start the hike on Day 1 to one of the few first villages.
On each of the days, you would either hike faster or longer and stop at one of the villages in between the proposed itinerary. The advantage to this is you avoid the main crowd who congregate in those villages. The disadvantage is those in between villages are much smaller and have fewer options for accommodations. By Day 6, you should be able to get to the Pass and start your descent. Days 7-10 gives you 4 days to hike the 90 kms from Muktinath to Birethanti/Naya Pul. There are optinos now to bike part of the way down to the end.
It’s all downhill, but it’s also very exposed to the elements during this stretch.
Should You Do The Annapurna Circuit In 10 Days?
If you are really limited on time, then sure, follow that itinerary and you can do most of it yourself without a guide. Just go to a travel agency and arrange all the transportation to and from the start/end of the hike. It will save you some time. I do recommend hiring a guide though, just to make things a little easier for you, and to help support the Nepalese economy.
Otherwise, I recommend you give yourself at least 14 days to get through at least 3/4th of the entire circuit. This is one of those hikes that people dream about, so if you get the chance to do it, what’s another few days? It’s a trip of a lifetime, so make the most of it and go at a safe and enjoyable pace.