There are hundreds of trekking route in Nepal grading from easy to hard. As such, all of these trekking routes have their own specialities and adversities, which can dampen your mood if not assessed properly. So, before you start your journey to the mesmerizing trekking routes of Nepal; make sure you know about the best time to trek in Nepal. Nepal experiences four seasons i.e. autumn, spring, summer/monsoon, and winter; all of which provide a different kind of experience to the travellers. And, all these seasons are the best time to trek in Nepal.
There are several travel issues that one must be aware of when choosing the season to travel to Nepal. Different seasons offer varying weather conditions. The temperature is mostly warm on lower altitudes but as you up to the distance from the sea level, the variation of temperature also changes accordingly making it colder on higher regions. The higher regions are also prone to more weather changes than the lower regions.
Accessing the best time to trek in Nepal can be a piece of cake if you just consider these factors. The following information on the four seasons of Nepal might give you an insight on when you ought to start your journey.
Spring in Nepal
Dhaulagiri Himalayan range
Known as the king of seasons, spring in Nepal starts from late February and ends on the month of May. It is the end of winter and the start of summer so you will be able to encounter the blossoming flowers and the fresh sprouts growing out of branches that were left lifeless by the winter cold. The cool breeze and warm temperature serve as a plus point for travellers making it one of the most suitable seasons for any type of treks in Nepal. The cool weather is not the only advantage of spring, there are also fewer chances of adverse climates so you will have to face lesser flight delays than other seasons.
Temperatures at higher altitude during spring are still cold, but warmer than that of winter. The snow is still not melted so it is the best time to go for mountain treks as you will get to view the beautiful panoramic view of snow-covered peaks. You can also enjoy small tea house treks on the hills with a beautiful view of the calm rivers and stretch of hills and Himalayas at the top. The lower plains are however hot and humid, yet still suitable for small treks especially on deep jungles that surround the plains. Flora and fauna enjoy the spring just as much which is why natural treks on national parks and conservations areas are the most enjoyable during this time. The Rhododendrons in full bloom is a sight to see for any travellers that want to dwell in the forests of Nepal.
The trails reaching up to your destinations will be dry and more equipped since it is one of the peak seasons for trekking activities in Nepal. The accommodations during spring are mostly well-facilitated but there is always the problem of lodges being too packed. Keep in mind that you might have to share a room with strangers or if not there is a possibility of you not getting a room at all so be prepared and book a room earlier.
In higher altitudes, Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base camp are the most popular trekking destinations to enjoy Base camp treks. Likewise, Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Everest Panorama Trek, and Manaslu Circuit Trek are some of the ideal treks that showcase the specialities of the spring season in Nepal.
Don’t be surprised if you see Pashupatinath flooded with hundreds of Sadhus (Hindu Holy men) smoking in marijuana and hashish, enjoying the night of Lord Shiva on the occasion of Shivaratri that falls in spring. Lhosar (the Buddhist New Year) and Ghode Jatra are also celebrated at this time. Similarly, you can also enjoy viewing the streets of Nepal covered in colours so as to celebrate the festivals of colour- Holi.
Do keep in mind to have light but warm clothes. The days are hotter but the nights are cold so make sure you are properly dressed for both situations. Medicinal kits with bandages and pain medicines can come in handy while trekking. The changing weather might be bad for your health so make sure that you are well covered and ready for the trek for the best experiences only.
Autumn in Nepal
Annapurna Base Camp
Autumn greets you at the end of monsoon in the month of September and lasts till November. It is the best season to trek in Nepal because of the clear mountain views and the cool climate. The trekking trails are at the best condition at this time. There are also fewer chances of flight delays or cancellations so you can enjoy your time without having to worry about not being able to fly back at your scheduled time.
Cool winter air blowing directly from the Himalayas greet you in Autumn, making the temperature just right to go for a trek be it in lower plains or high mountains. Greenery surrounds you from everywhere, the lush hills, and the frolicking fauna makes for a perfect time to delve in natural treks and wildlife safaris. September is a bit warmer with the reminiscence of the summer heat and the days are still long; however, as you enter the end of November the days get shorter and the nights chillier. Places in high altitudes are cold but bearable, giving trekkers the perfect climate for a mountain trek. The places on lower altitudes, on the other hand, are warm but not on the level of extremely hot.
You can enjoy tea house trekking to small and large hills, spending your nights on the traditional tea houses to get experience of the rural lifestyle of Nepal. Mountain treks or base camp treks are also just as popular as in spring because of the clear and unobstructed view of snow-clad mountains glistening in the sun. As such, Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Langtang Valley Trek, Tsum Valley Trek, and Ghorepani Poonhill Trek are the popular treks that are perfect during the autumn season.
Cultural treks are the rave during this season because the major festivals of Nepal are also celebrated during this time. Internal tourists will join you on the trek at this time which is why it is the perfect time to learn the traditions and beliefs of Nepalese while enjoying the rich culture of Nepal. The main festival of Nepal, celebrated by the whole nation, Dashain falls in autumn. The festival of lights- Tihar is also just around the corner.
The con is that the trails are crowded with not only international but also national tourists who travel around Nepal. Food and accommodations can be found at a reasonable price because of it being the peak season but at the same time, you need to book rooms earlier on so that you don’t end up sharing a room with a stranger.
Make sure that you are equipped with the best trekking equipment. Also, you should pack warm and comfortable clothes, especially in higher altitudes. It is better to carry a sleeping bag with you on longer treks just in case. It is better to be equipped with a small medical kit in case of emergencies.
Summer and Monsoon in Nepal
Summer, in Nepal, lasts from May through August accompanied by the hot and humid climate. By mid-June, you will be facing heavy rains signifying the start of monsoon which lasts till the beginning of September. The trekking routes during summer, for the lack of better words, are wet, warm and wild. You can see green valleys and terraces of rice crops around the nation.
The temperature during summer, especially in the lower plains can go up to 30 degrees. However, the hills and mountain regions are somewhat cooler because of the tropical forests surrounding the area. The starting months are cooler. As you reach August as the days get hotter and more humid.
Monsoon is the best season for small cultural treks around the capital city Kathmandu. Tea house treks around Kathmandu can also be enjoyed with your friends and family as nature is the most active during monsoon. One of the most popular and active trekking site to visit during the summer is Gosainkunda, where thousands of pilgrims travel every year during mid-July to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Janai Purnima. However, rain-shadow areas like Upper Dolpo and Upper Mustang are open for trekking even during monsoon season. Thanks to their geographical location, these regions see little to no rainfall. Thus, Jomsom Muktinath Trek, Upper Dolpo Trek, and Upper Mustang Trek are the perfect trekking choices during the rainy season.
The rain also means that the mountains and sceneries covered with clouds making it harder to enjoy the mesmerizing nature and the flights are frequently delayed or cancelled. Given the heavy rain and changing weather conditions, most of the trekking routes are empty. The cost of food and accommodations are also higher as it is an off-season for trekkers.
However, long mountain treks, as well as natural treks, are mostly avoided by trekkers. It is also advised against travelling to higher places because the trekking trails are slippery and dangerous.
If you are planning on going on a trek then do expect a wet journey. Make sure you have your best waterproof gears with you along with safety equipment. Remember that the water source can be polluted because of the rain so make sure you only drink filtered or boiled water. Another thing to be wary of is the changing weather, it is better to access the weather for the following days and only continuing the trip if you know it is safe to travel.
Winter in Nepal
In Nepal, winter starts from the month of November and ends in February. The freezing nights and the warm sunny days accompanied by the views of glistening. While winter offers difficult weather conditions to trek, it is undoubtedly one of the best times to enjoy the Himalayan panorama.
Higher altitudes are almost always on below zero degrees while the lower altitudes are also on single digits. Months from mid-November to mid-January are coldest with different parts of Nepal experiencing snowfalls. This can cause cancellation and delay of flights as well. Places below the altitude of 2500m are the most suitable to travel in winter.
Short natural treks along the lower hills can be enjoyed with your family and friends since the trails are dry and there is less danger of wild animals. Short mountain treks can also be enjoyed because the view from the top is mesmerizing. Most of the mountains are covered in snow up to the base which is why they seem closer. Also, the weather is clearer and there are fewer chances of obstruction of your view. As such, Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Pikey Peak Trek, Everest Panorama Trek, Kathmandu Rim Trekking, etc. are few of the notable trekking options during the winter season.
It is also one of the best times for peaceful travelling as the trekking routes are less packed so that you can enjoy your trek in peace. Accommodations and food can be a little more expensive than peak seasons but they are well-equipped. However, accommodations like teahouses and lodges in higher altitude are often closed since people migrate to a lower altitude to avoid cold. Thus, it is best to make proper arrangements for the high altitude trips beforehand.
Do remember to pack warm clothes along with woollen caps, earmuffs and socks to keep you warm. There may be chances of avalanches in higher altitudes so make sure to gauze the safety before recklessly travelling.
Since Nepal has abundant natural and cultural beauties, there is no lack of places to visit at any time of a year. However, each season has its own speciality and offerings; so, it is better to gauze the pros and cons and planning properly before the trip. It is a given that whichever season you decide to go on a trek in Nepal, every season offers a bunch of trekking destinations. Therefore, any season can be the best time to trek in Nepal which will easily become one of your most cherished memories in your life.