Added by John Sides
See a highlight reel of the Annapurnas on this 3-5 day trek, with stunning views of peaks including Annapurna South, Machapuchre (Fishtail), and Dhaulagiri. Experience Nepal’s mountain villages, rhododendron forests, and some of the most iconic views of the Annapurna range.
For those who find themselves in the beautiful country of Nepal without the time to devote to a lengthier trek like the Annapurna Base Camp (7-10 days) or Everest Base Camp (12-14 days) treks, the Ghorepani - Ghandruk trek is an excellent option. Probably most known for its panoramic sunrise views from Poon Hill, this trek packs in some of the best that the Annapurna range has to offer in the span of a few days.
Take a short flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, then drive 2-3 hours up into the mountains to Nayapul. This trek is most often done clockwise (Ghorepani → Ghandruk), so traveling the opposite direction will help avoid crowds and offer views that get better each day. Like many of the more popular treks in Nepal, there are numerous tea house accommodation options that allow you to go at your own pace and break up the trek into smaller sections if needed. Below is a suggested itinerary for the abbreviated 3 day version:
Day 1. Trek 4-5 hours to the village of Tadapani (2721m). Catch the first glimpses of Annapurna South and Machapuchre, the unclimable mountain. Machapuchre means “Fish Tail” and has been referred to by some as the Matterhorn of Nepal. Lots of elevation gain in this stretch.
Day 2. Trek 4-5 hours from Tadapani to Ghorepani. Elevation gain is less intense, but is still uphill the majority of the way. Hike through rhododendron forests for much of the day, looking for monkeys and other wildlife and enjoy incredible open views from Gurung Hill. Finish the day with a gradual descent to the mountain town of Ghorepani (2874m).
Day 3. See sunrise from Poon Hill (40 min hike uphill from Ghorepani) and then trek 5 hours from Ghorepani to Ulleri. At 3210m Poon Hill is the highest point of this trek, and certainly offers the best views of Dhaulaghiri (7th highest mountain in the world), and numerous other peaks over 8000m. The hike from Ghorepani to Ulleri is almost entirely downhill, and as you descend steep stairs for several hours you’ll be thankful that you chose to do this route in reverse!
- October is definitely busy season because it offers the best weather with the most reliable clear views. To avoid crowds, consider a colder month like November or February, which still tend to be consistently clear but see less crowds due to the cold. Be prepared for winter weather.
- Bring your own water bottle and a way to purify or filter water, as plastic bottled water is banned in a growing number of places in an effort to keep the Annapurna Conservation Area cleaner.
- A local guide is not necessary for navigating this trek, but can be a great resource for helping to book trekking permits, lodging, meals, etc. And it can also be a good way to support the local economy.
- Permits: TIMS (Trekking Information Management System) permit and Annapurna Conservation Area permit. Can be obtained in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
- Recommended clothing: Reliable hiking boots, merino wool base layers and socks, quick dry short sleeve shirt, quick dry pants, long sleeve shirt, fleece, down jacket (depending on the season), rain jacket, warm hat, gloves, sun hat, sun glasses.
- Equipment: Warm sleeping bag (blankets available in most guest rooms), med kit, trekking poles, and a map
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