Our view on road development in the Annapurna region

Trekking in Nepal's Annapurna region | Sue Badyari
Trekking in Nepal's Annapurna region | Sue Badyari

Ten years ago when we first learned about the proposed developments for roads into some of Nepal’s most popular trekking regions, we admit, while we understood the economic benefits of these roads for the local people we were still quite concerned about the implications for trekkers seeking out a true wilderness walking experience.

We needn’t have worried.

After a reconnaissance in February 2023 to the Annapurna region, where much of those developments are now complete or close to completion, what we saw was very positive. 

It’s been a win-win for both the local people as well as trekkers in regions such as Annapurna, Mustang or Manaslu, where these developments have occurred.  

For trekkers, you are still able to thoroughly enjoy the small villages, towering mountains and the vast tracts of forest that thrive with flora and fauna, with extremely little visual or noise impact caused by the road development. The trekking trails in the higher altitudes of the region remain untouched, nor are there any roads to the famous vantage points, so only trekkers are afforded those views for their efforts!

For the many mountain communities in these regions, they are enjoying the inordinate benefits of transportation to villages or roadheads nearby, movement of goods and access to medical services, amongst other advantages these roads bring to their daily lives.

While there may be roads to some villages, there is very low vehicular use of them. For the most part, visual sightings of roads is minimal. They’re not tarmac and crossing or walking along one is only ever for short distances in the lower regions. 

Mountain communities across Nepal rely on tourism. It is up to travellers and trekking companies to engage in responsible tourism practices and to work toward sustainable development that benefits both locals and travellers. 


It is our genuine belief that this very philosophy has been achieved in Nepal through this road building process. 

Specifically, road developments in the Annapurna region have been carefully planned and implemented to ensure minimal impact on the pleasure of trekking in the area. While some roads have been constructed in the lower valleys for transportation and commercial purposes, as we mentioned the higher altitudes trekking trails in the of the region remain untouched. 

These trails, which may include Annapurna Dhaulagiri, Annapurna Base Camp and Nar and Tilicho Lake, offer some of the most stunning and remote landscapes for trekkers, with minimal to no vehicular traffic disruption. 

Even on the low altitude trails such as the Annapurna Trek, while you may cross a road here or there, the visual impacts are extremely limited and it is unusual to see vehicular traffic, leaving you to wander as always, amid the traditional Gurung and Magar village communities. 

When you’re planning your next trek in Nepal, don’t be put off by what you may have read or rumours of roads. 

We know first-hand, from our guides, staff and travellers, that the trekking experience is still as great as ever and, the mountain communities are better off for them. If you don’t believe us, we would recommend a visit.

Learn to respect it as part of Nepal’s upward progress in a challenging world. We all want to do better, and this is part of Nepal’s effort to make improvements for its people and economic situation.

As for walking in an exotic land with your head thrumming with peace, don’t fret. No one will ever take the magic out of Nepal. A few roads sure won’t.

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Have you trekked in the Annapurna region recently? What was your experience?
annapurna, annapurna trekking

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