Trekkers take a break to enjoy the views | Lachlan Gardiner
If you’re planning a trip to the Himalaya and are after a quick answer on when the best time to trek is, well, the answer is, “it depends”! Generally speaking, there is no absolute best time for everyone; your Himalaya experience will depend on how you feel about crowds, how high you are planning on trekking, and your tolerance for heat, cold and rain. Each Himalaya season has its pros and cons, and with our handy guide, you should be able to choose the trekking season best for YOU so you can get the most out of your trip.
Spring is the perfect season to trek in Nepal if you're after warmer temperatures, blossoming flora, and temperate days. Early spring tends to be a bit chilly, with mild temperatures in the low elevation regions between 800-2,000m (2,600-6,600ft), making trekking in areas such as lower Annapurna very pleasant. As winter fades away and spring pushes in, temperatures in regions with elevations over 4,000m (13,000ft) have moderate temperatures, making way for sunny, clear and warm trekking conditions.
Considered one of the best seasons to trek and climb in the Himalaya, spring brings not only with it the sun and warmer temperatures, but fields of blossoming wild flora such as the famous giant rhododendrons, giving the landscape a radiant and vibrant texture.
Pro’s for spring trekking
- Temperatures in upper hill and lower mountain ranges reach between 16-23ºC (61-73ºF).
- Pleasant, warm trekking conditions in the day and warmer nights.
- Snow that accumulates during winter melts away by April, clearing paths for high mountain passes over 5000m (16,400ft) such as Cho La, Larkya La or Thorung La.
- Clear skies early in spring mean less chance of flight cancellations into mountain districts such as Lukla.
- Fewer trekkers compared to October and November, which means more chances to experience the remote corners of the Himalaya.
- Spring is Everest climbing season in Nepal which makes this is a great time to trek to Everest base camp.
Con’s for spring trekking
- As it gets closer to summer, trekking can get hot and sweaty at a lower altitude.
- Afternoon clouds are common (with generally clear nights and mornings) which can bring clouds and brief downpours.
Recommended treks in spring:
Summer typically brings the monsoon rains from late May to mid-September in Nepal, so trekking during this time is not typically recommended in Nepal. With the monsoon comes high temperatures, considerable rain and uncomfortable conditions. Mountainous regions are usually enveloped in clouds, and the lower routes are generally muddy with large numbers of leaches.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the glory of the Himalaya from June to August! This is THE time to trek in the Indian Himalaya and Ladakh is incredible this time of year. Protected from the monsoon and high on the Tibetan plateau, Ladakh enjoys a largely dry climate throughout the summer months, with clear skies, uninterrupted views and stunning scenery.
Pro’s for summer trekking
- Ideal conditions in the Indian Himalaya, protected from the monsoon. Opportunities to experience Tibetan culture and stunning high Himalayan scenery.
- Villages and trails in Ladakh have far fewer trekkers than Nepal, which means you can enjoy the beauty and solitude of the mountains without the crowds.
Con’s for summer trekking
- Not a good time for trekking in Nepal. The monsoon leads to wet and humid conditions, with obscured views and muddy trails.
Recommended treks in summer:
Embark on a summer adventure in the Indian Himalaya and experience the remote and beautifully wild areas of Ladakh.
Considered the best trekking season in Nepal, it’s hard to fault the clear skies, moderate days and fantastic trekking conditions that autumn brings. After the monsoon the dust and pollution are cleared from the atmosphere, making way for crystal clear views and with it, stunning panoramas of the Himalayan mountain ranges.
Depending on the intensity of the monsoon, the best time to trek generally starts around mid-September. Once the weather has settled, most days feature clear blue skies and a bright sun that lasts throughout the day, unlike in Spring, when cloud builds up in the afternoon. Towards December the evenings begin to cool off quite quickly, especially at higher altitudes, making warm trekking gear and sleeping bag a must!
Pro’s for autumn trekking
- Days tend to be warmer, but nights are colder heading into winter.
- The weather is stable and sunny, with clear skies and gorgeous views.
- The temperature in the upper hill and lower mountains reach about 15-24ºC (59-75ºF).
Con’s for autumn trekking
- Generally with better weather comes more travellers, and this definitely holds true to autumn trekking in Nepal.
Recommended treks in Autumn:
Experience the best that the Annapurna region has to offer on the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Book on the Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar trek between for crystal clear skies and sublime panoramas.
For most people it is too cold to trek to high altitude regions in Winter in Nepal; daytime temperatures can range between 9-12ºC (48-54ºF), and evenings can drop to sub-zero temperatures. If the cold doesn’t bother you, it is a great time to trek to the more popular places such as the Everest region, because there are far fewer people around compared to October and November, as well as the lower to mid-altitude trails, where the temperature remains fairly pleasant. Our Christmas and New Years' treks in Nepal are always very popular for just this reason.
Mornings can start foggy, but afternoons are usually clear with the occasional snow in the mountains. With this in mind, high passes such as Thorong La (5,416m/17,769ft) in the Annapurna region, and the Kongma La (5,545m/18,192ft), Cho La (5,335m/17,503ft), and Renjo La (5,420m/17,782ft) in the Everest region are usually closed from late November to March.
Pro’s for winter trekking
- Fewer people on the trail mean no crowds.
- The sky is often very clear and blue during the day.
- The monasteries are great to visit in winter and some fresh snow on the hills is great for photography.
Con’s for winter trekking
- Many of the high passes are inaccessible due to snow coverage.
- Colder temperatures require more planning and preparation, but the rewards are worthwhile.
Recommended treks in Winter:
Explore the lower regions of the Annapurna for dramatic views of the Annapurna range and comfortable trekking conditions on the Annapurna Trek.