Trekking in Nepal Winter Weather
30 Dec 2022 Chandra Gurung
What if we said that hiking in Nepal winter weather is also a fantastic experience and shouldn’t be written off out of hand? Some of the distinctive benefits of trekking in Nepal in the wintertime are the clear skies, the most incredible mountain vistas, the calmer paths, and the mild temperatures ideal for hiking. You see views you would never see in the spring and fall as the landscape transforms.
Generally speaking, the two most significant times of year to travel to Nepal are spring and fall, whether for leisure travel, climbing, or trekking. In addition to these two, Nepal winter weather is a fantastic time to travel for leisure trips, hiking, and trekking.
Here, we share with you the opportunities and choices for trekking in Nepal during the winter so you don’t have to stay indoors this winter and let your boots and equipment collect dust in the back of the closet.
When is Nepal’s Winter?
The coldest month in Nepal’s winter is January, which lasts from December through February. The seasons of spring, autumn, winter and summer/monsoon are all experienced in Nepal. The two best times to visit Nepal are in the spring, from March to May, and in the fall, from September to November. The temperatures will be the lowest at this point in the year. The daytime temperature will be ideal for hiking as soon as the sun rises.
How Chilly Is It in the Nepal Winter Weather?
Ascending higher will result in a decrease in temperature. The coldest season of the year is winter (Dec to Feb), when temperatures below zero are typical at elevations of 3000 metres or more. Trekking will be ideal during the cool daytime, although the morning and evening hours will stay chilly.
December: Maximum 18-21 Degree, Minimum 3-6 Degree
January: Maximum 15-18 Degree, Minimum 0-3 Degree
February: Maximum 19-22 Degree, Minimum 4-7 Degree
December: Maximum 19-22 Degree, Minimum 6-8 Degree
January: Maximum 16-19 Degree, Minium 3-6 Degree
February: Maximum 20-22 Degree, Minimum 6-9 Degree
December: Maximum 10-13 Degree, Minimum – 2 to 2 Degree
January: Maximum 6-8 Degree, Minimum -4 to 0 Degree
February: Maximum 9-12 Degree, Minimum 0 – 3 Degree
December: Maximum 10-12 Degree, Minimum 0-3 Degree
January: Maximum 7-9 Degree, Minimum -5 to 0 Degree
February: Maximum 9-12 Degree, Minimum 2-5 Degree
Conditions on the Trail
With minimal risk of rain, the trail conditions are excellent in the winter. The ideal circumstances for hiking in Nepal during the winter include dry paths and cool temperatures during the day at lower elevations. But by late December, snow begins to fall at higher elevations (often 3000m+), and it does so intermittently into February. During this time of year, the snow typically blocks the high passes and routes.
The trail conditions are good, with a dry path and cool weather ideal for hiking, for lower elevation treks like the Tengboche Monastery Trek, the Annapurna Poon Hill Trek, and the Langtang Valley Trek.
Trails Covered in Snow
During winter hikes in Nepal, snow is likely on the paths. The trails will be covered by thick snow throughout the winter. Therefore higher, altitude trekking is not advised. Winter makes it more challenging to locate trail remnants. Even in the winter, it is possible to go on a trek up to Tengboche Monastery in the Everest region, Poonhill in the Annapurna region, Kyanjin Gompa in the Langtang region, and other treks that don’t surpass 4000m. While trekking in Nepal during the winter, we firmly advise getting Gore-Tex clothing, including a jacket, pants, and gaiters.
Lodges in Nepal’s hiking region are still open and operating during the winter. Every winter, the lodge owner alternates between the Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang regions to manage the lodge and serve the tourists. Although the options will be restricted, finding a room at this time of year is significantly simpler. To share the warmth from the stove, you might also be welcomed to the kitchen. Additionally, upgrading to adjoining bathrooms is very affordable at tea houses and lodges.
Since visitors decrease dramatically during the winter, you might be trekking alone. Winter is the best season if you choose quieter trails and would like the mountain to yourself. At this time, the locals also escape to the city, so there will be fewer people around. However, people will be on trial to meet your needs.
With brighter skies and less precipitation, winter offers the most incredible vistas. The views you get are probably not seen even at the peak season, with snow covering the ground and clear mountain views in the background. If you are a photographer, now is the opportunity to capture the ideal image of nature, snow, and bright skies.
What Should I Bring?
Because the temperature will drop steadily as you climb higher when trekking in Nepal in the winter, you will need to pack more than usual. For winter treks in Nepal, it’s imperative to pack warm thermals, a quality parka jacket, Gore-Tex gear, snow gaiters, fully waterproof hiking boots, a sleeping bag rated at -20 degrees, and warm hats and gloves. We urge you to thoroughly research the area you intend to go through before you pack. If you need any current news or information on any trekking areas in Nepal at any time of the year, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Can I Hike Alone in the Winter?
It is advised to go hiking with someone in the winter. As we previously stated, it will be challenging to locate any signs of a path due to the recent snowfall. Due to the cold, you may need to pack more goods than usual. Thus having someone to help you and carry your kit is highly advised. Going solo on shorter hikes like Poonhill is acceptable.
Highlights of Nepal Winter Weather Trekking
- At this time of year, when the sky is clear, and the amount of precipitation is at its lowest, the views are more apparent.
- You enjoy sights that are missing in the spring and fall.
- Take in the tranquillity as the pathways get quieter.
- Requires little effort in logistics (Accommodation, Flights, etc.)
Where Can I Go Trekking in Nepal During the Winter?
High-altitude treks with high passes and camping excursions are not advised for winter hiking in Nepal. Base camp treks are very achievable, including those to Everest base camp and Annapurna base camp. You can explore the following popular winter walking routes:
1. A Trip to Everest Base Camp
If you have a guide, you can trek to Everest base camp throughout the winter. Even in the winter, the lodges are open, and the views are breathtaking. When hiking to Everest base camp in the winter, hire a guide and pack some warm clothes.
2. Trek to Tengboche Monastery
The shortest ascent to Tengboche Monastery, the largest Monastery on Everest, is the ideal wintertime excursion in the Everest region. The vistas and experience are unmatched despite the elevation not exceeding 4000m. Snow is probably present higher up from Namche, but this only makes the experience more enjoyable and gives you a chance to experience winter hiking differently. On this walk, most teahouses would be open throughout the entire winter.
3. Trek up Annapurna Poon Hill
Annapurna Poon Hill Trip is another well-known shorter-distance trek to take into account during winter. At the peak of Poonhill, the trip ascends to a height of 3200m. The sights from Poon Hill in the winter are particularly distinctive and diverse, offering views of completely covered snow mountains and more open skies.
4. Trek to Langtang Valley
After Everest and Annapurna, Langtang is Nepal’s third most popular hiking destination. Even in the winter, it is possible to hike up to Kyanjin Gompa, the last village in the Langtang valley before the Tibetan border. If you had intended to hike up to Kyanjin Ri or Tserko Ri, there would be more snow above Kyanjin Gompa.
5. Trekking Pikey Peak
The Pikey Peak Trip, located in the lower Everest region, is another winter trek in Nepal to consider. Pikey Peak Trek ascends to a height of 4200 meters and offers a sweeping panorama of the mountains from the Annapurna Range to Kanchenjunga. There is probably nowhere else where you can see the panoramic vista from Pikey Peak, and the view of Everest and Lhotse is spectacular.
6. The Annapurna Base Camp (December)
Another winter trekking option in Nepal is climbing Mt. Annapurna’s south base camp. However, there is a substantial risk of snow avalanches on this walk because of the trail’s geographic location leading to Machhapuchhre Base Camp. Trekking is okay in the early winter, but it should be avoided from late December through mid-March because this area collects more snow and has a high avalanche risk. The massive snowstorm that hit Annapurna base camp in the winter of 2018 severely damaged every teahouse and lodge.
7. Trek in the Kathmandu Valley
The Kathmandu Valley Trek will be the ideal choice for you if you desire luxury and closeness to the Kathmandu Valley while hiking. The journey passes through popular tourist destinations, including Chisopani, Nagarkot, and Dhulikhel, all of which provide stunning mountain views.
Helpful advice for Nepal winter weather trekking:
- Avoid travelling alone to high-altitude locations and passes because the pathways will be covered in snow and difficult to follow.
- Verify the equipment you packed by going over your list again.
- Since the days are shorter in the winter, depart early.
- To keep the hot water warm for a more extended period of time, bring a decent thermos and a covering for your water bottles.
- Because the power tends to run out very rapidly, bring extra battery packs for your camera.
- Obtain current information about the area you will be travelling through.
- Because it will take longer than normal for your items to dry after being washed, bring extra socks and undergarments.
- Consider the weather prediction while making plans.