Winter Trekking in Nepal (December, January, and February)

Winter Trekking in Nepal Annapurna Region

December, January, and February are the months of winter in Nepal. Less number of trekkers visit Nepal during the cold seasons. With autumn and spring being the best trekking seasons, winter also provides a handsful trekking experience. Winter trekking in Nepal is overlooked but the season is dry as there is hardly any rainfall during this time.

The average high temperature during the winter season is 19°C and the average low temperature is 2.4°C. The temperature varies according to the location and also the elevation. The Himalayas can get negative temperatures during the morning and night time with warm temperatures during the day.

Trekkers have started to get fond of the winter season as it provides crystal clear skies and amazing views of the landscapes. The weather is mostly stable during the winter making it favorable to trek with proper preparations. The lonely routes add joyful experience to the trekking adventure while you’ll need to be extra careful if you are planning for Winter Trekking in Nepal.

Annapurna Region Trekking in Winter
Annapurna Region in Winter

Best of Winter Trekking in Nepal

Winter Trekking in Nepal is still favorable for high altitude treks with travelers making their journey to Everest Base Camp. Annapurna Base Camp, and Makalu Base Camp. However, as the extreme winter comes closer only lower altitude treks i.e. below 4000m are recommended. There are various short treks to choose from for the winter. Here is the list of best winter treks in Nepal:

Everest View Trek

Everest View Trek is a short trek and covers the major highlights of the Everest region. The Sagarmatha National Park, Namche Bazaar, Phakding, and the sherpa communities are an important part of this trip. The Everest View hotel just above the Namche Bazaar provides an excellent view of Mount Everest and the Amadablam. The main reason this trek is famous and favorable for winter is that you can still see and experience Everest as well as the region while staying less than 4000m from the sea level.

  • Maximum altitude: 3880 m 
  • Difficulty: Easy

Everest Panorama View Trek

The Everest Panorama View Trek’s major attraction is the Tengboche Monastery. The place Thyangboche itself offers a panoramic view of the high mountains. The trekking goes through Namche Bazaar, Khumjung village, Khunde, Monjo and finally to Tengboche, Monjo are the trekking routes of this trip. The cultural diversity of Nepal can be experienced through this trek. 

  • Maximum altitude: 3867m 
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Annapurna Khopra Danda Trek

The trek offers a close view of the Annapurna and the Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. The beautiful rhododendron forests will cheer you up on your way to Khopra Danda. Other highlights of the Annapurna Khopra Danda Trek include Poon hill, Kopra ridge, Khair Lake, Ghandruk. Other great things about this trek are the Gurung and Magar settlements you will come across. 

  • Maximum altitude: 3855 m 
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Tamang Heritage Trail

The trek routes include the Tamang settlements, their lifestyle on the way to the Langtang region. The cultural and colorful life of Tamang people will help you understand the ancient history of Nepal. The major highlights of the Tamang Heritage Trail are views of Langtang mountain range, Tatopani, Nagthali, Thuman, Syabrubesi. 

  • Maximum altitude: 3154 m 
  • Difficulty: Easy

Rara Lake Journey Far West

Rara lake trek is one of the fascinating treks, a journey into Far western Himalayas of Nepal. The major highlights of this trek are Mt. Api and Mt Saipal peaks. The beautiful Rara lake offers the best view and there are many places around it to explore. 

  • Maximum altitude: 3800 m
  • Difficulty: Easy

Festivals you can witness during Winter Trekking in Nepal

These are the festivals that are celebrated during the winter season.

Gyalpo Losar

The festival is celebrated as the Tibetan New year. The ethnic groups that celebrated this festival are mainly Sherpa, Tamang, Bhutia, and Yolmo. The festival is celebrated for weeks but, the first 3 days are important. The houses are cleaned, special beverages are prepared, feasts are organized to celebrate the festival. Traditional dances and special spiritual chants are performed in monasteries.

Maghe Sakranti

It is a harvest festival. After weeks of planting during the month of Asadh, it finally comes to harvest it. The festival is also celebrated to put back the colder days and welcome the warmer days. People share sweet potato, sesame seed candy, Chaku, ghee with each other. The main god that is worshipped on this day is Lord Shiva. 

Christmas Day

Nepalese mainly the Christians celebrate this special day. People organize parties, decorate Christmas trees, exchange presents at Christmas. Christians offer a visit to Churches and worship Lord Jesus for prosperity and well-being. Pokhara Street Festival and Thamel streets have special events, concerts for celebrating Christmas.

Maha Shivaratri

The festival is celebrated to worship Lord Shiva. Devotees from around the world gather at Pashupatinath on this day. The sadhus and other chants special mantras all night long to honor the protector. People across the Kathmandu valley organize bonfire and prepare for the holy meal.

Sonam Losar

The Sonam Losar is the Tamang people’s new year. Tamangs are the horse warriors who reside at the foothills of the majority of the places around Nepal. The people celebrate the festival with joy and perform special rites and rituals. Most monasteries and stupas around Nepal have monks gathered around them. The masked dances, special chants are performed for the prosperity of family and loved ones.

Average Temperatures during December, January and February

Kathmandu PokharaLuklaLuklaNamche BazarJomsomGhandrukEverest Base CampAnnapurna Base Camp
HighLowHighLowHighLowHighLowHighLowHighLowHighLowHighLow
December2041823.3-16.37-65-1213 24-145-8
January1831431-18.27-83-141224-177-18
February2151641.9-16.26-64-121333-156-16

Winter Trekking in Nepal – FAQ

Does it snow in Nepal in December?

Nepal experiences snowfall every year in the regions above 3000 meters. Snow falls mainly in the Himalayan region like Everest, Langtang, Annapurna, Kanchenjunga and Manaslu regions. 

Is it a good time to trek in Nepal in January?

Yes, winter provides surreal views of the high peaks and mountains. The winter is generally dry with less chance of rainfall. However, the weather is too freezing, so getting yourself good warm clothing is recommended if you wish to trek.

Does it snow in Kathmandu in Winter?

The chances of snowfall in Kathmandu is barely minimum. However, you may experience snowfall during the month of December in the top hills around Kathmandu such as Phulchowki, Chandragiri.

What are the best short treks in Nepal in December?

December has clear skies and provides surreal views of the mountains. The following are the best short treks in Nepal if you wish to visit during the month of December. 
Everest Panorama Trek
Poon Hill Trek
Annapurna Khopra Danda Trek
Everest View Trek
Pikey Hill Everest Trek
Annapurna Panorama View Trek

How cold is Nepal in January?

Nepal experiences it’s coldest temperatures during the month of January. Temperatures go down below the freezing point in some places and might even get extreme at the higher altitude trekking regions.

Winter trekking is overlooked at times but there are both sides to it like any other time of the year. Do read our complied list of pros and cons of winter trekking in Nepal.

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