Winter season in Nepal begins from the month of December. It lasts till the end of February. Nepal being a mountainous country has a lot of snowfall during the winter season. Thus, winter is one of the best season for trekking in Nepal if you are looking forward to walk in the snowy trials and enjoy the magnificent view of the snow-capped mountains. The mountains and the routes are comparatively highly covered in snow in the winter season than in the autumn and spring.
As the weather in this season is drier and colder compared to the other seasons, there is less crowd in the Himalaya areas as some people prefer avoiding the cold temperature. The nights in the mountainous region can get quite chilly, even falling to -25 degrees, so make sure you have enough warm clothes and thick sleeping bag.
The forests and hills along the way are covered with white snow from above 1500 m – 2000 m altitude. This is the best weather for you to trek in the Himalayas of Nepal if you are wanting to get the full experience of being in a mountainous region, want to play in the snow and avoid the crowd. But for that, you need to be fully prepared beforehand.
Except for the Upper Mustang trek, almost all the other popular trekking routes are open in the winter season.
Highlights of Trekking in Nepal in Winter
- Less crowd resulting in better accommodation and flooding.
- Cold and dry weather.
- Clear skies to have great views of the mountains.
- Snowy trails and snow-covered hills and forests.
- Frozen lakes, streams and rivers.
- Drastic fall in temperature during night time.
What to expect?
The trekking regions during the winter season are less crowded as the temperature is very low and people prefer avoiding the cold temperature. This helps in passing the routes faster as there are not many trekkers, and there is the availability of more options for accommodation and fooding facilities to choose from. You will get to walk along the snowy trails, and the surrounding is simply awesome for taking pictures.
The lakes and rivers in the higher altitude get frozen, making the view look breathtakingly beautiful. The skies remain clear and blue in the day time, offering you a great view of the peaks and massifs. And in the night time, they are full of twinkling stars.
It feels surreal to be spending your days in the lap of nature away from the dust, noise, and stress of everyday life. These memories are forever to be captured in your hearts, making you feel alive and amazing every time you think to recall it.
December-February is the coldest months of the year. There is heavy snowfall in the higher altitude of the country and the average temperature ranges from 15°C during the daytime too -10°C during night time. The climate is dry during the daytime and if it is sunny then it will be warm. You can have visibility problems due to the mist if you are planning to start your trek early in the morning.
During the daytime, the visibility will be very clear. Winter is one of the best seasons to have great views of the mountains. Hiking and trekking are considered to be perfect during winter as the temperature will keep you cool and the spectacular starry skies will result in a great visibility of the surroundings.
Suggested Trekking Destinations.
Everest Panorama Trek is a great destination in Nepal to explore during the winters. It lets you enjoy and experience the adventure and joy of being alongside the mountains of Everest region like Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Thamserku, Mt. Tawache, Mt. Ama Dablam, and many more from the Everest view hotel in Namche.
The winter enhances the experience of trekking presenting a splendid panoramic view of mount massifs at all places of the journey including Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche and the Khumjung village among many others.
You can explore the Sagarmatha National Park, Tengboche monastery at Tengboche village. The famous Himalayan town of Namche Bazaar, Khumjung monastery at the Khumjung village, take photographs in these places and collect some beautiful memories. This is a great way of spending your leisure glancing at the beauty of nature and relishing the moment.
Passing through the snowy trails, looking at the snow-capped mountains and the clear sky with twinkling stars at night that the region offers is a feeling too good to be true.
Winter is undoubtedly one of the best times to be in the Everest Base Camp, with the necessary gears and best team of guides. The Everest Base Camp is used by mountain climbers during their ascend and descend and also visited by tourists. The trek to Everest Base Camp starts from Lukla where we reach after about a 45 minutes flight from Kathmandu. Lukla is the Gateway of Everest region.
As you trek up the valley from Lukla, you will be surrounded by the sky-touching peaks, such as Cho Oyu, Nuptse, and Lhotse. Namche Bazaar will be your acclimatization destination before you ascend any higher.
The downfall in Everest Base Camp during winter is very low though the temperature goes below zero degrees. Therefore, a clear and splendid view of the snow-capped mountains and some awesome photography is always assured. You will be glad for making this wise decision of trekking in the winter once you are on the trail as there will not be many people trekking there due to the off-season for trekking in the Everest region.
There will be the availability of more lodges to choose from at a good price and the meals will also be cheaper. You will also have options to choose from some popular trekking trail to the Everest Base Camp for winter. But the best and classic route would be Lukla-Everest Base Camp. It is also the most popular and direct route to the 18,192-foot peak of Kalapatthar, a viewpoint for the sunrise and the best view of Mount Everest.
As the weather gets much colder in the higher altitudes, it is suggested to trek until the base camp only and not approach a climb to the summit. From the base camp, you will explore Gorak shep, the largest monastery in Tengboche, Sagarmatha National Park etc and descend back to Lukla.
Annapurna base camp trek is an amazing walk to the base of the world’s 10th highest mountain Mt. Annapurna (8091m) of Nepal, through diverse landscape and culture complete with rich mountain vistas, terraced fields, traditional Gurung villages and a wide variety of flora and fauna. The trekking starts from —- to Annapurna Base Camp.
The weather in the mountains is quite cold during the winter. While trekking in the Annapurna Base Camp during the winter, look for the possibilities of rainfall, snow and the number of sunshine hours. This will help you to prepare well before the trek. The temperature differs in different parts of the trek as the routes to ABC are from the lower altitude regions to higher altitude regions. But it doesn’t get higher than 20°C anywhere along the trek.
It is easy to find accommodation in the Annapurna Base Camp during winter as the season is not much popular for trekking. You can also bargain for some discount on the prices of rooms and meals and can get some offers as well. The rooms will not be occupied due to a low number to trekkers. So, you can have the blankets of the other rooms to yourself as well to deal with the cold temperature. Have yourself layered in warm clothes while trekking to the Annapurna Base Camp.
It is necessary to pay extra attention to the outermost layer of your clothing. Thus, it should be the thickest of all the layers. Moving further above from the base camp is not suggested during winter as there are high risks. Trekking to the Annapurna Base Camp in the winters can be one of your fondest memories ever created and you will surely cherish it forever.
Ghorepani Poonhill Trek is the ultimate short trek in the Himalayas that is suitable for people of all ages. It is 4-5 days of trek and the ultimate destination of this trek is Poonhill (3,210m), from where you get to view the Annapurna range, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Nilgiri, Lamjung Himal, etc. Trekking to Ghorepani in winter is a good idea as it is a low altitude trek and the trails are open during winter.
Poonhill offers you a spectacular view of the sunrise and snow-capped mountains as it is the viewpoint. You can either follow the Ghandruk trail and explore Gurung community on your way to Ghorepani or follow the Ulleri trial, nevertheless, both trail offers you splendid views with the snowfall and excitement.
You can expect snow at Ghorepani, Poon Hill, and Tadapani due to which the trail between Ghorepani to Tadapani and any other forested areas can be very slippery. As fewer people tend to come to Nepal during winter, thinking it will be cold with a lot of snow which is not necessarily true, there will not be much of a crowd in the trails or the lodges.
Therefore, you will have a better feeling of being in a peaceful environment and be able to choose better accommodation from among many options, at a lower and discounted price. As the trek is not particularly cold in winter and the skies are clear, you will be able to see the panoramic view the majestic snow-capped Annapurna massif, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Nilgiri, Lamjung Himal, etc.
The early mornings and nights will be cold but warm enough if you are well prepared with your clothing. The daytime temperature will reach around 15°C. You can keep yourself warm by the fires on the teahouses in the evening. You will have a wide variety of accommodations on Ghorepani to choose from with majority of rooms sharing twin beds.
You can also get yourself a room with an attached bathroom for the same price and enjoy the meals while not having to wait for a long time as the kitchen will be less busy and won’t be packed.
Chisapani Nagarkot trek is most popular among those who have lesser time in Nepal and are willing to experience natural beauty. It is designed to provide you a unique opportunity to explore the diverse wonders of nature, rural Nepal and the awe-inspiring majesty and beauty of dramatic mountain views.
The trek follows the trail of Sundarijal climbing up the water pipes which supplies water in Kathmandu Valley. During winter, the trails are covered with snow which makes the journey more exciting and beautiful as you get to take a lot of pictures and play with the snow.
You will also witness Shivapuri watershed and Wildlife reserve offering rich insight into the culture, lifestyle, and traditions of the locals living in this region, on your way.
The view of mountains like Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Ganesh Himal, Mt Dorje Lakpa, Mt Gaurishanker and many more will be overwhelming during the winter covered in snow, as they should be. If you are not wanting to spend a lot of days due to the cold temperature but still want to go for trekking, Nagarkot Chisapani Trek is the best as it is easy and short trekking of 2-3 days.
Once the sun begins to rise from behind the Himalayas, it looks spectacular as the mountain changes its color. The accommodation along the trail is great and cozy to suit any budget. They provide you with best services. The meals are proper as well.
In the evening, you can keep yourself warm by drinking some soups. You will also visit Namo Buddha situated at an elevation of 1750m which is a very important Buddhist Pilgrimage located in Kavre district. Nagarkot Chisapani Trek in winter can be a very exhilarating and enriching experience.
Mardi Himal Trek is an unspoiled yet short and easy trek in the Annapurna region. The trek follows beaten trails of shepherds as it still provides summer grazing. Mardi is highly diverse with cultural insight, beautiful forest walk and alpine landscape.
The trial turns out to be beautiful and captivating during the cold when it starts snowing. The majestic view of Mt. Machhapuchhare and Annapurna range can be seen best from Mardi.
You can view glaciers and experience snowfall along the trail while trekking in this region during winter. The landscape of Annapurna seems breathtakingly beautiful as it is fully covered with snow. You will be able to discover the dazzling scenery and dramatic panoramas of the Mardi Himal, Fishtail, Annapurna and Himchuli peaks.
There will be less crowd in the trails and in the lodges. Thus, you will be able to walk in peace, playing with the snow and get good rooms in the Lodges at cheaper price. Spending your days trekking to explore the beauty of the landscapes and Himalayas and lifestyle of the people living in this region during winter can be a pile of memories you will never forget and moments you will cherish forever.
Langtang is the third most popular trek in Nepal after the Annapurna and Everest regions. This trek lies in the nearest Himalayan region from Kathmandu. Langtang Valley Trek is a pleasant short trek that offers spectacular close-up views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers of Langtang Lirung (7246m), Kimshung (6781m) and Langshisha Ri (6370m).
The trail encompasses some of the most prepossessing natural sceneries found in the country. This trek also passes through the Langtang National Park, which is the first Himalayan National Park in the country.
During winter, the weather in Langtang Valley is sunny and warm with a chance of a clear mountain view and open sky for more than 80 percent. But, it is a bit colder in comparison to Kathmandu Valley due to the high altitude. The temperature during the daytime ranges from 6°C-9°C (42.8°F-48.2°F). But the nights are much colder with temperatures dropping to minus degrees.
In winter you get to explore the snow-blanketed Langtang valley under the deep blue skies as well as towering waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and glaciers. You may notice periods of snowfalls, harsh winds and uncomfortable weather conditions as it is a mountainous region.
Winter is the less preferred season for trekking in this region. Thus, you will find the trail less crowded with few trekkers and more empty rooms in the lodges resulting in wide range of options to choose from. So, Langtang trek in winter is the better option for those who want to explore nature and click pictures in peace and quietness.
Equipment required for trekking in Nepal during Winter
The mountain regions at the higher altitudes are cold during winter with heavy snowfalls. But some trekking areas are open and with the right equipment and warm trekking gears, the falling temperature is not the problem.
These are the lists of essential trekking equipment which you need to carry on your trek.
- Duffel or Rucksack Bag
- Sleeping bag
- Down jacket
- Sun hat or scarf
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
- Thick, warm wool hiking socks
- Thin, lightweight inner socks
- Gaiters for hiking in winter
- Hiking boots with spare laces
- Camp shoes (sneakers/sandals)
- Lightweight gloves
- Waterproof shell outer
- Heavyweight gloves or mittens
- Under Garments
- Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
- Lightweight cotton long pants
- Waterproof shell pants (preferably breathable fabric)
- Fleece or wool pants
- Light and expedition weight thermal tops
- Fleece Wind-Stopper Jacket
- Fleece jacket or pullover
- Waterproof shell Jacket
- Headlamp with spare bulbs and batteries
- Sleeping bag rated to zero degrees
- Large plastic bags- for keeping items dry inside trekking bag
- Trekking Bags/Duffel bag
- Basic First Aid Kit
- Water bottles
- Day pack
- Trekking poles
- Earplug (optional if you can’t sleep listening to snores of your group members)
- Toiletries and Personal Hygiene
- Quick-drying towel
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Multipurpose soap/ hand wash
- Antibacterial handwash
- Tissue / Toilet roll
- Feminine Hygiene products
- Face and Body Moisturizer
- Wet wipes
Extra / Luxuries (Optional)
- Pillow case
- Trail Map/ Guide Book
- Sleeping bag liner
Winter is an excellent season for trekking in Nepal as the weather is usually settled and the skies are deep blue and clear displaying perfect view of the snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes and streams, glaciers, snow-blanketed villages, and less crowded trails.
The mountain views are perfect with low humidity and precipitation. The lodges also offer the best rooms, services at a cheaper price with special winter discounts and you will not have to wait long to enjoy your meals.
It is obviously colder than autumn and spring but with the right equipment and best team of guides, trekking in winter can be more fun and satisfying.
Usually, trekking to higher altitude is not recommended in winter but you can still trek in the lower altitudes of Nepal with the crowd-free trekking trails enjoying the peace.