The Annapurnas are rightly famous as one of the most scenic regions in the entire Himalaya. It’s here that you’ll find accessible hiking trails leading to quaint hillside villages, picturesque homesteads cultivating terraced fields of rice and barley, and shaded paths through groves of blue pine, resplendent with twittering birdlife and the furtive rustlings of shy mammals. You’ll stand witness to the mesmerizing sight of iconic snow-laden summits rising above the clouds: Machapuchare, Hiunchuli, the Annapurnas themselves, and Mardi Himal. While many visitors come to this part of Nepal to undertake the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, we’ve been inspired to craft an itinerary which takes you off the beaten path. This is the Mardi Himal Trek: a new route that has only been open to international travelers since 2012. If you’ve ever wanted to witness the majesty of the Annapurna region without the crowds, this is the trek for you.
Don’t think for a second that the Mardi Himal Trek is a lesser alternative to any of the more famous routes in the Annapurnas. This is an unforgettable adventure that takes you through verdant jungles, across swiftly flowing rivers of glacial meltwater, and through pastoral settlements populated by diverse groups of people representing Nepal’s many different ethnicities.
The trail crisscrosses its way beneath the unmistakable fishtail-shaped summit of Machapuchare as it ascends to high pastures, marvelous mountain vantage points, and quiet guesthouses catering to travelers seeking the path less traveled. And because the entire itinerary can be completed in just over one week, this route is an excellent option for trekkers who don’t have time to spend multiple weeks on the trail. This combination of accessibility, natural grandeur, and cultural authenticity makes the Mardi Himal Trek a true hidden gem that’s just waiting to be discovered.
The Mardi Himal Trek begins from the city of Pokhara, situated alongside the reflective waters of Phewa Lake. This uniquely photogenic town is widely regarded as the adventure capital of Nepal. After enjoying the sights and sounds of the city, you’ll embark upon a grand journey into a bona fide Himalayan wilderness. With each step you take, you’ll ascend higher and higher through the forested slopes of the Annapurnas, reaching the evocatively-named milestones of Forest Camp, Low Camp, and High Camp. No matter the season, stunning vistas of raw natural beauty will reveal themselves to you around every corner.
The trek is renowned for blossoming rhododendron flowers at the height of spring, terraced fields flourishing with the first flush of summer rain, clear mountain panoramas and crisp autumn air, and glittering winter landscapes of ice and snow. If you’re in search of unspoiled alpine bliss, look no further than the Mardi Himal Trek.
Highlights of the Mardi Himal Trek
The Mardi Himal Trek takes you deep into the Annapurnas: a region famous for its rich, untarnished natural beauty. You’ll be hiking through an area of astounding biodiversity, and you’ll have the chance to encounter some of the many animal species which call these mountains home. Keep your eyes peeled to catch a glimpse of the tree-dwelling red panda or Nepal’s national bird, the danphe. The opportunity to spot wildlife against the spectacular backdrop of Himalayan summits like Dhaulagiri and Machapuchare is an indisputable highlight of this itinerary.
Booking the Mardi Himal Trek also means you’ll also get to have cultural encounters in both urban and rural settings. You’ll visit Nepal’s most picturesque city, Pokhara, where you can enjoy fine dining and a cruise on Phewa Lake. And once you hit the trail, you’ll meet with villagers of Rai, Limbu, and Chhetri ethnicities to learn about their unique ways of life. This enticing combination of natural beauty and genuine cultural interaction is what makes the Mardi Himal trek truly special.
Is the Mardi Himal Trek Difficult?
The Mardi Himal Trek reaches a maximum elevation of approximately 4,200 meters. In fact, this is one of its biggest draws: it’s a rare treat to achieve such amazing views of Himalayan scenery without ascending to much greater heights. And while it’s possible to encounter altitude sickness on this itinerary, our highly skilled team will make sure you stay in good condition.
Our guides will help you to maintain an appropriate pace, rest frequently, and stay hydrated at all times. You can also prepare for your trek by exercising regularly in the weeks leading up to departure. Cardiovascular activity generally serves as good practice for strenuous trekking: swimming, walking, or running at home is a good place to start. This preparation will allow you to enjoy the Mardi Himal Trek to its fullest extent, but no previous trekking experience is actually required. This is only a moderately difficult itinerary, and booking with Nepal Hiking Team will ensure both your safety and satisfaction during one of the best treks in the Annapurnas.
Best Time of Year for the Mardi Himal Trek
Like most treks in Nepal, the Mardi Himal Trek takes on many different aspects as the seasons change. Many visitors prefer to hike during spring or autumn. Spring in the Nepali Himalaya arrives in February and lasts until May; this is the best time of year to enjoy long days with mild weather and brightly colored landscapes blanketed in wildflowers and rhododendron blooms. Autumn occurs from September to November, and it’s an excellent choice for photographers. Clear blue skies and an endless horizon will reveal stunning panoramas of the Annapurnas during these months.
Of course, you can also enjoy the Mardi Himal Trek during winter and summer. The possibility of snow and ice between December and January can make hiking more challenging, but the eternal majesty of Himalayan Mountains draped in snow is hard to beat. During the summer months between June and August, you can expect heavy rainfall as the annual monsoon sweeps across Nepal—but the trail springs to life with lush green forests and rushing rivers. No matter which time of year you’ve chosen, Nepal Hiking Team will work with you to deliver an exceptional trekking adventure.
Is the Mardi Himal Trek Right for Me?
If you’ve ever wanted to revel in the unbridled majesty of the Annapurnas while enjoying a trail free from crowds and congestion, the Mardi Himal Trek should be at the top of your wishlist. You’ll journey into the clouds to discover mountains cloaked in snow, lush forests dripping with tropical rainfall, and villages populated by some of the friendliest people in all of Nepal. We’ve arranged this itinerary to give you the best possible experience, with an appropriate pace and acclimatization schedule. Our expert guides will take care of each member in your trekking party to ensure that everyone has a great time exploring this spectacular region of green hills and White Mountains.
The Mardi Himal Trek is also ideal for visitors who don’t have a lot of time, as the entire itinerary takes just over one week. If you’d like to spend more time in the Annapurna’s, consider our Annapurna Base Camp Trek or Classic Annapurna Circuit Trek packages instead.