Trekking the Manaslu Circuit: Spectacular Himalayan Views of Manaslu and Larke Peak

When most people think of trekking in Nepal, the Everest region or Annapurna Circuit often come to mind. However, slightly less crowded but just as stunning is the Manaslu Circuit trek in central Nepal. Winding through rhododendron forests and alpine meadows with breathtaking views of the Himalayas, the Manaslu Circuit offers a unique trekking experience for adventure seekers.

Trekking the Manaslu Circuit

Getting to the Trailhead

The starting point for the Manaslu Circuit is Arughat, a small town located a day’s bus ride from Kathmandu. Buses leave Kathmandu daily in the morning and take around 8-10 hours on winding mountain roads to reach Arughat. 

From there, it’s about a 3 hour scenic hike through farmland and small villages to reach Sundarbazar, the official starting point for the trek. Along the way, pause to admire views of the towering Larke Peak and Manaslu massif looming in the distance, getting you excited for what’s to come on the trek.

Starting the Circuit

From Sundarbazar, the trail winds its way through rhododendron and pine forests, passing small tea shops and villages along Gurung Hill. After about 5-6 hours, you’ll reach Philim, your destination for the first night.

Wake early the next day to tackle the climb up to Namrung, a scenic alpine village perched at 3,450m. As you gain elevation, keep an eye out for Himalayan griffon vultures soaring on thermals and blue sheep grazing on the mountainsides. 

The landscape transforms to alpine meadows carpeted in wildflowers in summer. Spend the afternoon relaxing in Namrung and taking in breathtaking views of Manaslu and neighboring peaks.

Admiring Manaslu and Larke Peak

The next major destination is Sipti, a picturesque village at 3,850m nestled below towering granite walls. Along the way, take a side trip up to Ngali to be rewarded with close-up vistas of Manaslu’s north face rising above emerald forests and meadows. 

From Sipti, an optional early morning hike leads to Larke La pass at 4,923m, offering phenomenal panoramas of Larke Peak’s jagged north ridge. From the pass, gaze out at Manaslu looming just to the east, its glaciated slopes flowing down into valleys below. 

On clear days, views extend all the way to Dhaulagiri and Annapurna in the distance. Retrace your steps for lush meadows and more relaxing villages like Samdo.

Entering the Lunak Region

Past Samdo, the landscape transforms to ever more barren terrain as you enter the Lunak region above 4,000m. It’s a stark contrast to the lower valleys, with jagged peaks, rocky trails and sparser vegetation. Reach the friendly village of Dharamsala for the night, where yaks and their herders are a common sight. 

The new day brings a short but steep climb on boulder-strewn trails to Lager La pass at 4,420m. From the top on clear days, catch your breath with magnificent panoramas of Manaslu filling the skyline. Descend steep switchbacks into the Lunak Valley, pausing for tea and snacks in the semi-nomadic settlements dotted along the river.

Trekking through Scenic Valleys

Spend a day exploring the remote Lunak Valley, with its rustic villages and yak herders’ camps. Continue following the Lunak Khola upstream past rhododendron forests and alpine pastures bursting with wildflowers in season. After a few hours, reach Lunak, a humble settlement at 3,800m beside fields of barley and potatoes. 

The next morning, awake to astounding views of Namchepeak towering above as you gain elevation through forests and meadows. Pass through glacial valleys and more alpine villages like Phedi before descending to Samagoan for the night. Wake to even grander vistas of Manaslu and its surrounding peaks the next morning.

Returning to Civilization

From Samagoan, it’s about 5-6 hours on a gradually descending trail through rhododendron and pine forests back to civilization. Pause for views and photo ops of Manaslu along the way at viewpoints like Larkya La. Reach Bahundanda, with its road access and teahouses, by afternoon. 

Catch your breath with tea and snacks while soaking in views of meadows and mountains before the final 2 hour hike to Arughat. From there, hop on an evening bus back to Kathmandu, exhausted but with memories to last a lifetime from your trek around magnificent Manaslu and Larke Peak in Manaslu Trek Nepal.

No matter your physical ability or trekking experience, the Manaslu Circuit offers stunning mountain scenery and remote alpine villages few travelers get to experience. Though slightly more challenging than other popular Nepal treks with high passes, rugged trails and sparse facilities in some areas, its raw beauty and sense of adventure make it well worth the effort. 

For those seeking off-the-beaten-path Himalayan adventure without the large crowds, trekking the Manaslu Circuit should be high on the list. The rugged peaks, friendly villagers and unspoiled mountain vistas will leave trekkers with lasting memories of Manaslu Trek Nepal.

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