Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty: What You Need to Know

As an experienced trekker and tourism professional in Nepal, I understand the concerns many people have about the difficulty of the Manaslu Circuit Trek. However, with its high-altitude passes, challenging terrain, and unpredictable weather, it’s no surprise that trekkers want to know what they’re getting into before embarking on this adventure. 

In this article, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to the difficulty of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, including the factors that affect the trek’s difficulty, tips for preparation and training, and recommendations for a successful and enjoyable trek. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to decide if the Manaslu Circuit Trek is the right trek for you and how to prepare for the challenges it presents.

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Factors that affect the difficulty of the Manaslu Circuit Trek

1. High Altitude: 

The Manaslu Circuit Trek involves reaching a maximum elevation of 5,160 meters at the Larkya La Pass, which can cause altitude sickness for some trekkers. Altitude sickness can cause symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, it can lead to life-threatening conditions like high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE). To avoid altitude sickness, it’s recommended that trekkers gradually acclimatize to the higher altitudes by taking rest days and slowly ascending to higher elevations. Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can also help prevent altitude sickness.

2. Terrain: 

The Manaslu Circuit Trek involves steep ascents and descents, rocky terrain, and narrow trails that can be challenging to navigate, especially in adverse weather conditions. Trekkers must be prepared for long, arduous days of hiking, often involving up to eight hours of continuous trekking. The trek also involves crossing several suspension bridges over deep gorges, which can be nerve-wracking for some trekkers. Trekkers should wear sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes and carry trekking poles to assist with balance and stability.

3. Weather: 

The weather in the Manaslu region can be unpredictable, with heavy rainfall and snowfall possible at any time of the year. Trekkers must be prepared for all weather conditions, including extreme cold, high winds, and heavy rain. During the monsoon season, which runs from June to September, the trek is more challenging due to frequent landslides and muddy trails. Trekkers should carry appropriate clothing, including warm jackets, rain gear, and waterproof trekking boots.

4. Length: 

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a minimum of 12 days, requiring a high level of physical endurance and mental stamina. The trek covers a total distance of around 177 kilometers, involving long and demanding days of hiking. Therefore, Trekkers should be physically fit and prepared for long hours of continuous trekking over several days.

5. Isolation: 

The trek is relatively remote, and trekkers must be self-sufficient and prepared to handle any unexpected situations that may arise. The trek passes through several remote villages, and medical facilities and supplies are limited. Therefore, Trekkers should carry a comprehensive first aid kit and be prepared for emergencies. Hiring a licensed guide from a reputable trekking company like Nepal Social Treks and Expedition can provide an additional layer of safety and support.

6. Cultural differences: 

The trek passes through several remote villages, and it’s essential to respect the local customs and traditions, which may differ from your own. Trekkers should dress modestly and be mindful of local customs, including taking off shoes before entering homes or temples. It’s also important to carry out any trash and waste and respect the natural environment.

Explore our comprehensive guide on Manaslu Trekking to learn about the factors that affect the trek, such as suitable weather, challenges, and average costs. Click to discover more and plan your unforgettable adventure in the stunning Himalayas!

Preparation and Training for the Manaslu Circuit Trek

1. Physical fitness: 

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a challenging trek that involves long hours of continuous hiking, steep ascents and descents, and high altitudes. To prepare for the trek, it’s important to engage in regular physical activity, such as cardio exercises and strength training, to build stamina and endurance. Hiking on hills or stairs with a backpack can help simulate the conditions of the trek.

2. Acclimatization: 

To prevent altitude sickness, it’s important to acclimatize to the higher altitudes gradually. Trekkers can prepare for the trek by undertaking shorter hikes at higher elevations to help their bodies adapt to the lower oxygen levels.

3. Packing and gear: 

Proper packing and gear are essential for the trek. Trekkers should bring warm clothing, including a down jacket and thermal layers, rain gear, a hat, gloves, and a good pair of trekking boots. A good quality backpack, sleeping bag, and trekking poles can also be helpful.

4. Mental preparation: 

The trek can be physically and mentally challenging, and it’s essential to have a positive attitude and mental resilience. It can be helpful to read up on the trek and its challenges and mentally prepare yourself for the long hours of hiking and the potential altitude sickness.

5. Training with a licensed guide: 

It can be helpful to undertake the trek with a licensed guide from a reputable trekking company like Nepal Social Treks and Expedition. A guide can provide additional support, advice, and guidance and ensure the trek is safe and enjoyable.

The actual difficulty of the Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu Circuit Trek’s difficulty varies depending on the individual’s fitness level, experience, and overall preparation. However, generally speaking, the trek can be challenging due to the altitude, long days of hiking, and potentially hazardous terrain.

The trek is typically completed in 14 to 20 days, with an average of 5 to 10 hours of hiking per day. The ascent and descent of the Larkya La pass is a particularly challenging section of the trek but also one of the most rewarding with its incredible views of the surrounding peaks.

Tips and recommendations for a successful and enjoyable trek

To have a successful and enjoyable Manaslu Circuit Trek, trekkers should keep the following tips in mind:

  • Take the time to acclimatize properly to the altitude
  • Be prepared for all weather conditions and pack accordingly
  • Pace yourself and take breaks when needed
  • Stay hydrated and use a water filtration system to avoid dehydration
  • Listen to your body and take care of any physical issues immediately
  • Follow the guidance of your licensed guide and respect the local culture and customs
  • Take time to enjoy the natural beauty and cultural experiences along the way


I hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of the difficulty and challenges associated with the Manaslu Circuit Trek. By taking the time to prepare yourself both physically and mentally and following the necessary safety precautions, you can make the most of your journey and fully appreciate the stunning beauty and unique cultural experiences the trek offers.

If you’re considering embarking on this adventure, I recommend choosing a reputable and experienced trekking company like Nepal Social Treks and Expedition. Our 15-day Manaslu Circuit Trekking service includes licensed guides, porters, and all necessary permits and accommodations, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

In summary, while the Manaslu Circuit Trek may be challenging, it is an experience that is truly worth the effort. With the right preparation and guidance, this trek can be a life-changing adventure that you’ll always cherish.

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Basu Panday

Basu Panday started his journey in tourism and hospitality as a support staff 17 years ago. He has travelled all the Himalayan region as trekking staff and trekking guide, and have climbed 6000+ meters several trekking peaks in the Himalaya. He often leads trips in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India. He had travelled to many other countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Romania, Lithuania, Greece, Denmark Spain, Australia and the USA for promotion of Nepal’s tourism.  After working as support staff, then tour and trek guide, he eventually fulfilled his desire to start his own company, Nepal Social Treks and Expedition, in 2006. Basu is friendly and he is the one who answers most of your trip questions. So if you have any inquiry about our trip, don't be shy. Write to us.
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