The most popular trekking region in Nepal, Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) was established in 1992 and encompasses 51 named mountains. It is called so after its highest and the most prominent mountain Annapurna 8,091m (26,545ft) which happens to be also the world's toughest and most dangerous 8,000er.
With elevations spanning form below 800m to 8,091m the area boasts an incredibely landscape diversity. Treks in this region include everything: jungles and subtropical forests, terraced rice fields, canyons and gorges, rhododendron forests, pines, high-altitude desert, and plenty of ferocious mountains.
The population of the Annapurna Conservation Area is about 120,000 inhabitants from more than 10 ethnic groups. At the same time there are estimated 120,000 trekkers visiting the region every year, which is approximately three times the Everest Base Camp trek in the Sagarmatha National Park receives a year. While bringing money and development to the region high popularity also isn't free of the problems. Many of the sparse forests disappeared for the energy purposes causing subsequent erosion and landslides. Also, the garbage problem is very far from getting solved.
The Annapurna Conservation Area Project is taking these threats into account and has the following objectives:
- to conserve the natural resources of the ACA
- to bring sustainable social and economic development
- to minimize negative environmental impact of tourism development
Annapurna Conservation Area boasts many superlatives and outstanding landmarks. Here are just some of them:
- Annapurna 8,091m (26,545ft) is the tenth highest mountain in the world. It is the world's first conquered 8,000er, the only one to be summited at the first try, and the grim leader in fatality rate of 32% among those who dare to challenge it.
- Largest rhododendron forest. Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal and it is one of the reason for the red coloured national flag.
- Tilicho Lake at an elevation is one of the highest lakes in the world.
- Deepest gorge - Kali Gandaki.
- Dhaulagiri 8,167m (26,795ft) is the seventh highest mountain in the world has its summit slightly outside of the ACA border. Interestingly, its topographical parent is K2 in the Karakoram range, while Annapurna parent is Cho Oyu near Mount Everest (both in the Sagarmatha National Park). The above-mentioned Kali Gandaki gorge separates these ferocious massifs.
- Machapuchare (meaning fishtail) one of the world's most striking peaks. It is nicknamed the "Matterhorn of Nepal". Machapuchare's true summit has never been climbed due to impossibility of gaining a permit for Nepal government. The only allowed expedition in 1957 stopped 150m from the summit adhering to the word given to the king who allowed the expedition.
Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Base Camp
Off the beaten path