Poon Hill Trek: The Ultimate Hike to a Million Dollar View

By Jan Bakker

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Poon Hill Trek: The Ultimate Hike to a Million Dollar View
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You don’t have to climb a big mountain to have the best view across the Himalayas. The foothills of the Annapurna Range offer some of the best mountain scenery you will ever see. The most famous of them all is the climb up Poon Hill, a 3210 meters high “hill” with a perfect vantage point to see some of the biggest and most beautiful mountains on the planet. No time? No problem! The Ghorepani Poon Hill trek itself can be done in as little as three days. Lace up your hiking boots and head up Poon Hill with us!

At Bookatrekking.com we often get the question what the shortest trek in Nepal is, while you can still see the real Himalayas. No doubt this is the trek up Poonhill. By Nepali standards, the altitude of this hike is modest, and altitude sickness is less of an issue compared to for example the Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp.

Poon Hill Trek: A Short Hike To Nepal's Best Himalaya View

Why do we like to go to the mountains so much? Fresh air is most likely one of them. Also, it’s a great environment for exercise. On top of most people’s list of reasons to go to the mountains is probably the mountain views. There’s something irresistible about the sight of something so wild and beyond reach filling the horizon. The most iconic mountain views in the world include the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Italian Dolomites, the Cuernos del Paine in Chilean Patagonia and of course the view of Mount Everest from Kalapathar. In that same list of epic views is Poon Hill, an elevated hilltop that looks out on the spectacular Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.

How do you reach Poon Hill? As with all Annapurna treks, the main hub for the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek is Pokhara. The trailhead at Nayapul is less than two hours from the city. The first stage is a good warm up, with charming villages and woodlands along the way. The vertical gain is fairly modest. The climb to Ghorepani on the second day is a tough one with lots of elevation gain. On day 3 the ascent of Poon Hill is on the program. It starts pre-dawn in order to be at the summit for its famous sunrise with the Annapurnas in the background. From Ghorepani, Bookatrekking.com offers two options. Either you head back down to Nayapul the very same day. Or you continue the trek for another couple of days via Ghandruk and make the trek a circuit rather than a linear walk. Regardless which route you choose, you have witnessed one of the most epic mountain views of your life.

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How Difficult Is The Poon Hill Trek?

The Poon Hill Trek difficulty is quite low. The path is wide in many places and on the steep parts steps have been created to make the hiking easier. Technically it’s probably the easiest hike we offer in Nepal. However, there is a but. In a short distance there is a lot of vertical gain. On the second stage from Hile to Ghorepani you ascend a whopping 1400 meters in the space of 10 kilometers. That’s an average gradient of 14%! For most people, descending is actually harder than the ascent. If you do the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek in 3 days, the descent is quite extreme with a vertical drop of 2200 meters in one day. Better get those knees trained! Although you may feel the thinner air a little, most trekkers won’t have any problems with AMS as the highest tea house (in Ghorepani) is located below the 3000 meter mark.

How Difficult Is The Poon Hill Trek?

What Is The Best Season To Do The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek?

The best season to do the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is generally during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). Here's why:

1. Spring (March to May)

- Blooming Rhododendrons: Spring is known for its mild temperatures, and the rhododendron forests along the trail come alive with vibrant colors, creating a picturesque landscape.

- Clear Views: The skies are relatively clear during spring, offering excellent visibility of the surrounding mountains.

2. Autumn (September to November)

- Stable Weather: Autumn is considered the best trekking season in Nepal. The weather is stable, with clear skies and mild temperatures during the day.

- Panoramic Views: The visibility is excellent, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks.

- Festivals and Harvest Season: Autumn is also a festive season in Nepal, with various cultural celebrations. The harvest season brings golden landscapes, adding to the beauty of the trek.

While these seasons are generally considered optimal, it's essential to be prepared for varying weather conditions, and it's advisable to check current weather forecasts before embarking on the trek. During the winter months (December to February), the trail may be snowy, and temperatures can be quite cold, making it a less popular time for the trek. But you’ll have the trail to yourself, which could be a very special experience. Similarly, the summer months (June to August) bring monsoon rains, which can make the trails muddy and slippery, posing additional challenges for trekkers.

What Is The Best Season To Do The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek?

The View From Poon Hill: Which Mountains Do You See?

Poon Hill, the undisputed highlight of the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek in Nepal, offers one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayas. But which mountains can you actually see? Some of the notable mountains that can be seen from Poon Hill include:

1. Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters / 26,795 feet)

Dhaulagiri is the seventh-highest mountain in the world and is part of the Annapurna Himalayan range. It is a massive, snow-capped peak that dominates the skyline.

2. Annapurna I (8,091 meters / 26,545 feet)

Annapurna I is the tenth-highest mountain globally and is part of the Annapurna massif. The view of Annapurna I from Poon Hill is particularly stunning during sunrise.

3. Annapurna South (7,219 meters / 23,684 feet)

Annapurna South is another prominent peak in the Annapurna range, and its rugged appearance adds to the beauty of the landscape.

4. Machapuchare (6,993 meters / 22,943 feet)

Also known as "Fishtail," Machapuchare is a distinctive mountain with a fishtail-shaped summit. It is sacred in the local culture, and its view from Poon Hill is iconic.

5. Nilgiri (7,061 meters / 23,166 feet)

Nilgiri is a striking mountain with a snow-covered peak that can be seen from Poon Hill, adding to the visual spectacle.

6. Hiunchuli (6,441 meters / 21,132 feet)

Hiunchuli is a lesser-known but impressive peak in the Annapurna Himalayan range, and it contributes to the overall stunning scenery.

These are just a few of the many peaks visible from Poon Hill. The sunrise and sunset views from Poon Hill enhance the beauty of these mountains, and it's a popular spot for trekkers and photographers seeking awe-inspiring Himalayan vistas.

The View From Poon Hill: Which Mountains Do You See?

A 5-day Poon Hill Itinerary

If you're stuck for time, but still want to enjoy a beautiful yet punchy than the 5-day trip to Poon Hill is your best choice. It involves three days of hiking and is a great first trek to the Nepali Himalayas.

Day
1

Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara

After an early breakfast at your hotel we drive along the Trisuli and Mashyangdi River to reach Pokhara. We will see the beautiful river view and the views of Ganesh Himal and Manaslu as well during the driving. Pokhara itself is a traveller’s paradise full of natural wonders as well as cultural heritage sites such as lakes, caves, temples of Buddhist and Hindus along with mountains. After a 7 hour drive we will arrive in Pokhara and stay overnight at a hotel.

Pokhara

Info
Pokhara
Day
2

Drive to Nayapul and trek to Hile

Duration: 03:15 h
Distance: 8.22 km
Ascent: 540 m
Descent: 140 m
Our early drive will take us to Nayapul, the starting point of our trek. After a short hike, we will cross a suspension bridge and follow the bank of the Modi River to Birethanti. From there, the trail continues through the village and follows the north bank of the Bhurungdi Khola. The trail traverses a bamboo forest and passes several water streams and waterfalls. After some steady ascending, we will reach the village of Hile. Here we spend the night.

Hile

Info
Hile
Day
3

Trek to Ghorepani

Distance: 10.7 km
Ascent: 1400 m
Descent: 20 m
After breakfast, we will trek to Ghorepani, a charming Gurung village amidst of the Himalayas. We will cross several small streams and continue ascending the stone staircases until we reach the village of Uleri. At Uleri, we will be welcomed with stunning mountain views of Annapurna South, Himchuli and Mount Machhapuchhre. We will keep trekking through the oak and rhododendron forest until we reach Ghorepani.

Ghorepani

Info
Ghorepani
Day
4

Hike up Poon Hill for sunrise and trek to Nayapul

Duration: 08:45 h
Distance: 21.4 km
Ascent: 430 m
Descent: 2220 m
At dawn, we will ascend to Poon Hill to catch the spectacular sunrise over the whole Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs and surrounding rice terraces. The view from Poon Hill is one of the most spectacular of the Himalayas. Afterward, we will return to Ghorepani for breakfast. We will retrace our way back to Nayapul, a long descent through the bamboo forest. Our transport will be waiting for us at Nayapul to drive us back to beautiful Pokhara.

Nayapul

Info
Nayapul
Day
5

Drive back to Kathmandu

It is time to drive back to Kathmandu. Again, you will enjoy the beautiful views along the way. Well done, you have conquered Poon Hill and we can’t wait to have you back for more.
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Ghorepani Poon Hill trek map

This Komoot route collections gives you an overview of our trekking options for the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek.

What Permits Do I Need For The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek?

When preparing for a trek to Poon Hill, it is crucial to secure the necessary permits:

TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System):

For any trekker planning to explore Nepal, whether heading to the Everest Base Camp or embarking on the journey on the Annapurna Circuit, the TIMS permit is a mandatory requirement for all trekking routes. The fee for this permit is NRS 2000 per person, which is approximately 17 USD or 15 EUR.

Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Permit

An essential requirement for those intending to trek within the Annapurna region, the ACAP Permit is administered by the National Trust for Nature. Its primary goal is to safeguard and preserve the wildlife and natural environment of the region, with the funds collected dedicated to conservation initiatives.

For each individual embarking on a single-entry trek, the cost of an ACAP Permit is Rs. 3000 (roughly USD 25), regardless of the duration of the stay. These permits can be obtained in either Kathmandu or Pokhara, and designated checkpoints along the trail ensure the maintenance of trekking records.

What Accommodation Can I Expect On The Poon Hill Trek?

Discovering the charm of staying in traditional villages along Nepal's trekking routes is an integral aspect of the trekking experience, in our view. It represents a harmonious blend of the rugged mountain wilderness and the distinctive mountain culture. Immersing yourself in the mountain villages provides a genuine glimpse into life in the Annapurnas.

During your stay in each village, you will find accommodations in a tea house, the local term for a guesthouse. On our own Nepal trekking adventures, we always aim to reach the next destination early. Why? Because we cherish the tranquility and simplicity of life in the mountain villages. Enjoying a cup of tea while observing the daily hustle and bustle of life in the Himalayas is a favorite activity. Some villages offer opportunities to visit monasteries, and if you're fortunate, you might witness one of the many Buddhist festivals. While the tea houses themselves are generally simple, recent years have seen some upgrades, including flush toilets, warm water, and even WiFi. Fortunately, the delightful dhal bat, a staple in Nepalese trekking cuisine, remains a fixture on every tea house menu. Immerse yourself in Nepal's mountain culture on the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek!

What Accommodation Can I Expect On The Poon Hill Trek?

How To Identify and Prevent AMS On The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek?

It's essential to understand that altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of age, fitness level, or previous high-altitude experience. These days there are several tools to monitor your health at altitude. A widely-used (analog) method is the Lake Louise score card. It ticks the altitude symptoms while keeping the severity in mind. It’s a common tool used by guides. Nowadays, most trekking and mountain guides bring a blood oxygen saturation meter, which also measures the heart rate. These are key indicators whether a person adapts to altitude well or not. AMS can occur when trekking the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek. Below you can find everything you need to know about altitude sickness.

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

    Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a health condition that occurs when someone is exposed to low levels of oxygen at higher altitudes. AMS is a serious condition and as the name suggests acute. It needs to be dealt with immediately, as it is potentially life-threatening. Most people will experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness. It’s important to be aware of these symptoms and act before symptoms become more severe. Below we break down the different forms of AMS and how you can reduce the risk of getting it.

    AMS symptoms

    It is key to know how to identify altitude illness. You may experience the following symptoms due to the jump in altitude: headache, lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, insomnia, nausea and vomiting. The intensity and severity of these symptoms may increase with altitude and an overall feeling of fatigue will take all your joy away. This may further deteriorate to one of these life-threatening conditions.

    High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE): HAPE is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, a persistent cough, chest tightness, and an increased heart rate. It can be a life-threatening condition and requires immediate descent to lower altitudes and, in severe cases, medical treatment.

    High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE): HACE is a more serious condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain. Symptoms may include severe headaches, confusion, loss of coordination, and altered mental status. HACE is also a medical emergency and requires immediate descent and medical attention. Below 7 ways of minimizing the risk of AMS:

    • 1. Gradual Ascent

      One of the most effective ways to prevent AMS is to ascend gradually. When traveling to high altitudes, try to take several days to acclimatize before going higher. This allows your body to adapt to the reduced oxygen levels. All our treks in Nepal keep sufficient acclimatization into account.

    • 2. Stay Hydrated

      Dehydration can increase the risk of AMS, so drink plenty of fluids. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, as they can contribute to dehydration.

    • 3. Diet

      Consume a balanced diet with adequate carbohydrates and avoid heavy, fatty meals. Carbohydrates can help your body utilize oxygen more efficiently at high altitudes.

    • 4. Medication

      Some individuals may consider taking medication, such as acetazolamide (Diamox), to help prevent AMS. Consult with a healthcare professional before using any medication, and be aware of potential side effects.

    • 5. Rest

      Ensure you get enough sleep and rest during your ascent. Fatigue can increase the risk of AMS.

    • 6. Avoid Overexertion

      Pace yourself and avoid overexertion. Listen to your body, and if you experience symptoms of AMS, rest or descend to a lower altitude.

    • 7. Descend if Symptoms Persist

      If you experience symptoms of AMS, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing, it's crucial to descend to a lower altitude. Symptoms should not be ignored or dismissed.

Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek 6363

Packing List for the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek

Trekking in Nepal requires decent gear. Especially the basics like an 80-90 L backpack and quality trekking socks. Read an extensive blog here about what to bring with you.
  • Documents

  • Sleep

  • Footwear

  • Clothing

  • Accessories

Where Can I Book the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book this trek and many others. Our guided options come with experts on the ground, and offer you a convenient, stress-free, safe, and educational way to explore the outdoors. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is this not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our blog posts:

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

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