August is one of the peak seasons for trekking in Nepal, offering spectacular scenery, comfortable weather, and lively cultural festivals. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know for an unforgettable Himalayan trek in Nepal in August.
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Highlights of Trekking in Nepal in August
August falls right in the middle of Nepal’s summer monsoon season. Here are some key things to know about trekking in Nepal at this time:
- Spectacular views of the Himalayas, with some of the clearest skies of the year
- Pleasant daytime temperatures, though humidity is higher
- Lush green landscapes and raging waterfalls from monsoon rains
- Fewer crowds on popular trails compared to peak seasons
- Opportunity to witness Nepali cultural festivals
- Potential for leeches on lower elevation trails
- Risk of rain, landslides, and floods interrupting treks
With proper preparation, August offers outstanding trekking conditions in Nepal. The primary festival season also creates a festive atmosphere throughout the country.
Popular Treks in August
Nepal has many trekking routes catering to all interests and fitness levels. Here are some of the most popular treks during August:
Everest Base Camp
The iconic trek to Mount Everest Base Camp is one of the most popular in August. Highlights include:
- Sweeping views of Everest, Lhotse, and other 8,000m peaks
- Passing through Sherpa villages and Buddhist monasteries
- Crossing high passes like Cho La (5,420m) and Renjo La (5,360m)
- Hiking to Kala Patthar (5,545m) for sunrise views of Everest
The Everest region stays relatively dry in August and offers clear mountain views. Expect some afternoon rain showers. Trails can be muddy.
Circumnavigating the Annapurna massif, this is another classic Nepali trek. Highlights include:
- Scenic sunrise views from Poon Hill
- Crossing the high Thorung La pass (5,416m)
- Trekking through remote Trans-Himalayan regions
- Staying in Nepali villages and Tibetan refugee settlements
The mountain views are spectacular after monsoon rains. Landslides may affect the trek. Leeches are common in lower elevations.
Close to Kathmandu, Langtang offers a quieter Himalayan trekking experience. Highlights include:
- Picturesque valleys, waterfalls, and glaciers
- Gosainkunda lakes and sacred Hindu sites
- Climbing to the top of Kyanjin Ri (4,773m) for mountain views
- Spotting red pandas and other rare wildlife
Light rain is common, but the skies remain more evident than in other regions. Landslides may impact some trails.
Trekking around Mount Manaslu, the 8th highest peak, is an off-the-beaten-path alternative to the famous Annapurna routes. Highlights include:
- Crossing the Larkya La pass (5,160m)
- Views of the Manaslu massif and valley
- Tibetan culture in villages like Samagaon
- Staying in relatively untouched regions
This remote area sees very few trekkers in August. The trails can be pretty muddy, and sponges are common.
The former Tibetan kingdom of Mustang opens up for trekking during the monsoon season. Highlights include:
- Hiking through rain-shadow areas with relatively dry weather
- Exploring ancient villages, Buddhist monasteries, and cave complexes
- Spotting unique Trans-Himalayan wildlife like blue sheep
- Outstanding views of Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and Annapurna
Upper Mustang has a truly remote and mystical feel. Relatively dry conditions make it ideal for August trekking. Permits are required.
When to Trek in August
August is in the middle of Nepal’s summer monsoon season, generally from June to September. Mid-August is often cited as having the most stable weather during this wet period.
The first half of August still sees lingering pre-monsoon showers. Skies become clearer in the second half of August as the monsoon rains begin subsiding.
Mid to late August is the best time for the most favorable trekking conditions. However, the weather is still changeable, and rain should be expected on most routes.
Morning skies are the clearest before the buildup of afternoon clouds. Mornings and evenings are more comfortable temperature-wise as well.
Those on longer treks that extend before or after August can also experience excellent conditions during specific segments.
Permits and Regulations
Trekkers must obtain permits for certain restricted regions in Nepal. Major permits to know:
- TIMS card – All independent trekkers require this permit. It can be issued same-day.
- Sagarmatha National Park – Required for Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Lakes treks. It can be issued in Kathmandu or at park entrances.
- Annapurna Conservation Area – Needed for Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Base Camp treks. It can be issued in Kathmandu, Besisahar, or Pokhara.
- Manaslu Conservation Area – Required for Manaslu Circuit treks and issued in Kathmandu.
- Mustang Restricted Area – Special $500 permits are needed for Upper Mustang treks. It takes ten days to process.
When trekking to higher elevations, spending a couple of days acclimatizing is recommended to prevent altitude sickness. Do not ascend the sleeping elevation by more than 500m per day. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol intake.
All trash must be carried out from treks. Use biodegradable soap away from water sources. Be respectful of local traditions and sacred sites.
Getting There and Away
Many visitors fly into Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Direct flights serve Kathmandu from major hubs across Asia and the Middle East.
Domestic flights frequently run from Kathmandu to mountain airstrips servicing trekking regions. Key domestic connections:
- Kathmandu to Lukla (Everest region)
- Kathmandu to Pokhara (Annapurna region)
- Kathmandu to Jomsom (Mustang region)
Buses, tourist buses, and jeeps run to trailheads from Kathmandu and Pokhara. Major overland routes include:
- Kathmandu to Jiri/Salleri (Everest region access)
- Kathmandu to Besisahar (Annapurna Circuit)
- Pokhara to Naya Pul (Annapurna Base Camp)
- Kathmandu to Gorkha/Arughat (Manaslu Circuit)
Shared jeeps can also be arranged for remote trailheads.
Best Treks in August
With Nepal’s diverse trekking terrain, choosing the correct route for August takes some research. Here are five of the top treks for August:
- Everest Three Passes
Crossing glacier passes like Kongma La (5,535m), this loop combines the Everest Base Camp trip with quieter valleys like Gokyo Lakes. High mountain views with relatively drier terrain make this a top August trek.
Duration: 15-20 days
Permits Required: TIMS card, Sagarmatha National Park
- Upper Mustang
Mustang’s rain-shadow location keeps it drier than most regions in August. Trek through quaint Tibetan villages and admire ancient cave complexes without the crowds.
Duration: 10-14 days
Permits Required: TIMS card, Mustang restricted area
- Manang Valley
Trek up the scenic Marsyangdi Valley to Braga village and the Manang Valley to explore picturesque towns and rewarding day hikes without crossing any passes.
Duration: 7-10 days
Permits Required: TIMS card, Annapurna Conservation Area
- Langtang Valley
Reach Langtang’s picturesque high alpine meadows and glacial lakes after a short drive from Kathmandu. Quieter and more accessible than the Everest or Annapurna regions with great mountain views.
Duration: 7-12 days
Permits Required: TIMS card
- Annapurna Sanctuary
A focused trek directly into the stunning glacial basin below Annapurna’s peaks. Watch the scenery transform each day on the way to Machhapuchhre Base Camp.
Duration: 7-10 days
Permits Required: TIMS card, Annapurna Conservation Area
How to Prepare for a Trek in August
Trekking during the summer monsoon requires some special preparation:
Research route conditions
Check online forums and recent trip reports to spot any recent landslides or other issues that may disrupt your planned route. Have backup plans ready.
Waterproof your gear
Your backpack cover and rain jacket are essential items. Waterproof trekking boots and gaiters will keep feet dry through the mud. Bring waterproof packs for electronics and documents.
Pack light layers
Temperatures fluctuate widely. Pack light hardshell jackets as well as waterproof ponchos. Merino wool base layers help manage humidity.
Consult a doctor
Get advice about anti-malaria medication, vaccinations, altitude sickness medication, and antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea.
Break in boots
New stiff trekking boots lead to blisters. Wear them frequently before your trek to break them in.
Book flexible flights/hotel
Build some buffer days into your itinerary if storms cause flight cancellations in or out of the mountains.
Prepare for power outages.
Bring extra camera batteries and battery banks to charge devices during storm power outages.
Monitor the forecast
Check mountain weather forecasts daily and adjust plans if a major storm hits.
With the right mindset, gear, and preparation, August’s lush green forests, roaring waterfalls, and pristine mountain views create an unforgettable Nepal trekking experience.
What to Pack for a Trek in August
Nepal’s monsoon weather requires tailored packing choices. Here are some must-have items to pack for an August trek:
- Waterproof hiking boots with ankle support
- Waterproof rain jacket and pants
- Lightweight, quick-dry trekking pants
- Waterproof pack covers and garbage bags
- Moisture-wicking shirts and hiking socks
- Fleece jacket and insulated down jacket
- Thermal base layers for nighttime
- A wide-brimmed hat and buff headwear
- Lightweight gloves and warm hat
- Hardshell gloves for cold passes
- Microspikes for icy trail sections
- Sturdy trekking poles
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- Water purification tablets or filter
- Sunscreen, lip balm with SPF
- Insect repellent, anti-leech socks/gaiters
- Blister kit and foot powder
- Quick-dry towel and toilet paper
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Prescription medications
- Reusable water bottles
- Portable charger and adapter
- Sealable plastic bags for electronics
- Earplugs for shared tea houses
Pack layers that can be added or removed easily. A 40-50 liter backpack should suffice for most average-length treks.
What to Wear Trekking in August
Dressing correctly makes all the difference in monsoon conditions. Follow these tips:
Use quick-dry fabrics
Aim for light nylon or polyester pants/shirts that don’t retain water. Merino wool is another good option.
Cotton absorbs moisture and takes very long to dry. Do not wear cotton shirts, pants, socks, etc.
Wear proper socks
Wool or synthetic moisture-wicking socks help prevent blisters. Take multiple pairs.
Pack a sun hat and buff
The cloud cover can be deceptive on mountain trails. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and UV protective buff.
Carry a light jacket
The weather can change abruptly in the mountains. An insulating jacket provides warmth during chilly and wet conditions.
Check the forecast for passes.
More significant mountain pass crossings will be much colder. Carry adequate warm layers.
Use waterproof shoes
Waterproof hiking boots with ankle support are recommended over trail runners. Waterproof gaiters add extra protection.
Have raingear accessible
Keep your waterproof jacket and pants easily reachable in case storms suddenly strike.
Wear bright colors
Make yourself visible during foggy conditions in high-risk areas. Orange or yellow jackets are ideal.
Avoid bulky clothes. Utilize layers for adaptability in changing conditions.
Accommodation and Food
Nepal offers a wide range of welcoming accommodation options along popular trekking routes:
These family-run mountain lodges provide basic shared rooms with common bathrooms. They offer meals, snacks, and beverages—the most common accommodation used by trekkers.
Pros: Affordable, frequent spacing along trails, communal atmosphere
Cons: Sparse amenities, basic rooms, can be crowded
For a local cultural immersion, homestays live up to their name. Stay in a village family home.
Pros: Authentic experience, family meals
Cons: Language barriers, limited availability
More upscale lodges offer hotel-like private rooms with attached bathrooms and hot showers.
Pros: Enhanced amenities and service Cons: Less frequent, higher cost
On remote trails, camping offers beautiful wilderness nights. Most equipment is rented in Kathmandu.
Pros: Scenic locations, freedom
Cons: Permit restrictions, carrying gear, wet conditions
All accommodation types offer nourishing local meals of dal bhat (rice, lentils, vegetables), momos, noodles, eggs, porridge, pancakes, and more.
Staying Healthy and Safe
Nepal’s monsoon weather poses some health and safety considerations:
Only drink purified water and eat cooked food. Use hand sanitizer frequently during meals and when handling money.
Wear leech socks and tuck pants into socks in low-lying humid forests where sponges are common.
Ascend slowly and listen to your body to avoid this potentially dangerous affliction.
Remote trails have limited clinics. Carry a first aid kit and medications you may require.
Drink 3-4 liters of fluids daily. Dehydration exacerbates altitude sickness.
Use SPF and lip balm, and wear UV-protecting clothes, even when cloudy. Burn risk is high.
Treating hotspots early prevents blisters. Carry blister bandages and moleskin. Keep feet dry.
Avoid trekking in the late afternoon when landslides are more likely. Listen for rumbling, indicating an imminent slide.
Do not attempt raging stream crossings during heavy rain. Wait for water levels to subside.
Seek immediate shelter at the first signs of a storm. Avoid ridge lines and peaks that are prone to lightning strikes.
Stay alert to weather patterns and heed warnings from locals. Do not trek alone or stray far from the route. Inform contacts of your detailed itinerary.
Costs and Budgeting
Complete multi-day Nepal treks can be done on a budget of $30-60 USD per day:
- Tea house accommodation: $5-15 per night
- Meals: $5-10 per day
- Water/snacks/drinks: $5 per day
- Permit fees: $10-650 per trek
- Internal flights: $80-250 roundtrip
- Insurance: $5-15 per day
- Porters/guides: $15-25 per day (optional)
- Equipment rental: $2-10 per day
- Transfer to/from trailhead: $5-50
- Unexpected costs (medical, evacuation): variable
Budget more for added amenities in lodges, more excellent hotels in Kathmandu, and helicopter evacuations in emergencies.
Cash (Nepali rupees and USD) is preferred over cards in mountain region expenses. ATMs are in significant settlements like Namche Bazaar and Pokhara along the way to exchange cash.
How Fit Do You Need to Be?
Nepal’s trekking routes have options for all fitness levels but good cardio endurance and strength help significantly:
Easy – Lower elevation cultural treks like Tamang Heritage Trail require average fitness. 5-6 hours walking per day.
Moderate – Annapurna Sanctuary requires 500m-1000m elevation gain/loss on 5-7 hour days. Good cardio fitness is recommended.
Difficult – Everest Base Camp has longer days with ascents up to 1000m. Requires high fitness level with an 8-hour uphill trekking capacity.
Strenuous – Pass crossings like Thorung La are tough. You must be comfortable with long, steep ascents and descents—10+ km per day.
Train by hiking with a loaded pack for months prior. Jogging, biking, stair climbing, and strength training also help boost fitness. Being in shape allows you to enjoy these majestic trails better.
Guide or No Guide?
Here are factors to consider:
- More flexibility and independence in setting your schedule
- Significant cost savings
- Sense of accomplishment navigating solo
- Opportunity to interact with various local guides met along the way
- Ability to trek at your own pace
Hiring a Guide
- Expert navigation and safety assurance
- Introduction and access to local culture
- Porters to carry your bags, making hiking easier
- Language translation and permit handling
- Knowledge of best stops and hidden gems
- Built-in trekking partner for motivation and photography
- Rescue and contingencies in emergencies
When to Splurge on a Guide
- First big Himalayan trekking trip
- Trekking alone or in a tiny group
- Challenging high-altitude treks with passes
- Remote regions with sparse tea houses
- Wanting to learn insider information
- If safety is a top concern
Evaluate your trekking experience, fitness, risk tolerance, and budget. Guides range from $25-45 USD per day. Some key Nepali guide aggregators are Socialtours, Nepal Sanctuary Treks, and Expedition Himalayas.
Best Time of Day to Trek
Timing your days effectively is vital in the mountains:
- Start early – Set off by 6-7 am to take advantage of cool temperatures and sunny skies. Wear headlamps in dark trail sections.
- Take light breaks – Brief snack breaks every 2-3 hours to keep energy levels high. Carry snacks you can eat on the move.
- Aim for lunch destinations – Stop for a hearty meal in tea houses or villages around midday when the largest selection of food options is available.
- Check forecasts – If heavy rain is expected later, start descending to lower elevations by early afternoon.
- Watch the skies – Cloud buildup bringing storms typically occurs by 2 pm. Try to cross high passes and peaks earlier.
- Pace yourself – Match pace with the slowest member if in a group. Allow extra time for slippery sections. Take enough rest days.
- Stop by at 3 pm if concerned – Find tea house accommodation before dusk if worried about navigating or health issues.
- Carry a headlamp – Essential for dark trail sections in early mornings or late evenings.
Listening to your body is crucial. Stay within your limits. Take extra precautions on high passes and remote trails.
Help preserve Nepal’s natural beauty by being an eco-conscious trekker:
- Avoid campfires and use lodges for warmth and meals
- Carry out all non-compostable trash
- Use biodegradable soaps far away from water sources
- Dispose of waste properly and sanitize after toilets
- Refill reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic ones
- Stick to the main route to avoid destroying vegetation
- Support sustainable eco-lodges when possible
- Do not collect natural artifacts like wildflowers
- Provide feedback on environmental issues to authorities
- Consider a carbon offset for your flights to Nepal
Small mindful acts together make a big difference. Leave Nepal’s majestic trails pristine for future generations to enjoy as well.
Nepali Trekking Culture and Etiquette
Observing local values makes you a respectful trekker and leads to a more enriching experience:
- Dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees near temples
- Remove shoes before entering homes and temples
- Walk clockwise around Buddhist stupas
- Don’t point the bottoms of your feet at people or religious objects
- Use proper hands for giving, eating, and shaking hands
- Learn basic Nepali greetings and phrases
- Ask permission before photographing locals
- Consume beef and pork discreetly
- Respect queues at busy tea houses
- Tip hard-working porters and guides
- Purchase local handicrafts directly from artists
- Participate in cultural programs when invited
- Try exotic local dishes like yak cheese and butter tea
- Share snacks/medication with fellow trekkers in need
Blending in with cultural norms enhances interactions with Nepali people who met along the trails. Keep an open mind and positive attitude.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is trekking safe in Nepal during the monsoon?
Trekking is considered relatively safe if done responsibly during the monsoon. Dangers can be minimized by taking precautions, researching routes thoroughly, packing proper gear, and not taking unnecessary risks.
When does the monsoon start and end in Nepal?
The monsoon typically spans June to early September in Nepal. The most intense rainfall is usually from mid-June to mid-August. By late August, showers start decreasing.
How cold does it get on treks in August in Nepal?
At lower elevations, expect temperatures around 25°C during the day and 15-18°C at night. At higher elevations like Everest Base Camp or Thorong La, temperatures can drop below freezing, especially at night when extra layers are required.
What type of rain jacket is best for trekking?
Pack a lightweight, waterproof, breathable GoreTex or similar jacket from reputable brands like The North Face, Patagonia, or Marmot. Avoid capes which can be hazardous in windy conditions.
Can I still see mountain views during the monsoon?
Yes, skies do clear after rains allowing outstanding Himalayan views at times. Mornings generally have the clearest visibility before the buildup of clouds by afternoon.
Is a guide necessary for trekking in Nepal?
A guide is not mandatory in most regions but can ease logistics and provide safety. At a minimum, have a porter carry loads above 10-15kg to maximize enjoyment of these challenging trails.
How can I avoid altitude sickness?
Ascend slowly, limit exertion, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol, and spend a few acclimatization days at higher elevations when doing strenuous high-altitude treks. Medications like Diamox can provide added protection.
The spectacular scenery, moderate temperatures, lively culture, and quieter trails make August an exceptional time for trekking in Nepal. With the right mindset, preparation, gear, and itinerary, the summer monsoon period presents its unique highlights. From emerald green rhododendron forests to gushing waterfalls, August reveals a fresh side of the Himalayas. Respect the mountains, exercise caution, and embrace the adventure for an August trekking experience you will never forget in magnificent Nepal!