January is usually the coldest month in Nepal for trekking.
Nepal has five seasons and January falls in right the middle of winter. Most people do not trek during January in Nepal for many reasons including safety.
If your trek runs from December into January then you may not be able to complete it. Snow falls and freezing temperatures can often block passes. Expect temperatures to drop well below freezing (often hitting -25) not including windchill factors.
January trekking tips
- Stick to short day hikes and not treks
- Don't go on extended treks or treks with high passes/base camps
- Dress in Layers
- Take a guide and be sure to check in at every stop
Very few people consider trekking during January in Nepal. Short hikes around Nagarkot or Dhulikhel should be possible. Dhampus near Pokhara should also be possible. Longer treks to Everest or the Annapurna Circuit are not recommended at this time of year.
Freezing, literally. Temperatures can fall to -30 degrees* with ease at altitude. Moreover the windchill can bring it down even further. Passes and base camps can get cut off by snow and ice. Avalanches can occur.
* weather temperatures and conditions change as you go up in altitude or descend. Likewise there are variations depending on the trek. Always expect passes and base camps to have more extreme conditions. The temperatures listed here are only used as rough indications.
Since publishing my guidebooks we've been keeping an accurate record of both GPS data for trails and the weather to try and help trekkers make decisions.
The following information is correlated based on real trekking guides and trekkers who were in the following areas. The weather data is broken down into the year of the trek, weeks in the month and a note on what a guide or person experienced in terms of weather. We've used EBC, ABC and the APC for weather examples as they cover the widest range of areas.
EBC = Everest Base Camp. ABC = Annapurna Base Camp. APC = Annapurna Circuit. WK = Week.
* Blank years or weeks just means the guide or data is/was not available. It may also mean we've not had the time to update the data here (we have a lot of data on all treks). We are trying to keep this information as accurate as possible. If you are looking for specific data you may contact us, however you can best support this site by purchasing a guidebook first.
Trek / DateEBC
WK 1: Snowfall.
WK 2-3 heavy snow fall
Trek / DateABC
WK 1: Snowfall but good views.
WK 3: Snowing heavily,
WK 1: No snow, good views.
WK 1: Snowfall with good views.
WK 2-3 heavy snow fall
Trek / DateAPC
January 2017WK 3: snowfall Manang, Chame to Muktinath but managable
WK 2:Snow fall in parts
WK 2-3 heavy snow fall
This historical climate/weather data may be useful to some but do remember that that the weather can change on an hourly basis in Nepal.
Most trekkers will dress in layers, especially in the winter in Nepal. Good strong trekking boots would be advisable due to snow and ice. Thick socks. Thermal undergarments will help. Windproof jacket and or a thick winter trekking jacket will be needed. Trekking shirts, pants and a fleece.
Keep in mind that it can get sunny and hot in January when out trekking during the day. So dressing in layers helps.
You will also most likely benefit from having a sleeping bag when trekking in winter. Blankets are usually available in guesthouse along trekking routes.
Accommodation in all of Nepal's big cities will be open. However, not all accommodation along the trekking routes stay open in January. Many teahouses (guest houses) along the trails close up for the winter and the people move down to the valleys where it's a little warmer.
There will be some guest houses open on the main routes but there will be no guarantees.
Just like the accommodation many places will close up and move down to the warmer valleys and larger cities during the winter months. Do read my guidebook trekking in Nepal to understand about restaurants when trekking as you may not be allowed to stay in your accommodation if you eat elsewhere when trekking!
Yes, trekking permits are available year round in Nepal including January. Permits are available in both Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Quite frankly you'd be crazy not to have proper travel insurance when trekking in January. Do read about getting proper travel insurance for trekking in Nepal.
DDo read my full article on when is the best time of year to go trekking in Nepal for a full overview which it makes it easy to pick the best season to go trekking. Meanwhile here's a monthly breakdown.
Again, if you are trying to make plans it'll be easier to read when is the best time of year to go trekking in Nepal first, then the monthly breakdown.
The above information should give you a brief outline and understanding about trekking in Nepal in January.
I've compiled more detailed articles on the specifics of trekking in Nepal below.
You will find them to be a great place to thoroughly research your trip to Nepal, be sure to bookmark them so you don't forget!
|You might find my following free guides helpful:|
My guide on trekking in Nepal
|Check out my guide on equipment & gear needed for trekking in Nepal|
|Check out my list of treks to do in Nepal complete with maps||Check out my guide on how to travel overland into Tibet for a lot more!|
|How to choose a trekking guide in Nepal||My Day by day account of trekking to Everest Base Camp in the off season (winter)|
|Check out my How to travel overland into Nepal guide||Check out my country Guide to Nepal|
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In the book I cover all the popular treks in Nepal with step-by-step accuracy using scalable maps, photographs and travel tested up-to-date trekking information.
Just like my other guidebooks to Nepal it's an interactive & printable guidebook like no other.
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