ApproachYou must first reach Pokhara. This is a large city with all kinds of accommodation. Pokhara can be reached by bus or by plane from Kathmandu. Since flights are weather dependent, it really isn’t that advantageous to book in advance. Simply show up at the airport, and if the weather is clear, book a flight. Plan to stay a day in Pokhara to arrange trekking permits (or porters if needed).
To get to the Naya Pul trailhead from Pokhara, take a bus ($.50 and 3 hours) or a taxi ($8 and 1 hour) to Naya Pul.
Route DescriptionFrom Naya Pul, it is an easy and mostly flat walk to the village of Birethanti. This is where the Modi Khola (river) and Bhurungdi Khola (river) meet. The trail then begins to climb passing a nice waterfall and the several small villages of Ramghai, Sudame, Hille, and Tirkhedhunga. Just beyond here is where the trail will cross a stream and the Bhurungdi Khola. This is where the infamous staircase begins! Locals say that there are 3280 stone steps to Ulleri. We took their word for it and didn’t bother to count the steps to see if the figure is correct. We stayed at the Annapurna View Guesthouse about 2/3 the way up. My wife was five months pregnant at the time of our visit, and she wanted to take it easy on the first day by climbing “only” 2000 or so steps. It is at this guesthouse that the first close up views of the mountains are had, as there is a great view of Annapurna South from here. At Ulleri (at the top of the staircase) are found even better views and Annapurna South and Hiunchuli are clearly visible.
After Ulleri, the trail climbs less steeply, at least for a while. The next village reached is Banthanti. You will pass through a rainforest like section covered in ferns and moss-covered trees. The trees are rhododendrons. These trees bloom in a spectacular fashion in March and April. You will pass two more villages, Nayathanti and Ghorapani before reaching Ghorapani Pass. Ghorepani Pass is the closest village to Poon Hill and it is recommended that you spend the second night here in order to get an early start for the sunrise from Poon Hill. It is about 45 minutes to an hour to the top of Poon Hill from Ghorapani Pass. Enjoy the view!! Starting on the left and to the right, mountains viewed are: Dhalagiri at 8167 meters (26,794 feet) is the world’s 7th highest peak; Tukuche at 6950 meters 22,802 feet, Nilgiri at 7010 meters (22,998 feet), Annapurna I at 8091 meters (26,545 feet) is the world’s 10th highest (and one of the most deadly) peak, Annapurna South at 7219 meters, Hiunchuli at 6441 meters (21,132 feet), Tark Kang at 7192 meters (23,595 feet), Machhupuchhare at 6997 meters (22,955 feet), and in the distance is Manaslu at 8156 meters (26,758 feet), is the world’s 8th highest peak.
Total elevation gain from Naya Pul to Poon Hill is 1670 meters (5480 feet). From the summit of Poon Hill, there are several possibilities. You can return the same way, or extend the trip to several other locations.