Exploring the Mesokanto La Pass and Tilicho Lake Treks

Exploring the Mesokanto La Pass and Tilicho Lake Treks: A Guide to Two Incredible Adventures in Nepal's Annapurna Region

Trekking in Nepal is a dream for many adventurers, and the Annapurna region offers some of the most diverse and breathtaking trails in the world. Among the numerous treks, the Mesokanto La Pass and Tilicho Lake treks stand out for their unique challenges and stunning scenery. Both treks provide an unforgettable experience, combining natural beauty, cultural encounters, and the thrill of high-altitude trekking.

Mesokanto La Pass Trek


The Mesokanto La Pass trek is a challenging yet rewarding journey that takes you through some of the most scenic parts of the Annapurna region. This trek is less frequented compared to the more popular Annapurna Circuit, offering a more serene and less crowded experience.

  • Location: Annapurna region, Nepal
  • Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
  • Duration: 12-16 days
  • Max Elevation: Approximately 5,100 meters (16,732 feet)


  1. Scenic Beauty: The trek offers panoramic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. The dramatic landscapes change from lush green valleys to barren, high-altitude deserts, providing a visual feast for trekkers.
  2. Diverse Landscapes: You'll traverse through rhododendron forests, alpine meadows, and rugged terrains, each offering a different kind of natural beauty.
  3. Cultural Experience: Passing through traditional Nepali villages allows trekkers to immerse themselves in the local culture. You can witness the traditional lifestyle of the Gurung and Thakali communities and visit ancient monasteries and temples.
  4. Wildlife: The region is home to diverse flora and fauna, including rare Himalayan species like the blue sheep and the elusive snow leopard.


The trek typically starts from Jomsom, a town that can be reached via a short flight from Pokhara. Here’s a brief outline of the route:

  • Jomsom to Kagbeni: The trail follows the Kali Gandaki River, leading to the medieval village of Kagbeni.
  • Kagbeni to Muktinath: A sacred site for both Hindus and Buddhists, Muktinath is a place of pilgrimage. The temple complex here is a significant highlight.
  • Muktinath to Mesokanto La Pass: The ascent to Mesokanto La Pass is challenging but rewarding, offering stunning views of the surrounding peaks.
  • Descent to Tilicho Lake: If included in the itinerary, the trek continues to Tilicho Lake, one of the highest lakes in the world. Otherwise, the trek descends towards the exit point, such as Tatopani.

Tilicho Lake Trek


The Tilicho Lake trek is another remarkable journey in the Annapurna region. Known for being home to the highest lake in the world, this trek is often combined with the Annapurna Circuit for an extended adventure.

  • Location: Annapurna region, Nepal
  • Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
  • Duration: 15-20 days
  • Max Elevation: 4,919 meters (16,138 feet)


  1. Tilicho Lake: At an altitude of 4,919 meters, Tilicho Lake is the highest lake in the world. The serene, turquoise waters of the lake against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks create a breathtaking sight.
  2. Mountain Views: The trek offers spectacular views of major peaks, including Annapurna, Gangapurna, and Tilicho Peak.
  3. Cultural Exploration: The trail passes through villages that reflect Tibetan-influenced culture. Trekkers can interact with locals, visit monasteries, and experience the warm hospitality of the region.
  4. Adventure: The route to Tilicho Lake is challenging, especially the ascent to the lake itself. The sense of accomplishment upon reaching the lake is immense.


The trek usually begins from Besishahar, following the classic Annapurna Circuit route. Here’s a brief outline:

  • Besishahar to Chame: The initial stages involve trekking through lush forests and along rivers, gradually gaining altitude.
  • Chame to Pisang: The trail offers beautiful views of Annapurna II and Pisang Peak. The landscape becomes more arid as you gain altitude.
  • Pisang to Manang: Manang is a crucial acclimatization stop. Trekkers can explore the village and its surroundings, including the Gangapurna Lake.
  • Manang to Tilicho Base Camp: Diverting from the Annapurna Circuit, the route heads towards Tilicho Base Camp. This section involves steep and challenging paths.
  • Tilicho Base Camp to Tilicho Lake: The final ascent to Tilicho Lake is demanding but rewarding, offering breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding peaks.

Combining Mesokanto La Pass and Tilicho Lake

For those seeking an extended adventure, combining the Mesokanto La Pass trek with the Tilicho Lake trek is a viable option. This combined trek offers a comprehensive experience of the Annapurna region, covering diverse landscapes, high-altitude passes, and cultural highlights.


A possible combined itinerary could be:

  • Day 1-8: Follow the Annapurna Circuit from Besishahar to Manang.
  • Day 9-11: Divert to Tilicho Base Camp and then to Tilicho Lake.
  • Day 12-13: Return to Manang and proceed towards Yak Kharka.
  • Day 14-15: Trek to Mesokanto La Pass, enjoying the panoramic views.
  • Day 16-17: Descend towards Jomsom or another specified exit point.

Tips for Trekkers

  1. Preparation: Proper acclimatization is crucial to avoid altitude sickness. Spend extra days at higher altitudes to acclimatize.
  2. Permits: Obtain the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekker's Information Management System (TIMS) card.
  3. Season: The best trekking seasons are pre-monsoon (March to May) and post-monsoon (September to November). During these times, the weather is more stable, and the views are clearer.
  4. Guides and Porters: Hiring a guide and porter is recommended for safety and ease. Guides can also provide valuable insights into the local culture and environment.
  5. Gear: Ensure you have appropriate trekking gear, including warm clothing, a good sleeping bag, and sturdy trekking boots. A first aid kit and water purification tablets are also essential.
  6. Hydration and Nutrition: Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet to keep your energy levels up. Bring high-energy snacks for the trek.


The Mesokanto La Pass and Tilicho Lake treks are two of the most exciting and rewarding trekking routes in Nepal's Annapurna region. Each trek offers its own unique set of challenges and highlights, from the high-altitude pass of Mesokanto La to the serene beauty of Tilicho Lake. Whether you choose to embark on one of these treks or combine them for an extended adventure, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience. The combination of stunning landscapes, cultural richness, and the thrill of high-altitude trekking makes these treks a must for any avid trekker.

Embarking on these treks requires good preparation, a sense of adventure, and a love for nature and culture. With the right mindset and planning, the Mesokanto La Pass and Tilicho Lake treks will leave you with memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.

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