Hike Huayna Picchu at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Peru

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    2.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1000 Feet


Climbing this mountain gives you the an amazing birds eye view of Machu Picchu. With only 400 hikers permitted per day, it's a unique opportunity to explore to see a different side of the UNESCO World Heritage site.

The 1,000ft climb up Huayna Picchu is one of the highlights of a visit to Machu Picchu. This diamond shaped mountain looms directly behind the site and provides a unique perspective of Machu Picchu, allowing you to see the amazing engineering that went into this site. You start the hike on the far side of Machu Picchu, entering through a gate that checks permits.

Following along winding paths, climbing ladders, and ascending steep staircases you will find yourself traveling in the footsteps of the Incas. There are several stopping points to get a view of Machu Picchu, but your goal is the top. As you get higher the staircases get narrower and in some cases have ropes to help you ascend. Right before the top you must crawl through a short tunneled out rock, but most people shouldn't have any problem with this section. A short while later, you have made it to the top where you can take in the astounding views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains. The descent is slightly trickier than the ascent, and you will be making more use of those handropes. There are some buildings to explore, and one rather scary section where you will go down a narrow staircase that hugs the edge of the cliffs.

Safety can be a concern on this hike which is why children must be at least 12. People with vertigo or a fear of heights might want to skip Huayna Picchu, but as long as you use common sense and proceed cautiously on the more dangerous sections most people will have no problems with this hike. Hikers should also take the elevation into consideration as you will be starting at around 8,000 ft, so it may feel more difficult than it appears on paper.

If you are feeling energetic after your hike, you can also hike to the Great Cavern and the Moon Temple, which can only be accessed from the Huayna Picchu trails.

The Peruvian Ministry of Culture limits Huayna Picchu permits to just 400 per day with entrance times of either 7am or 10am. The cost of the permit is about $10 in addition to your Machu Picchu permit. These sell out quickly so it's a good idea to plan in advance.

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Spent a few weeks in Peru and this was the highlight of my trip! I loved it, it can be quite strenuous and scary at times but it is 100% worth it.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

From the summit perch, Machu Picchu looks tiny. My photos appear taken from a helicopter, but rather they were taken by a stranger, because I was too scared to stand and shoot.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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