Yungay, Peru

Hike Laguna Paron

5 Miles Total - 3000 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Sean O'Brien

This adventure is just as gorgeous and awe inspiring as the rest of the well known places in the Peruvian Andes such as Laguna 69, Lake Humantay and Santa Cruz trek without the crowds. Find yourself alone in a massive, colorful and abundant landscape.

You have options for this adventure: One is to do a day trip alone to Laguna Paron. Another is to go with a guide/tour company. And lastly, is to do a trek without a company to the lake and what lies beyond. Depending on your skill level, timeframe and any other factors that may arise, some of these options may cater to your interest better than others.

We had one day left in Huaraz, this is why we opted for a day trip with a tour company. It is approximately a three hour drive each way from Huaraz to the lake, and with this company you skip the hike from the town of Paron to the lake and just drive directly to the lake itself. Once your there a guide takes you on a hike onto a rocky ridge above the lake overlooking the mountain ranges and beautiful blue water. After reaching an epic lookout point, you head down for time to hang by the lake. During this time we hiked alone on the path to the left side of the lake directly on it's shoreline. 

This is the only company in the entire town of Huaraz able to take you to Laguna Paron and they only operate on Sundays. If you opt to do this adventure alone, the more challenging and adventurous way, then getting there is the first step. To get there without a guide or tour company, you must take a collectivo – a compact white van found all over Peru that will take you places for much cheaper than a taxi – from Caraz to Paron. Once your in Paron there is a rocky road leading all the way up to the lake, instead of hiking this windy road meant for vehicles, take the singletrack trail that is marked. This runs beside the road in some places and is a much more enjoyable walk overall. There is an entry fee of 5 soles to get into the area of the lake (the tour company will take care of this), but once you have your permit you can camp, hike, ski, climb or whatever your fancy.

The mileage I put for this adventure is the distance walking around the lake – Laguna Paron. Any distance past the lake make sure to factor into your roundtrip. At the lake there is a steep trail leading up the right side all the way up the top of the ridge. From there you gain epic, 360 degree aerial views of the Cordillera Blancas - the largest lake, as well as some of their most famous peaks including, Nevado Artesonraju, the mountain used in Paramount Pictures logo. This trail eventually leads to a basecamp, below a large glacier, used for major climbing routes. Another option is to walk on a trail alongside the left side of the lake. This direction is a flatter, wider, and more well maintained path for a half mile or so before turning into singletrack. Eventually this trail will take you to the other end of the lake where there is a beautiful white shoreline and a blue creek leading toward an upper lake.

It’s a huge place and is impossible to explore in just one afternoon. I recommend going alone without a tour company, camping, and leaving enough time to explore this lake’s surroundings because unlike the other big tourist attractions surrounding Huaraz and Huascaran National Park such as Laguna 69, Santa Cruz trek and Glacier Pastoruri, you can bet on having this place to yourself for the entire day. This is because as stated before, only one tour company in the surrounding area goes here. Not only that but the company only goes with one group, once a week on Sundays. Hiking to the lake for a day trip without Golden Expeditions requires waking up extremely early and rushing there and back so you’re able to catch the last collectivo to Caraz – another reason most people opt out of this adventure, leaving the lake all to yourself. 

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Picnic Area
Swimming Hole


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