Complete guide to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain

Buildings at the top of waynapicchu

Complete Guide to Hike Huayna Picchu Mountain

Mountain Huayna Picchu, commonly known as Waynapicchu, is situated in the Machu Picchu District, Urubamba Province, Cusco Region. This peak rises to a height of 2693 meters (8835 feet) in the northern region of Machu Picchu. According to local guides and historians, a high priest responsible for astronomical observations resided on this peak. It was also the site of religious ceremonies where offerings were made to the local gods.

There is a building at the top of the mountain, which may be the priest’s house. In addition, several terraces and altars define gravity. Today, the location of this building and how it is placed on the steep walls make it almost impossible to imagine how the Inca engineers anchored these buildings and terraces in such a steep mountain.

Meaning of Huayna Picchu in Quechua

Huayna Picchu is a Quechua compound word; Huayna (Young) and Picchu (Mountain). From this, Huayna Picchu means “Young Mountain.”

What is Huayna Picchu Mountain?

Huayna Picchu is the tall mountain you see behind in the most famous photographs of Machu Picchu, the classic postal pictures. You need to book the entrance tickets far in advance to hike this mountain.

The access point is located in the northern corner of Machu Picchu; it takes about 1 hour to the top and 45 minutes down the same trail. Inside Huayna Picchu mountain, you will find steep and narrow stairs known as the “stairs of death.” You will also be able to see terraces, temples, and orchids and enjoy the fantastic views that this incredible place offers.

baby llamas
Baby Llamas in Machu Picchu

Ticket Times to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain.

Every day 200 people hike to Huayna Picchu Mountain, and the entrance tickets will sell out fast. For this reason, you need to book the tickets far in advance. There are four shifts that you can choose from:

First Shift
Allows you to enter to Machu Picchu citadel after 6.00a.m. and to Huayna Picchu form 7.00am to 8.00 am. You need to stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes town the night before and take the early buses to Machu Picchu to arrive at this shift.

Second Shift
Allows you to enter to Machu Picchu citadel after 7.00a.m. and to Huayna Picchu form 8.00am to 9.00am. Recommended booking this shift if you stay the night before in Aguas Calientes,  you need to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain before 9: 00 am. Please note that from the main entrance, there is still a 20 minutes hike to get to the main entrance of Huayna Picchu.

The Third shift
You can enter to Machu Picchu citadel after 8.00am and to Huayna Picchu between 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  This shift is perfect for Alternative Treks such as the Short Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle trek, Tours by train, or any other trek that leads to Machu Picchu. This is because you need to explore the citadel of Machu Picchu first, then you can hike the mountain.

The last shift
You can enter Machu Picchu after 9.00 am and Huayna Picchu, you can enter between 10.00 am to 10.00 am. This shift is perfect for the Classic Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle trek, Tours by train, or any other trek that leads to Machu Picchu. This is because you need to explore the citadel of Machu Picchu first, then you can hike the mountain.

Please note that the cost for Huayna Picchu Mountain is 75$, is not possible to buy this mountain separately. You can only enter through the lower part of Machu Picchu, and you will not be able to access the upper part where the best photo places are. These tickets will not allow you to re-enter.

To have the Full experience of Machu Picchu and get the pictures from the upper part, you must purchase a separate regular Machu Picchu ticket (50$).

When you take a trekking tour, tour by train, or any other tour that Includes Machu Picchu entry, the regular Entry to Machu Picchu is always included.

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days – Find out more.

How challenging is the hike to Huayna Picchu?

Anyone in decent shape may climb Huayna Picchu. The route is steep, narrow, and slippery when wet, but steel cables are always available. The last section is the toughest, but the vistas are worth it. Once you reach the summit, you may enjoy the scenery or continue to the left to Gran Caverna and the Temple of the Moon. The usual path follows the right side from the summit and descends from the mountain in less than 1 hour.

Huayna Picchu Mountain
View Huayna Picchu Mountain

How Much is the entrance ticket?

The cost of the Huayna Picchu tickets is 75.USD and includes Machu Picchu citadel through circuit 3. You can not buy just Huayna Picchu itself. Same in the case of Machu Picchu Mountain, to plan a perfect trip to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, you must book the more convenient shift for your tour.

1.- Classic Inca Trail 4 days 3 nights: When you hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you will arrive on the last day of the trek to Sungate around 6:30 am and continue to Machu Picchu for another hour, where the Inca Trail ends. After resting, you will start a guided tour of Machu Picchu from 8:00 am to 10:30 am approximate; next, if you have the Huayna Picchu tickets, you will hike to the top of this mountain, reach the top, go back down, and take the bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then take the train back to Cusco. The cost of the tickets is $75, and you must always book the last shift from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

2.- Alternative Treks like the Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle trek, Quarry Treks, Tours by train, and any other tour that includes spending the night in Aguas Calientes and taking the early buses up to Machu Picchu. You must book an early Machu Picchu entrance (6:am or 7:am), explore the upper part of the citadel with a guided tour, and use a second ticket to enter Huayna Picchu from 10 am to 11 am. By following this order, you will enjoy Machu Picchu to the fullest, have enough time to listen to the tour guides, and explore on your own before climbing the big mountain.

3.-Macchu Picchu By Train: If you are traveling from Cusco or Ollantaytambo on a full-day tour, make sure you take the early train options (4. am to 8. am) to be able to make it on time before 11 am to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain. You must always book the second shift (10 to 11 am); you can get one ticket for Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu included at 75.USD or you can buy 2 tickets to enter Huayna Picchu (75. USD) and another to explore the citadel after the mountain (50. USD). Please remember to enjoy Machu Picchu in no hurry; you need at least 2 hours. If you have later trains, you can also consider booking the last shift of Huayan Picchu from 12:pm to 1 pm.

Huayna Picchu Mountain FAQs

Which is the best time of the day to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain?

The best time to hike Huayna Picchu is after the guided tour in Machu Picchu. First, you must explore the citadel with your tour guide, spend some time on your own, and finally climb Huayna Picchu Mountain. We recommend this because Machu Picchu is the main attraction and you need to enjoy it first. After Huayna Picchu, you will be tired, and you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, enjoy a Cuzqueña (Local beer), and go back to Cusco.

Final stairs in Huayna Picchu
Final stairs to reach the top of Huayna Picchu.

Which is the best time of the year to hike this mountain?

Huyana Picchu is open all year round, but there are a few things to consider when planning the perfect trip for you. Machu Picchu is located in the cloud forest, the wettest place in Peru. Rains are expected at any time; even in the driest months like June or July, we can have unexpected rainy days.

The dry season is from May to October in the Andes, and less rainfall is expected in Machu Picchu. However, you must always carry rain gear with you, as the weather may change within a few minutes. These months are also the busiest time of the year, especially from June to September, when there will be long queues for buses, Machu Picchu, and trains.

Terraces over the clouds
Terraces over the clouds

The wet season is from November to April. It is expected to rain in the mornings and late afternoon. However, the sun will come out around 9 to 10 in the morning. However, in the cloud forest, the weather is unpredictable. It is better to be prepared for sunshine, rain, and cold weather.

The best time to visit Machu Picchu and hike Huayna Picchu Mountain is in the shoulder seasons in April, May, September, October, and November. These are the transition months between the dry, cold, and warm wet seasons.

How high is the Huayna Picchu Mountain?

The top of the mountain is located at 2693 meters (8835 ft). The hike starts in Machu Picchu at 2430 meters (7972ft) and finishes at the same place.

Terraces of waynapicchu
Terraces at the top of Huayna Picchu

Where is it located, and how to get there?

The mountain known as Huayna Picchu can be found to the north of Machu Picchu; to reach the entrance to Huayna Picchu, you will need to trek through Machu Picchu for around twenty minutes after entering the site.

Is the Mountain Dangerous?

Huayna Picchu and Montaña are steep, open, exposed areas with sheer drops; however, Huayna Picchu is more vertical, and you will need to use in some parts handrails to keep your balance. Montaña is also steep, open, and exposed; however, it does not have the sheer drops which Huayna Picchu does. When you are out on the trail to Huayna Picchu’s top, use extreme caution.

Narrow path to wayna picchu
The narrow path to the top of the mountain

Is the hike worth It?

The ascent is difficult since it is steep and narrow; you must stop and allow the people behind you to pass. There is a series of steps at the very top known as the Stairs of death. These stairs got their name because they are very steep and require you to ascend using your hands.

Despite the difficulties and possible risks involved, the ascent to Huayna Picchu is well worth it for the breathtaking vistas.

View of machu Picchu
View of Machu Picchu from Huayna Picchu

What are the entry times to the mountain?

First shift of the Huayna Picchu

  • The first group allows access to Machu Picchu between the hours of 6 and 7 am
  • The entry to Huayna Picchu is between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning,

Second shift to Huayna Picchu

  • If you are part of the second group, you will be able to access Machu Picchu between 7 and 8.
  • Between 8 and 9 in the morning, you can enter Huayna Picchu mountain.

The third shift

  • You will have the opportunity to access Machu Picchu between 8 and 9.
  • The Huayna Picchu entrance is open from 9.00 am till 10.00 am.

The fourth and last shift of the day

  • If you belong to the last group, you will have the opportunity to access Machu Picchu between 9 am, and 10 am.
  • Between 10 am, and 11 am, visitors can enter the Huayna Picchu mountain.

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days – Find out more

Map of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu and Temple of the Moon

Huayna Picchu Map
View of Huayna Picchu and Temple of the Moon




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