Complete guide to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain

Buildings at the top of waynapicchu

Complete Guide to Hike Huayna Picchu Mountain

Huayna Picchu Mountain (Also know as Wayna Picchu) is located in the Machu Picchu District, Urubamba Province, Cusco Region. With 2693 meters (8835 ft) is a mountain that rises in the northern area of Machu Picchu. According to local guides and historians, this mountain was the residence of a high priest in charge of astronomical observations and a place to perform religious ceremonies to give offerings to local gods.

On top, there is a building which was probably the house of the priest. Also, several terraces and altars really define gravity. The location and how this building was placed on top of the steep mountain wall, nowadays, it looks almost impossible to imagine how the Inca engineers anchored those walls and terraces over there.

What is Huayna Picchu Mountain?

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

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 know as “stairs of death.” Also, you will be able to see terraces, temples, orchids and enjoy the amazing views that offer this incredible place.

baby llamas
Baby Llamas in Machu Picchu

Ticket Times to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain.

Every day 400 people are hiking to Huayna Picchu Mountain, the entrance tickets will sell out fast, for this reason, you need to book far in advance the Huayna Picchu tickets; there two shifts that you can choose from:

The first shift is from 7:00 am to 8:00 am, where 200 people are allowed per day; this shift is perfect for people that stayed the night before at the city of Aguas Calientes. They take the early buses and climb this mountain before sunrise. Depending on the season, the weather, and the hikers’ physical conditions is almost impossible to arrive at the top before dawn. The climbing takes at least 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the top and another hour to come down carefully.

The second shift is from 10:00 am to 11:00 am, where also 200 people will be allowed to enter; this shift is perfect for people that they just did 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 climb the mountain. The climbing takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour up, and similar the way down. It’s important to know that the top of Huayna Picchu Mountain closes at 1:00 pm, so you need to start coming down before that time.

How hard is the hike to Huayna Picchu?

Huayna Picchu is not very difficult and can be completed by anybody with a moderate physical condition. The trail is steep and narrow in most parts of the mountain and can be slippery when it’s raining, but you will always find steel cables whenever is necessary. The final part is the hardest but very rewarding at the same time because of the views. Once you reach the top, you can take some time to enjoy the great vistas, or you can continue to the left that goes to Gran Caverna with almost three extra hours of hiking to see the Temple of the Moon. The regular route follows to the right side from the top and joins the same way up, finishing the whole Huayna Picchu mountain in less than 2 hours.

Huayna Picchu Mountain
View Huayna Picchu Mountain

How Much is the entrance ticket?

The cost of the Huayna Picchu tickets is 75.USD, this includes Machu Picchu citadel as 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 shift that is more convenient for your tour.

1.- Classic Inca Trail 4 day 3 nights: When you hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days, you will arrive on the last day of the trek to Sungate around 6:30 am 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 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.USD, and you must always book the last shift from 10 AM to 11 AM.

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 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 make sure to enjoy Machu Picchu to the fullest, have enough time to listen to the Tour Guides, and also explore on your own before climbing the big Mountain. There is the option to buy only one ticket adding 35.USD to your ticket, however, you will have limited time to explore Machu Picchu (less than 2 hours), and we do not recommend this option.

3.- Machu 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 by 1 ticket of 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, yiou need at least 2 hours.

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 and 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 time of the year to hike this mountain?

Huyana Picchu is open all year round, but there are 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, where 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, late afternoon, and 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 season and the wet warm season.

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?

Huayna Picchu mountain is located on the northern end of Machu Picchu; to get to Huayna Picchu’s gate, you must walk around 20 minutes through Machu Picchu from the main entrance.

Is the Mountain Dangerous?

Both mountains, Huayna Picchu and Montaña are steep, open, exposed areas with a sheer drop, however, Huayna Picchu is steeper, and you will need to use some parts in some parts handrails to keep your balance. You must always be careful when you are hiking to Huayna Picchu peak.

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

Is the hike worth It?

The climb is steep and narrow; you need to stop and let others pass you. At the top, there are a set of stairs called the Stairs of death, called that way because they are really steep and you need to use your hands to keep climbing.

Despite the Challenge and risks of climbing a steep mountain, Huayna Picchu offers spectacular views.

View of machu Picchu
View of Machu Picchu from Huayna Picchu

What are the entry times to the mountain?

First Shift: Machu Picchu entry at 6 am / Huayna Picchu from 7 am – 8 am
First Shift II: Machu Picchu entry at 7 am / Huayna Picchu from 7 am to 8 am
Second Shift: Machu Picchu entry at 8 am / Huayna Picchu from 10 am to 11 am

Map of Machu Picchu, HuaynaPpicchu and Temple of the Moon

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

 

 

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