Machu Picchu Mountain, also known as Montaña, offers an unforgettable adventure for those seeking to experience hiking and nature. Towering over the Machu Picchu Citadel, this mountain hike takes you above the clouds, providing magnificent views of the historic citadel and the lush Urubamba Valley. Each step brings you closer to the mountain's breathtaking summit, offering unique insights into one of history's greatest archaeological wonders. Embark on this adventure to truly appreciate Machu Picchu from a different and stunning vantage point.

All you need to know about Machu Picchu Mountain

If you’re planning a trip to Machu Picchu, you might be picturing the iconic citadel. But there’s another marvel that deserves more attention–Machu Picchu Mountain or Montaña Machu Picchu. Sitting proudly at 3061 meters (10042 feet), it’s the tallest peak in the area, offering a unique vantage point that surpasses even Huayna Picchu Mountain. Climbing this mountain, though, isn't the same as visiting the citadel. You’ll need a separate ticket from the general entry ticket and undertake a somewhat challenging hike to the summit to enjoy an amazing 360° view of the area.

In this post, we’ll explain how to secure your spot, what to expect on your hike, and why Machu Picchu Mountain is more than a stunning backdrop but a breathtaking addition to your Machu Picchu adventure.

Machu Picchu Mountain | TreXperience

What is Machu Picchu Mountain?

Just like the famous Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain is one of the many peaks surrounding the ancient city. However, this one stands out as the tallest in the sanctuary, soaring up to 3061 meters (10042 feet). It gets its name from the combination of two Quechua words: Machu, which means old or great, and Picchu, which means mountain. This translates to "Great Mountain" or "Old Mountain."

Though it shares its name with the actual site, don't get them mixed up—they're two distinct places. The real highlight, though, is the hike to the top, which offers a truly rewarding experience with breathtaking panoramic views that are simply indescribable once you complete it.

Where is it located, and how to get there?

Machu Picchu Mountain is perched southwest of the Machu Picchu citadel, facing the site and across from the famous Huayna Picchu Mountain. The entrance is conveniently located in the upper part of the city, near the Guardhouse and above the inca Trail, arriving from Sun Gate (Intipunku).

To get to this magical place, you’ll need to secure your ticket and plan your visit just as you’ll be visiting Machu Picchu. A great plan is to stay overnight in Aguas Calientes and hike up the mountain the following day. Here are your options:

  • On your own from Aguas Calientes: Make sure to arrive in Aguas Calientes with enough time, ideally the day before. From Machu Picchu's main access point, follow the trail up to the Guardian House; continue until you see the sign for Sun Gate (Intipunku), where you will turn left following the Inca Trail until you see a sign to "Machu Picchu Mountain" and turn left to arrive to the checkpoint.
  • Booking a Tour: This is the recommended way to experience both Machu Picchu and the Mountain. A reputable agency will handle all the timing and logistics, so you won’t worry about schedules or planning your visit. Consider adding an adventure tour to Machu Picchu to your itinerary for a full experience.

Weather

Machu Picchu Mountain is open all year round and offers a great experience despite weather conditions. If you plan to hike this mountain, no matter which season, always be prepared for sunny, cloudy, or rainy days. The mountain weather can change in a matter of minutes, from sunny days to rainy days. 

Machu Picchu weather is divided into two main seasons: the rainy season, which starts in November and lasts until March, with the heaviest rains occurring from January to March, and the dry season, which starts in May and lasts until September, with the transitional months being April and October. However, always carry sun protection and a rain poncho, as occasional showers can occur even during the driest months of June and July.

Temperature during the day

The average daytime temperature in Machu Picchu is 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20°C), but it can range from 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (10°C to 30°C) on a sunny day. When hiking Machu Picchu Mountain, you will start early in Aguas Calientes when the weather is chilly; after sunrise, the temperature will increase. It's important to pack light clothes for a warm day but also be prepared for rain. Therefore, it is essential to pack clothing for all weather conditions.

Machu Picchu Mountain is one of the most popular extra hiking routes in the citadel, and for good reason. The views from the top are breathtaking, and you will be able to enjoy views of Machu Picchu citadel, the Salkantay Mountain, the Santa Teresa Valley, and the mountain behind, which is where the last campsite of the Classic Inca Trail is located.

Plants and animals on the Montaña Machu Picchu Hike

The Montaña Machu Picchu hike is a fantastic way to enjoy nature and fresh air. The hike is challenging, but you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views and an abundance of flora and fauna typical of the cloud forest area. The mountain is home to an incredible variety of plant life, including many rare and endangered species of orchids and flowers.

Machu Picchu is also home to various animals, including several species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. The most common bird species include tanagers, flycatchers, and the cock of the rock. If you're lucky, you might even spot the Andean condor flying over Machu Picchu or the spectacled bear. The area is also home to deer, lizards, and snakes.

Entry Tickets and Schedules

To secure a spot for hiking Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña Machu Picchu), you’ll need to pick a Circuit 1 + Machu Picchu Mountain Ticket, which has two shifts available. The hike will typically take you 3 hours, and adding Machu Picchu, you’ll need at least five hours total to really take in Machu Picchu and everything it has to offer.

We strongly recommend securing your entry ticket well in advance, as they can sell out quickly, especially during peak seasons. If you’re traveling with an organized tour or a tour company, contact them before booking to get information about the best times. This is crucial for planning your guided tour and coordinating with your entry tickets to Mahcu Picchu Mountain. 

Ticket Price

You can purchase Machu Picchu Mountain tickets on the official website, at ticket-selling points in Cusco, or through us. Check out our options for booking Machu Picchu tickets and tours.

The cost of Machu Picchu Mountain tickets depends on your country and age. It's recommended that you hire a local tour guide or book an organized tour of Machu Picchu.

CategoryForeignerCAN and Peruvian
Adults (18+)200 Soles112 Soles
Students (*)125 Soles80 Soles
Children (3-17) (**)118 Soles80 Soles

* Foreign undergraduate and CAN students: Up to 25 years old, with the original student ID from the university. The ID must include university information, personal information, a photo, and an expiration date within one year of the visit to Machu Picchu.

** Children under 3 years old have free access to Machu Picchu.

Ticket: Circuit 1 - Route -Machu Picchu Mountain

Your Machu Picchu Mountain ticket will grant you access to the upper part of Machu Picchu City, where the best viewpoints are located. First, you will enter the upper of Machu Picchu, take in the classic views from the observatory, and then hike up to Machu Picchu Mountain. Once you’re done, you’ll exit the city through the same path.

Circuit 1 in Machu Picchu - Machu Picchu Mountain Guide | TreXperience
⚠️ Note: Even with the great views, this circuit does not allow you to explore the archaeological site, so keep it in mind before planning your visit.

First shift (7:00 am to 8:00 am)

This is perfect if you are staying in Aguas Calientes the night before. We recommend starting early from your hotel, arriving at Machu Picchu between 6 and 7 a.m. Explore the upper part of Machu Picchu first, then hike to Machu Picchu Mountain.

It's important to note the following points:

  • There are 100 tickets available daily, so book early as they sell out quickly.
  • It takes a 25-minute uphill hike from the main Machu Picchu entrance to reach the entrance of Montaña.
  • With this ticket, you can visit both Machu Picchu and the mountain, which will take at least 3 hours.
  • After the mountain hike, you can purchase an extra ticket for Circuit 2 or Circuit 3 to explore the center of Machu Picchu.

Second Shift (9:00 am to 10:00 am)

The second shift allows 100 people, making it perfect for travelers who explore Machu Picchu Citadel in the early morning and then participate in this amazing hike. To have enough time to explore Machu Picchu Citadel, we recommend booking the 6:00 am, 7:00 a.m., or 8:00 a.m. entry at the latest.

If you are participating in a trekking tour to Machu Picchu, you need to book this shift. Some of the best tours with this option include the Short Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, and tours by train.

If you are arriving from the Classic Inca Trail, we don't suggest this mountain unless you take a private trip or stay an extra day in Aguas Calientes after the Inca Trail. You may then hike this mountain and return to Cusco the following day.

The Hiking Experience to Machu Picchu Mountain

The hike to Machu Picchu Montaña takes around 3 hours to complete: 1.5 to 2 hours uphill to reach the summit and 1 to 1.5 hours to return the same way. It's important to understand the type of trail, difficulty, and times before signing up for this hike, especially if you have booked a tour package with a travel company.

Hiking Montaña in the first shift

To enter Machu Picchu Montaña from 7 to 8 am, you must start early from Aguas Calientes town. Consider the following times:

  • It will take you around 20 minutes to get from your hotel to the bus station, queue, and board the bus.
  • The bus ride takes 30 minutes to reach the main gate of Machu Picchu.
  • From the main entrance, you will hike up for 25 minutes to the control point of Machu Picchu Montaña.
  • The round-trip hike takes approximately 3 hours.

We recommend hiking Montaña Machu Picchu first with early entrance to enjoy cooler weather and explore Machu Picchu leisurely afterward. If you're on a group tour, allow at least 30 minutes to reach the control point. If you have a guided tour first, be prepared to skip some parts or have a shorter tour.

If you are on a full-day tour to Machu Picchu and want to make it to Montaña for the first shift, you will need to take the first 5:00 am train to Machu Picchu.

Hiking Machu Picchu in the Second Shift

This is the perfect shift if you have a guided tour early in the morning in Machu Picchu. 

  • If you are part of a tour from Salkantay, the Short Inca Trail, or simply arriving at Machu Picchu by train, you should select this shift to enjoy Machu Picchu first and then undertake the hike.
  • Machu Picchu full-day tour from Cusco; it is possible to arrive on time to hike this mountain if you take the 5 or 6 am train and go directly to the control point of Montaña.
  • Classic Inca Trail 4 days trek, so we recommend staying an extra day to hike this mountain. Due to timing, if you plan to hike Montaña on the same day, you will need to skip the Machu Picchu guided tour unless it is a private tour that allows you to hike the mountain first and then explore the Machu Picchu citadel.

How hard is the climb?

Hiking up Machu Picchu Mountain is a bit more challenging than Huayna Picchu, mainly because it's longer and taller. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have those super steep and stretchy steps.

The trail starts with a moderate incline and then ramps up as you go along. The whole path is well-marked, so there’s no chance of getting lost—just stick to the signs. Along the way, you’ll be treated to vibrant greenery, including a beautiful mix of trees, plants, and some wildlife that really brings the trail to life.

Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the iconic Machu Picchu far below. It’s truly a breathtaking moment. The whole trail will take you about three hours (1.5 up and 1 hour down), and you can take as many breaks as you want.

Machu Picchu Mountain top | TreXperience
Summit of Machu Picchu Mountain. @emma_splinter00
Machu Picchu Mountain hike | TreXperience
Trail to Montaña Machu Picchu. @jennybhinyo

Note: The hike is perfectly doable for someone in average physical shape. Just remember to tread carefully to stay safe.

Trail stats:

  • Altitude: 3061 m ( 10,043 ft)
  • Hiking time needed: 3 hours roundtrip
  • Hike elevation: 630 m (2.070 ft.)
  • Best time to go: Dry Season (May to October)

The Views

Many people think Huayna Picchu is the top choice, so tickets often sell out quickly. However, Machu Picchu Mountain is considered one of the most spectacular peaks around. Reaching the top will give you an unforgettable sense of accomplishment. Plus, the 360-degree view lets you take in the entire Machu Picchu area, including distant snow-capped peaks and the winding Urubamba River. 

View from the top of Machu Picchu Mountain | TreXperience
View from the trail to Machu Picchu Mountain
Top of Machu Picchu Mountain | TreXperience
View from Machu Picchu Mountain. @copincopin
Pro tip: This mountain is not as crowded as Huayna Picchu, so it's a great alternative if you don’t find space but still want to enjoy the views.

Tips for Hiking Machu Picchu Mountain

  • If you’re considering hiking the Mountain and exploring Machu Picchu, start your hike early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you fueled during your hike.
  • Take breaks often to catch your breath and enjoy the views.
  • Be prepared for some steep sections, but know the rewards are worth it!
  • Stay on the trail at all times to help protect this fragile ecosystem.
  • When you reach the summit, take a moment to soak in the incredible views of Machu Picchu.

What if I want to visit the site, too?

Unfortunately, the government has restricted access to the site with this ticket to protect it from deterioration. This has led to no choice but to buy an additional ticket if you want to explore the entire site. Here are your options:

  • Ticket Circuit 2 (The Classic Route). While not the cheapest, this ticket lets you thoroughly enjoy the city. You'll get to see the most significant buildings and experience the classic views from the observatory. Plan to spend at least 5 hours to explore both the site and the Mountain fully.
  • Circuit 3 (Lower Machu Picchu). This ticket grants you access to the main site through the lower parts. You’ll see important buildings like the Temple of the Condor, the Temple of the Sun, and the Sacred Rock.

If you don’t find space for the Mountain:

  • Circuit 1 + Inti Punku: The Inti Punku or Sun Gate is another great spot you can visit and offers amazing views of the city. Just remember, it’s only open during the high season (June to October)

›› Check out our complete guide: Machu Picchu Tickets 2024

Group tours and Machu Picchu Mountain

As mentioned earlier, if you are part of a group tour and have a guided tour scheduled in Machu Picchu, you must coordinate with your travel company before booking Machu Picchu Montaña. The best time to hike Montaña will depend on your activities and entrance ticket availability.

The Classic Inca Trail 4 days 3 nights

The Classic Inca Trail + Machu Picchu Montaña combination is not recommended because there is not enough time to arrive from the Inca Trail, visit the Machu Picchu Citadel, and hike Montaña. It's possible, but you might have to skip part of the guided tour of Machu Picchu citadel. We recommend booking Machu Picchu Montaña only if you want to stay an extra day in Aguas Calientes.

The entrance ticket to Machu Picchu Montaña is $68 if you want to add it to your Inca Trail package. Apart from this, you need to book hotels in Aguas Calientes, cover meals, and book bus tickets for the next day. If advised in advance, there is no extra cost for train tickets booked for a day later.

The Short Inca Trail 2 days 1 night

The Short Inca Trail + Machu Picchu Montaña is perfect and recommended. First, you will complete a 2 to 3-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu Citadel. Then, exit Machu Picchu and reenter, heading straight for 25 minutes to the entrance of Machu Picchu Montaña during the second shift from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

The cost of the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu Montaña is $68. Please note that Inca Trail permits allow you to enter and explore Machu Picchu; however, to explore Montaña, you must purchase a new separate ticket.

Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu

This group includes the Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle Trek, Alternative Inca Trail, Huchuy Qosqo Trek, Quarry Trek, and other treks involving a night in Aguas Calientes.

After spending the night in Aguas Calientes, take the early bus to Machu Picchu. Explore the citadel with your tour guide for 2–3 hours, then find the Machu Picchu Mountain entrance for the second shift between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

You have until noon to complete the hike: ascend to the summit (2 hours), descend, and return to the citadel. Explore further, then take the bus to Aguas Calientes and return to your hotel or train station.

Tours by train from Cusco

Traveling by train to Mahcu Pichcu from Cusco offers fantastic views and is the most comfortable way to travel. There are two ways to visit Machu Picchu by train:

Full-day Tours from Cusco: Travel from Cusco or Ollantaytambo early (4 a.m. to 8 a.m.), arrive at Aguas Calientes, board the bus to Machu Picchu, and explore the citadel. To climb Machu Picchu Mountain, book the last shift (8 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and climb the mountain before the guided tour.

Overnight Tours: Travel from Cusco by train a day earlier, spend the night in Aguas Calientes and visit Machu Picchu the next day. Have a guided tour of the citadel first, then hike the mountain. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Montaña Machu Picchu

What’s the best time of the day to hike Montaña?

The best time to hike Machu Picchu Mountain depends on your tour type and any additional tickets you have. Here are some general recommendations:

  • Private Tours: Start by hiking up Montaña early, then meet your tour guide to explore the citadel. It costs extra if you want your guide to join you on the mountain, as the standard tour only covers the citadel. You can book the first or second shift.
  • Group Tours: You'll explore Machu Picchu on a guided tour first and then hike up Montaña on your own. You need to book the second shift.
Where can I hire a Private Tour Guide for Machu Picchu?

You can book a Private Tour Guide for Machu Picchu with TreXperience.

TreXperience has an excellent staff of local tour guides from surrounding villages. They speak Quechua as their first language, Spanish as their second, and are fluent in English. Our guides receive constant training in first aid and have up-to-date knowledge of Machu Picchu's history, animals, and plants.

What's the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu sits high in the tropical cloud forest of the upper Amazon, making it warm, humid, and often misty. Despite the weather, Machu Picchu is always awe-inspiring. Here are some trip-planning tips:

  • Dry Season (May to October): Expect less rain but sudden weather changes. Pack rain gear. This is peak tourist season (June to September), so expect longer lines for buses, the site, and trains.
  • Wet Season (November to April): Expect morning rain that usually clears by 10 a.m. The weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for sun, rain, and cooler temperatures.

The best time to visit Machu Picchu and hike Machu Picchu mountain is during the shoulder seasons: April, May, September, October, and November.

How high is Montaña Machu Picchu?

Montaña Machu Picchu towers at 3,061 meters (10,043 feet). The hike up the mountain begins from the Machu Picchu citadel, located at 2,430 meters (7,972 feet). It usually takes at least 1.5 hours to reach the summit and about the same time to return.

Is Machu Picchu a mountain?

Machu Picchu Citadel and the mountain, also known as Montaña, are two different places. The Citadel refers to the archeological site. Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña), on the other hand, is a separate peak that you can hike on a different ticket.

Is Machu Picchu Montaña Dangerous?

The trail is steep in some parts of the mountain with stairs and can be dangerous; you must always be careful and follow your tour guide's signs and instructions.

Is the mountain hike worth it?

The climb to Montaña Machu Picchu can be challenging. The sun is intense, and you might wander the middle of the trail wondering, "Why am I doing this?". You will find the answer once you reach the mountaintop and have a fantastic view of Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and the surrounding mountains.

What are the entry times for Montaña Machu Picchu?
  • First Shift: From 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
  • Second Shift: From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Each slot means you have one hour to check in for the mountain. After that, you won’t be allowed to start the climb. Remember, if you're planning to visit the site, you'll need to buy a separate ticket with Circuit 2 or 3.

Where can I book Machu Picchu tickets?
  1. On the official website at tuboleto.cultura.pe
  2. At ticket-selling points in Cusco and Aguas Calientes
  3. Through a travel company like TreXperience

To book Machu Picchu tickets with us, provide your passport details, entry shift, and number of travelers. Every booking requires manual confirmation. You can add a private tour guide and bus tickets. For train ticket quotes, contact info@trexperienceperu.com or +51957011937 (WhatsApp).

Note: Tickets are subject to availability and only guaranteed after confirmation within 24 hours of booking.

What to pack for the hike?

When packing for the hike to Machu Picchu Mountain, bring plenty of water, snacks, comfortable walking shoes, clothes for warm weather, sunscreen, insect repellent, and rain gear. Also, be sure to pack a camera to capture the stunning views!

 

Submitted by Kirsty j mclaughlin on

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Good evening

I wish to enquire if you offer a tour that includes sacred valley, Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu mountain.

Many thanks

Thank you for asking; we organize amazing tours to Machu Picchu with panoramic trains. We can customize the Machu Picchu tours with Sacred Valley, Rainbow Mountain, or any other tour.

Please contact us at info@trexperienceperu.com or WhatsApp at +51 934944774, and we will send you a special quote.

Carlos

Submitted by Mark on

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I would like to do a hike next December for my 60th birthday and

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