Complete Guide to Hike Machu Picchu Mountain

Stairs from Machu Picchu

 All you need to know about Machu Picchu Mountain!

Machu Picchu Mountain (Know as Montaña Machu Picchu) is the highest mountain in the area at 3082 meters (10111 ft.), located in the Machu Picchu District Urubamba Province, Cusco Region. This mountain rises in the southern area of Machu Picchu Citadel. The name Machu Picchu comes from the Quechua: Machu (old or great), and Picchu (Mountain) from this Machu Picchu means the great mountain. Many People will confuse Machu Picchu Mountain with Machu Picchu Citadel; they are not the same.

Top of Montaña
The Top of Montaña, after 1.5 hours climb.

Machu Picchu, the citadel, is located at 2430 meters ASL (7972ft); when you book a tour or buy the Machu Picchu entrance tickets, you are booking the entrance to visit the citadel. You will need to hire a tour guide or book with an official tour company like TreXperience for your tour to Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Mountain or Montaña is the highest mountain in Machu Picchu, and there is an entrance to pay, and you must book in advance. Visiting Machu Picchu doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to hike to this mountain; it’s optional. You can only hike if yiou have permits that are different from Machu Picchu citadel.

Ticket Times for Machu Picchu Mountain

To enter Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña Machu Picchu), you need to book the entrance ticket in advance since they tend to run out fast, depending on the season. You can choose two shifts to hike this mountain. However, you must consider first the type of tour you will be participating in.

View from Montaña
View from the top of Machu Picchu Mountain

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. You must first take the early bus and climb this mountain when the sun is still hiding. You can see from the top of Montaña how slowly Machu Picchu gets crowded. When you choose this option, Machu Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu’s whole cost will be 75.USD, however, there is a downside as you will finish tired after the 3-hour total climb to this mountain (roundtrip) and then continue your tour around Machu Picchu with a tour guide (approximately around 2 to 3 hours)

The second shift is from 9:00 am to 10:00 am, where 200 people are allowed to enter; this shift is perfect for people who just did treks like the Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle, or Tour by train. This is because you need to explore the citadel of Machu Picchu first, and after, you can climb the Machu Picchu mountain. To reach the top of the mountain will take about 1.5 hours and come down another similar time. Total climbing at a regular pace will be around 3 hours. It’s important to note that you need to reach the top before noon, that is the curfew, then everybody needs to come down; there is a ranger on top that will not allow you to continue if you are later than 12 pm.

View of Machu Picchu Mountain
View of Machu Picchu Mountain from Huayna Picchu entrance

How hard is it to climb Montaña?

The Trail is more demanding and challenging than Huayna Picchu since it is longer and higher. Many people think that Huayna Picchu is a must, and it will be sold out faster. In my appreciation, Machu Picchu Montaña is one of the most beautiful mountains to climb because of the location. It’s the highest one, so you will have a fantastic view of 360° of all Machu Picchu area once you are on top. The climbing is steep with a gradual inclination initially and gets more challenging in the final part. Upon reaching the top, you will be rewarded with an incredible view of all the mountains around and far below the great Citadel of Machu Picchu. Remember to be very careful to avoid accidents.

Any person can finish this mountain in moderate physical conditions, the 1.5 hours to the top is a slow pace, and you can take as many breaks as you want.

How much is the cost of the entrance ticket?

You can not buy Machu Picchu Mounatin Tickets separately, you must always buy, including Machu Picchu Citadel, and the cost is 75.USD per person. When you participate in a tour, it’s important to consider your guided tour time before booking any shift. If your tour is with a Tour Company, it is better to contact them and request them to guide you through booking the best shift that fits your schedule. Below the recommended schedule sending on the tour you are booking.

1: The Classic Inca Trail 4 days 3 nights

The Classic Inca Trail + Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña) is not recommended; there is no time to arrive from the Inca Trail. Visit Machu Picchu citadel hike Machu Picchu mountain. It’s possible, and we had guests in the past, that they could complete both Machu Picchu citadel and the Mountain. However, you might have to skip part of the Guided tour in Machu Picchu citadel. We recommend booking Machu Picchu Mountain only if you want to stay an extra day in Aguas Calientes and then go back to Machu Picchu and climb the mountain again.

As mentioned above, it’s possible to do both but not recommended; if you have only one day and you must do Machu Picchu Mountain as well, please make sure you book the last shift and keep in mind that you might have to skip part of the tour. You must always inform and coordinate with your tour guide.

The cost of the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu Mountain is 75.USD. The Inca Trail permits allow you to enter Machu Picchu; however, to climb Machu Picchu Mountain, we will need to book a whole new entrance again.

2: Alternative Treks

This group includes the Short Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle Trek, Alternative Inca Trail, Huchuy Qosqo Trek, Quarry Trek, and any other trek that includes spending the night before in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo).

After spending the night at Aguas Calientes, the next day, you will take the early buses up to the citadel and enter Machu Picchu through the main checkpoint. You must explore the citadel first, especially if you are part of a group guided tour. Once you complete the 2 or 3 hours exploring Machu Picchu, you will need to find the Machu Picchu Mountain entrance and enter the second shift from 9.00 am to 10 am.

Once you enter the trail to Montaña Machu Picchu, you will until 12 pm to reach the top (2 hours), come down, exit back to Machu Picchu citadel, explore some more of the town and take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and return to your hotel or train station.

To complete the schedule described above, you must first book the earliest Machu Picchu entrance (6 am or 7 am without extra hikes – 50.USD). You must purchase a second ticket to Machu Picchu in the shift that will allow you to enter Machu Picchu from 9 am to 10 am. Please note that you have to make sure you enter the mountain at the designated time.

It’s possible only one ticket; you will need to climb and finish Machu Picchu mountain first and then continue the 2 to 3 hours tour to explore Machu Picchu. This option is not recommended as you will finish the mountain hike very tired, and the whole experience exploring the citadel might be compromised. In other words, you might not enjoy the citadel to its fullest. If you buy only one ticket, you need to add 35.USD to your tour to get the Machu Picchu Mountain.

3.- Tours by train 

Traveling by train is also an amazing experience since you will enjoy the amazing views of the Andes. There are 2 ways to visit Machu Picchu by Train.

Full-day Tours from Cusco: You will travel from Cusco or Ollantaytambo very early (from 4 am to 8 am) by train, arrive at Aguas Calientes, board the bus up to Machu Picchu, and explore Machu Picchu. If you want to climb the Mountain, you must always book the last shift from 9: am to 8 am and climb the mountain before the guided tour.

Overnight Tours: If you plan to spend the night in Aguas Calientes and visit the next day Machu Picchu, then the recommendation is to have a guided tour of the citadel and, next, hike the Mountain. For this, you will need the double ticket option.

Top of Montaña
Tour Guide Coronel at the top of Montaña

FAQs about Machu Picchu Mountain

Which is the best time of the day to hike?

Whether you are on a group tour or have a private tour guide, these are the recommended options.

Private Tour: You can hike up to Machu Picchu Mountain first and then meet with your tour guide at a specific point and explore the citadel. You can also request your tour guide to go with you up to the mountain; however, this is an extra charge as Machu Picchu guided tour only includes the citadel. If this is your plan, you will only need one ticket, and the cost is 75:USD plus.

Group Tour: If you are part of a group tour, then the one-ticket option is not for you. The group guided tours are always in the morning when Machu Picchu is not very crowded. After exploring Machu Picchu, you will be able to climb Machu Picchu Mountain by yourself. You need 2 tickets; 1 for Machu Picchu early entry (50.USD) and one for Machu Picchu + Montaña (75.USD), tour guide for Machu Picchu Mountain is not necesary.

Which time of the year is best to hike Machu Picchu Mountain?

Machu Picchu is located in the tropical cloud forest, the warm and humid upper Amazon.

Like in the movies of lost cities, Machu Picchu is located on a high mountain top with difficult access and is not possible to see from the lower part. Also, the area is covered by mist and clouds for most of the year.

Travelers will visit Machu Picchu all year round, and even with strong sun, clouds, or rain, the city will still amaze you. Below some recommendations to consider on when to visit Machu Picchu.

The Dry Season is from May to October and is expected little rain; however, you must always have rain gear with you as the weather can change in minutes. This season is also the busy season, especially June to September, where there will be long lines for the buses, Machu Picchu, and trains.

The Wet Season is from November to April, and rain is expected early in the mornings, and around 9 to 10 am, the sun will come out; however, in the cloud forest, the weather is unpredictable. It would be best if you were prepared for the sun, rain, cold weather as well.

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

How High is the Mountain?

The top of the mountain is located at the highest mountain in the area at 3082 meters (10111 ft.).  The hike starts and ends in Machu Picchu citadel located at 2430 meter  (7972ft)

Where is it located, and how to get there?

The Mountain is located in the south-west of teh citadel, and the entrance is located in the upper of Machu Picchu near the Guardhouse. After passing the checkpoint, you hike up in the direction to the Guardhouse, three-times to the left side until you arrive at the main trail that leads to the Sungate, then continue hiking this trail for about 5 minutes until you see a sign that says Machu Picchu mountain and turns to the right. You will see a set of long stairs up until you arrive at the checkpoint. The total time from the main entrance of Machu Picchu is about 25 minutes.

Is Machu Picchu A Mountain?

Machu Picchu citadel and the Mountain, also know as Montaña, are not the same: Machu Picchu citadel is the archeological site. Simultaneously, Machu Picchu Mountain is an extra hike together with Huayna Picchu, and both need to book in advance permits.

Is Machu Picchu Mountain Dangerous?

Hiking in steep mountains with stairs can be dangerous; you must always be careful and follow your tour guide’s signs and instructions.

Is the Montaña hike Worth It?

The climb could be hard, the sun strong, and might wander in the middle of the trail “why am I doing this?” the answer you will find once you reach the top of the mountain and have an amazing view of Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, and the surrounding mountains.

What are the entry times?

First Shift: Machu Picchu entry at 6 am / Montaña from 7 am – 8 am
First Shift: Machu Picchu entry at 7 am / Montaña from 7 am to 8 am
Second Shift: Machu Picchu entry at 8 am / Montaña from 9 am to 10 am

Map of Machu Picchu and Montaña

Map of Machu Picchu Mountain


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