8 Best Hikes to take in Peru (with info)

by | Apr 11, 2020 | new, peru

Peru is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream location, offering incredible natural landscapes, breathtaking views, and unique cultures. Many people visit this South American country to see Machu Picchu. However, trekking through the Andes Mountains is quickly surging to the top list of things to do. If you are visiting this beautiful country, you must do one of these 8 hikes.

Hiking in Peru is really unlike any other location and is vastly different depending on which part of the country you find yourself. Wherever that may be, there is a fabulous hike waiting for hikers of any level! Read on to learn about our recommended 8 best hikes to take in Peru.

Inca Trail

Easily the most known trek in all of Peru, the Inca Trail takes hikers on an adventure through the Andes Mountains. Following the original Inca path to Machu Picchu, hikers will pass through jungle terrain, scale mountainsides, and come across Inca ruins. As the grand finale, hikers will crest the mountain looking down upon Machu Picchu before passing through the Sun Gate, the city’s original entrance. If you want to be transported back in time to the height of the Inca reign, this is the hike for you! 

Total Distance: 42 km

Time: Usually 4 days, but there are 2-day and 7-day options as well

Difficulty Level: Moderate

**Tickets for trekking the Inca Trail sell out a few months in advance, so purchase tickets ASAP.

Also Read : 8 Must-try foods in Peru (and where to try)

View of Machu Pichu on final day of Inca Trail
Inca Trail Day 4 © karlnorling / flickr

Rainbow Mountain

These layered mountains have recently taken social media by storm. Until 2015, these mountaintops lay covered in a thick layer of snow. Global warming has altered the temperature of Peru, causing the snow to melt away and revealing the hidden gems beneath. Tourists now flock to these painted mountains for day hikes from Cusco. While short in length, the altitude is no joke, as the peak lays at over 5,200 meters above sea level. But half of the fun is getting to the top because once there, hikers have views of the Andes Mountains that stretch for miles! 

Total Distance: 10 km

Time: Day hike

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Image of Rainbow mountain , Peru
Rainbow Mountain, Peru © Tania AV / Pexels

Huayna Picchu

If you have ever looked at a picture of the city of Machu Picchu, there is a towering peak located directly behind it. That peak is named Huayna Picchu and was used by the Incas as a retreat for their emperor. Today, visitors to Machu Picchu can purchase a separate ticket to go to the top! This is more of a climb than a hike, as hikers will be gaining about 300 meters in altitude in a very short distance. Train on a stair climber and channel your inner mountain goat because this is not a hike to skip out on! 

Total Distance: 2 km

Time: 4 hours max

Difficulty Level: Easy/Moderate

**Tickets for climbing Huayna Picchu sell out a few months in advance, so purchase tickets ASAP.

view of the peak of Huayna Pichu
Peru – Machu Picchu 059 – Huayna Picchu © McKay Savage / Flickr

Ausangate Trek

This trek is not for the faint of heart, as it is a 70 km hike over some of the highest points in all of Peru, with most of the hike being over 4,000 meters above sea level! But for those willing to take a leap of faith, they will be left with some of the most magnificent views that this region of the world has to offer. Running through fields of alpacas, along waterfalls, and even passing by the iconic Rainbow Mountain, the number of picture-perfect moments on this hike is endless! 

Total Distance: 70 km

Time: 4-5 days

Difficulty Level: Hard

hillside view of Ausangate
Hillside of Peruvian Ausangate mountain © Marturius / Wikimedia Commons

Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek is considered by many to be the best alternative to the Inca Trail as it offers a longer, more intricate route while still finishing at the highlight of the trek, Machu Picchu. As it is lesser-known than the Inca Trail, it is not as crowded and provides hikers the opportunity to connect with nature by climbing snowcapped peaks. This is also an excellent choice for those who are unable to get tickets to the Inca Trail. 

Total Distance: 72 km

Time: 5 days

Difficulty Level: Moderate

view from Salkantay Trek Peru
Peru – Salkantay Trek 058 – dramatic mountain landscape © McKay Savage / Flickr

Laguna 69

Situated in the Huascarán National Park near Huaraz, this hike flows through the Cordillera Mountain Range and amongst glaciers before peaking at a turquoise-blue glacial Laguna lake set against snowcapped mountains. This magical place will take your breath away and is an excellent day hike for less experienced hikers. 

Total Distance: 12 km

Time: Day hike

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Lake Laguna at Huascaran National Park Peru
Lake Laguna at Huascaran National Park, Peru © Vincecroos / Pixabay

Choquequirao Trek

The Choquequirao Trek is an excellent trail for more experienced hikers that are looking for something different and off the beaten path. Instead of heading for the famous city of Machu Picchu, trekkers will head towards Choquequirao, Machu Picchu’s sister city, which is only accessible through this specific hike. Along the way, hikers will walk past a variety of Inca ruins, learning of their history and importance to the Inca people. Once descending into Apurimac Canyon, the trail connects with the Apurimac River to wind through the Sacred Valley. Once at Choquequirao, hikers will be able to experience this mostly untouched ruin without the crowds and traffic that is typically associated with Machu Picchu. 

Total Distance: 64 km

Time: 4-5 days

Difficulty Level: Hard

Colca Canyon

Traverse the edges of one of the world’s deepest canyons on this incredible 2-day hike based near Arequipa. Home to the Andean Condor, the Colca Canyon hiking trails run through the sides of the canyon for some incredible views that will not soon be forgotten. After a long day of hiking, relax in the thermal springs and camp in the nearby oasis town of Cabanaconde. 

Total Distance: about 9 km

Time: 2 days

Difficulty Level: Moderate/Hard

Image showing Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon © Tydence Davis / Flickr

Featued Image: Machu Picchu © Errin Casano / pexels

<a href="https://tripinfoblog.com/" target="_blank">Laura McIntire</a> | Writer

Laura McIntire | Writer


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