Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain: Which Hike to Choose?
When visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, you are also given the opportunity to explore some other sites with in the UNESCO world heritage site.
The two extensions you can add on to your day exploring Machu Picchu are hikes up to two different viewpoints - Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Many people ask which is better Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain? Below we describe some of the main differences between the two hiking options and details on each.
Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain sit on opposite sides of the main ruins of Machu Picchu. Getting to the top of either of these mountains gives the traveler 360 degree panoramic views of the region and surrounding landscape, both starting at the Machu Picchu citadel which lies at approx 2,430 meters (7,972 ft). Machu Picchu Mountain is the highest point in the ares sitting at 3,082 meters (10,111 ft).
Differences between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain:
Machu Picchu Mountain Hike:
The Montaña Machu Picchu is the highest mountain in the area at 3082 meters (10,111 ft.) This 2.4-mile (3.8 km) round trip hike from the Machu Picchu ruins is considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 3 hours to complete. This trail is great for seeing wildlife, birds, flowers, the local llamas, and if you a lucky the native sun bear! The best times to visit this trail are April through October. Note that dogs aren't allowed on this trail.
Km/Miles: 2.4 miles (3.8 km)
Elevation Gain: 1,801 ft (548m)
Estimated Time: 3-3.5 Hours
Huayna Picchu Mountain Hike:
This is a 3.1 mile (5 km) out and back hike from the Machu Picchu citadel site. It is a moderately challenging route with a steep ascent to the top, with a mix of Incan staircase and dirt trails with cables in most of the spots where you need them, taking approximately 2-3 hours to complete. The best times to visit this trail are April through October. Note that dogs aren't allowed on this trail.
Km/Miles: 3.1 miles (5 km)
Elevation Gain: 1,469 ft (447m)
Estimated Time: 2-3 Hours
Huayna Picchu Mountain: This is an ascending and very steep 2-3 hour round trip hike, from which you will enjoy an amazing panoramic side view of Machu Picchu. We do not recommend it for people who have vertigo or have knee problems as there are many stairs. There are four timeframes with a limit of 50 people each: the first one is starting at 7am, the second one at 8am, the third one at 9am and the last one at 10am. We recommend that you go to the entrance door 15-30min before your entrance time to be the first ones in line. This is a very popular hike, and therefore it is always very crowded. The extra cost for the entrance is US$ 85 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain: This is an ascending 3-3.5 hour round trip hike where you will enjoy an amazing bird’s-eye view of the Citadel of Machu Picchu. There are two time frames to enter: from 7am and from 9am. Each time frame has a limit of 200 people, and so there is a 400 people limit per day. This hike is not well known and therefore less crowded. The extra cost for the entrance is around US$85 per person.
Both hikes offer stunning views, and neither will disappoint. The most popular trail is Huayna Picchu, which typically books out well in advance. This trial is more diverse with Incan ruins, steep staircases, and some interesting rock tunnels. Where as Machu Picchu Mountain has more expansive panoramic views as it is the highest summit in the park, it is also less busy making for a more remote experience away from the crowds as it is a more challenging and time demanding hike.
Browse our Peru Trip Packages and Guided trips to Machu Picchu Here