Hiking Huayna Picchu: The Ultimate Guide to Machu Picchu’s Iconic Mountain

Girl sitting on Huayna Picchu on a sunny day looking at Machu Picchu

Huayna Picchu, also known as Wayna Picchu, is a renowned mountain peak located in the Sacred Valley region of Peru. It is most famous for its magnificent viewpoints and its proximity to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu.

Rising over 2,720 meters (8,920 feet) above sea level, Huayna Picchu holds significant historical and cultural significance. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the Incan civilization and experience breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Understanding the history and significance of Huayna Picchu is essential to fully appreciate the marvels it holds. The mountain played a crucial role during the Incan era and served as a place of worship and spiritual significance. It is believed to have been the residence of high-ranking officials and is adorned with several archaeological sites, including temples, terraces, and stone carvings.

Visiting Huayna Picchu involves careful planning and preparation. It is necessary to obtain permits in advance due to the limited number of daily visitors allowed on the mountain.

There are also specific hiking routes to follow, each offering distinct experiences and levels of difficulty. Exploring the breathtaking views and historical sites while hiking Huayna Picchu is an unforgettable adventure that requires physical preparedness and appropriate gear.

For those who may not be able to secure permits for Huayna Picchu, there are alternative hiking options within the Machu Picchu area. Machu Picchu Mountain, known for its spectacular vistas, and the Inca Bridge, an ancient stone pathway suspended over a deep gorge, provide unique and equally rewarding experiences.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the history, significance, hiking routes, tips, and alternative hiking options surrounding Huayna Picchu. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, Huayna Picchu and its surrounding attractions offer an extraordinary journey in the heart of Peru’s ancient wonders.

Table of Contents

Key takeaways:

  • Huayna Picchu maximizes visitors’ experience: This iconic mountain offers stunning scenic views and access to important archaeological sites, enhancing the overall visit to Machu Picchu.
  • Permits and restrictions: Visitors must obtain permits in advance to hike Huayna Picchu due to its limited capacity and popularity. It is important to be aware of the restrictions and plan accordingly.
  • Alternate hiking options: Besides Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain, Huchuy Picchu, and the Inca Bridge provide alternative and equally rewarding hiking options for those visiting Machu Picchu.

What is Huayna Picchu?

Huayna Picchu is a mountain located in the Machu Picchu archaeological site in Peru.

Key aspects of Huayna Picchu:

  • Location: Huayna Picchu is situated in the Andes Mountains in southern Peru, near the city of Cusco. It is part of the larger Machu Picchu complex.
  • Significance: Huayna Picchu holds great historical and cultural significance. It is believed to have served as a sacred place for religious ceremonies and astronomical observation by the ancient Incas.
  • Physical Features: The mountain stands at an elevation of approximately 2,720 meters (8,920 feet) above sea level. It is characterized by steep slopes, narrow paths, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
  • Trekking and Hiking: Huayna Picchu offers a challenging and popular trekking experience for visitors to Machu Picchu. The trail to the summit involves steep ascents, intricate stone steps, and narrow passages, providing an adventurous journey.
  • Summit and Views: Reaching the summit of Huayna Picchu rewards hikers with panoramic views of the Machu Picchu ruins the Urubamba River valley, and the surrounding mountains. It offers a unique vantage point to appreciate the grandeur of the Inca civilization.
  • Visitor Limit: Due to conservation efforts and safety reasons, access to Huayna Picchu is limited to a specific number of visitors per day. It is advised to obtain permits in advance to secure a spot for the hike.
  • Historical Sites: Along the trail and at the summit, hikers can explore archaeological sites and ruins that showcase the ancient Inca civilization and its architectural ingenuity.

Visiting Huayna Picchu provides a remarkable opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and adventurous spirit of the Machu Picchu region.

History and Significance of Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu, is a majestic mountain steeped in history and significance. Discover the ancient purpose and delve into its captivating past.

Unearth the secrets and profound meaning behind this iconic landmark that continues to awe and inspire. Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the hidden stories within the rugged slopes and sacred trails of Huayna Picchu.

Ancient Purpose of Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu, a prominent mountain in the Machu Picchu archaeological site, served an ancient purpose of great importance. It was primarily utilized as a sacred place for ceremonies and rituals conducted by the Inca civilization, embodying its ancient purpose. The location and view from the top of Huayna Picchu played a pivotal role in these ancient practices, enriching their significance.

The Inca people held a profound belief that Huayna Picchu served as a gateway to the heavens, connecting the earthly realm with the spiritual world. This spiritual significance made it an exceptional place of worship and reverence. The arduous and steep hike to the summit was regarded as a spiritual journey, symbolizing the ascent to a higher plane of existence as intended by the ancient purpose.

Additionally, the extraordinary beauty of the surrounding landscape and the awe-inspiring views from the summit made Huayna Picchu a perfect location for meditation and contemplation, aligning with its ancient purpose. The Inca priests and leaders sought solace and guidance while contemplating the magnificent Machu Picchu and its breathtaking surroundings.

Moreover, Huayna Picchu served as a strategic point for defense purposes, further magnifying its ancient purpose. Its elevated position provided a strategic advantage by offering a commanding vantage point to detect any potential threats or intruders, thereby ensuring the safety of the Inca civilization.

What Does Huayna Picchu Mean in Quechua?

Huayna Picchu means “Youthful Peak” in Quechua, the language of the Inca civilization. This distinctive name represents its differentiation from its neighboring peak, Machu Picchu, which signifies “Old Peak“. This linguistic distinction adds another layer of understanding to the ancient purpose and significance of Huayna Picchu.

What Animal Is Huayna Picchu Shaped Like?

Huayna Picchu is often described as being shaped like a giant condor when viewed from afar.

The jagged granite peak has a distinctive profile that resembles the massive Andean bird with outstretched wings. Here are some more details:

  • When viewing Huayna Picchu from the Machu Picchu ruins below, the mountain takes on a condor shape.
  • The high-pointed summit is the head and neck of the condor.
  • The two lower peaks on either side look like wings angling slightly upward.
  • The cliffs dropping down from the wings shape the body and tail feathers of the giant stone condor.
  • From a distance, the mountain’s natural granite contours strikingly match the silhouette of a giant Andean condor in flight.
  • This condor shape is no coincidence. The Inca intentionally built Machu Picchu to align with the peaks of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain as sacred landscape features.
  • The condor held deep spiritual significance for the Inca, representing power and nobility.

So in short, Huayna Picchu is distinctly shaped like a massive condor when viewed from certain vantage points around Machu Picchu. The mountain’s natural form takes on the unmistakable silhouette of this sacred Andean bird.

Man standing on Huayna Picchu looking down on Machu Picchu on a Cloudy Day

How to Get to Huayna Picchu?

To reach the trailhead for Huayna Picchu, you must first get to the Machu Picchu ruins. This requires:

  • Taking a train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
  • Overnighting in Aguas Calientes before starting the hike
  • Boarding one of the early morning buses up the switchbacks to the Machu Picchu entrance
  • Entering Machu Picchu and walking through the ruins
  • Finding the gate near the Guardhouse Hut that leads to the Huayna Picchu trail
  • Passing through the checkpoint and signing in with your passport
  • Hiking up the steep stone Inca staircase behind the Hut to start the ascent
  • Following the trail markers leading up the side of Huayna Picchu Mountain

Properly timed entry tickets are required for Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, so be sure to purchase those in advance. Leave sufficient time to walk from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu before your Huayna Picchu shift begins.


Huayna Picchu is located in the Cusco Region of Peru. It rises over the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, situated in the Urubamba Province northwest of Cusco. Huayna Picchu stands at an elevation of 2,693 meters (8,835 feet).

Huayna Picchu Tickets

When planning to visit Huayna Picchu, it is important to consider the permits and restrictions associated with the hike. In order to get access to Wayna Picchu, you must purchase tickets to Circuit 4 which includes Huayna Picchu. Below is a table summarizing the key information:

First ShiftEnter from 7-8 am75 permits per day
Second Shift Enter from 8-9 am75 permits per day 
Third ShiftEnter from 10-11 am75 permits per day 
Fourth ShiftEnter from 11 am – 12 pm75 permits per day
Children under 12 years Not permitted to enter 

First Shift

The first shift to enter Huayna Picchu is from 7-8 am. This is the earliest time slot and often the least crowded. Hiking during the first shift allows you to explore Huayna Picchu while it’s still quiet.

Second Shift

The second shift runs from 8-9 am. This is still a good time to hike Huayna Picchu before larger crowds arrive later in the day. The early morning light during the second shift also makes for great photos.

Third Shift

The third shift is from 10-11 am. At this point in the day, more hikers will be on the trails. However, ascending during the cool morning temperatures can still be enjoyable.

Last Shift

The last shift is from 11 am-12 pm. This tends to be the most crowded time to hike Huayna Picchu. If you prefer a quieter hike, an earlier shift is recommended. However, ascending during the late morning means you’ll finish hiking before the heat of midday.

Visitors are required to follow the designated trails and comply with all regulations set by the authorities to ensure the preservation of the site. By adhering to the permits and restrictions, visitors can have a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring the majestic Huayna Picchu.

Huayna Picchu Trail

  • Huayna Picchu offers two main hiking routes: the traditional route and the shorter alternative route.
  • The traditional route, one of the hiking routes available at Huayna Picchu, is the most popular among hikers. It typically takes about 1 to 2 hours to complete, depending on your fitness level.
  • This particular hiking route is known for being steep and challenging, with narrow paths and stairs beautifully carved into the stone.
  • Along the way, hikers on this route will be treated to stunning views of Machu Picchu and the breathtaking surrounding mountains.
  • On the other hand, the shorter alternative route, another option among the hiking routes at Huayna Picchu, is called the Moon Temple. This route provides a less crowded experience for hikers.
  • The Moon Temple route takes approximately 1 hour to complete and is considered less physically demanding compared to the traditional route.
  • Hikers who choose the alternative route will have the opportunity to explore the Moon Temple, a sacred site of great significance within the Incan culture.
  • Regardless of the chosen hiking route, it is important to obtain a permit in advance as there is a limited number of permits available each day.
  • To ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience, it is highly recommended to hire a guide or join a tour group.
  • Proper hiking gear, such as sturdy shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and an ample water supply, is essential for both the traditional and alternative routes.
  • When visiting Huayna Picchu, it is crucial to abide by the rules and regulations, which include staying on designated trails and respecting the archaeological sites without causing any disturbance.

What to Expect While Hiking Huayna Picchu?

Get ready for an exhilarating adventure as we explore what awaits you on a hike up Huayna Picchu! Brace yourself for a challenging climb, breathtaking views that will take your breath away, and fascinating archaeological sites, all nestled amidst the stunning scenery.

From testing your skills on the demanding slopes to immersing yourself in the ancient history that graces these mountains, Huayna Picchu promises an unforgettable experience. Lace up your boots and let’s embark on this thrilling journey!

Huayna Picchu Difficulty

When it comes to the difficulty level of hiking Huayna Picchu, here are a few key points to consider:

  • The hike presents a significant challenge: Hiking Huayna Picchu is not for the faint of heart. The trail itself is steep, and narrow, and often requires climbing up stone steps and navigating through rocky terrain. It can be physically demanding, especially for individuals who are not accustomed to strenuous hikes.
  • High altitude adds to the difficulty level: One of the factors that contributes to the challenge is the high altitude of Huayna Picchu, standing at approximately 2,720 meters (8,920 feet) above sea level. It is crucial to acclimate to the altitude before attempting the hike to avoid altitude sickness and ensure a safer and more comfortable experience.
  • Time and distance: While the hike is relatively short, it is intense. Completing the round trip typically takes around 2 to 3 hours, covering a distance of about 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles). The steep inclines and challenging terrain can make it feel longer than it is.
  • Vertical climb: The most physically demanding part of the hike involves a vertical climb up a set of stairs and ladders. This section can be quite steep and requires a certain level of agility and physical strength. It is essential to proceed with caution and utilize handrails or ropes wherever available.
  • Safety precautions: Due to the challenging nature of the hike, specific safety precautions are in place. Each day, only a limited number of visitors are allowed, and permits must be obtained in advance. It is crucial to strictly follow the designated routes, stay on the marked path, and adhere to any safety instructions provided by the authorities.

Considering these factors, it is vital to assess your physical fitness, endurance, and hiking experience before deciding to take on the Huayna Picchu hike. Adequate preparation, including physical conditioning and acclimatization, will contribute to a safer and more enjoyable experience.

How Long Does it Take to Climb Huayna Picchu? 

The amount of time it takes to hike Huayna Picchu can vary, but on average the trek takes between 2-4 hours round trip. Here are some more details on the timing:

  • It’s about a 1-hour hike up the steep, uneven Inca trail to reach the top of Huayna Picchu.
  • Some hikers can ascend in as little as 45 minutes if they move quickly and are acclimatized to the high altitude.
  • Others may take 1.5-2 hours to reach the summit, especially if stopping frequently to rest and acclimatize.
  • You’ll want to budget at least 30-60 minutes to enjoy the views and explore the temples at the top.
  • The descent back down takes approximately 1-2 hours. Going down is faster than climbing up, but still requires caution on the steep sections.
  • Add time at the beginning and end to walk from the Machu Picchu entrance to the Huayna Picchu trailhead, which takes about 15-20 minutes each way.

So in total, most hikers require a minimum of 2 hours for the full experience, but 3-4 hours allows time to enjoy it without rushing. Allowing 4 hours is ideal if it’s your first time hiking it. Keep in mind the altitude can slow hikers down too.

Huayna Picchu Stairs of Death

The Stairs of Death refer to the near-vertical stairs climbing the last stretch of trail up Huayna Picchu. The steps are carved into the granite face and have uneven heights. Some sections have makeshift wood or metal steps.

How Many Steps is Huayna Picchu?

The Stairs of Death ascend over 750 steps, exposing hikers to steep drop-offs on one side. The stairs require the use of cables or railings to reach the top. This hazardous climb gives the Stairs of Death their ominous nickname.

Proper footwear and taking precautions are essential. But the Stairs of Death pay off with breathtaking views once hikers reach their peak. Those afraid of heights may opt to stop before the final ascent.


Due to its elevation, Huayna Picchu experiences a cool, tropical mountain climate. Daytime temperatures average around 15-25°C (59-77°F). Nights can get quite cold, dropping to 5-10°C (41-50°F). The dry season from April to October sees sunny skies and very little rain. The wet season from November to March brings more cloud coverage and rain showers.

View from Huayna Picchu

The breathtaking and awe-inspiring scenic views await you as you hike Huayna Picchu. The panoramic vistas of the magnificent Machu Picchu ruins below will treat you as you ascend the trails. The lush green mountains, the winding Urubamba River, and the surrounding Andean landscape perfectly create a picturesque backdrop that is truly unforgettable.

At certain vantage points along the hike, you will be able to admire the iconic view of Machu Picchu with the towering Huayna Picchu in the foreground. This combination of the ancient ruins and the natural beauty of the surroundings provides a unique and unparalleled experience.

Continuing your ascent, the grandiose views become even more stunning, offering glimpses of the rugged terrain and the unique geological features of the area. Along the way, you may have the opportunity to see the terraced agricultural fields, and the Temple of the Moon, and even spot local wildlife such as birds and llamas.

The physical efforts invested in the hike to Huayna Picchu are rewarded with scenic views that provide a sense of fulfillment, making it an unforgettable adventure. Remember to bring a camera to capture these spectacular moments and cherish them for years to come.

Temple of the Moon & Great Cavern

The Huayna Picchu hike in Machu Picchu offers not only stunning natural beauty but also fascinating archaeological sites. As you make your way up the trail, you will encounter several ancient structures and artifacts that provide a glimpse into the rich history of this sacred site.

The archaeological sites along the Huayna Picchu hike, known as the “Archaeological Sites“, include the Temple of the Moon. This impressive rock formation was carved into a temple and is adorned with intricate carvings and a sacrificial stone. It offers a unique glimpse into the religious practices of the Inca civilization.

Another notable site is the Grand Cavern, where you can explore caves and tunnels that were used for ceremonial purposes. The architecture and engineering marvels of these structures, classified as “Archaeological Sites”, are truly remarkable.

You will come across the Great Cave, which is believed to have served as a royal tomb. This site is of great significance as it offers insights into the burial practices and customs of the Inca people.

Exploring these “Archaeological Sites” during your hike not only adds depth to your experience but also allows you to appreciate the historical significance of Huayna Picchu. It’s a unique opportunity to connect with the ancient civilization that once thrived in this beautiful mountain region.

So, as you embark on your Huayna Picchu hike, be sure to take the time to explore these remarkable “Archaeological Sites” and immerse yourself in the rich history of Machu Picchu.

Tips for Hiking Huayna Picchu Trail

Gear up and get ready to conquer the magnificent Huayna Picchu! In this section, we’ll dive into some valuable tips that will make your hiking experience an unforgettable adventure.

From physical preparation to essential gear, we’ll equip you with all the necessary knowledge to tackle this challenging trail. So lace up your hiking boots and prepare to embrace the breathtaking views and thrilling obstacles that await you on Huayna Picchu!

Physical Preparation

To comprehensively prepare physically for hiking Huayna Picchu, follow these key physical preparation guidelines:

  • Initiate training a few weeks before your trip to develop endurance and strength.
  • Include cardiovascular exercises like running or cycling to enhance stamina.
  • Integrate strength training exercises such as squats, lunges, and planks into your routine to fortify leg and core muscles.
  • Gradually intensify the duration and intensity of your workout sessions to replicate the uphill hike’s demands.
  • Practice hiking on steep terrains or stairs to adapt to inclines and enhance your balance.
  • Maintain hydration and adhere to a nutritious diet to ensure your body remains well-nourished and energized.
  • Perform pre and post-workout stretches to lessen the likelihood of injuries and boost flexibility.
  • Consider incorporating hiking poles to augment support and stability while hiking.
  • Ensure you possess suitable footwear with excellent traction for navigating the rugged terrain.

By adhering to these vital physical preparation tips, you can optimize your hiking experience and minimize the risk of fatigue or injuries.

Gear up for success and leave no stone unturned when it comes to hiking Huayna Picchu!</>

Essential Gear

When hiking Huayna Picchu, having the right gear is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some items that are considered essential gear for your hike:

  • Sturdy hiking shoes: Choose shoes with good traction to navigate the steep and uneven terrain of Huayna Picchu.
  • Sun protection: The sun can be intense at high altitudes, so wearing a hat, and sunglasses, and applying sunscreen is essential to protect your skin from UV rays.
  • Weather-appropriate clothing: Layer your clothing to adapt to the changing weather conditions. It is important to have weather-appropriate clothing as it can be chilly in the morning and hot during the day.
  • Backpack: A small backpack is essential for carrying essentials such as water, snacks, and a camera.
  • Water: Stay hydrated by bringing enough water, which is an essential gear item for the duration of the hike. Aim to drink at least 1 liter for every 2 hours of hiking.
  • Snacks: Pack energy-boosting snacks like granola bars or trail mix, which are considered essential gear, to keep you fueled throughout the hike.
  • Rain gear: Be prepared for sudden rain showers by bringing a lightweight, waterproof jacket or poncho, which is essential gear for your hike.
  • Trekking poles: These can provide stability and support, especially during steep ascents and descents, making them an essential gear item for your hike.

Remember to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. It’s also important to pack lightly to avoid unnecessary weight. Enjoy your hike to Huayna Picchu and capture the stunning views!

If you’re tired of the heights and ruins, check out these alternative hiking options in Machu Picchu, because variety is the spice of hiking life.

Ruins on Huayna Picchu on a cloudy day

Alternative Hiking Options in Machu Picchu

Looking to explore the mesmerizing beauty of Machu Picchu but want an alternative hiking option? Look no further! In this section, we’ll uncover two exhilarating trails that offer a unique perspective of this ancient wonder. Brace yourself for the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu Mountain, where nature’s grandeur awaits. And if you are up for an adrenaline rush, we’ll navigate through The Inca Bridge, a path shrouded in history and mystery. Get ready for a thrilling adventure off the beaten track!

Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu Mountain is a popular hiking option for visitors to the ancient Inca city. With its towering peak and stunning views, it offers a unique experience for adventure seekers.

To hike Machu Picchu Mountain, visitors must obtain a separate permit in addition to their entrance ticket for Machu Picchu. The number of available permits is limited, so it is advisable to book in advance. The hike to the summit is challenging, with steep and narrow paths. The effort is rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the iconic Machu Picchu site below.

The difficulty level of the hike can be demanding, and it is important to be physically prepared and have the necessary gear, such as sturdy hiking shoes and plenty of water. The trail is well-marked and maintained, but it is essential to follow the safety guidelines and be cautious on the steep sections.

While hiking Machu Picchu Mountain, visitors can also explore archaeological sites along the way, including terraces and ancient Inca structures. These remnants of the Inca civilization add to the historical and cultural significance of the hike.

For those looking for an alternative hiking experience in Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain provides a challenging and rewarding adventure. The breathtaking views and the opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich history of the region make it a must-do for outdoor enthusiasts and history lovers alike.

What is the Difference Between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain?

There is another lesser-known mountain to hike if you are not able to get tickets to Huayna Picchu. Machu Picchu Mountain, also known as Cerro Machu Picchu, allows 400 people per day to climb. Machu Picchu Mountain is a slippery and more challenging traverse with a view that some say are much better than Huayna Picchu. Once at the top of the mountain, there is a panoramic view of many snow-capped mountains as well as the Machu Picchu citadel. The path up Machu Picchu Mountain is nearly all granite steps.

Machu Picchu Mountain is where the Incas discovered water; specifically underground springs. This was another paramount decision of constructing the citadel where they did. Huayna Picchu serves as the drone view of the mountain, and Machu Picchu Mountain gave life to the complex.

The Inca Bridge

The Inca Bridge at Huayna Picchu is a captivating feature that should not be overlooked when visiting Machu Picchu. This stone bridge, constructed by the Incas, served as an access point to the citadel. Situated on a narrow and steep mountain path, the bridge offers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape.

Hiking the Inca Bridge necessitates a moderate level of physical fitness as the trail can be challenging and steep at times. However, the exertion is well worth it, as hikers are treated to stunning panoramic views of the mountains and valleys below.

It is important to note that access to the Inca Bridge is restricted for safety reasons. Before embarking on this trail, visitors must obtain a special permit. Due to the limited number of permits issued each day, it is advisable to book in advance to secure your spot.

When undertaking the Inca Bridge hike, it is essential to wear appropriate footwear and bring an ample supply of water to stay hydrated. The trail can be slippery and uneven, making it necessary to wear high-quality hiking shoes with proper grip.

Exploring the Inca Bridge provides an opportunity for visitors to delve into the rich history and remarkable engineering skills of the Inca civilization. It grants a unique chance to walk in the footsteps of the ancient Incas and immerse oneself in the breathtaking beauty of Machu Picchu.



Some Facts About Huayna Picchu:

  • ✅ Huayna Picchu is a mountain located in Peru, near the Urubamba River.
  • ✅ It is part of the Andes mountain range and rises over Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.
  • ✅ The peak of Huayna Picchu is 2,693 meters above sea level, making it about 260 meters higher than Machu Picchu.
  • ✅ Huayna Picchu is believed to be the residence of the high priest and local virgins during the Inca Empire.
  • ✅ Only 300 visitors are allowed to visit Huayna Picchu daily, with restricted entrance times and two different trails to reach the summit. 

Before You Go…

Since you’re looking for resources on hiking, check out our Machu Picchu Packing List, or our Inca Trail Packing List.

Huayna Picchu FAQs

What is Huayna Picchu and where is it located?

Huayna Picchu is an iconic mountain located in Peru, near the Urubamba River. It is part of the Andes mountain range and rises over Machu Picchu, the legendary lost city of the Incas.

What is the significance of Huayna Picchu in Inca history?

Huayna Picchu was believed to be the residence of the high priest and local virgins in Inca society. Every morning, they would walk to Machu Picchu from the mountain to signal the new day.

Are there any temples or landmarks on the top of Huayna Picchu?

Yes, there are several temples and terraces built on the top of Huayna Picchu, including the Temple of the Moon and the Great Cavern. These structures are of historical and cultural importance.

What is the difficulty level of hiking Huayna Picchu?

The hike up Huayna Picchu is considered moderate to hard in difficulty. It involves steep and exposed sections, with some slippery areas. Steel cables are provided for support during the climb.

Are there any restrictions on visiting Huayna Picchu?

Yes, the number of daily visitors is restricted to 300. There are two entrance times for the Huayna Picchu Trail, allowing 200 hikers at each time. It is advisable to plan and secure permits.

Is it possible to visit other attractions near Huayna Picchu?

Absolutely! From the summit of Huayna Picchu, there is a trail that leads down to the Gran Caverna and the Temple of the Moon. These natural caves are located on the northern face of the mountain and offer additional exploration opportunities.

How challenging is the Huayna Picchu hike?

The Huayna Picchu hike is quite strenuous and challenging. The trail is steep, uneven, and exposed in certain areas. The high elevation of 8,835 feet also makes it demanding. Hikers should be in good physical shape and prepared for a tough hike taking 2-4 hours round trip.

How much is the Huayna Picchu entrance ticket?

The entrance ticket for Huayna Picchu currently costs $75 USD per person. This permits access to hike on one chosen day and time slot.

Which is the best time of the day to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain?

The early morning shifts from 7-11 am are best to hike Huayna Picchu. This avoids larger crowds and ascending in the heat of midday. The afternoon final shift from 11 am-12 pm is also manageable.

Which is the best time of the year to hike this mountain?

The dry season from April to October offers ideal weather for hiking. The skies are sunny and clear, with very little rain. Temperatures are also cooler than the wet summer months.

What is Huayna Picchu elevation?

The summit of Huayna Picchu stands 8,835 feet (2,693 meters) above sea level.

Where is Huayna PIcchu located, and how to get there?

Huayna Picchu is in the Cusco Region of Peru, just north of the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. To access the trailhead, you must first get to Aguas Calientes and take a bus up to Machu Picchu. From the Machu Picchu ruins, signs point the way to the Huayna Picchu trail.

Is the Huayna Picchu Dangerous?

Yes, Huayna Picchu is dangerous in parts due to the sheer vertical drop-offs, crumbling stairs, and exposure. Care should be taken, especially when ascending the last stretch of stairs to the peak. The high altitude also poses risks.

Is Huayna Picchu worth it?

For adventurous travelers seeking spectacular views, the hike is certainly worth it! The breathtaking vistas of Machu Picchu and the surrounding valley from the Huayna Picchu summit make the challenge worthwhile.

Peru Travel Podcast: Huayna Picchu with Jen on a Jet Plan

Got something to say? Post a comment or send us an email below.


  1. Kelly

    Definitely worth the climb! The views are breathtaking + there’s the sense of accomplishment when you’re all done. 😉 Personally, I am somewhat afraid of heights but I didn’t have an issue. I was so focused on the climb that I didn’t experience any vertigo. My suggestion is to do the later timeslot – 10:00 – given the mist in the morning. If we’d had the 8:00 slot we wouldn’t have seen much of anything. By 11 the mist was clearing, and when we summitted around noon there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. FYI they give you an hour to enter, so if your ticket is 10:00, anytime between 10-11 works. You also get to re-enter Machu Picchu, which we did and it was well worth it. Around 4pm we were one of only a handful of people there (mid-March visit).

    • Kevin Groh

      Hey Kelly! Totally agreed. The views are definitely well worth the climb. Glad you were able to make it up without getting any vertigo. When are you going back?

  2. Aylane D

    Very informative! Any suggestions on where to buy the tickets to Huayna Picchu? I went into the government site, but the tickets only state entry to Machu Picchu.

    • Kevin Groh

      Typically the permits are sold as an add-on permit to Machu Picchu. However, the Peruvian government hasn’t yet opened Huayna Picchu due to Covid-19 restrictions.

  3. Roy Johnson

    Back in 1984 you didn’t have to worry about the crowds because there were none!

    The shining path was very active and tourist travel was caput! My climbing partner and I decided to take advantage of the free flight from Lima to Cusco offered by Aero Peru if we had purchased a round trip from the USA.

    So we had the place to ourselves. Soo cool to hike to the top of Quana Picchu

    • Kevin Groh

      This is amazing! Must have been a surreal experience. Very different times.


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