Machu Picchu Mountain is the most spectacular yet one of the most overlooked optional treks available at Machu Picchu. Located to the south-west of Machu Picchu citadel and towering 3,050 meters (10,007 feet) above sea level, the mountain trek offers unparalleled views of the famous Inca sanctuary and panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountain scenery. At its summit Inca priests once performed rituals on special dates as well as liturgical greetings to the Salkantay Apu.
Finding the Trail Head
From the main entrance of Machu Picchu follow the upper-trail heading in the direction of the Guardhouse. Small and newly erected wooden signs signal the way the start of the trail head, which is also the same path which leads to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). A couple of minutes from the Guardhouse, you need to turn right and follow the path which climbs up through the agricultural terracing. Following the trail for another 15 minutes you will arrive at the wardens hut, where you need to sign in showing your passport and entrance ticket. From the entrance of Machu Picchu to the wardens hut takes approximately 30 minutes.
Unlike Huayna Picchu or Putucusi Mountain treks, the Machu Picchu Mountain trek is wide and well-marked. After the wardens hut the trail follows a fairly even ascent of about 30 – 35 degrees in angle for about 1 hour. Gradually and steadily gaining altitude, the views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains become ever-more impressive. There are several view and rest points along the way. As the trail gets closer to the base of Machu Picchu Mountain, the steps become steeper, narrower and more challenging. Winding on for another 30 minutes or so, the trail passes through a stone gateway, before following a narrow mountain ridge to the summit. A small round hut provides shelter and seating, whilst the view point (a few more yards on) offers aw-inspiring views of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu and Putucusi Mountains. The decent follows the same route, but takes about 20 – 30 minutes less.
The Machu Picchu Mountain trek is considered to be a moderate to challenging trek. Following an original stone Inca Trail and continuously acceding to the summit, a good level of fitness is required. During the wet season, the trail can become more slippery making it more challenging to traverse.
Difficulty: moderate to challenging
Time needed: ascent – 1h30 minutes accent, descent – 1 hour, 30 minutes at the summit.
Altitude of summit: 3,082 meters (10,111 feet) above sea level.
Height to climb from Machu Picchu: 652 meters (2,139 feet).
Terrain: Inca Trail stone path steps and in places grass/dirt.
Recommended footwear: Training shoes, light weight walking boots.
Entrance time: 7 – 11am.
Trail head: in the south-west of Machu Picchu citadel.
Tickets: Limited to 400 per day, tickets need to be purchased as a combination ticket with general entrance to Machu Picchu. Tickets cost S/. 140 ea, and can be purchased from the official government website. Alternatively, if you wish to support the Only Peru Guide please buy your Machu Picchu + Machu Picchu Mountain tickets from us.
Best Time to Trek
Machu Picchu Mountain is accessible all year round. During the wet season (November – April) there is a higher chance of heavy rainfall and the trail can become slippery and more challenging to traverse. The region has a sub-tropical feel throughout the year, with average daily temperatures of 18 °C (64 °F). During the dry season the humidity is around 40 – 45%, rising to 60 – 65% during the wet season. Entrance to the trek is permitted anytime from 7 – 11 am daily. Early morning trekking offers cooler temperatures and better shade from the sun.
The weather in this region of Peru can often be un-predictable any time of the year, so you must be prepared with clothing for rain and sun. The trail is mainly stone steps so comfortable lightweight training or hiking shoes are recommended. A light weight rain coat or poncho and sun protection is advised.
- 1 to 1.5 litres of water (2 – 3 personal bottles).
- Sun hat, sun glasses & sun block.
- Walking stick with rubber tip (if required).
- Strong insect repellent.
- Light weight rain coat or poncho.
- Small snacks.
- A change of t-shirt for the top.
The Machu Picchu Mountain trek is not for people with a fear of heights. In places the trail is very steep and often follows the mountain edge with sheer drop offs.
Trail Head Location Map
(Post Read – 52998)