Hikes in Huaraz

Region in Peru

Huaraz deserves a top position on any "best outdoor adventure meccas across the globe" lists. And no, this isn't an exaggeration. Flanked by the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra, two of the Andes' most potent, imposing mountain ranges, Huaraz thrives as the ultimate trekkers' dream. The trails etched into this area twist by and to a variety of scenery and remarkable views: lakes blanketed in mesmerizing blue hues, striking vistas of the Callejón de Huaylas, and beyond impressive, vivid images of peaks coated in ice and snow.

Before you toss your essential hiking gear into your backpack, note that Huaraz sits at just over 3,000 m above sea level. And the treks surrounding the area can go over 5,000 m above sea level, which means it's beyond essential to get acclimatized before attempting some of the treks in this region to reduce the likelihood of experiencing altitude sickness.

Using some day hikes around Huaraz allows you to explore this wonderful location, and prepare for your trek. Once you're acclimatized, the memorable trails carved into the mountain ranges, paths leading to some of the world's most spectacular views of mountain-tucked lakes, glaciers, and vistas overlooking the valley, await!

Most of the best hikes in Huaraz require you to travel by vehicle to the trailhead. In some cases it's advised to hire a guide due to hidden trailheads. Plenty of backpackers and hikers flock to Huaraz during the high season, elevating the possibility of finding someone to confirm any direction-related enquiries. But in the meantime, our route guides can point you to the right place.

Huaraz is nicknamed Peru's Hiking Capital, and for good reason. This city is the ultimate base for some of the best hikes in the country—and no, the Inca Trail is not in Huaraz!

Types Of Hiking In Huaraz

While Huaraz has some easy hikes, most trails travel to a high altitude, so it's vital to know that your body can work with a little less oxygen in your blood—therefore, some fitness and training may be beneficial! Amid the high altitude treks, you'll also find a collection of short family-friendly hikes to help with the acclimation process.

The various trails peppering around Huaraz offer some of the most spectacular views in the world. It's crazy to think that hiking deeper into the Huascaran National Park—part of the Cordillera Blanca region—or other mountainous slopes for just a couple of hours can take you to some of the most magical, spellbinding views in the entire world.

Easy Hikes In Huaraz

Wilcacocha Viewpoint: Without rapidly elevating your heart rate, the Wilcacocha Viewpoint hike packs a punch when it comes to archetypal Peruvian vistas. The path will carry you across the foothills of Cordillera Negra before you reach the quaint Wilcacocha lake. From this point, you'll continue trekking for a short time until you reach Huanca, where the scenery unfolds to reveal the snow-capped Cordillera Blanca. This is also an excellent acclimatization hike!

Family Hikes In Huaraz

Rock Forest of Hatun Machay: When it comes to the best family hikes in Huaraz, this one deserves the top spot on the list. The elevation level only increases by 260 m, and the quirky stone figures dotting the path will keep everyone entertained. En route, you'll encounter glimpses of locals performing rituals, paintings—dating back to pre-Inca times—carved into a cave, and a vista of Cordillera Huayhuash. Could this hike be any more family-friendly?

Day Hikes In Huaraz

Lake Uruscocha: Get away from it all by letting the forest swallow you into a state of uninterrupted bliss. This 12.4-km, out-and-back route snakes deep into the woods, and eventually, the first lake will come into view. After another 10 minutes of trekking, you'll reach Lake Uruscocha, encircled by lush flora. As you trek, you'll catch glimpses of the various mountains: Hualcan Copa, Huascaran, and Urus.

The Portachuelo de Llanganuco: Not in the mood for a crazy, intense hike, but want to immerse yourself into Huaraz's backyard? Put on your hiking boots and do the Portachuelo de Llanganuco. Instead of ascending, this route has you going down. The start of the trek grants a world-class view of the towering peaks lining the Cordillera Blanca. Travelling down the path will take you to Orqoncocha and Chinancocha—two stunning lakes formed by the ice thawing off of Huascarán, Yanapaccha, Huandoy, and Pisco.

Lake Shallap: This 18.0 km trek beautifully marries local life with quintessential Peruvian views, from staggering mountain ranges to a glistening lake. However, this lake doesn't glimmer like the other lakes dotting the Cordillera Blanca. It enchants with its mystical green hues. The trek to Lake Shallop may be 18.0 km, but it's not too steep, making it an excellent hike for those wanting to spend hours in nature without overexerting themselves!

Challenging Hikes In Huaraz

Lake Churup: This 12.0 km route may be one of the most adventurous hikes in Huaraz. At first, the trail will guide you through a field of Andean grass before you reach the rocky part, which is where the real adventure begins. Just before you arrive at the bright blue lake cradled by a batholith, you'll have to free climb, but don't worry! There are cables to help you out. Some claim that this is a great acclimatization hike, but it does go from 3,850 m above sea level to 4,450 m, propelling your chances of altitude sickness.

Lake Auquiscocha: This 7.5 km trek may have you panting, but be prepared for the views of Lake Auquiscocha and the snow-capped peaks of Cancaracá and Hualcán to take your breath away once more upon arrival. The trail curves through pine trees, native trees, and eucalyptus trees, carrying you further up the mountain, to a high elevation of 4,310 m above sea level.

Best Hikes In Huaraz

Lake 69: You can't go here without visiting one of the best day hikes in not just Huaraz but also Peru. The path curls by views of snow-swept peaks, including the tallest mountain peak in Peru: Huascarán. But catching a glimpse of the towering peak, which stands tall at 6,768 m, won't even compare to the turquoise wonder nestled below the soaring Chacraraju: Lake 69. Encountering this lake is truly an unforgettable experience that will leave you enchanted for days.

Pastoruri Glacier: This hike may be super short, but the pinnacle sits at 5,000 m above sea level, making it crucial to wait until you're acclimatized to do this trek. The renowned day hike follows a well-marked path until you reach the glacier, surrounded by sky-high peaks.

Lake Awak: Looking for a hike seamlessly blending tradition and culture with Peru's mystical scenery? The Lake Awak hike will exceed expectations. The trail elevates along a steep path peppered with cultural remnants and tales. Locals use this route to carry the crosses that serve as protectors at carnivals. Expect to encounter flowers, views of Huaraz from above, and mountains laden with snow, and eventually, Lake Awak will emerge into view.

When Is The Best Time To Hike In Huaraz?

The ever-changing weather has worked to blur the seasons together in Huaraz. Most people tend to think that rain plummets consistently in January and February, but until recently, these two months haven't had much rain, resulting in warmer days with fewer tourists. Even in December, it may rain in the afternoon boasts of sunny skies in the morning.

Still, the weather can be unpredictable from year to year! Huaraz tends to experience an influx of visitors between May and September, during the dry season. To top it off, visiting during these months drastically increases your chances of joining in on one of the many festivals spanning the area.

If you want sunshine with fewer tourists, try to visit between October and November!

Best Regions For Hiking in Huaraz

With a variety of treks dotting Huaraz, it's hard to choose the best regions to trek! Every area offers a unique, unforgettable experience. You'll find many easy-to-challenging trails within Huascaran National Park, including the magical Lake 69 trek.

Most hikes either sit in the north, south, or in Huascaran National Park, and each area encompasses a range of easy to challenging hikes with a mixture of elevation. Expect staggering mountain views and vibrant blue lakes in each of these regions!

Other Outdoor Activities in Huaraz

Huaraz may be dubbed as Peru's trekking hub for a reason, so expect most outdoor activities to revolve around hiking. If you want to enjoy an activity other than hiking, you can meander the local market and enjoy the nightlife. Backpackers flocking to Huaraz come here to hike!

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Best Hikes in Huaraz

Open details for Rock Forest of Hatun Machay

Rock Forest of Hatun Machay

Easy
7.0 km
260 m
2-2.5h

Hike through a collection of whimsical stone figures that have been morphed by time, wind, and glaciers. The route carries you to cave paintings, harking back to pre-Inca times as well as to a breathtaking view of the towering mountain range: Cordillera Huayhuash. You may also encounter a few locals performing some rituals near the caves.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Lake Churup

Lake Churup

Very Hard
6.0 km
590 m
2.5-4h

Lake Churup may be one of the most impressive day hikes in Huaraz! After teetering along rocks, free climbing, and grabbing onto ropes when provided, this trail travels from 3,850 m above sea level to 4,450 m. Once you reach the pinnacle of this expedition, a stark blue laguna, nestled in a batholith, will enchant you.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Lake Uruscocha

Lake Uruscocha

Hard
12.4 km
640 m
4-5.5h

Travel deep into the forest and farther away from civilization on this relatively off-the-beaten-path. Eventually, you’ll reach the first lake before hiking for another 10 minutes to Lake Uruscocha, nestled in a grove of trees. Among the lakes, expect to marvel at views of the Hualcan Copa, Huascaran, and Urus mountains.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Pastoruri Glacier

Pastoruri Glacier

Moderate
4.0 km
160 m
1-1.5h

The hike to Pastoruri Glacier is one of the most popular day hikes near Huaraz—and for good reason. It’s a short hike, along a well-marked path, and the pinnacle isa view of the glacier cradled by snow-capped peaks and offers one of the best views within this area. The glacier sits at 5,000 m above sea level, making it essential to only attempt this hike after you’re acclimatized!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Lake 69 Hike

Lake 69 Hike

Very Hard
13.5 km
750 m
4.5-6.5h

Without a doubt, Lake 69 is one of the most popular day hikes in Peru. This hike winds through the hills, taking you along the front of the Huascarán mountain and by a collection of snow-covered peaks until you reach the magnificent turquoise Lake 69, tucked below the lofty Chacraraju. The lake sits amid the Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain chain on the planet.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Lake Auquiscocha

Lake Auquiscocha

Hard
7.5 km
740 m
3.5-4.5h

Enjoy a challenging, but rewarding hike to one of the most stunning views near Huaraz: Lake Auquiscocha, nestled in the Cordillera Blanca mountain region. Walk along a path between pine trees, eucalyptus trees and native trees, and observe how the water's constancy has carved a beautiful channel, where the thawed waters of the mountain range flow. Once you reach the lake, at a high 4,310 m elevation, sit on the banks and admire the snow-swept peaks of both Cancaracá and Hualcán cradling the sparkling waters.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Wilcacocha Viewpoint

Wilcacocha Viewpoint

Moderate
6.8 km
440 m
2.5-3.5h

The Wilcacocha Viewpoint hike perfectly embodies the term "short but sweet." Not only does it grant you the chance to acclimatize to the altitude, but it unveils quintessential Peruvian views without elevating your heart rate too much. You'll travel through Cordillera Negra's foothills until you reach the small lake of Wilcacocha, and from here, you'll meander farther to Huanca, where snow-swept peaks lining Cordillera Blanca will enchant.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Portachuelo de Llanganuco

Portachuelo de Llanganuco

Moderate
14.0 km
-1,130 m
0.5h

The Portachuelo de Llanganuco hike differs from most trails: it takes you down rather than up, making it a decent route for those who aren’t in the mood for an excruciating hike, but want remarkable views! At the highest point, you’ll get a front-row vista of the emblematic peaks spanning the Cordillera Blanca before walking down along the path, where two beautiful lakes - Orqoncocha and Chinancocha - will keep you aesthetically entertained. These sparkling lakes are formed from the snow melting off of Huascarán, Huandoy, Pisco, and Yanapaccha.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Lake Awak

Lake Awak

Very Hard
12.0 km
1,150 m
5.5-7.5h

The Lake Awak hike twists to the top of Huaraz—the path follows a steep path layered with traditional remnants—before taking you to the lake blanketed in a blue complexion and cradled by Andean grass, otherwise known as ichus. Lake Awak sits below the Vallunaraju mountain, a snow-capped peak belonging in the Cordillera Blanca. This out-and-back hike may be ranked as tricky, but it’s embroidered with unforgettable views that make the treacherous journey worth it!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Lake Shallap

Lake Shallap

Very Hard
17.2 km
610 m
4.5-6.5h

Catch glimpses of locals relishing in their everyday life as you meander under towering mountain ranges and through groves of trees until you reach the vibrant green Lake (Laguna) Shallap. The magical green hues cloaking this lake differ from the other bodies of water tucked into the Cordillera Blanca. The not-so-steep path, paired with the 18.0 km, makes this hike an ideal option for those seeking a slight challenge accompanied by a myriad of jaw-dropping views.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.

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