Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

Overview

Machu Picchu Mountain is another mountain that stands above Machu Picchu Citadel which you can hike. It offers The panoramic vista of Machu Picchu Citadel, Huayna Picchu Mountain, Putucusi Mountain, the snaking Wilkamayu (Urubamba) River,  the lush mountainous landscape, and the last part of the Classic Inca Trail.

Note: Machu Picchu Picchu mountain is closed due to covid 19 until further notice. This is because there is only one trail to the mountain that is used to go and back. Therefore there is a risk of contagion among tourists.

The trail

The trail to Machu Picchu Mountain is climbing through steps made of stone and well-established paths. The walk is not really dangerous, but it will require all your strength. As the trail gets closer to the base of Machu Picchu Mountain, the steps become steeper, narrower, and more challenging and there isn’t any flat part.

How to get the mountain from Machu Picchu Ruins?

Once you enter the main Machu Picchu gated entrance, you walk 2 minutes straight, then turn left in the direction of the guardhouse. There will be a sign pointing you in the right direction. This is also the path that leads you to the Sun Gate, which is the same entrance to Machu Picchu for those who came in via the Inca Trail.

3  minutes roughly after the guardhouse, you need to turn right and follow the path through agricultural terraces. You will then arrive at the warden’s hut where you will sign in, submit your ticket, and check-in with your passport. It is about 30 minutes roughly from the Machu Picchu entrance to the Machu Picchu Mountain trailhead.

Machu picchu mountain summit
View of the Inca City of Machu Picchu from the Machu Picchu Mountain

Learn in detail what Machu Picchu mountain hike offers:

  • Height : 3,080 m /10,104 ft.
  • Altitude Gain: 650 m/ 2,132 feet.
  • Restrictions: There are no age restrictions for climbing Machu Picchu Mountain but some of the steps are big for kids.
  • Walking distance : 2.5 km / 1.55 miles
  • Location: Machu Picchu Mountain is located on the opposite side of Huayna Picchu Mountain.
  • Schedules :
    • First Group : Machu Picchu from 6 am / Mountain from 7 am – 8 am
    • Second Group : Machu Picchu from 7 am / Mountain from 7 am to 8 am
    • Third Group : Machu Picchu from 8 am / Mountain from 9 am to 10 am
  • A number of visitors: 400 spaces per day.
  • Walking Time: 3 hours and a half (round trip). The amount of time to hike up to Machu Picchu mountain depends on the physical condition of the person
  • Difficulty: Difficult.
  • Archaeological Attractions: None.
  • Flora and fauna: You will find a variety of orchids, butterflies, and birds.
  • Advantages: Less steep trails, panoramic views of the Inca City and the Huayna Picchu Mountain and Salkantay glacier.
  • Disadvantages: It does not archaeological remains. It is difficult to get to the summit.

Cost for Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

The cost of a Machu Picchu mountain permit is 200PEN (soles) or US$65 (£40) – this includes the entrance fee to Machu Picchu Citadel which is currently 152PEN. In effect, the cost of a Machu Picchu Mountain permit is 48PEN or US$15. Students with a valid international student card pay half price.

Machu Picchu Mountain

Climb Times (7 am or 10:30 am?)

There are pros and cons to both times. Just like Huayna Picchu the advantage of the 7:00 am hike is,  it will be cooler and more pleasant to hike the trail. The 10:30 am hikers will contend with much higher temperatures. They will require to take more breaks and need more water to make it to the summit of the Machu Picchu mountain.

The disadvantage of going in the earlier group in the rainy season(December to March), there is a higher possibility of experiencing mist in the early mornings which can entirely obscure the view from the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain.

Useful information

  • You have to respect the scheduled entrance times between 7 to 8 am or 10:30 to 11:30 am.  If you arrive a couple of minutes late, you are not going to be allowed to enter!
  • Use a sunscreen, sunhat, and sunglasses. The sun gets intense at this altitude.
  • When you buy your Machu Picchu permit (well in advance, of course), ask for the combination ticket with Machu Picchu Mountain entrance.
  • Machu Picchu Mountain trail has 1,600 steps.
  • To avoid the crowd at the summit, hikers who arrive at this classical photo place can only stay here for a maximum of 15 minutes, so take advantage of each one of them to get amazing pictures.
  • During the rainy season (December to March) the trail to the mountain tends to get wet. It is recommended to wear shoes or footwear appropriate for hiking. 
  • Similar to the Huayna Picchu hike, if you are booking the Inca Trail, you will still have to purchase another Machu Picchu Citadel plus Machu Picchu Mountain permit, even though the Inca Trail secures your  Machu Picchu Citadel permit.
  • your ticket to the mountain (or Huayna Picchu) gives you more time at MP, plus you can exit and re-enter with this ticket (to buy more water/have lunch/use facilities).
  • The trek is not for those with a high fear of heights as there are sections where the path is only 4-5 feet wide with a cliff on one side.
  • Many websites recommend it as a tranquil hike, good for children and the elderly. Well… it is not. It perhaps is not dangerous but is a tiring and quite long hike.
  • If you have a Machu Picchu Mountain ticket, you should climb the mountain first then tour Machu Picchu Citadel. Otherwise, you will have a very short time at the citadel.

Toilet

  • Use the toilets outside the Ruins ( 2 soles) each. Just be aware your permit only allows your re-entry x1 so you can’t leave and use the bathroom a bunch of times.

Water and food

  • Bring a lot of water – at least 2 liters per person, plus good snacks as there is no shop to purchase refreshments after you’ve entered the site. Be respectful and discreet where you choose to stop and snack, and never leave any waste, please.

Getting used to the altitude

  • You must be well acclimated to the altitude before trying this trek – the air gets thinner and you are going to notice the difference.