Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

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.

Table of Contents

Useful information

  • IMPORTANT.– With Machu Picchu Mountain tickets, you don’t have a chance to grab your “postcard shot” with Machu Picchu, because after finishing the hike, you will reenter Machu Picchu by the lower part and you have to complete circuit 03 (long bass – yellow color). In order to have the postcard picture of Machu Picchu, you have to purchase regular Machu Picchu tickets as well.
  • You have to respect the scheduled entrance times between 7 to 8 am or 8 to 9 am.  If you arrive a couple of minutes late, you are not going to be allowed to enter!
  • Use sunscreen, a sunhat, and sunglasses. The sun gets intense at this altitude.
  • 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 there 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 a Machu Picchu Mountain permit, even though the Inca Trail secures your  Machu Picchu Citadel permit.
  • 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 and then tour Machu Picchu Citadel. Otherwise, you will have a very short time at the citadel.
  • If you are hiking the Inca trail 4 days, we don’t recommend you to climb Mapi mountain because you won’t have time to explore the Machu Picchu Citadel with your guide, unless you want to miss the guided tour at the Citadel. But you can hike this Mountain after Inca Trail 4 day hike, if you stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes, then on day 05, you can hike this mountain by yourself.


machu picchu mountain video
Play Video about machu picchu mountain video


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

Machu Picchu Mountain Schedules in 2023

The alternative route Machu Picchu Mountain will have 400 spaces per day, distributed in 2 hours, the first hour being from 07:00 to 08:00 hours and the second hour from 08:00 to 09:00 hours. Visitors must enter directly to the Machu Picchu Mountain route and leave the monument by the same path. This type of ticket will have the possibility of a re-entry to Machu Picchu to visit the little circuit 3 (yellow color).

  • The first shift is perfect for people who stay an extra night at Aguas Calientes town and decide to hike to the Mountain by themself the next day or for people who want to do the guided tour at the Citadel after climbing Machu Picchu Mountain. But, there is a downside: you will be tired after the 3-hour total trek (round trip) and then keep going your tour around Machu Picchu Citadel with your guide (2 to 3 hours roughly).
  • The second shift is good for people who get at Machu Picchu from different treks such as: Inca Trail 2 days, Salkantay Trek, Huchuy Qosqo, Quarry trail, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle trek, or Tour by train. This is because you start the guided tour at 6 am at the Citadel of Machu Picchu until 8 am then you climb the Mountain after your guided tour. Note: It only Works on dry seasons which from April to October because in the rainy season Machu Picchu stays misty until 10 am most of the time and we recommend starting the guided tour at 09:00 am.
Machu picchu mountain summit
View of the Inca City of Machu Picchu from the Machu Picchu Mountain

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 buy Machu Picchu mountain tickets in 2023?

There are 3 ways to buy Machu Picchu Mountain tickets:

1.- Online.

Google the Ministry of Culture’s official web at:  Click on the UK flag at the top right to change the site in English. Keep in mind that the website is not working sometimes and that it could sometimes be difficult or impossible to purchase your Machu Picchu Mountain ticket online.

2.- Book your tickets when you get to Cusco.

Official Offices in Cusco:

  • Go to the ‘Direccion Regional de Cultura’ office with your passport at Street Garcilaso s/n Cusco – The Garcilaso House is only 2 blocks away from the Plaza de Armas(main square).
  • Go to Maruri Street 324 – It is also a few meters from the Main Square of Cusco City.

Opening hours: Monday  – Saturday 07:00 – 19:00. Closed on Sundays and Holidays. This option is a little riskier especially in peak season when permits are overbooked.

3.- Book your ticket with a Travel Agency.

The easiest, safest, and best way to purchase a Machu Picchu Mountain ticket is through an authorized travel company that will get the entrance ticket for you. You just need to send a copy of your Passport,  and the date of your visit.

machu picchu mountain map

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.

Learn in detail what the 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: 3.9 km / 2.42 miles
  • Location: Machu Picchu Mountain is located on the opposite side of Huayna Picchu Mountain.
  • 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. 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 8 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 8 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 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.


How far in advance do I need to buy the Machu Picchu ticket?

If you are thinking to hike Machu Picchu Mountain, you have to buy the ticket at least one month in advance, especially in the high season which is from May to October. But in the low season which is from November to March, you can find availability even upon arrival. Keep in mind that in some festivals which are in low season such as: Holy week, Christmas, and New Year, the Mapi Mountain tickets run out 2 months in advance.

Can children do the Mapi Mountain hike?

There is not any age to hike Machu Picchu mountain. We at AB Expeditions recommend that the minimum age should be 8 years old because there are some steep sections that would be difficult for Little legs. Also, you have to keep an eye on them in narrow parts.

Is the hike dangerous?

As long as you stick to the mountainside, This hike is safe. You must take extra care on narrow paths, especially on rainy days.

From where can I get the best view?

If your plan is only to see the Machu Picchu citadel from above, you need to go only half way. However, if your plan is to see the Glacier peaks, the last part of the Inca Trail, and Machu Picchu citadel, you should go all the to the Summit from where you will have a 360 view.

Is the Machu Picchu Mountain hike worth it?

Of course, it is worth it.  You will find the answer once you arrive at the summit and enjoy an amazing view of Machu Picchu Citadel, and the surrounding lush green mountains.

Can I hike this Mountain without a tour guide?

Yes, you can hike without a guide to the Mountain. The trail is only one way and it is very well-marked and easy to follow. If you want a guide, you can pay extra to your travel company to provide you with one. 

What to bring for Machu Picchu Mountain Hike:

  • Original Passport
  • Machu Picchu Ticket (you can’t hike without this)
  • Sun Screen, sunglasses, and Sun hat.
  • 2 liters of water. There is not any stream to refill your bottle.
  • Long sleeves t-shirt and pants to protect from mosquitoes and sunburn.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Lightweight raincoat or Rain poncho especially in the rainy season.
  • Small snacks (Protein bar or dry fruit work well)
  • Trekking shoes are recommended.
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