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Choose from among 9 great Huaraz hikes you can do in a day. image

Choose from among 9 great Huaraz hikes you can do in a day.

As Peru’s hiking capital, Huaraz has surely crossed the radar of any adventurous soul planning a trip to Peru. In fact, if you’re not careful, you can fill your entire Peru adventure on its web of trails through the Cordillera Blanca. For some, that’s exactly what they’re trying to do. For others, perhaps yourself, a simple taste is sufficient. If you’re after a sampling of the gnarly trails and scenic nature surrounding Huaraz, consider opting for one of these 9 Huaraz hikes. We’ve conveniently listed these spectacular Huaraz hikes in order from easy to challenging.

Laurel Thompson

1. Maria Josefa Trail

Quick Details; Distance: 2.9 km / 1.8 miles, Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours, Difficulty: Easy.

Compared to other Huaraz hikes, the Maria Josefa trail is mostly downhill. This trail begins at the glass-like Lake Chinancocha, then continues through Queñual forest and past ancient ruins. Hikers experience all this over the course of a quick hour to an hour and a half on the trail.

2. Portachuelo de Llanganuco

Quick Details; Distance: 1.9 km / 1.18 miles, Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours, Difficulty: Easy-Moderate.

This Huaraz hike is similarly quick, yet slightly more challenging. The Portachuelo de Llanganuco day hike follows a steady decline in elevation from start to finish, with little to no ascending terrain along the way. Besides the cloud-shaded Llanganuco Valley views, you’ll experience the breathtaking sight of the snow-capped peaks of Huascaran, Chopicallqui, Huandoy, Pisco, and Chacraraju that greet you as you make your way along the trail. Truly among the spectacular Huaraz hikes that can be done in a day.

3. Huaca Punta

Quick Details; Distance: 4.7 km / 2.92 miles, Duration: 2 to 2.5 hours, Difficulty: Easy-Moderate.

This there-and-back Huaraz day hike will take you from 3,719 m.a.s.l. up to 3,879 m.a.s.l., with a summit-capping midpoint at Huaca Punta, a viewpoint situated on the remains of a pre-Inca site. The short hike starts and ends on the scenic shores of Lake Willcacocha. At a duration of 2- 2.5 hours, you could even do one of the other Huaraz hikes on the same day.

4. Lake Rajucolta

Quick Details; Distance: 13.8 km / 8.57 miles, Duration: 2.5 to 3 hours, Difficulty: Easy-Moderate.

Covering more ground than nearly any of the other Huaraz hikes on this list, the hike to Lake Rajucolta still only takes roughly 2.5 to 3 hours to complete. It’s there-and-back style, leaving from the Huascaran National Park Control and involves an approximate 550-meter change in elevation to and from this mountain-wrapped glacial lake.

5. Willcahuain – Monterrey

Quick Details; Distance: 10.4 km / 6.46 miles, Duration: 4.5 to 5 hours, Difficulty: Easy-Moderate.

This full-day hike adventure in Huaraz begins in the village of Marian and ends at the thermal springs in Monterrey. Follow the ancient trail of Chaquinani and visit the archaeological site of Willcahuain, a set of Wari ruins that mark the midpoint of this roughly 10-kilometer hike. If you’re a hot springs lover, this is one of the Huaraz hikes you’ll want to consider.

6. Lake Churup

Quick Details; Distance: 7 km / 4.34 miles, Duration: 2.5 to 3 hours, Difficulty: Moderate.

The high altitude Lake Churup is worth the nearly 1.5-hour climb to get to it. Once there, you’ll find yourself among peaceful surroundings with fantastic views of nearby Mt. Churup and Huaraz in the distance. It’s the perfect spot to rest and relax before following the same trail back down. Many use this moderately challenging hike as an acclimatization hike for longer multi-day treks through the Cordillera.

7. Willcacocha Lake

Quick Details; Distance: 5.3 km / 3.29 miles, Duration: 3 to 4 hours, Difficulty: Moderate.

This scenic full-day hike to the grassy meadows of Lake Willcacocha is mostly uphill with a total ascent of 737 meters (2,417 ft). Unlike many of the other hikes on this list, this day hike gives you a taste of the Cordillera Negra and delivers spectacular views of the adjacent Cordillera Blanca peaks. It’s among the more upward-climbing of the Huaraz hikes discussed in this article, but worth it for the amazing views at its peak.

8. Pukaventana

Quick Details; Distance: 9 km / 5.59 miles, Duration: 4.5 to 5.5 hours, Difficulty: Moderate.

From the city of Huaraz, hike straight up into the city’s nearby hills on this circuit hike. En route, you’ll reach a spectacular viewpoint of the entire Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra ranges known as the Pukaventana or “red window.” The hike involves nearly as much uphill terrain as downhill, but offers plenty of fresh Andean landscape to experience without ever retracing a step.

9. Lake 69

Quick Details; Distance: 15 km / 9.32 miles, Duration: 6 to 7 hours, Difficulty: Challenging.

Perhaps the most popular of the short Huaraz hikes, Lake 69 is a challenging 15-kilometer there-and-back hike in Huascaran National Park. The trail ascends to the aquamarine-colored Lake 69 at 4,609 meters above sea level (15,121 ft.) and brings you face-to-face with plenty of snow-clad peaks and glacial lakes along the way. Challenging though the hike may be, most hikers manage to complete it without any issues, regardless of their fitness level.

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