Trekking Huaraz: A Guide To the Best Treks of “The Peruvian Switzerland”

Huaraz is nicknamed the “Switzerland of Peru” mostly because of its always visible snow-capped Andean peaks that can be viewed from the city center. At 10,000 feet above sea level already, you can expect that any day hike or trek into the city’s surrounding mountains will surely test how well your body handles high altitude. In this blog post, we give you the rundown on some of the best multi-day Huaraz treks and day hikes to pack into your epic Peru adventure.

Altitude:
Huaraz City: 3 o52 msnm / 10 010 ft
Huascaran: 6 6768 msnm / 22 204 ft
Huayhuash: 4 750 msnm / 15 583 ft

Weather in Huaraz:
Min.: -4º C / 39.2 Fº
Max.: 21º C / 69.8 Fº
Anual: 13.5º C / 56.3 Fº

Season:
From March to December

Multi-Day Huaraz Treks

If you have a few days (or 14 if you’re eyeing the full Huayhuash Trek), these multi-day treks are pure Huaraz trekking gold:

Lake 69 – Santa Cruz Trek

• Hike Time: 5D/4N
• Difficulty: Moderate 1-2-3-4-5

Passing under some of Huaraz’s most beautiful towering glacial peaks, including Huascaran, Alpamayo, and Taulliraju to name a few, the Santa Cruz Trek is a special adventure. You’ll follow pre-Columbian and Colonial-laid trails that were once used to transport goods from the eastern side of the Andes to the main valley. What more, you’ll visit lake after vivid turquoise lake over the course of the four-day trek through the Cordillera.

Huayhuash Trek

• Hike Time: ranges from 4D/3N to 14D/13N
• Difficulty: Difficult

The full Huayhuash Circuit is one of the longest Peru treks you can do at a whopping 14 days and 13 nights. Fortunately, this two-week trek adventure can be sliced and spliced into a variety of shorter, more approachable trek lengths, if needed. Tackle the whole thing or opt for the four-day, six-day, or eight-day options for a notoriously off-the-beaten-path adventure that no one regrets taking.

Alpamayo Trek

• Hike Time: ranges from 7D/6N to 10D/9N
• Difficulty: Difficult

Mountaineers have actually called Alpamayo the most beautiful mountain in the world. Find out just how beautiful on a seven-day or ten-day trek through and over the high passes, glacier lakes, and traditional Andean villages that greet you on the trails in Alpamayo’s shadow. This is an ideal trek for those looking to immerse themselves in nature and culture.

Huaraz Day Hikes

Below you’ll find a sampling of several Huaraz day hikes, from the most popular to the lesser-known trails. There’s something for every trekking ability in Huaraz.

Lake 69

• Distance: 15 km / 9.32 miles
• Hike Time: 6 – 7 hours
• Difficulty: Challenging

Laguna 69 is the most popular day hike in the Cordillera Blanca. The trail to the lake takes you through high-altitude meadows under snow-capped mountain peaks and past happy cows and tumbling waterfalls. After several hours of hiking, you’ll arrive to the turquoise lagoon called Lake 69 at 15,121 feet above sea level.

Willcacocha Lake

• Distance: 5.3 km / 3.29 miles
• Hike Time: 3:30 – 4 hours
• Difficulty: Moderate

Often used as an acclimatization hike, the day trek up to Willcacocha Lake takes you to 12,224 feet above sea level after just a couple of hours meandering the trail. The highlight, besides the picturesque lake awaiting you at the midpoint, has got to be the stunning views of the Cordillera Blanca this route grants you.

Lake Churup

• Distance: 7 km / 4.34 miles
• Hike Time: 2:30 – 3 hours
• Difficulty: Challenging

Skirt the edges of waterfalls along dry, rocky trails as you ascend to this high-altitude lake that rests at 14,671 feet above sea level (4,472 m.). It’s known to be one of the most impressive glacier lakes in the entire Cordillera Blanca, so though challenging, the Lake Churup hike is worth the effort.

Laguna Churup in the Huascaran national park, Peru

Llanganuco – Maria Josefa Trail

• Distance: 1.9 km / 1.8 miles
• Hike Time: 1 – 1:30 hours
• Difficulty: Easy

Llanganuco Lake is actually two lakes, Chinancocha and Orconcocha. This short Huaraz day hike introduces you to the mountain landscapes, peaceful setting, and turquoise shade of nearly every body of water in Huaraz. At the lake, you can do a loop around Oroncocha or rent a boat for an even better perspective of the glacier valley and nearby peaks of Huascaran and Huandoy.

For a full listing of every possible Huaraz trek or day hike, get in touch with us. We’re happy to point you (and guide you, if you’re interested) to the best Huaraz trekking itinerary for your travel circumstances.

 

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