Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

Machu Picchu Mountain is another mountain that stands above Machu Picchu Citadel which you can hike. It offers The panoramic view 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.

Montaña Machu Picchu is the highest mountain in the area at 3082 meters (10111 ft.). The hike begins at Machu Picchu citadel, located at 2430 meters (7972 feet). To reach the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, you need at least 1.5 hours and a similar time to come back the same way.


Where’s Machu Picchu Mountain located?

Machu Picchu Mountain is located southwest of the citadel, around a 30-min walk from Machu Picchu’s main entrance (check the exact location here).


Machu Picchu Moutain is towering 3,061m (10,042 feet) above sea level.

Elevation gain

631 meters (2070 feet) higher than Machu Picchu.

How long does it take to walk up Machu Picchu Mountain?

It takes between 1h30min and 2h. It all depends on your fitness level and pace. The descent is a bit faster, around 1h and 1h30. So, the whole hike should take from 3h to 4h.

Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Mountain

How hard is the Machu Picchu mountain hike?

It’s Medium

Comparison Table on the Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain

ComparisonHuayna PicchuMachu Picchu Mountain
Distance2 km2 km
Duration2.5-hour hike up and down3.5-hour hike up and down
Age Limit12 years and overNo age limit

How long does it take to hike Machu Picchu mountain?

Try this 2.4 mile out-and-back trail near Machu Picchu, Cusco. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 2 h 44 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring.

What is the difficulty level of Machu Picchu mountain?

It is estimated to be of medium-moderate difficulty. You don’t need to be in top physical condition to do it. Along the way, one meets children, young people, and even older adults. The Machupicchu mountain is 600 meters higher than the archaeological site, making the ascent difficult.

Machu Picchu Mountain Hike in 2023, an awe-inspiring peak towering over the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, Peru, is a challenging hike for the most intrepid of travelers. Those who take on the trek are rewarded with breathtaking vistas when they reach the summit.

Machu Picchu Mountain Hike was the most difficult hike that I’ve ever done.


Really early before dawn, travelers from all over queue up outside the bus station in Aguas Calientes, hoping to be one of the first persons to enter Machu Picchu because only the first 400 people who sign in are capable to climb Huayna Picchu (the green peak that appears in the background of almost all the Machu Picchu photos).

Almost no one bothers to ascend the mountain located on the opposite end of the site, which is called Machu Picchu Mountain.

Machu Picchu Mountain

  • Machu Picchu Mountain Elevation: 3,060m with an elevation gain from Machu Picchu ruins 620m
  • The time needed: estimated hiking time is 3 hours round trip
  • Trail: less steep but constant uphill, rocky steps for most of the trail, there are 3 exposed sections of the stairs with no handrail (around 1m wide path), otherwise no drops
  • View: Machu Picchu is surrounded by mountains and valleys from the highest point of the iconic view of the citadel (the main reason we chose this option)
  • Tickets don’t sell out, we bought them last minute and our guide told us it’s normal
  • There are two natural flat platforms on top

Both trails are well marked and the high altitude contributes to the difficulty of the hike.

The entire site has been named after this mountain (Machu Picchu means Old Mountain) and together with Huayna Picchu creates a place where the site is located. Machu Picchu Mountain used to not have a surcharge but now it’s $9 USD more on the Machu Picchu ticket.

Machu Picchu Mountain - Sign showing machu picchu mountain and altitude

The Machu Picchu Mountain trek is considered to be a moderate to challenging trek. Following an original stone Inca Trail and continuously acceding to the summit, a good level of fitness is required. During the wet season, the trail can become more slippery making it more challenging to traverse.

Machu Picchu Mountain - Sign showing directions to machu picchu mountain and the sun gate

How to get there:

From the main entrance of Machu Picchu follow the upper trail heading in the direction of the Guardhouse. Small and newly erected wooden signs signal the way to the start of the trailhead, which is also the same path that leads to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). A couple of minutes from the Guardhouse, you need to turn right and follow the path, which climbs up through the agricultural terracing. Following the trail for another 15 minutes, you will arrive at the warden’s hut, where you need to sign in showing your passport and entrance ticket. From the entrance of Machu Picchu to the wardens’ hut takes approximately 30 minutes.

Unlike the Huayna Picchu or Putucusi Mountain treks, the Machu Picchu Mountain trek is wide and well-marked. After the warden’s hut, the trail follows a fairly even ascent of about 30 – 35  degrees in angle for about 1 hour. Gradually and steadily gaining altitude, the views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains become ever more impressive. There are several views and rest points along the way.

As the trail gets closer to the base of Machu Picchu Mountain, the steps become steeper, narrower, and more challenging. Winding on for another 30 minutes or so, the trail passes through a stone gateway, before following a narrow mountain ridge to the summit. A small round hut provides shelter and seating, whilst the viewpoint (a few more yards on) offers inspiring views of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, and Putucusi Mountains. The descent follows the same route but takes about 20 – 30 minutes less.

When the skies are opening up will give way for some of the best photo moments you will encounter on the site. You can see the entire site (even parts of the slopes that cannot be seen from Huayna Picchu) and gasp down into the valleys on both sides of the site.

Machu Picchu Mountain - Machu Picchu

For information on booking a tour, comparing operators, and reviewing prices we recommend using a comparison website for tours and activities across South America.

What are the entry times for Machu Picchu Mountain?

To enter Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña Machu Picchu), you must book the entrance ticket in advance since they tend to sell out fast, depending on the season. You can choose two different shifts to hike this mountain. However, you must first consider the type of tour you will participate in before booking the Montaña entrance.

Important to know:

  • The time needed: ascent – 1h30 minutes accent, descent – 1 hour
  • The altitude of the summit: is 3,082 meters (10,111 feet) above sea level.
  • Height to climb from Machu Picchu: 652 meters (2,139 feet).
  • Terrain: Inca Trail stone path steps and in places grass/dirt.
  • Entrance time: First entrance: 7am – 8am Second entrance: 9am-10am
  • All visitors must have completed the trek by 3 p.m.
  • All visitors must now be accompanied by an official guide.
  • Tickets: Limited to 400 per day, tickets need to be purchased as a combination ticket with general entrance to Machu Picchu. They can be purchased from the official government website.

The hike to the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain is a must-do for any adventurous traveler visiting the area. It’s important to be in good physical condition, as the hike is steep and challenging. It’s also a good idea to start early to avoid the crowds and the heat of the day. Visitors are limited to 400 per day, so it’s best to book in advance.

Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

Machu Picchu Mountain is an undeservedly overlooked Machu Picchu hiking option and the trek you’ll most likely find still has tickets available the day before your Machu Picchu tour. Its scenic trail zigzags through the high cloud forest and the occasional patch of orchids, begonias, and ferns. The first hour of the ascent is a gradual climb that steepens, narrows, and grows increasingly more challenging as you near the final ascent to the summit. As the tallest mountain around, the view from the top is unparalleled. Think 360-degree panoramic views of Machu Picchu, Wayna Picchu, and the surrounding Putucusi Mountains, with the mighty Urubamba River seemingly just a line far below.

Machu Picchu Mountain Hike
Machu Picchu Mountain hike

Recommendations Hike to Machu Picchu mountain

is a challenging but rewarding experience. It offers breathtaking views of the Machu Picchu citadel and the surrounding mountains. Here are a few recommendations for hiking Machu Picchu Mountain

FAQs About Visiting Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

Should You Hike Machu Picchu Mountain?

Machu Picchu Mountain, Huayna Picchu; Length of Hike: 3-4 hours return, 1.5-2 hours return; Difficulty: Difficult. Longer trail but less steep.

Is it difficult to climb Machu Picchu mountain?

The ascent to the top of Machupicchu Mountain is not easy. It is estimated to be of medium-moderate difficulty.

When should I purchase tickets for the Machu Picchu Mountain hike?

To hike Machu Picchu Mountain, it is recommended to purchase tickets at least a month in advance, particularly during the high season (May to October). However, during the low season (November to March), it may be possible to find availability even closer to the date of your visit. Keep in mind that during certain festivals, such as Holy Week, Christmas, and New Year, tickets for Machu Picchu Mountain may sell out up to two months in advance.

Can you get altitude sickness at Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is 2,430 meters above sea level (7,972 ft). Because of this, it is normal for tourists to suffer from the famous ‘altitude sickness’ (also known as mountain sickness or, simply, soroche). Although the symptoms usually disappear gradually, there are effective ways to combat this discomfort.

Images for Machu Picchu mountain

Vea las mejores fotografias de Machu Picchu Mountain e inspírese para visitar las ciudadela inca de Machu Picchu.

Where is the best view of Machu Picchu?

The Best Viewpoints

  • The Classic Shot: The classic “postcard” shot of Machu Picchu taken from the Guardian House.
  • The Terraces: The view of Machu Picchu from the terraces, just a few steps from the Guardian House.
  • The Sun Gate: The view of Machu Picchu taken on the way to the Sun Gate.
  • Huayna Picchu Summit: The view of Machu Picchu from the Huayna Picchu summit.
  • Machu Picchu Mountain Summit: The view of Machu Picchu from the Machu Picchu Mountain summit.

Tips for Hiking Machu Picchu Mountain

  1. Start your hike early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
  2. Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you fueled during your hike.
  3. Take breaks often to catch your breath and enjoy the views.
  4. Be prepared for some steep sections, but know the rewards are worth it!
  5. Stay on the trail at all times to help protect this fragile ecosystem.
  6. When you reach the summit, take a moment to soak in the incredible views of Machu Picchu.

Map of Machu Picchu and Montaña

Mountains like Machu Picchu

  • Huayna Picchu: The height of Machu Picchu mountain is 8,924′ 
  • Montaña Machu Picchu : height of machu picchu mountain is 2,430′
  • Salcantay: height of machu picchu mountain is 20,574′
  • Phutuq K’usi: height of Machu Picchu mountain is 8,399′
  • Nevado Auzangate: height of machu picchu mountain is 20,945′
  • Humantay: height of Machu Picchu mountain is 5,473 m

More blogs about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain Hike
  • Best tours to Machu Picchu 
  • All about Machu Picchu citadel
  • Is Machu Picchu Closing?