Machu Picchu Mountain: The Hike Of A Lifetime Awaits

Machu Picchu Mountain is more than just a towering peak overlooking an ancient citadel; it’s a journey into the heart of the Andes.
At Skyhook Adventure, we'll provide you with essential tips and insights to conquer this challenging yet rewarding hike. 
inca trail signage

Machu Picchu Mountain: What You Must Know Before You Go

Before you set foot on the iconic trails of Machu Picchu Mountain, there are some essential details you’ll want to know to make your hike a memorable and safe experience.

Is Machu Picchu a Mountain?

While many people associate the name “Machu Picchu” solely with the iconic mountain backdrop seen in countless photos, it’s crucial to clarify that Machu Picchu is primarily a citadel. 
Built by the Incas in the 15th century, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a marvel of ancient architecture and engineering, perched high in the Andes Mountains of Peru.
Now, let’s talk about those towering peaks that frame the citadel so beautifully. There are actually two separate mountains you can hike when visiting Machu Picchu: Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu is the one you often see in the background of those postcard-perfect shots. It’s steep and challenging but offers an unparalleled view of the citadel below. 
On the other hand, Machu Picchu Mountain, which is the focus of our guide, offers a longer but equally rewarding hike with panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking.
Did You Know? The name “Machu Picchu” translates to “Old Mountain” in Quechua, the language of the Incas. Quite fitting, don’t you think?
machu picchu on a sunny day

How High is Machu Picchu Mountain?

When it comes to conquering Machu Picchu Mountain, altitude is a critical factor that shapes your hiking experience. 
Towering at an impressive 3,061 meters (or 10,042 feet) above sea level, this mountain isn’t for the faint-hearted. But don’t let that intimidate you; the views from the top are worth every lung-busting step.
On your Peru Machu Picchu hike, you’ll ascend 631 meters (that’s 2,070 feet) higher than the Machu Picchu citadel. This means you’ll be navigating a series of steep Inca steps and winding trails, making the hike moderately challenging but incredibly rewarding.
machu picchu (7-day inca trail)
The best view of Machu Picchu.

What’s the View Like?

When you finally reach the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain, you’re greeted with a panorama that can only be described as otherworldly.
Imagine looking down at the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, framed by the lush, green peaks of the Andes. The Urubamba River snakes its way through the valley below, adding a dynamic element to an already stunning landscape.
It’s the sense of accomplishment that makes this hike genuinely worthwhile. 
You’ll feel connected to something much larger than yourself as you stand at the top, catching your breath and taking in the 360-degree views. 
Whether it’s the ancient Incan spirits, the majestic mountains, or the adrenaline pumping through your veins, you’ll realize that the journey has been just as meaningful as the destination with all its ups and downs.
Did You Know? The Incas believed that mountains had spirits, known as ‘apus,’ which provided protection and blessings. So, when you’re up there, take a moment to thank the mountain for its beauty and challenges—it’s the Incan way!
hiking the lares trek

Can You Hike It?

So, you’re probably wondering, “Can I actually hike Machu Picchu Mountain?” 
The answer is a resounding yes! But let’s not sugarcoat it; this hike is challenging. When it comes to the Machu Picchu hike difficulty, it’s not a leisurely stroll in the park but a test of your physical and mental stamina.
The terrain is a mix of Inca Trail stone steps and gravel paths, so you must watch your footing as you ascend.
These ancient steps have been around for centuries, and while they’re incredibly well-preserved, they can be steep and uneven in places. A good pair of hiking boots is a must!
As for the Machu Picchu hike length, you’re looking at about 3 to 4 hours for the round trip. This includes time for photo ops, water breaks, and those essential moments when you must stop and soak in the beauty around you. 
Trust us; you’ll want to savour every moment of this hike. It’s not every day you get to walk in the footsteps of the Incas.
hiking during inca jungle trek

Preparing for the Hike

Preparation is critical when it comes to conquering Machu Picchu Mountain. 
First off, let’s talk training for Machu Picchu Mountain. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete. Still, a moderate fitness level will make your hike more enjoyable and less strenuous. You’re good to go if you can handle a few hours of uphill hiking!
Now, onto the essentials. A sturdy pair of hiking shoes is non-negotiable; you’ll be navigating ancient stone steps and gravel paths, after all. 
Don’t forget to pack at least one water bottle (though two is better), some high-energy snacks like trail mix or energy bars, and, of course, your camera. You’ll kick yourself if you forget that last one; the photo ops are endless!
As for this Machu Picchu trek cost, you’re looking at around US$ 78 for the whole shebang. This includes US$ 65 for entry to the Machu Picchu ruins and an additional US$ 13 for the Machu Picchu Mountain hike. It may seem like a pretty penny, but trust us, the experience is priceless.
To save time and money on your hike, you should also consider splitting your travel through this amazing locale by riding a train to Machu Picchu and visiting other locations like the Sacred Valley Cusco Peru.

When to Go

Timing is everything on the Machu Picchu circuits, especially when it comes to hiking Machu Picchu Mountain. 
The best time for Machu Picchu hike is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. You will have a better chance of clear skies for those jaw-dropping views, and the trails will also be less slippery, making for a safer hike.
But what about the crowds, you ask? Ah, the double-edged sword of visiting a world-famous landmark. While the dry season offers the best Machu Picchu weather, it’s also the most popular time to visit. 
If you want to avoid the crowds of tourists, consider starting your hike early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Most crowds hit the trails between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so plan accordingly.
Another pro tip? Try to visit on weekdays rather than weekends. Not only will you encounter fewer people, but you’ll also have a more intimate experience with this ancient wonder. After all, nothing kills the vibe like jostling for space on a narrow Inca stairway.
tourist and machu picchu guide

How to Get Your Ticket

So, you’re pumped and ready to tackle Machu Picchu Mountain. But wait, there’s one crucial step before you lace up those hiking boots: securing your permit to visit Machu Picchu
The Peruvian government limits the number of hikers to 800 per day to preserve the integrity of this ancient site. Trust us, you don’t want to travel all the way to Peru only to find out you can’t set foot on the mountain.
The best way to ensure your spot is to purchase tickets online in advance. Several official Peruvian tourist websites offer this service, and it’s a straightforward process. 
You’ll need to select the date and time slot for your hike, and you can usually pay via credit card. Once the transaction is complete, you’ll receive an electronic ticket to print out or save on your phone.
Remember, the Machu Picchu Mountain hike costs an additional US$ 13 on top of the US$ 65 entry fee for the Machu Picchu ruins. It’s a small price for an experience that will leave you with memories (and photos) to last a lifetime.
llama on the ground in machu picchu

Tips and Warnings

Let’s wrap this up with some essential travel tips Machu Picchu and warnings to ensure your hike up Machu Picchu Mountain is as smooth as possible.
First up, Machu Picchu altitude sickness. It’s a genuine concern when you’re hiking at over 10,000 feet. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
To mitigate this, consider spending a day or two acclimatizing in Cusco and partaking in some thrilling Cusco attractions before heading to Machu Picchu. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol can also help.
Next, let’s talk about the wet season, which runs from October to April. While the trails are open, they can get slippery, making the hike more challenging. If you visit during these months, ensure your hiking boots have excellent grip. Consider using trekking poles for added stability.
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the importance of travel insurance. Accidents happen, even to the most seasoned hikers. Make sure your insurance covers high-altitude hiking and emergency evacuation, just in case.
Machu Picchu views


Embarking on a hike up Machu Picchu Mountain is a Peru adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
From the breathtaking views to the rich history and culture, every step is a journey through the heart of the Andes. And you can do it all with us at Skyhook Adventure!

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