The Huayna Picchu hike and climb went viral on social media with breathtaking, life-defying photos. Not for nothing is it known as the "stairs of death", but is it really scary? After overcoming the stairs to Huayna Picchu, you will receive a great reward. An endless view of the citadel of Machu Picchu and the breathtaking scenery that surrounds it. Read on if you want to know if Huayna Picchu mountain and the temples it hides are really worth visiting. 

Find Out all about the Huayna Picchu Hike

What is Huayna Picchu?

The meaning of Huayna Picchu comes from the Quechua (Inca language) “Wayna Pikchu” which translates as “Young Mountain”. Located north of the citadel of Machu Picchu. It offers an exciting hike to the top of the mountain where you realize how special it could have been for the Inca empire.

Terraces, temples and beautiful vegetation such as orchids is a perfect combination for the adventurous. The hike to Huayna Picchu takes on average 1 hour to reach the peak of the mountain. During the climb you will face a lot of steep stairs that challenge the physique. It offers adventurous hikers a challenging trek with incredible views of the ancient Incan citadel and the surrounding landscape. 

It is elevated above Machu Picchu, at a height of 2693 meters above sea level, exactly 260 meters higher than the wonder of the world. A dream view but what was really the function of Huayna Picchu mountain for the Incas. 


Huayna Picchu Mountain

Brief History

The history of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu are related. On the mountain peak the Incas built residences for the high priest and virgins, according to local guides. What is an enigma is how they built the stairs, which demonstrates the vivid ingenuity and creativity of the Inca civilization.

Huayna Picchu has a strategic location, which suggests that it functioned as a lookout point to Machu Picchu and the surrounding area. Although the purpose is not entirely clear, it could also have served as a place of worship or a religious ceremonial center. This can be seen in the temples built in Huayna Picchu, in which the Temple of the Moon stands out. A stone site in the form of a shallow and open cave.

It is necessary to highlight that in 1911, Hiram Bingham rediscovered Huayna Picchu with the help of a child possibly called “Pablito”, before finding Machu Picchu. There is still much to discover, it is an experience not to be missed. Do you want to know where it is and how to get to Huayna Picchu?

Where is Huayna Picchu in Peru?

Huayna Picchu is located in the Cusco region, province of Urubamba, district of Machupicchu. It has an elevation of 8835 feet with coordinates of 13°09′27″S 72°32′50″W. From the city of Cusco it is 80 kilometers (50 miles). Huayna is within the archaeological center of Machu Picchu, but you will need an entrance ticket to enter and know in which month has favorable weather.

Favorable weather so you can do the hike

The weather as in the whole region is unpredictable throughout the year. However you can take advantage of some weather patterns; from May to September is the season where there is no rain, and it is a favorable climate. Where you are likely to have a sunny day and clear skies. But it is a high season for tourist visits, where you might have to wait in line to enter the archaeological site.

From October to April is the rainy season, where you will find yourself surrounded by perfect vegetation, vivid and abundant colors. You will need waterproof gear such as jacket and pants. The only drawback are some slippery trails, where you just have to be a little careful. 


  • Elevation: 2,693 meters (8,835 feet)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to challenging, with steep sections and narrow trails
  • Duration: Approximately 2-3 hours round trip, depending on fitness level
  • Trail length: 2.4 km (1.5 miles) one way
  • Best time to visit: May to September (dry season)

Permits and Access:

Access to Huayna Picchu is limited to 400 visitors per day, divided into two entry time slots: the first group from 7:00-8:00 AM and the second group from 10:00-11:00 AM. You must purchase a combined ticket for both Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu in advance, as tickets sell out quickly, especially during peak season. Tickets can be purchased online through the official government website or via authorized travel agencies.

The Hike:

The trail to the summit of Huayna Picchu begins near the Sacred Rock, located within the Machu Picchu complex. The hike involves steep, narrow stone steps, some sections with exposed drop-offs, and a few cable handrails for support. The ascent usually takes 1-1.5 hours, while the descent takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour. The hike is not recommended for those with a fear of heights or for young children.

The Temple of the Moon:

While hiking Huayna Picchu, you have the option to take a detour and visit the Temple of the Moon, an ancient Incan temple built into a cave on the mountain's backside. This detour adds approximately 1-2 hours to the total hiking time.

Safety Tips:

  • Make sure you are well-acclimatized to the altitude before attempting the hike
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes with good grip, as the trail can be slippery, especially in wet conditions
  • Carry plenty of water and snacks, as there are no facilities along the trail
  • Start the hike early to avoid the heat of the day and ensure you have enough time to complete the hike before the site closes
  • Pay attention to weather conditions and avoid the hike in heavy rain or poor visibility

What to Bring:

  • Passport (required for entry)
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen and a hat
  • Rain jacket or poncho (depending on the season)
  • Camera or smartphone for photos
  • Water and snacks
  • A small backpack to carry your belongings

In conclusion, Huayna Picchu is a thrilling and challenging hike that offers stunning views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding landscape. With proper planning and preparation, this adventure will be a memorable part of your visit to the famous Incan citadel.