Trek to Machu Picchu mountain

Montaña Machu Picchu

This is a lesser known destination for visitors to the citadel of Machu Picchu, the Machu Picchu mountain is one of the mountains that rises around the wonder that can be easily viewed from the classic photos that you get to take and this can be climbed to have a different experience and unique views of the citadel. Upon reaching the top we will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the citadel of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu mountain, Putucusi mountain, the meandering Wilkamayu (Urubamba) river, the lush mountain scenery and the final part of the Classic Inca Trail.

Useful information

IMPORTANT: With the Machu Picchu Mountain tickets, you will not have the opportunity to take your “postcard photo” with Machu Picchu Picchu, since at the end of the trek, you will enter Machu Picchu again from the lower part and you will have to complete circuit 03. To have the postcard photo of Machu Picchu, you must also buy the regular Machu Picchu tickets.

You must respect the scheduled entry times between 7 to 8 am or 8 to 9 am. If you are not punctual, you will not be let in!

Use sunscreen, hat and sunglasses, because the radiation is strong in this area and the heat is intense.

The Machu Picchu Mountain Trail has approximately 1,600 steps.

Take advantage of your time when you get to the top of the mountain, because to avoid crowds and therefore accidents the maximum time you are offered to enjoy the view is 15 minutes, measure your time well and do not forget your camera to take fantastic pictures.

During the rainy season (December to March), the trail leading to the mountain tends to be slippery. It is advisable to wear appropriate hiking shoes or footwear. As with the hike to Huayna Picchu Mountain, if you book the Inca Trail, you will still need to purchase an additional entrance ticket for Machu Picchu Citadel plus one for Machu Picchu Mountain, even though the Inca Trail secures your entrance ticket for Machu Picchu Citadel.

The hike is not suitable for people with a great fear of heights, as there are stretches where the path is narrow and you must walk next to a cliff.

It should be noted that the hike is exhausting and quite long, so it is not recommended for people who can not walk long distances without getting too exhausted.

If you have the Machu Picchu Mountain ticket, you should climb the mountain first and then tour the citadel of Machu Picchu. Otherwise, you will have very little time to visit the wonder.

If you are doing the Inca Trail 4 days, we do not recommend climbing Machu Picchu Mountain because you will not have time to explore the Machu Picchu Citadel with your guide, unless you want to miss the guided tour at the Citadel. But you can climb this mountain after the 4-day Inca Trail if you stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes and buy a ticket to climb the mountain the next day.


Use the restrooms outside the citadel which cost 2 soles. Please note that your permit will only allow you to re-enter once so you will not be able to leave to use the restroom as many times as you want.

Bring plenty of water, at least 2 liters per person, as well as snacks and refreshments since there is no store or vendors inside the citadel. Be respectful and discreet where you decide to stop for a snack, and never leave litter.

The visitor should be well acclimatized to the altitude before attempting this hike, oxygen decreases considerably due to the altitude and you will notice the difference.

Machu Picchu Mountain Schedules in 2023

The route to Machu Picchu Mountain has 400 seats per day, distributed in 2 schedules, the first one from 07:00 to 08:00 hours and the second one from 08:00 to 09:00 hours. Visitors can only enter directly to the path of Machu Picchu Mountain and will have to leave the complex by the same path. This type of ticket has the possibility of a re-entry to Machu Picchu to visit the small circuit 3.

The first schedule is accurate for people who stay one more night in the town of Aguas Calientes and decide to climb the Mountain on their own the next day or also for people who want to do the guided tour to the Citadel after climbing Machu Picchu Mountain. But, there is a drawback: tiredness will not allow you to properly enjoy your guided tour since the hike to the mountain takes about 3 hours (round trip) and the tour of the Machu Picchu Citadel with your guide takes about 2 to 3 hours.

The second schedule is better suited for visitors arriving to Machu Picchu from different tours such as: Inca Trail 2 days, Salkantay Trek, Huchuy Qosqo, Quarry trail, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle trek, or Train Tour. Because the guided tour starts at 6 am at Machu Picchu Citadel until 8 am and then go up to the Mountain after the guided tour. Note: This is feasible only in the dry season, which lasts from April to October, since in the rainy season Machu Picchu is covered with mist until 10 am most of the time, so we recommend starting the guided tour at 09:00 am.

machu picchu mountain

The way

The trail to Machu Picchu mountain ascends through steps made of stone and well-established paths that are traveled throughout the year. The hike is not really dangerous, but it will require all your energy. As the trail approaches the base of Machu Picchu mountain, the steps become steeper, narrower and more challenging, it is important to emphasize that there is no flat part.

How to buy Machu Picchu mountain tickets in 2023?

There are 3 ways to buy Machu Picchu mountain tickets:

1.- Online.

Google the official website of the Ministry of Culture at: Click on the UK flag at the top right to change the site to English. Please note that sometimes the website does not work and that sometimes it might be difficult or very complicated to buy your Machu Picchu complicated to buy your Machu Picchu Mountain ticket online.

2.- Reserve your tickets when you arrive in Cusco.

Official Offices in Cusco:

Go to the Dirección Regional de Cultura with your passport at Calle Garcilaso s/n Cusco – La Casa Garcilaso is only 2 blocks from the Plaza de Armas.

Go to Calle Maruri 324 – It is also located a few meters from the Plaza de Armas in the city of Cusco.

Hours of operation: Monday – Saturday 07:00 – 19:00. Closed on Sundays and holidays. This option is a little more risky especially in high season between the months of May to October.

When the permits are overbooked and have to be booked months in advance.

3.- Book your ticket with a Travel Agency.

The easiest, safest and most guaranteed way to purchase your ticket to Machu Picchu mountain is through an authorized travel agency that will obtain the entrance ticket for you. For which you only need to send a copy of your passport, and the date on which you want your visit to be booked.

How to get to the entrance of Machu Picchu mountain from the entrance to the citadel?

Once you enter the main gate of the Machu Picchu citadel, walk 2 minutes in a straight line, then turn left in the direction of the Guardian’s House. There will be a sign pointing you in the right direction. This is also the path that takes you to the Sun Gate, which is the same entrance to Machu Picchu for those who entered through the Inca Trail.

Approximately 3 minutes after the Guardian’s House, you should turn right and follow the road through agricultural terraces. You will then arrive at the Cabaña del Vigilante, where you must register, present your ticket and check your passport. From the entrance to Machu Picchu to the start of the Machu Picchu Mountain trail it is approximately a 30 minute walk.

Learn in detail what the hike to Machu Picchu mountain has to offer:

Height: 3,080 m /10,104 ft.
Drop: 650 m / 2,132 ft.
Restrictions: There are no age restrictions for climbing Machu Picchu Mountain, but some steps are large and can be difficult for children.
Walking distance: 3.9 km/ 2.42 miles.
Location: Machu Picchu Mountain is located on the opposite side of Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Number of visitors: 400 quotas per day.
Hiking time: 3 and a half hours (round trip). Hiking time to Machu Picchu mountain depends on the physical condition of the person.
Difficulty: Difficult.
Archaeological Attractions: None.
Flora and fauna: You will find a variety of orchids, butterflies and birds.
Advantages: Panoramic views of the Inca City and the Huayna Picchu mountain and the Salkantay snow-capped mountain.
Disadvantages: It has no archaeological remains or tourist attractions during the ascent. It is complicated to reach the top.

Cost of the Machu Picchu mountain hike

The cost of a Machu Picchu mountain permit is 200PEN (soles) or US$65 (£40) – this includes entrance to the Machu Picchu Citadel which is currently 152PEN. The cost of a Machu Picchu mountain permit is 48PEN or US$15. Students with a valid international student card pay half price.

Climbing times (7am or 8am?)

There are pros and cons to both schedules. As with Huayna Picchu, the advantage of the 7:00 am hike is that it will be cooler and more pleasant to walk the trail. The 8 am hikers will have to deal with much higher temperatures and bright sunshine. They will have to take more breaks and will need more water to get to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain.

The disadvantage of going in the group earlier in the rainy season (December to March), there is a greater chance of experiencing fog in the early mornings that can completely cloud the view from the top of Machu Picchu Mountain.

machu picchu

Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance should I buy the Machu Picchu ticket?

If you have already made the decision to climb the mountain, you have to buy the ticket at least one month in advance, especially in high season which is from May to October. But in low season which is from November to March, you can find availability even the same day of your arrival in the city of Cusco. Keep in mind that in some international festivities of low season, such as: Easter, Christmas and New Year, the tickets for Machu Picchu Mountain are usually sold out 2 months in advance because the number of visitors increases considerably.

Can children take the trip to the mountain?

There is no age restriction for the Machu Picchu trek. We recommend that the minimum age is 8 years old because there are some steep sections that would be difficult for small legs. Also, special care should be taken in the narrow and steeper parts.

Is the excursion dangerous?

As long as you do not leave the safety signs and stay within the limits of the mountainside, this route is safe. Extra care should be taken on narrow trails, especially on rainy days.

From where can I enjoy the best views?

If your plan is only to see the citadel of Machu Picchu from above, you should only hike half of the trail. However, if your plan is to see the peaks of the Nevado, the last part of the Inca Trail and the citadel of Machu Picchu, you should go to the summit from where you can enjoy a 360 degree view.

Is the hike to Machu Picchu mountain worth it?

It is completely worth it. And if you still have your doubts you will find the answer once you reach the top and enjoy a unique and incredible view of the citadel of Machu Picchu, and the dreamlike landscape surrounded by the green mountains that characterize the area.

Can I climb this mountain without a guide?

Yes, you can hike up the mountain without a guide. The trail is single track, very well marked and very easy to follow. If you want a guide, you can pay extra to your tour company to provide one. Although the trail is really not complicated and it is impossible to get lost.

What to bring for the Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

  • Original passport
  • Machu Picchu ticket (you cannot do the trek without it).
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and sun hat.
  • 2 liters of water. There is no way to refill your bottle once you enter the citadel.
  • Long sleeve t-shirt and pants to protect you from mosquitoes and sunburn.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Rain poncho, especially during the rainy season.
  • Small snacks, snacks or appetizers (protein bars or nuts go well).
  • Non-slip trekking shoes are recommended.

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