The Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes is a remarkable trail that remains off the beaten path. It is listed as one of National Geographic’s 20 dream hikes on their World Best Hikes list. The trek wanders through traditional villages like Chillipahua and its namesake Ancashcocha (3,700 m/12,136 ft). Along the way, it humps over big passes, including the high point at the Huayanay Pass (4,550 m/ 14,925 ft), and takes in views of towering 20,551 foot (6,266 m) Apu Salkantay.
This Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu option. You spend 4 days hiking through this beautiful landscape and tour Machu Picchu on the 5th day! On the fourth day you spend more than half of the day hiking a portion of the Classic Inca Trail.
Additionally, the standard service includes a luxury Vistadome train ride, lodging in a very nice hotel in Aguas Calientes, ticket to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain and dinner at the nicest restaurant in Aguas Calientes.
Total distance hiked: 49 km/30 ½ miles
Beginning altitude: 3,205 m / 10,512 ft
Maximum altitude: 4,650 m/ 15,298 ft
Overall trek difficulty: Challenging
You will have a thorough briefing with your guide 1 or 2 days before your Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and you can take this opportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations.
Day 1: Cusco – Soqma – Rayan
We leave Cusco early in the morning and drive 1 hour and 45 minutes to Soqma (3,205 m / 10,512 ft). This is the starting point of our Ancascocha Trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the Ancascocha hike.
We begin the hike with a 1 ¾ hour walk to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and a snack. The waterfall that you will see at this location is breathtaking! We will then hike a further 35 minutes until we visit the Inca site of the same name, where we will have a brief tour. This will be our lunch site.
After a refueling lunch, we will ascend 45 minutes until our camp at Rayan (3,700 meters/12,136 ft).
Day 2: Rayan – Ancascocha
We depart camp at about 6:30 AM for a 4 hour uphill trek with incredible views of the “nevadas”/snow-capped peaks, llamas, valleys, and if we are lucky, a passing condor – the largest bird in the Andes with a wing-span of up to 10 feet across. Here we reach the Kuychicassa pass (4,450 m /14,596 ft) where we take a break and soak in the magnificent views of the Chancachuco Valley on one side of the pass and the Sacred Valley of the Incas on the other side.
Then we start our descent and hike for another hour until we reach the location where we will take our lunch break.
After lunch we ascend for 30 min by way of a narrow trail following a stream with beautiful views of Mt. Veronica (5,822 m/ 19,100 ft).
This is followed by a 4 hour walk downhill to reach the small community of Ancascocha (3,700 m/12,136 ft), our campsite for the evening, in a small, gorgeous wooded valley with a stream running through it.
Day 3: Ancascocha – Huayanay pass – Muyu Muyu community
Views of a nearby glacier and well preserved Inca remains are the highlight of this day. After a hearty breakfast we are ready for this challenging day. Ascending towards the Huayanay Pass (4,650 m/ 15,298 ft) for 4 hours, the highest point of our Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu, which is a steep zigzag trail uphill, we find an original cobblestone paved Inca trail. On the way, we see the beautiful waterfall that feeds into the Ancascocha lake
After this stunning view, we descend for 45 minutes until the Inca site of Incarajay. We will have lunch here.
At this point we will embark on a 3-½ hour descent into greener vegetation. During this stretch of the trek we will have views of the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu appear in the distance, and fascinating views of the communities of the Qésqua valley. Then we’ll reach our campsite in the Muyu Muyu community (3,850 m/12,628 ft).
Day 4: Muyu Muyu – Paucarcancha – Kilometer 82 – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
From Muyu Muyu we will descend for 2 hours until the Inca site of Paucarcancha. We will have a comprehensive tour of the site.
After the tour we will hike downhill for 5 hours until we reach Km 82, which is the start of the classic Inca trail. Along the way we will be able to see the Inca site of Llactapata. This is the first site on the Classic Inca Trail. Our chef will make us a delicious lunch at Kilometer 82.
After lunch we will be picked up by private van at Km 82 and transported to Ollantaytambo (2,792 m/9,158 ft) where we will catch the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes.
When you reach Aguas Calientes you will check in to your hotel room. The natural hot springs in town are a great place to relax if there is time before dinner. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.
DAY 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given a 2 hour walking tour of the site.
If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain you will begin the hike at 10 AM. The ticket price for Huayna Picchu is included in the price of your Ancascocha trek. If you are not climbing the mountain you will have free time to explore Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.
Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu Includes:
Ancacocha Trek Not Includes:
What to bring:
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Action Peru Treks? Action is a word we are all familiar with and probably use on a regular basis without too much thought! However, it is worth a look at the dictionary to understand what makes the word Action in our name special. ACTION: Doing things that require physical movement and energy; something done so as to accomplish a purpose; involved in the activities of a group and organization.