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Machu Picchu Mountain Tour

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 31-01-2023

Machu Picchu Mountain is the peak that overlooks the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and is found inside the Machu Picchu complex. There is an original Inca trail that leads to the peak of the mountain and visitors can climb the mountain for a spectacular view over Machu Picchu and the surrounding valley. Some people confuse Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. “Machu Picchu” refers to the actual Inca citadel and the whole archaeological complex. “Machu Picchu Mountain” is the name of a mountain that overlooks the citadel.  


Starting the Climb up Machu Picchu Mountain


There are two different mountains to climb inside the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, and Machu Picchu Mountain. Both of these mountains, require an additional permit, as there is a daily restriction on how many people can climb either mountain each day. The two mountains are on opposite sides of Machu Picchu. Huayna Picchu is more famous and more popular, but also more dangerous to hike. From the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, you have a view of Huayna Picchu, and vice versa. 


View from Machu Picchu Mountain


Why Choose Machu Picchu Mountain?


The hike up Machu Picchu Mountain is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy nature! From the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, you will witness some of the most spectacular views of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, the famous mountain in all of the photos of Machu Picchu. From Machu Picchu Mountain, you can really see it all!

Machu Picchu Mountain limits the number of people who can climb it each day and has different time slots for entering. This ensures the trail is never too busy and it is always less busy than Machu Picchu itself.

If you like hiking, photography, or just want the best view then hiking Machu Picchu Mountain is something you should consider.

Machu Picchu Mountain allows 400 people to visit per day, split into 2 entrance times. The mountain is less famous than Huayna Picchu, which means the tickets do not sell out as fast, and there is usually availability. If you are late to the game for getting a ticket to Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain is your best option.

Machu Picchu Mountain is also less busy. Although the same number of people are allowed to enter each day as Huayna Picchu, tickets often do not sell out. Additionally, the trail is longer so the people are more spread out making it less crowded.

Machu Picchu Mountain is a longer trail that takes most people 3-4 hours to complete. Many visitors do not actually summit Machu Picchu Mountain and turn back after a gorgeous viewpoint about 30 minutes in. Therefore, the last half of the trail is much quieter.

Huayna Picchu is a shorter, steeper climb with a trail that takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to climb to the top of. Although shorter, it is very steep requiring the use of ropes and handrails for certain sections of the climb.

The steepness and dangers of Huayna Picchu prohibit children under the age of 12 from doing this hike. People of all ages are allowed to hike Machu Picchu Mountain as the trail is wider and less steep.

The view from the top of Machu Picchu Mountain is arguably better than from Huayna Picchu. From the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, you will get views of the amazing peak of Huayna Picchu, which is an amazing sight from across the valley!


View from Machu Picchu Mountain

Entrance Times


First shift to Machu Picchu Mountain (7:00 am–8:00 am)

The first shift is ideal for those who stayed in Aguas Calientes the previous night. You will have to take an early bus to Machu Picchu and ascend the peak before the sun rises. From the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain, you can see how slowly Machu Picchu becomes crowded. If you choose this option. the total cost of Machu Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Citadel is USD 75, so slightly more than a regular Machu Picchu entrance. When you purchase this option, you must enter the Machu Picchu citadel between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. It takes 25 minutes to hike from the main gate to the control point of this mountain. Once you finish the hike, you can re-enter Machu Picchu through the lower Circuit 3 entrance. 


Second Shift to Machu Picchu Mountain (8:00 am to 9:00 am)

The second shift, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., allow another 200 people to enter. This is ideal for people arriving at Machu Picchu after hiking the Short Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle, or tours by train. You must first explore the Citadel of Machu Picchu before ascending the mountain. 
It is not recommended to climb Machu Picchu Mountain if you're hiking the Classic 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu unless you take a private trip. Then, you hike this mountain first and then visit Machu Picchu. If you stay an additional day in Aguas Calientes after the Inca Trail, you may hike this mountain and return to Cusco the following day. 


On Top of Machu Picchu Mountain


How Difficult is it to climb Machu Picchu Mountain?


The trail to Machu Picchu Mountain is more difficult since it is longer and higher than the trail to Huayna Picchu Mountain. Many believe that Huayna Picchu is the best, so it sells out rapidly. Due to its location, Machu Picchu Mountain is one of the most magnificent mountain peaks. From the summit, you will enjoy a 360-degree view of the whole Machu Picchu area.

At first, the climb is steep with a moderate incline. The ascent becomes more difficult as it continues. Upon reaching the summit, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and the magnificent fortress of Machu Picchu far below. Remember to use extreme caution to prevent accidents.

Anybody in average physical condition can climb this peak. The 1.5 hours to the top can be done at your own pace and with as many breaks as you want, for the perfect photo opportunities.


View from Machu Picchu Mountain


Find out more about climbing The Machu Picchu Mountain here!