Ausangate Trek: Explore the incredible landscapes around the highest mountain in southern Peru

7 January, 2021 | Reccy Guide

The Ausangate Trek to Machu Picchu is a nature lover’s journey that winds through the stunning sceneries and summits of the Peruvian Andes. Named after the highest and most sacred mountain in Southern Peru, Ausangate Mount, the route showcases the spectacular views of glaciers, hot springs, wildlife, and Rainbow Mountain. As well, this trip passes through remote Andean villages and allows visitors an opportunity to learn about Andean culture while hiking through uninterrupted beauty. The trek is known for being challenging because of the high altitudes that it reaches along the route while traversing Puccacpcha and Chillca Passes, however, the 360 panoramic views are worth it. While exploring the Ausangate Trek, hikers might even see herds of llamas and alpacas while spotting birds and other Andean wildlife. The 6-day trek to Machu Picchu is best suited for experienced hikers who love being surrounded by dramatic and serene landscapes while exploring the Andes. 

Explore trip itineraries, accommodation, transport, required gear, fitness plan, insurance and more

Due to the length and difficulty of the route, The Ausangate Trek can only be done with a guide, through a tour company. The trek to Machu Picchu is 6 days long and during this time, the tour operator will carry the majority of the supplies and will provide all meals and water throughout the hike. This allows hikers to pack lightly and focus on enjoying the scenery instead of lugging heavy camping supplies with them as they summit difficult passes that reach as high as 5050m. 

Even though a tour operator will carry the majority of the supplies during the hike, it is important to pack lightly and wisely to venture on the Ausangate Trek. The trip involves camping at extremely high altitudes, because of this it is important to bring thermal clothing to keep warm when the temperature drops below 0 degrees in the evenings until the early mornings. As well, weather can fluctuate in the Andes especially during wet season, bringing waterproof trekking boots and a rain jacket are essential. Other important items to bring are a bathing suit for the hot springs, sun protection, toiletries, snacks, and light running shoes. 

Beginning in Cusco, trekkers will be transported to the starting point, which is a small Andean village named Tinqui. After hiking for a few hours through the lush landscape, trekkers will reach the location of the first night’s campsite in the small village of Upis. There are beautiful natural hot springs that look out at the Ausangate Peak, and the campsite is tucked in between snow covered mountains in the Ausangate Valley. 

View During the Ausangate TrekView during the Trek

The second day of the trek covers 15 km as the route leads through challenging trails to high passes that offer stunning panoramic views.  Early in the morning hikers will start out towards the first summit of Arapa pass which lays at 4958m above sea level before descending to Lake Pumacocha for lunch. In the afternoon the guide will explain the history of the locals and landscape while hiking uphill to the second peak of Puccacpcha pass that sits at 5000m before heading to the campsite. The campsite for the night in Anata is surrounded by majestic hanging glaciers that have beautiful mountainous views. 

On the third day of the Ausangate Trek, starting in Anata trekkers will hike at high elevations to see the geographical wonder of Rainbow Mountain. On this day, trekkers cross the highest point on the journey of Chillca pass, which is 5050m and experience views of the colorful desert landscape. The route leads adventurers to the multicolored Rainbow Mountain that earns its name for being covered in long stripes of red, yellow, and green. 

Rainbow MountainsRainbow Mountains

The fourth day of the adventure is more relaxed than others, and it is the perfect day for enjoying the sceneries of glacial tarns, lush green plains, and mountainous terrain while spotting wildlife such as condors and vicuñas.

The fifth day of hiking covers 16 km and showcases alpine glacial lakes, deep blue lagoons, and views of Ausangate mountain. The day of trekking ends in the small community of Pacchanta, which is located at the base of the Ausangate glacier and is known for its incredible hot springs. 

The final day of the Ausangate Trek begins in Pacchanta and leads back to the starting point of the trek in the small Andean village of Tinqui before transporting hikers to the city of Cusco. Depending on the tour operator hikers are able to choose to visit Machu Picchu with the group or independently. For both of these options, after spending a night in a hotel in Cusco adventures are able to visit the incredible ruins of the Inca Empire in Machu Picchu.

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