Lush tropical jungles, fresh mountain air, and breathtaking vistas—these are just some of the many things you can see and experience on a Peru hiking trip. Whether you’re a solo hiker that wants an off-the-beaten-path adventure or a family looking for an incredible shared experience, you’ll be happy to know that Peru has more hiking trails and walking adventures than you can shake a walking stick at. Take your pick from any of the seven on this list.
- Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Let’s face it, if you’re going to Peru, Machu Picchu is most likely on your itinerary. The Inca Trail is arguably the most famous trek to the Incan ruins, taking you on a 42-kilometre hike that takes four days to complete. However, the hike itself is moderately easy, which explains its popularity with tourists. Tickets have to be booked well in advance, so be sure to get your spots as early as possible.
- Rainbow Mountain Trek – Just a two-hour drive away from Cusco is Vinicunca, or more commonly known as Rainbow Mountain. This captivating landscape along the Cordillera Vilcanota is famous for its painted hills of different colours (hence the name), the result of weathering and minerals.
While Rainbow Mountain is one of the many attractions for hikers on trails surrounding the Apu Ausangate, you can also hike it on a day trip from Cusco.
- Ausangate Trek – This monster of a hike takes you on a seven-day high-altitude trek beneath the snow-covered mountain of Apu Ausangate, one of the most sacred mountains in the vicinity of Cusco. Instead of ancient ruins, this Peruvian trek is all about lush valleys with grazing alpacas, stunning landscapes (Rainbow Mountain is one of them), waterfalls, and camping under the stars.
- Choquequirao Trek – If you’d rather avoid the crowds of Machu Picchu, consider taking the five-day trek to Choquequirao, another Incan ruin that straddles a ridge 3,050 metres above sea level. Despite being called “Machu Picchu’s little sister,” this ancient citadel is no less grand, being one of the last refuges of the Inca. But be warned—the 60-kilometre Choquequirao trek is considered to be challenging and technical. But if you’re up for the challenge, the views at the end are well worth it.
- Santa Cruz Trek – This trek in Huascaran National Park near the city of Huaraz is widely considered as one of Peru’s most beautiful mountain treks.
For starters, you have the photogenic snow-covered peaks (called nevados) of Cordillera Blanca as the backdrop of your hike. Then you have valleys and fields inhabited by Andean wildlife, such as the Andean spectacled bear. Finally, you have glacial lakes such as Laguna 69, whose sparkling waters are fed by a waterfall from Chacraraju during the thaw season.
- Huayhuash Circuit Trek – Often referred to as one of the best alpine treks in the world, the Cordillera Huayhuash circuit trek is a goal of many outdoor enthusiasts, who dream of the route’s towering mountain peaks, pristine glacial lakes, and intimate encounters with Andean communities.
This trek takes hikers on a nine-day journey around a 115-kilometre circular route that ranks among the most challenging hikes in all of the Americas.
- Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – If you’re looking for a less-crowded approach to Machu Picchu, consider taking the Salkantay Trek, which traverses an ancient footpath through cloud forests and a 4460-metre ridge. All the while, stunning views of the trail’s namesake of Salkantay accompany you as you embark on your journey.