The Ancascocha Trail to Machu Picchu is a breathtaking old Inca footpath located in the same area as the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, part of the Peruvian Andes. It is so far one of the best alternative treks to Machu Picchu. This stunning Ancascocha trail was listed by National Geographic as one of the 20 dream hikes, in the world’s best hikes list. The Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu is recommended for those who want to experience solitude and lesser traveled places, it goes around the small villages, hikers will be able to enjoy the country lifestyle of the Quechua’s, surrounded by spectacular views of tall mountains.
Hiking this astonishing Ancascocha trail we will also see the popular Ancascocha Lake (3,700 m/12,136 ft.). In some parts of the hike is possible to observe the old hidden Inca Trail from Inca times; we will walk across one of the highest passes on the trails to Machu picchu, the Huayanay Pass (4,550 m/ 14,925 ft.), from here is possible to see some of the tall peaks as the Apu Salkantay (20,000ft.). The Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu is a challeenge hike.
The Ancascocha Trail is not offered by many companies; Top Peru Trips has designed this alternative trek to Machu Picchu to be done in 4 days of hiking and Machu Picchu on the final day. But experienced people will be able to do it, in 3 days of hiking instead of 4. On the final part of Ancascocha trail we will hike on the beginning part of the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
In the morning at the scheduled time travelers will be picked up from the hotels in Cusco, we then drive through the Sacred Valley 1 hour and 40 minutes to arrive to the village of Soqma (3,205 m / 10,512 ft). Which is the beginning point of Ancascocha Trail to Machu Picchu, the muleteers will meet us at this village ready to assist us on this adventure trek.
We’ll leave Soqma and start walking uphill following the footpath trail of the locals, covering about 1 hour and a half of hiking we will stop at the waterfall of Perolniyoc, which is one of the highlights for Ancascocha trail. We will continue walking for another hour up-hill to reach the archaeological site of Perolniyoc, located above the waterfall, after having the explanation of the Inca history with the guide, we will pass Rayan community on the way to our lunch spot.
In the afternoon 2 hours of uphill will let us to reach the pass called Puka kassa(4,450 m /14,596 ft.), for the most of the hikers this will be the hardest section because the altitude but is the nicest day of Ancascocha trail, we will see many snow capped mountains around and the spectacular Sacred Valley. Once we reach the mountain top, it invites to sit down and admire the amazing panorama of the whole area. After we enjoy all the wonderful and scenic views it’s time to head to Chancachuco, 1 hour and a half of gentle hike will let us to arrive to our campsite.
The second day of Ancascocha trail starts after a delicious breakfast we will set off from the campsite of Chancachuco, as we make our way to Ancascocha village we’ll see some more snow capped peaks in front of us, Veronica Mountain (5,950 m/ 19,600 ft.) will be visible for many hours, after to walk along the grassy hills we will enter in the Valley of Ancascocha, where the village is located. We then go across the stream and hike uphill for another 2 hours to arrive to the beautiful Ancascocha Lake (4,090 m/13,100 ft.), which gave the name to the village and this spectacular trail, hiking 2 hours on an ancient Inca Trail will let us to arrive to the highest point of Ancascocha Trail to Machu Picchu which is called the Huayanay Pass (4,650 m/ 15,300 ft.)
The views along the way are very impressive. It is amazing how the Incas managed the difficult geography of this area to build the Inca Trail. After enjoying the magnificent views from the pass, we will hike down into the valley until we reach Incaraqay where our cook will be waiting for us with a delicious lunch, If we are lucky we will see the condors flying around Huayanay pass.
After lunch we will continue hiking for another 3 hours downhill until we reach the community of Qesqa. On the way down we will have beautiful views of Mt Huayanay and Salkantay in the distance, Qesqa community is located to the beginning of the forest, so the night there will not be too cold as the earlier campsite (3,650 m/11,910 ft.).
The day begins with a delicious breakfast. We will continue our Ancascocha trail trek descending through the valley for approx. 2 hours until we arrive to Paucarcancha, which is an extraordinary Inca fortress. You will learn the Incan history about this beautiful site and then have free time to explore on your own. After we visite Paucarcancha, we will start the final part of Ancascocha trail, hiking 4 hours until to reach Km 82, this last part of our hike is the beginning section of the Classic Inca trail to Machu picchu, along the way to km 82 we will visit the Inca ruin of Willcaraqay from where is possible to see Patallaqta another remarkable Inca ruin. At km 82, our chef will serve us a delicious lunch.
After lunch we will be picked up and transported to Ollantaytambo (2,792 m/9,158 ft.) from where we will catch the train to Aguas Calientes.
After breakfast we will board the bus which will take us to the biggest energetic center of the Incas, “Machu Picchu”. As part of our itinerary the same professional tour guide from the Ancascocha trail will teach you about all the history of this mysterious and mystical place. We will visit the Sun Temple, Royal palace, Main Temple, Three Windows Temple and Sun Dial. It will be an unforgettable experience. After the guided tour, you will have free time to explore on your own.
If you have booked Wayna picchu, you will need to coordinate with your guide for Machu Picchu visiting depending on your scheduled time to the mountain, for people not hiking any of the mountains there are some other optional activities on your own (not included in the price.)
Train back to Cusco: In the afternoon you will return to the train station in Aguas Calientes for the trip back to Ollantaytambo. Upon your arrival to train station you will be transferred by car to your hotel in Cusco.
Note: if you want to climb up to Wayna Picchu, we kindly suggest you to book it way in advance, because the spaces are limited for any additional information contact us.