The range has become noted for trekking in the form of the Huayhuash Circuit which is considered quite a challenge and is undoubtedly far more demanding than the famous Inca Trail in the south of Peru. Fewer people trek the Cordillera Huayhuash than the nearby Cordillera Blanca. The circuit generally takes between ten and fourteen days, depending on the route taken.
Mitucocha camp and Jirishanca 6094 m
Most of the walking and most of the campsites are above the 4,000 m tree line, so the landscape appears rugged and mountainous, affording views over very wide areas. The area is noted for its spectacular glacial lakes. Hot springs can also be found in the area, at the Viconga Campsite precisely. Condors, llamas, alpacas and viscachas can be seen.
Trekking is almost always undertaken in the dry winter months of May to September, and the cities Huaraz and Caraz over 100 & 167 km away are the usual choice for organizing and hiring camping a/o logistical support. Chiquián was the “Gateway to the Huayhuash” for a long time, but nowadays, daily buses (locally called colectivos) go deep into the mountains to the village Llamaq (3,300 m) and with private transport, as far as Cuartelwain camp, reached both by road built in the late 90s and 2000s, becoming now the new trail heads for starting/ending.
More challenging yet is the Alpine Circuit, which encircles the peaks at closer proximity. The Alpine Circuit involves some rock climbing and glacier travel, and takes 8–10 days to complete. There are several lakes like Solteracoha (or Solterococha), Siula, Jahuacocha, Carhuacocha and Sarapococha.
Highlights & Trek Facts
- The mini-huayhuash circuit trek is centred around the incredible Jahuacocha Lake area; considered one of the most scenic places in alpine trekking, to trek and camp out.
- SEASON: April to November.
- DISTANCE: 42 Km.
- ALTITUDE: 3300 – 4760 meters above sea level.
- RATING: Moderate
- WEATHER: Warm to hot in the daytime / temperate cold at nights.
- TREKKING TIME: 5 to 8 hours a day.
3 – 4 Days: The shortened 4 day Mini-Huayhuash trek allows you to experience an abbreviated version of the longer trek; while not compromising on the stunning views.