Laguna Wilcacocha: A Backpacker’s Guide to Peru
Laguna Wilcacocha was the first hike we did in Huaraz on our second day in town. If you’re looking for a relatively easy hike to acclimatize to the elevation, Wilcacocha is one of the best day trips to start with as it’s close to the city, is at a lower elevation than most other treks in the area (about 3,600 m), and offers a stunning panoramic view of the Cordillera Blanca, the mountain range encircling Huaraz.
How to get to Wilcacocha
From our hostel, La Casa de Maruja (highly recommended), we took a white collectivo van labeled “E” and told the driver we were going to Wilcacocha. After about a 20 minute drive, we got dropped off at the start of the trail.
There are two paths that you can take up: one that turns sharply to the left and is much steeper, and a longer but flatter route if you continue straight. The trail is marked with blue signs. There were only a few places where we were unsure of the direction, but we just asked some construction workers and they pointed us the right way.
After about a two-hour climb past some abandoned-looking brick houses, we reached the top of the hill and Wilcacocha lake. The lake itself was nothing special, more like a pond with a few ducks, but the view from the top was astonishing. Nearly two dozen snow-capped peaks stretched in front of us like soldiers in a line. A few dogs came bounding up and we shared our crackers with them, enjoying their company as we sat relaxing and admiring the incredible scene.
After we reluctantly tore ourselves away from the striking view, the way down was easy and only took us about an hour. When we got back to the main road, we caught another collectivo back to the city center.
Worth it? This is a great hike for acclimatization, and the view for the relatively low effort is definitely worthwhile.
What to bring: water, a snack, hiking shoes, camera.
– Iris & Roi
Tell us about your day trip to Wilcacocha or let us know if you have any questions 🙂