Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) is a 6.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Pitumarca, Cusco, Peru that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length6.2 miElevation gain1,627 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingViews
Description
Waypoints (3)
Facilities
Getting There

Rainbow Mountain is an interesting mountain but somewhat underwhelming after a difficult hike at 16,000 feet. The valley is dripping in purples and greens, rust reds and Caribbean aquas, as if a painter has carelessly tossed all his brushes aside over the ragged peaks thrusting themselves diagonally through the grassy floor. Sheep and the occasional horse dot the landscape, grazing, seemingly oblivious to the beauty surrounding them. You’re rewarded to glimpses of the snow-blanketed Ausangate Mountain, and clouds spilling into the valley on the far side of Vinicunca. This hike is not steep and would not be difficult save for the altitude. It gets cold and windy; dress appropriately. Entrance is 10 soles and you can also hire a horse to ride up. You can find day tours that leave by bus from Cusco, but also can drive yourselves. There is also a 3-day trek in this area.

There are a few porta potties

Day tours are available by bus from Cusco. You can follow the fork and go left to the parking lot, or stay right to go to a second trailhead that will add 3.7 miles roundtrip. The start, if you decide to stay right, is a slight widening of the road where you can park and a few small toilet stalls. It's easy to miss.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (82)
Photos (49)
Recordings (40)
Completed (266)
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Ashley Côté
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020

Went here Jan 2020 - MUST SEE. So breath taking in person, bring extra layers just in case it's cold (it lightly snowed while I was there) and make sure to have gotten used to the elevation for a day or two prior to going!

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Olivia Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingMuddy

Hardest hike I’ve ever done in my life. It started to snow and hailed at the summit but it was spring. Because of this, we sadly could barely view the mountains colors. The altitude was definitely hard if you are not used to it and was very muddy since it had rained the day before. Overall not my favorite experience of Cusco but probably better for someone more experienced.

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Elizabeth Jean
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 27, 2020
Hiking

I hiked this in March. Was a hard hike because of how high the altitude was . The majority of the hike wasn’t as steep until you get to the bottom of the summit and that’s where it becomes challenging. But worth it.

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Amy Sanchez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 26, 2020
HikingNo shade

Awesome trail with amazing views. I was not in the best condition during this hike and managed to get to the top without paying the 60 soles for a horse ride. Although the elevation makes it difficult, you will be rewarded with beautiful views and a sense of accomplishment when you reach the top!

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Alina Dor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 27, 2020
HikingRocky

It was one of the hardest hike that I did in my life because of the elevation but so beautiful. I was there two years ago. Must go!

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Fredy Gonzales
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 20, 2020
Hiking

Simply amazing! I enjoyed my hike to the Rainbow Mountains with Minka Peru Expedition. It was a dream come true. The staff were very accommodating and friendly. https://www.minka-peru.com/rainbow-mountain-trek-cusco

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Kira Wissman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 6, 2020
HikingFeeNo shadeSnow

This was an awesome hike. If it weren’t for starting at about 14,200 feet and ending at 16,500 feet this hike would not be hard. It was foggy the day we went so we missed out on some of the spectacular scenery; however it was still worth it!! It starts with a small hill, flattens out for awhile, then there’s a steep section, the. A short flat part, then a really steep part at the end that is very hard. The fog cleared some and we did got some good shots of the mountain!!

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Giang Dinh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 2, 2020
HikingIcyMuddySnow

This hike is very difficult for those who have no experience with altitude. Many people ended up riding the horse for 60 soles, one way. The horses drop you off at the base of the rainbow mountain. From there you will hike a very steep hill. Don’t skimp out of the higher hill, it’s a view to see the red valley. The air was so cold and dry, you won’t be able to feel your throat for two days. All the suffering was worth the view.

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Zachary Gulka
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 7, 2019
Hiking

Great trek! I would highly suggest pushing forward another 2km to Valle Rojo (the Red Valley), it was even more stunning! Adjusting to the altitude a day or two in Cusco is important before attempting this hike as you hit a high altitude of 5200m. Chew coca leaves on the way up and down. Otherwise, conditions were good. Altitude didn’t bother me much. Poles are unnecessary, unless you have bad joints/knees. Really not that bad or rocky. No scrambling. Just a fairly consistent incline. The last little bit gets challenging, but you can make it!

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Nathan T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 5, 2019
Hiking

What a fun hike! Most of the trail is pretty flat (though scenic!) until the last quarter mile or so, then it slopes up abruptly. Be mindful of the elevation since forgetting to wear sunscreen or protective clothing could result in serious sunburn. Also, the temp at the top of mountain is probably 10-15 degrees cooler than the base so dress accordingly.

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Raul Jose Madrid Zepeda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2019
Hiking

'short' hike being only 4 Km however being 17000 ft above sea level makes it extremely difficult... the views and the experience are totally worth it at the end

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Heidi Hurst
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2019
Hiking

Such an incredibly beautiful place! The altitude is no joke - but after spending a week doing the Salkantay Trek, it was more manageable. Other people seemed to be having a more difficult time with less aclimitatization. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit the Red Valley, but suggest you check it out if you have the time and think it would have been a really nice addition to the hike.

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Al Odesskiy
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Hiking

Elevation made this hike intense

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Patricia Aubuchob
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 1, 2019
Hiking

This was the hardest hike of my life just from the elevation. I took diamox to help but I actually had my body start to reject my blood as an adverse side effect. Anyways, maybe don’t take the pills and just climate naturally. Go slow, zig zag at the final stretch where the elevation change is the highest.

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Hark Sran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2019
Hiking

The trail itself isn't hard, but the altitude will make it difficult. Found myself stopping to get some air many times. The last part up is insane, but so worth it. Bring your passport so they can stamp it for you. The Red valley is 100% worth it, and if you have time you should totally do it! Breathtaking views at the top! It was packed and I went in the morning. Took around 75 minutes to reach the summit.

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Jeny Mosher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 27, 2019
Hiking

Amazing hike , worth it !! Not for the faint of heart It is the hardest hike I ever done because of the altitude, other than that very open and well marked trail , lots of people

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Dani Terese
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2019
Hiking

Quick & easy except for the elevation. The end is very steep but very doable for most hikers. Highly suggest taking the Red Valley route back, instead of just the basic trail that everyone else takes.

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Ryan Longworth
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Hiking

More of a walk but altitude made it more difficult. Great views

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Emilia cotto
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HikingMuddyNo shadeSnow
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Gino Loggia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2019
Hiking

Trail is not difficult. The main issue is the altitude. Make sure to attack the trail after a couple of days of your arrival. This will allow you to acclimatize yourself. Views are simply stunning. The reward once you get to the top are incredible. Plenty of llamas and alpacas to view

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Shep Johnston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 15, 2019
Hiking

A nice gradual hike (3hr usually return) uphill until final ascent which is steep. Main challenge here is altitude but just plod along and keep your breath and you will be fine. If you have the means I’d highly recommend timing your arrival for about noon or slightly after. We arranged a private transfer (US40 ea) rather than the typical tour buses (S50-60 ea) which meant we arrived as everyone else (1000+ people a day) was finishing and had the hike and mountain to ourselves. We loved it. But take warm jacket, beanie and gloves as it can be windy on the lookout point! Entrance is S10 each.

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Jeff Salin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 15, 2019
Hiking

Great up and back. Steep hike at the end but worth it. Horses won’t take you up the steepest part of the trail. Slow and steady and the altitude want too bad. Must do hike if in Cusco. Make sure you take the trail to see the red valley as well.

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Priscilla Barnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 6, 2019
Hiking

The views on this hike were unbelievable. The only difficultly we experienced was with the altitude. I’d recommend getting a Diamox prescription to not risk getting sick. The last thing one would want to experience while on vacation is a sickness.

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Jodi Richardson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 2, 2019
Hiking

Recommend starting your trek in the early morning to get the best views with the least people. The altitude is tough, but the very last stretch of steep uphill is the worst part, however you are then rewarded with a breathtaking view. Cold at the top - wear lots of layers!

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