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6-7 DAYS

Santa Cruz – Ulta


Duration 6-7 Days
Difficulty Moderate to Hard
Range of Altitude 2,900m to 4,850m / 9,514ft to 15,912ft
Distance Covered Approximately 60km

The Santa Cruz – Ulta trek is an extension of the classic 4D3N Santa Cruz trek (see here), which has been touted as one of the “holy grails of trails across the world” by the National Geographic and widely regarded as one of the most famous trekking routes in the Cordillera Blanca.

During the additional two days, we will take you further south from the original Santa Cruz trek. You will camp high in the mountains at 4,600m/15,092ft, and ascend to an even higher pass (Yanayacu pass at 4,850m/15,912ft), bringing you up close to the imposing peaks of Mount Chopicalqui (6,354m/20,846ft) and the almighty Mount Huascaran (6,768m/22,205ft).

This extended Santa Cruz trek affords you more time revelling in the beauty of the magnificent landscape of the Cordillera Blanca, including stunning views of glaciers, lagoons and the Andean flora and fauna.

You may opt to extend the trek by another day (to 7D6N) at Taullipampa. On this additional day you may choose to hike to Alpamayo base camp (4,300m/14,108ft) or Lake Arhuaycocha (4,330m/14,206ft), climb Centillo Peak (5,000m/16,404ft) or simply unwind and take it all in at the beautiful Taullipampa campsite.


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  • Our day begins with an approximately three hour drive from Huaraz, passing by the towns of Carhuaz, Yungay and Caraz to Cashapampa, the starting point of the trek

  • We hike for approximately four to five hours, through the Santa Cruz valley to Llamacorral, our first campsite
  • During the trek, we will pass by the remains of Ichiccocha lake as well as the beautiful Jatuncocha lake and observe the towering peaks of Mount Quitaraju (6,040m/19,816ft), Mount Rinrijirca (5,810m/19,062ft), Mount Taullirahu (5,830m/19,127ft) and the famous Mount Alpamayo (5,947m/19,511ft), known to be the “most beautiful” mountain in the world

  • We also have the option of visiting Mount Alpamayo base camp (4,300m/14,108ft) and Lake Arhuaycocha, if time permits

  • Camp at Taullipampa, which is the perfect vantage point for breathtaking views of Mount Taulliraju (5,830m/19,127ft) and Mount Artesonraju (6,025m/19,767ft)

  • Total hiking time is approximately six to seven hours
  • We start the day with a gradual ascent to Punta Union pass (4,750m/15,584ft), the second highest point of the trek. At the summit, we can observe incredible, uninterrupted views of the majestic Mount Taulliraju (5,830m/19,127ft), Mount Rinrijirca (5,810m/19,062ft) and Mount Paria (5,600m/18,373ft)

  • We then descend along a rocky path through Huaripampa valley to Paria, our campsite for the day

  • Total hiking time is approximately six to seven hours
  • We continue trekking through Huaripampa valley, passing by the villages of Huaripampa and Colcabamba, where you will have the opportunity to interact with the locals

  • We make a slight ascent from Colcabamba village through Queshu valley to Molinopampa, where we set up camp by a stream for the night

  • Total hiking time is approximately six to seven hours
  • Today involves a short but challenging hike with an altitude gain of 1,000m/3,281ft as we make our way through Ichic Ulta valley to Avalancha camp, located on flat terrain high in the mountains

  • Total hiking time is approximately four to five hours

  • Avalancha camp has been named as such as hikers may observe live avalanches taking place from Mount Contrahierbas (5,960m/19,554ft) crashing into the glacial lake below

  • We can spend the afternoon unwinding and recharging at the campsite
  • We hike for approximately two hours to the long and narrow Yanayacu pass (4,850m/15,912ft), which is the highest point of the trek

  • At the pass, you will enjoy panoramic sights of Mount Chopicalqui (6,354m/20,846ft) and the almighty Mount Huascaran (6,768m/22,205ft)

  • From here, we make our way down for approximately three hours to Ulta valley whilst observing the majestic Mount Ulta (5,300m/17,388ft) in the distance. Our private transport awaits in Ulta valley for our return to Huaraz


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