How to Hike to Laguna 69

by | Sep 25, 2017

If you want to hike to Laguna 69 in Peru, the city of Huaraz is the perfect jumping off point. Huaraz is an eight hour bus ride north of Lima. Busses cost around $10 to $30 each way, making Huaraz an easily accessible city on your travels through Peru. The city is small, with only about 100,000 people, but authentic. I’m living here for a month, and it doesn’t even have a full sized grocery store because everyone still shops at the giant market in the middle of town!

There are many reasons to visit Huaraz, like the stunning mountain views from the city and the 4 day Santa Cruz trek: one of National Geographic’s World’s Best Hikes. If you don’t have the time for the Santa Cruz trek but still want to see the beauty of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, then a hike to Laguna 69 is the perfect day trip. Read about it below!

 

 

Book a Tour

Booking a tour to hike to Laguna 69 is easy. Multiple busses leave from Huaraz every day, and there were at least 100 people or more making the climb with us. The tours cost $10 but they don’t include a lot. Pretty much it is just the price for transportation out to the trailhead and back. Breakfast and lunch are not included, and the guide was more there only to keep an eye on things. She didn’t keep us together as a group or stop to give us any information on the trail.

The trail is very easy to hike on your own, but paying for easy transport with a tour is definitely worth saving yourself the hassle of getting out there by yourself. The day started with a 5:30 am pick up and a two hour drive out to Yungay. We stopped for breakfast at a restaurant here, then drove another 20 minutes to the park.

Enter the Park

The entrance to hike to Laguna 69 is in the Huascaran National Park. You can either pay $3 for a day pass into the park when you arrive at the gate, or you can pay $8 for a three week pass. If you want to camp in the park this pass will be necessary, and if you plan to do the Santa Cruz Trek later (which is in the same park) it’s better to save money and purchase the three week pass now.

Once we entered the park, we stopped at the first lake in the series of three we were going to see that day. The first two lakes are next to each other. The Llanganuco lakes are an absolutely stunning turquoise color. We stopped for 10 minutes to take pictures, then drove another 20 minutes to the trail head.

 

 

Hike to Laguna 69

The hike to Laguna 69 takes almost three hours exactly. The lake lies at an altitude of 14,700 ft, and the trek is about 5 miles roundtrip. It’s moderately difficult due to the two hours of uphill climbing and the affects of high altitude.

 

 

We started to the hike at 9am with a one hour walk through a beautiful, flat, green valley, enjoying the sound of the rushing river and views of multiple small waterfalls. Next, the trail began to go up. We climbed for about an hour, and when we reached the top of the mountainside, I thought for sure we had reached the lake. Nope. Just another grassy field with a large climb ahead of it. We walked by rivers and past rock walls, glaciers, and stunning white capped peaks, then began the second climb of the day. This one was 45 minutes, and the toughest part of the hike.

 

 

Finally, we reached the top and the trail flattened out and opened up to a stunning view of Laguna 69. Wow. The pale blue water, giant mountains, and shining sun made for a view I will never forget. We snapped a few pictures, then sat down on the rocks by the river for a picnic. Make sure you pack a lunch, because we were far from any vendors and starving from the climb. We spent over an hour at the lake laying in the sun, and I even fell asleep on the rocks for a few minutes. It was just that relaxing. Finally, the guides began to round up the groups to begin the descent.

 

 

Back to the Bus

We walked back down the same trail we used to hike to Laguna 69, and it took two hours to descend. The cloudy morning had cleared up, and we got views of glaciers and many different snow topped mountain peaks along the way. So beautiful! Finally, we arrived back to the clearing where we began our hike. The groups spread out a lot during the descent, so we had 20 minutes to just relax in the sun by the flowing streams before everyone arrived and we boarded the bus back home. The bus left around 4pm and we arrive back in Huaraz at 7pm. It was a quick and easy trek, but also one of the most beautiful I have ever done! If you are coming to Peru, don’t miss a visit to stunning Huaraz and the hike to Laguna 69!

 

 

I’ve spent over 3 months in Peru, and the hike to Laguna 69 is one of my favorite treks so far. It’s just unreal with the amazing pale blue colors and the stunning mountain backdrop, and definitely shouldn’t be missed!

All my love,

Di

 

 

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