Lake 69 and Santa Cruz Trek
Timing: 4 or 5 days trekking
Grade: Moderate to Hard
Combine a trek of the famous Santa Cruz Circuit with a hike up to the pristine high alpine lake of Laguna 69. The trek offers some of the most amazing mountain scenery in the Cordillera Blanca – with spectacular views of the beautiful Laguna 69, snow-covered mountains, vertical rock walls, turquoise lakes and the challenging Punta Union pass (4750m), along with the opportunity to meet local villagers and see their traditional farming methods – all condensed into a relatively short trek or 4 or 5 days
Day 1: Drive 2.5 hours from Huaraz to Llanganuco Lakes. Then hike climbing up a zig zag trail for around 2 hours 40 minutes to beautiful Laguna 69 (4500m). Return back the same way and camp at Yurakcoral Campsite at the head of Llanganuco Lakes. Approx 6 hours hike up and back
Day 2: Drive over Portachuelo de Llanganuco road pass (4767m) to Vaqueria (3600m) where we start hiking on the Santa Cruz Trail. A relaxed gentle hike up the Huaripampa Valley to our secluded campsite in the Paria valley (3900m). 4 hours hike
Day 3: A hard climb of around 3 hours up to the pass Punta Union (4750m) from where there are spectacular close views of the surrounding Cordillera Blanca mountains. A pleasant descent down to our campsite at Taullipampa (4254m) 6 to 7 hours
4 DAY TREK:
Day 4: A long day. We take a detour to a viewpoint in the Quebrada Arhuacocha from where we have a sensational close up view of Alpamayo & Quitaraju mountains, before taking a long descent down the Santa Cruz Valley to the trail end at the village of Cashapampa. 8 to 9 hours hiking. Our private vehicle will be waiting in Cashapampa to take us back to Huaraz
5 DAY TREK – We split the long final day (4 day trek) into two easier days.
Day 4: We hike all the way up to Alpamayo Base Camp from where climbers start their ascent of Alpamayo. Often we can see climbers going up or descending down from Alpamayo to Base Camp. Take a short 30 minute hike up to Lake Arhuaycocha before descending back down valley to camp at Llamacorral (3750m). 6 to 7 hours
Day 5: An easy down valley hike on a good trail, following the fast flowing Santa Cruz river to the village of Cashapampa where our private vehicle will be waiting to take us back to Huaraz. 4 to 5 hours hike
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