The granaries are perched on the mountain opposite of the pyramid. The first thing that struck me gazing up and the granaries is that it is hard to imagine someone looking up at the mountain and picking that spot as the place to store grain, but I’m sure it never was stolen and the winds kept it nice and dry. This free hike is great for thrill seekers who want to be right out on the cliff edge. You get panoramic views of the town and pyramid, while traversing steep narrow trails to several ruins. If you have the stomach for it this is a very rewarding hike.
This trail is nowhere near as gentle or well-maintained as the pyramid, but a lot of fun. It snakes along the cliffs right above the village and there was a wonderfully refreshing wind, although the gusts can be a little unnerving on the especially narrow parts. If you are there during a festival these narrow sections can be made especially unpredictable due to the sporadic fireworks booming from the town below. Not a good thing to jump when you are already on the edge. This clip below should help you gage whether this hike is for you.
Finding the Trailhead
The trail starts through a gate on Lares Calle, across from Kamma Guest House. The hours are 7:00AM-4:30PM, but, like many things in Peru, someone has to physically show up with a key to open the gate, and the opening time may be more of a suggestion for when that may happen than a set time. The gate on the right is the trailhead:
When to go
This is a perfect hike any time of day and, since it is free, if you want, you can always go back for that perfect photo. The only time I would advise not going is when it has or may soon rain. In addition to the danger of slipping, there is plenty of evidence of recent land slides, which are often caused by rain. You can really spend as much or little time here as you want depending on how much you want to explore, but I think you need at least an hour to see it properly.
Better lighting on the pyramid
Could be a little crisp with the brisk winds
Less people (although it was far from crowded in the afternoon)
Trail is shaded by the mountain
Dramatic lighting on the granaries
See the sun setting over the pyramid
Enjoy the refreshing winds on a warm day
The full sun can be a little intense, use sunscreen
The trail does show up on Google maps, but is not terribly accurate. But don’t worry, the trails are very apparent and the mountain is bare of most vegetation, so you can explore wherever you want without getting lost. Instead of one trail there are actually several zigzagging across the mountain face. When you start up the stairs from the gate there is a split with best preserved ruins to the left, and some others to the right with a peek around the mountain.
Watch your step, this trail has lots of loose stone and steep drops. There are several steps like this that are damaged and will move under an unsuspecting foot.
The ruins to the left are in great shape and make for some incredible photos. If you keep going to the left of the ruins there are more trails going up the mountain and many more fragments of ruins, one taped off on the other side of a rock slide. If hiking up here takes your breath away, imagine doing it with a load of grain…
The ruins to the right are easier to get to, but less impressive. These ruins also have more trails up above them. If you go up a bit farther you can peek into the valley on the other side of the mountain.
See the article on Ollantaytambo for more information on the town, things to do, and how to get there.
Check out our full Peru Trip Itinerary.
Explore the city and food of Historic Cusco