Rainbow Mountain Day Hike

Cusco, Peru
5.0 (3 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Stunning Andes Scenery
  • Amazing Rainbow Mountain
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks
  • Glaciers, Peaks and Valleys
  • Pick Up at Your Hotel in Cusco
  • Award-winning Expert Guides


This iconic Peru hike is a must-do day trip if you’re in the Cusco area and have some extra time! Rainbow Mountain is a high alpine series of peaks and ridgelines with mesmerizing, “rainbow” colored soils that make for some of the most beautiful and other-worldly photography on Earth. The hike is not long (5.4 miles), but it is all above 15,000 feet so, while it is challenging for that reason, it is also one of the best day trips in Peru!

Your guide will meet you at your hotel in Cusco the evening before your hike to finalize details and ensure all your questions are answered. Our tour begins early the next morning with pick-up at your hotel in Cusco. We will drive 2 hours to Cusipata and stop for a delicious breakfast at a hand-picked restaurant (included.) After breakfast we have another 1 hour drive across the Peruvian landscape, past traditional villages and stunning views of the high Andes to our trailhead at Phulawasipata (15,149′).

Our hike begins along a meandering path with spectacular views of snow-capped peaks and herds of Alpacas and llamas. After 1.5-2 hours of hiking we come to Rainbow Mountain (16,466′.) No Photoshop or Instagram filters here! The stunning display of colorful landscapes, framed by glaciated mountains in the background make for breathtaking photography. We will take our time at the summit to take pictures, explore and soak up the beauty.

Then we’ll take a short, 20-minute hike into the Red Valley itself, a tranquil and beautiful hike amongst crimson rocks that leads us to another spectacular view of the valley.

When it is time to turn back, we hike downhill the way we came in. In a sense though this is almost a different hike, as we take in the views that were behind us on our ascent. The hike back will take around 60-90 minutes. We’ll shuttle back toward Cusco, stopping again in Cusipata for a delicious Peruvian lunch, and finishing up our drive, and our day after that.

You can also do this trip on horseback for an additional $40 (If you choose this option please have $40 cash on the day of the hike).

Please Note: the Rainbow Mountain Llama Trek includes Rainbow Mountain as part of the standard itinerary.

(Important: We run hikes in almost all weather conditions and very rarely cancel. See our terms and conditions for information on cancellations and refunds.)

Read more …
From USD
$280 Per Person
Trip Type: Day Hike Tour
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 2-12 Guests
Trip Length: 12-14 Hours
Distance: 5.4MI / 9KM


Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

The main consideration that makes this trip a Level 4 difficulty is the entire hike is above 15,000 feet, and top out at 16,466 feet, which makes the hiking quite strenuous.

Hiking Distances:

Up to 6 mi

Backpack Weight:

8-12 lbs


Lightly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

Up to 2,000 ft

Heights Exposure:



  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 8-12 lb backpack for 6-8 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on variable, uneven terrain
  • Hiking at a sustained elevation of 15,000+ feet
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.


  • 1 least solitude, 5 most solitude; We rate this Peru hike a solitude 2. You can expect to be around other hikers most of the time.

Travel to and from Cusco are the guest’s responsibility. Multiple airlines operate flights into Cusco, and nearly all connect through Lima. You can reach Lima from many U.S. and European international airports. Some of the primary U.S. departure cities include Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. The duration of nonstop flights to Lima is 5-9 hours. The duration of flights from Lima to Cusco is 80 minutes.

We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
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Trip Dates & Booking


This tour is booked on a custom basis for private groups so does not have set dates (requested dates are almost always available). Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to schedule your hike!

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • A commitment to make the tour as exciting, challenging, informative, and full as you’d like, and as is possible in a day
  • Breakfast, trail snacks and lunch (breakfast and lunch at hand-picked restaurants)
  • Roundtrip transportation from Cusco
  • Use of a top of the line, technical day pack
  • Use of trekking poles

What You'll Need to Bring

  • If you prefer to take the horse riding option, you’ll need to pay $40 USD directly to your guide
  • Lightweight hiking shoes or hiking boots
  • Waterproof rain jacket or poncho
  • Warm wool or fleece top (Spring, Fall, Winter)
  • Warm hat and gloves (Spring, Fall, Winter)
  • Water bottles or bladder (2 liters total capacity)
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Knee braces (if needed)
  • Sunscreen/Lip Balm
  • Camera
  • Guide and driver gratuities are optional and at the discretion of each customer. A suggested guideline is to reward outstanding service with a tip of 5-10% of the total trip cost. Local currency is preferred, or USD is also appreciated.

Food: What to Expect

Day hike tours include energizing trail snacks and a delicious, Peruvian breakfast and lunch at hand-picked restaurants enroute and on the way back from the trailhead.

  • Preferred Trail Snacks – Our team will have plenty of local snacks (chocolate, nuts, dried fruit & cookies) available for the group, but common trail snack brands and items found easily in the US are not readily available in this destination. (i.e. protein bars, trail bars, beef jerky, etc…) We recommend guests that prefer these types of trail snacks to bring a few of their own choice items from home.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

Where Do We Meet?

Your guide will meet you at your hotel in Cusco at 5:30 PM the evening before the hike to finalize the details and ensure all your questions are answered. Then we will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco at 4:00 AM the day of the hike.

The tour commonly ends between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM in Cusco.

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

In the interest of your safety, it’s important to refer to the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date recommendations on immunizations before your trip.


Our approach to international travel is to combine the best of two worlds: the dialed-in details, professionalism and consistency Wildland trips are known for; and the cultural immersion and intimate regional knowledge that only locals can provide. To excel with this approach, we vet and hire the best local guides, welcome them into the Wildland family and train them to meet our standard of excellence with every aspect of a trip. But along with managing logistics and safety, your guides will teach you about the area’s history and culture, and provide a level of familiarity and intimate detail only locals can.

Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join daily departures (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis

Weather in Peru

Peru is home to part of the Amazon Rainforest as well as the towering Andes Mountains. Machu Picchu is at an elevation of 7,710 feet (2,350 meters), but most of our treks in the region reach elevations well above 10,000 feet, some reaching nearly 17,000 feet. Because of the significant elevation changes and alpine hiking, the temperatures and weather can also vary widely. At elevations above 10,000 feet you can expect cold temperatures.

The average temperatures and precipitation in the Machu Picchu region are:

Month Hi Low Precip
March 70° F 45° F 11 days
April 72° F 40° F 8 days
May 70° F 36° F 3 days
June 70° F 34° F 2 days
July 70° F 30° F 2 days
August 70° F 34° F 2 days
September 72° F 40° F 7 days
October 72° F 43° F 8 days

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (3 reviews)
Olga C

Perfect addition to the Salkantay trek.

1 month ago

Wonderful one day trip, perfect addition to the Salkantay trek. Edgar Mora guided me through the hike, bringing me to the best vantage points. The views are amazing and going early allowed us a crowd-free hike.

Jim M

Excellent Trip!

3 years ago

I’ve never been higher than 14500 ft and was worried about 16500 ft for me and my wife. Not only did Jose get us to the top without any problems, we avoided the crowds and took a beautiful alternate route back to the trailhead. Excellent trip!

Theresa L.

Great Acclimatization Hike

5 years ago

The Inca Trail was my 3rd trip with Wildland so I have pretty high expectations and know what to expect based on past experience. The added Rainbow Mt hike really made the trip that much better - we got ourselves acclimated to the altitude and the upward hike so we could better enjoy Inca Trail.

See All Guest Reviews!

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