Santa Cruz Classic Trek
Hike the most popular trekking circuit in the Cordillera Blanca – Huascaran National Park. Our Santa Cruz Classic Trek is one of the most popular and famous circuits in the Cordillera Blanca and it can be done between three to four days. It heads up the spectacular Quebrada Huaripampa Valley through little villages, native Quenual forest, crosses the Punta Union Pass at 4750m, below stunning peaks of the Cordillera Blanca such as Taulliraju, Alpamayo, Santa Cruz and Artesonraju mountains and skirting turquoise glacial lakes.
The valleys are great places to observe native Andean alpine flora, especially the many wildflowers that bloom during the trekking season, including buttercups, ranunculus, lupines and several species of orchids. Many encrustations of deep-red bromeliads can be seen along the track, sprouting from boulders and on rock faces.
Fauna includes few llamas, mountain caracaras, falcons, Andean geese and ducks, hawks, hummingbirds, American kestrels, puna ibis, Andean swifts, Andean foxes and mountain vizcachas.
Length: 4 Days Walk
Distance: 50 Km
Maximum Altitude: 4750m
Season: April – October
Day By Day Itinerary
Day 1: Huaraz – Llanganuco Lakes – Portachuelo Pass – Vaqueria – Paria
You are picked up at your accommodation and begin the journey with a spectacular scenic drive along the Callejon de Huaylas Valley and then into the Huascaran National Park, past the turquoise Llanganuco Lakes and over Portachuelo de Llanganuco Pass 4785m and then down to Vaqueria (3700m) which is the starting point of the trek 4 hours drive. There are opportunities for photo stops along the way. From Vaqueria our equipment is loaded onto the donkeys and we have a 5 hours hike on a gradually rising path to our campsite in the Paria Valley 3890m. Today we will have the opportunity to see local shepherds and farmers working on the fields using traditional methods.
Day 2: Paria – Paso Punta Union Pass – Taullipampa
Today is a demanding day. We ascend gradually for about 4 hours and then we make a steep ascend for one hour to the pass Punta Union at 4750m. From the pass, we have very close views of the big mountains of the Cordillera Blanca such as Nevado Taulliraju, Pucajirca, Rinrijirca, Artesonraju and many others and fantastic views down into the Santa Cruz Valley. From the pass, we descend to our camp at Taullipampa 4250m. 7 to 8 hours walk.
Day 3: Taullipampa – Alpamayo Lookout – Llamacorral
Today we can do a side trip up to a viewpoint in the Quebrada Arhuaycocha valley, from where there are great views of Nevado Alpamayo, Quitaraju and Artesonraju mountains. We then have a long descend along the Santa Cruz valley passing a big lake to our last campsite at Llamacorral 3750m. 6 to 7 hours hike.
Day 4: Llamacorral – Cashapampa – Huaraz
We walk down Quebrada Santa Cruz Valley to the village of Cashapampa at 2900m and then drive back to Huaraz. 3 hours walk and 3 hours drive.
We highly recommend that you arrive in Huaraz at least 2 days before the trek departs and spend time doing day hikes to higher altitude, this will help with acclimatization to the new altitude. We can help organise day hikes for you.
Grading & Fitness
In order to get the most out of this trek you should be in good physical condition. It is not easy to grade the fitness level required for the treks, since it is a subjective matter. However, we have classified this trek as moderate. We trek approximately five to eight hours per day with long ascents and one long descent.
We encourage everyone to walk at their own pace, it is not a race and we want you to enjoy it. There is no pressure to keep up with the fastest walkers and there is always a guide at the rear of the group. On the trek all personal belongings other than a day-pack are carried for you.
Rodolfo and Huaraz Treks met and exceeded our expectations in all respects. His lifelong knowledge of the Cordillera Blanca enriched our trip beyond the trek itself, including identification of birds, animals, mountains, and the local villages. He also was helpful in suggesting other activities for our time in the Huaraz area. Bright, personable, excellent English, quick judge of our abilities and interests. Evan Metcalf, USA.
For more information and prices contact us.