Rainbow Mountains!

Sitting at an elevation of over 16,000 ft., the rainbow mountains have recently been discovered after speculation that global warming caused melting of the snow and ice caps that once covered them.  They were given their name due to the presence of layers of different minerals creating a design much like a rainbow. Their unique colors, high altitude, and sense of “new and exciting” makes them a popular tourist destination in Peru.

First Look at Rainbow Mountains.

Since It’s no secret that we love hiking we knew that we wanted to include a trip to the rainbow mountains in our Peru itinerary, even after completing the inca trail and climbing Huyana Picchu! When we were booking our trip, Vic recommended going to “the back” of the mountain as it is less crowded and less of an intense hike.  Although we didn’t really know what this meant, we went with her recommendation and we are so glad that we did as we felt that we basically had this whole area to ourselves!

A very colorful day trip from Cusco!

Had the Whole Place to Ourselves!

We knew that this day was going to be special because we had heard so much about Yohn and his truck and we finally got to meet him AND take a long road trip in the truck! Our morning started early in the morning and after a pit stop along the side of the road for bread bigger than our heads, we hit the road. This was going to be the longest day of driving and the highest elevation we would be at on the trip. We typically sleep on long road trips, but Elise played good music, passed around skittles and energy chews and all of the conversations we were having with Yohn about mountain biking, meeting Vic, ibuprofen, etc. kept us awake the entire time!

Snack Time!

Road to the Rainbow Mountains.

Can’t Miss the Color!

Yohn knew better than to take us to the same Rainbow Mountain everyone else from Cusco goes to. He knew of a bit closer and way less populated Rainbow Mountain which was perfect for us! Once we reached the mountains, the road to the entrance was a long dirt windy road. Now we knew why we had to take the truck. Lots of off roading, luckily Yohn knew the way cause these roads weren’t marked. After reaching the check in point, we parked the truck and got out for a short hike. We were surprised at how challenging it was to move at 16,000 ft., but we didn’t mind stopping to take in the views. Much cooler up here than we were expecting and more labored breathing than even at Dead Women’s pass after a week and a half of exercising we still felt out of shape.

Parked Amongst the Rainbow Mountains.

Happy to Stretch Our Legs After a Long Car Ride.

Not a Bad Place for a Walk.

Loved all the llamas around everywhere. It was also fun to see the owners hanging out watching their herd. We’ll never get tired of seeing Llamas, the official animal of Peru! The scenery here is spectacular. Some mountains are deep red which was a nice contrast to the green grass. Mountains everywhere you look and even in the distance you can see snow. Also, this particular park had the Stone Forest up on one of the mountain peaks.

What a Great Place to be a Llama!

Hi Buddy!

What a View!

Cutest Ball of Fluff!

The Gateway to the Inca Trail, Ollantaytambo, You can read all about that here.

Stream Through the Ollantaytambo Ruins.

After a short hike that felt long and was more of a walk than a hike we reach a very close up section of rainbow mountain. We took some pictures and just really enjoyed being here.

To the Rainbow Mountain!

Make a Rainbow!

Smile Chicas!

Thanks for Bringing Us Yohn! (and thanks for the candy)

Although we were tired, Yohn mentioned that there was a peak in the vicinity that we could traverse to take in even more views.  Ashley and Elise chose to stay lower, and catch up while Yohn and Jess headed up to the top. After reaching the peak, Jess felt like she was on top of the world! Yohn and Jess were the only two people up there and it just felt so surreal. He had a tool to measure elevation and we found the peak to be at 16,270 ft.

Higher Up to the Stone Forest Jess and Yohn Go!

View from the Top!

Jess Taking In the View!

Stone Forest Up Close!

After Jess and Yohn made there way back down we all headed back to the truck to head back to Cusco. Lots of children walking home from school which is always nice to see how excited they are to wave. Poor Yohn was hoping we would sleep at this point but we were way too excited. On the way home we stopped to have a delicious box lunch, homemade and extra yum!

Rainbow Mountains on the Way Back to the Car.

Happy Child!

Amazing Boxed Lunch!

Because it was our last night in Cusco before heading off the the Amazon we invited Yohn and Victoria to dinner to share about our trip and how amazing they were at setting everything up for us. Seriously, if you’re going to Peru look up Crossing Andes, you will not regret it! We had the best dinner and cocktails at Morena Peruvian Kitchen. Everything was fabulous, food, drinks, friends! A great way to end the most amazing trip before heading off to the Amazon.

Great End to a Great Day!

Peruvian Trout!

Picarones – Fried doughnuts made with Peruvian sweet potato and pumpkin. Topped with a spiced cane sugar syrup and served with vanilla bean ice cream.

Cacao – Artisanal Peruvian chocolate and almond ice cream served with a warm brownie and topped with crushed caramelized peanuts.

Note: As soon as we started hiking we realized why Vic recommended the back of the mountain. There were very few other people around which is our favorite way to hike! Prior to this we read blogs about how crowded the rainbow mountains are.  We did not have this issue on the back side of the mountain. Also, some people that we met in the Skylodge mentioned that they hiked the whole mountain and found it to be very challenging and reported that they ended up paying someone to ride donkeys to the top. It was also nice because we could drive up most of the mountain so that we could enjoy our hike to the top! 

Backside of the Rainbow Mountains.

So Much Color!

More Peruvian Fun Below:

Peru Country Guide

Peru in 24 Frames

Beginning Altitude Acclimation at Saqsaywaman

Exploring the Colors and Cultures of Cusco

Feeding Alpacas near Cusco at Awana Kancha

Reverse Hike in Pisac

Mountain Biking Through the Peruvian Countryside

Micro Climates of Moray

Salt Mines of the Sacred Valley

So you want to hike for 4 days straight? Inca trail Days 1 and 2 baby!

Keep Hiking On! Inca Trail Days 3 and 4!

Visiting One of the New Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu!

Don’t Stop, Keep Hiking Higher – Huayna Picchu

A Night Under the Stars at the Skylodge

The Gateway to the Inca Trail – Ollantaytambo

A Child’s Dream, a Trip to Monkey Island – Peruvian Amazon

Peruvian Amazon, a “Relaxing” End to a Great Trip

Land and Water, Tambopata and Lago Sandoval – Peruvian Amazon


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