Last Updated on April 19, 2020
Cycling the Huascaran Circuit in Peru: Huascaran is the highest peak among the several above 6000m peaks and the rest of the mountains in the range of Cordillera Blanca. It is the fourth highest mountain in the Western hemisphere and South America. Its approximate height is 6768m or 22205ft, and the designated World Heritage Site Huascaran National Park surrounds this gargantuan, snow-capped mountains of Peru.
Huascaran is an incredible location for adventurous activities and is one of the top favorites of hikers, trekkers, mountaineers, and bicycle riders. The road, route, circuit, and trails are paved, marked, and arranged in such a way that it automatically becomes adventure friendly, especially for cyclists. If you are planning a cycling trip to the Andes, then the Huascaran circuit must be your top priority of exploring.
The circuit is a 180 miles bike route. Around the circuit, the cyclist will be able to view and explore some of the astonishing landscapes, experience wondrous terrains, and get a never seen sight of beauty. Getting a view of snow-capped peaks is very common here. Other than the Nevado Huascaran, you can get a good glimpse of ice-clad Ulta, Contrahierbas, and Chopicalqui as well, riding your two-wheeler.
The circuit has three mountain passes, and among the three, two are not paved, and only one is paved. So, it is not at all an easy route. The altitude might affect your body and cause altitude sickness. Also, the long ascents are tough to complete and will tire you fast. You will have to be physically fit to survive all the struggles. Before starting the journey, if possible, stay a day or two in Huaraz to get used to the environment. However, the level of difficulty is not high enough to skip cycling on the route.
The best part of cycling in this circuit is that it allows you to come close to the ice-coated peaks. There are very few roads which will enable you to get a view of such pristine beauty from this close, instead of reaching that far might be almost prohibited.
You can ride your cycle at any corner, and the things you will see in front of your eyes will still mesmerize you to an indescribable extent. The circuit is not over-crowded, so it gives you ample scope to live in the moment and enjoy to the fullest. It is best explored by cycling counterclockwise as ascending becomes easier.
Your journey to the Huascaran circuit will start from Huaraz. As we have already mentioned, counter-clock exploration of the loop will make your riding more convenient and comfortable. You will first climb the Punta Olimpica. It is the only paved path among the three passes, so the journey will be easier and eventually get tougher. From there, you will encounter several snowy peaks.
While continuing the ride, you are then going to drive on an unpaved road and reach the hand-carved pass. To arrive on the magnificent Portachuelo de Llanganuco, you will now have to pass the town of Chacos and climb back to the Cordillera Blanca.
The road from here is as usual unpaved and, to some extent, in horrible condition. If you can reach the end, that is when you will be able to see the beautiful Llanganuco valley and in between experience the beauty of several ice-clad peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.
Best Time to Visit
Hiking, trekking, mountaineering, cycling, name any adventurous activity, and they are best done in the dry season. To avoid the risks of accidental slippage and falls and muddy conditions, cycling in the rainy season is best avoided. So, to explore the Huascaran circuit, June to September is the best time.
Round the season, the weather is moderate, and the sky remains clear most of the time. You will need at least five days to complete the circuit and if you take it a bit slow a seven-day maximum, including the off days for resting.
To get permission to have a cycle ride on the Huascaran Circuit, you will have to purchase National Park Permit from Huascaran National Park. The permit is valid for 21 days, which is more than what you need to complete the circuit. So, if required or affordable, you can take your own time cycling in the loop of Huascaran. Extending the trip to more than 7-8 days is very much possible and done by many bikers.
You are going to have a lifetime experience of riding your bike on one of the best routes in the world. So, go there well prepared in terms of clothes, health, money, food, and drink. Several accommodation options are available there, from budget-friendly to luxurious. You will have to camp somewhere in the circuit at night, so get your tent as well. Keep only the essentials to have a comfortable right on the unpaved roads and make sure to have a safe journey.
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