Trip duration 1 day (approx. 8 hours)
Trip type day hike
Grading moderate (some scrambling sections)
Places visited Lake Churup
Highest Point Lake Churup 4470m
Distance 10km return
Starting Point of Hike Pitec (3850m)
Finishing Point of Hike Pitec
Hike Duration 5 hours (3 up, 2 down)
Lake Churup is situated at an altitude of 4470m to the east of Huaraz at the foot of Mount Churup (5495m). The trail to the lake starts either from the village of Llupa (3450m), situated only 7 km from Huaraz, past fields and traditional homes of the Quechua people, and leads to Pitec (3850m), the entry point of the Huascaran National Park. From there, a steep trail up a rocky path leads to the lake, past a waterfall and a 40 m rock wall. The glacial lake is a wonderful sight with its turquoise-emerald green waters surrounded by huge granite boulders and the native queñual trees.
Its proximity to Huaraz make this day hike a perfect option for acclimatisation, but please note that the last part involves scrambling over rocks, which may intimidate the less experienced hikers. Take great care when it rains, as the rocks get incredibly slippery. We do not recommend anyone to go hiking there solo, due to the non-straightforward nature of the trail.
We leave Huaraz at 8 am and drive to Pitec, the entry point to the Huascaran National Park, located only an hour’s drive from Huaraz. The trail immediately climbs steeply up the mountainside, until we reach a flatter part that eventually leads to the bottom of a reach a flatter part that eventually leads to the bottom of a waterfall and a 40m rock wall. Getting up the rock wall requires some scrambling – cables have been fixed to the left part of the wall to ease the ascent. We enjoy a nice lunch at the lake, which is surrounded by large granite slabs, picturesque queñual trees, tall cliffs, all overlooked by the small glacier of Mount Churup. Those who are fit, and if time allows, can continue one hour further uphill to see the lovely Churupita, a smaller lake that has a beautiful turquoise colour. For those intimidated by the rock wall it is possible to bypass it using an alternative, longer trail that is not easy to find. We get back to Pitec at around 3pm, where our vehicle is waiting to drive us back to Huaraz. We get back to town at around 4pm.