Trip Duration  1 day (approx 8 hours)
Hike Duration  3 hours up, 2 hours down
Trip Type
  Day hike

Grading  Easy to moderate
Places Visited  Uruscocha Lakes and Ruins of Honcopampa
Starting Point of Hike  Cochapampa
Finishing Point of Hike  Honcopampa
Highest Point
  Lake Uruscocha 4300m

Distance  18km

The two beautiful, emerald green Uruscocha Lakes are located at the foot of Mount Urus West (5495m), in the central section of the Huascaran National Park. The hike to the lakes starts a few kilometres above the village of Pashpa, some 20km north of Huaraz. From the very start of the trail, magnificent views of Peru’s highest summit – the colossal Mount Huascaran 6768m – open in front of us. We follow the path that leads to the Ishinca Valley for a short while, surrounded by several icy peaks including Mount Vallunaraju (5675m), Ishinca (5545m), Ocshapalca (5888m) and Copa (6188m). Then, leaving the main trail behind, we climb up past a small lake and through enchanted forests of the unusual-looking quenual trees to the first Uruscocha lake – also known as the female lake – beautifully set at the foot of huge craggy stone walls. A short walk further brings us to the second lagoon – the male lake – with its mesmerising bright green waters surrounded by groves of twisted quenual trees in the shadow of Mount Urus West towering high above. Our long descent brings us past traditional Quechua homes down into a broad valley protected by a ring of snow-capped peaks. In this idyllic spot sit the small pre-Inca ruins of Honcopampa, five funerary buildings with trapezoidal windows and doorways which date back to the Huari culture (600 to 1000 AD).