Huayna Picchu, Wayna Picchu (hispanicized spellings) or Wayna Pikchu (Quechua wayna young, young man, pikchu pyramid; mountain or prominence with a broad base which ends in sharp peaks, “young peak”) is a mountain in Peru around which the Urubamba River bends. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District. It rises over Machu Picchu, the so-called lost city of the Incas, and divides it into sections. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is about 2,720 metres (8,920 ft) above sea level, or about 360 metres (1,180 ft) higher than Machu Picchu.
According to local guides, the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day. The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Principal Temple, “Unfinished Temple”, and the Temple of the Sun, also called the Torreon.
The number of daily visitors allowed to enter Huayna Picchu is restricted to 400. Advance purchase of tickets online will guarantee admission. A steep and at times exposed climb leads to the summit. Some portions are slippery and steel cables (a via ferrata) provide some support during the one-hour climb. At times during the rainy season, the tours are closed. The climb is not recommended for visitors in poor physical condition.
From the summit, a second trail leads down to the Gran Caverna and the Temple of the Moon (a misnomer). These natural caves, on the north face of the mountain, are lower than the starting point of the trail. The return path from the caves completes a loop around the mountain as it rejoins the main trail.