The third day of the Huayhuash Circuit takes you from Carhuacocha to the campsite of Huayhuash. Along the way you will get to enjoy views of the famous Mirador Tres Lagunas, and make your way up the Siula Pass, before descending down to camp.
Read on to learn more about the route between Carhuacocha to Huayhuash and what to expect out on the trail.
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1) Hiking Overview: Huayhuash Day 3
Day 3 of the Huayhuash Circuit will take you from Carhuacocha to Huayhuash. Below are some helpful stats about the day and what the trail is all about.
Starting Point: Carhuacocha
Carhuacocha Elevation: 4,140 meters / 13,580 feet
Ending Point: Huayhuash
Huayhuash Elevation: 4,330 meters / 14,200 feet
Mountain Pass: Siula Pass
Siula Pass Elevation: 4,830 meters / 15,845 feet
Distance: 9.4 miles / 15.1 km
Elevation Gain: 2,280 feet / 695 meters
Duration: 5-6 hours
Day 3 Highlights
• More Lake Carhuacocha views
• Viewpoint between the three lakes
• Mirador Tres Lagunas!
• Views from Siula Pass
• Relaxing hike down to Huayhuash campsite
While this article will simply talk through day 3 of the trek, you can learn much more of the overall experience in the Huayhuash Circuit overview up on the site.
Route Note: this daily trekking guide (as well as the other daily guides on the site) go over a standard 10 day Huayhuash Route. Trekking routes can be greater or fewer days depending on your preferences (learn more about these in the previously mentioned overview above!).
Be sure to check out the Huayhuash Circuit resource page that includes many helpful travel guides to get you prepared for the trek
2) Huayhuash Circuit Day 3: Carhuacocha to Huayhuash Map
To better visualize the hiking route on day 3, below you can find a trail map for the third day of the circuit.
If you would like to see the full route, be sure to check out the guides I put together for the complete Huayhuash Circuit Map and Huayhuash GPX file (for navigation purposes).
3) Elevation Gain Profile
Below you can find the elevation gain profile for day 3 of the Huayhuash Circuit. The trail heads from Carhuacocha to Huayhuash as it peaks at the Siula Pass, which sits at 4,830 meters / 15,845 feet in elevation.
4) Huayhuash Circuit Packing List
A complete Huayhuash Circuit packing list will be essential for your time out on the trail (especially if hiking without a guided tour). Be sure to check out the comprehensive Huayhuash packing list I put together for more detail.
Below you can find just some of the most important camping items to consider for your trek:
• Hiking Backpack | Hyperlite Southwest 3400
• 3-Season Tent | Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL
• 0 F Degree Sleeping Bag | Thermarest Questar 0
• Sleeping Bag Liner | Sea to Summit Liner
• Sleeping Pad | Thermarest NeoAir Xlite
• Camping Pillow | Thermarest Camping Pillow
• Trekking Poles | Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ Trekking Poles
• Water Bottle | Katadyn BeFree 1 Liter
• Headlamp | Petzl Actik Core
• Emergency Satellite Locater | Garmin inReach 2 Mini
• Solar Charger | GoalZero Nomad 10
• Portable Charger | Anker Portable Charger
• Cooking Stove | Jetboil Micromo
• Hiking Shoes | Keen (Targhee Series)
• Hiking Socks | Darn Tough Socks
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5) Huayhuash Circuit: Carhuacocha to Huayhuash Hike
Day 3 of the Huayhuash Circuit is a special one. Over the course of 5-6 hours you will get to experience some top highlights of the mountain range including the famous Mirador Tres Lagunas.
When researching the Huayhuash, this is the one photo that will keep on coming up over and over. Having the three alpine lakes down below surrounded by some of the most iconic peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash is going to be a true highlight.
It is important to point out that this is one day on the trail that can get crowded. This is due to the fact that many groups visit the Huayhuash just to see the famous viewpoint.
So, instead of encircling the mountain range, they simply hike into Carhuacocha, and do a day hike up to the viewpoint from there. After spending some time up at the viewpoint, they then will make their way back to Carhuacocha and then exit the area.
When you arrive at the campsite the day prior, you will be able to see how crowded the following day may be.
If you see many tents and groups, I would advise waking up early and heading out first thing to beat the crowds.
On the other hand, if the campsite is looking nice and quiet, then you should not need to worry as much.
Huayhuash Tip: either way be sure to wake up for sunrise to see the first rays of sun light up the mountain range out in front of you.
Carhuacocha to First Lookout
Once you are all packed up, it is time to begin the day 3 journey. The first part of the day will entail a pleasant hike around the lakeside. The views in each direction are just beautiful as you have the snow capped peaks in one direction and the smaller hills in the other.
If you have some calm weather, the lake reflections will just be one of a kind.
After getting yourself to the far end of the lake closer to the mountains, the trail will make a left hand turn down the valley. The mountains will hovering right above you as you enjoy a relatively flat hike just taking it all in.
You will soon be hiking alongside a flowing river, and approach a small lake area. Just past this lake, you will see signage pointing you up to a viewpoint area on your right. I would highly recommend taking this quick detour up the hillside, where you will then be situated right between Laguna Gangrajanca and Laguna Siula.
From here you will have an elevated view between these two lakes. In either direction, the views will be vast and of course you will have the mountains right in front of you as well.
Lookout to Mirador Tres Lagunas
Once all done at the lookout spot, head back down to the main trail, and continue along towards the next more famous viewpoint. The route will now take you on the left hand side of Laguna Siula.
After making your way past Laguna Siula, you will soon approach the back of the valley. Here is where the tough part of the day will begin.
Up to this point, the hike will actually be quite enjoyable with limited elevation gain. However, it is now time to climb the cliffside and make your way to Mirador Tres Lagunas.
The trail zig zags its way up the mountain as you slowly but surely gain more and more elevation. Be sure to take breaks as needed to enjoy the views out behind you. The views of the lakes will begin to get better and better as you get higher and higher.
Soon enough, you will arrive at the viewpoint, and you will get to enjoy the Gangrajanca, Siula, and Quesillacocha lakes from above.
Snow capped peaks will dominate the left hand side of the frame as you just see one after another after another all the way down the valley.
Mirador Tres Lagunas to Siula Pass
Believe it or not, this is not going to be the high point for the day. Instead, there is going to be some more elevation gain towards the Siula Pass.
While it can get strenuous at times, the hike up does come with more views along the way. At first you will continue to see the lakes, before heading up to the next section of trail. Out behind you will be the beautiful Huayhuash peaks standing tall.
The final portion of the ascent can be quite difficult as you zig zag up the mountainside. Up top you should be able to see the Siula Pass sign, but it will take some effort to get on up. Take your take, enjoy the views along the way, and make the final push to the pass.
From up top, there will be even more views to take in. Be sure to take a break here, as you will soon leave these views behind and head onto the other side of the valley.
Siula Pass to Huayhuash Campsite
From the Siula Pass it is now going to be a couple hour descent down to the Huayhuash campsite. After all of that incline, this is going to feel much easier on the body.
The hike all the way through is quite enjoyable as you have new views, mountains, lakes and valleys to take in. Be sure to just pay attention from time to time as there can be various cow paths leading in different directions. While they usually lead into one another, it can be a bit confusing at certain points.
After passing by Lake Carnicero, the trail will make its way down to the Huayhuash campsite, where you can set up your tent and enjoy the night.
Up next on day 4 is the hike from Huayhuash to Viconga, where you can enjoy some nice relaxing hot springs. For those that want to skip out on the springs, there is a shortcut up the Trapecio Pass to save a day out on the trail.
If you have any questions or comments about this day or the Huayhuash Circuit in general, be sure to add them in below.
Have fun out there and safe travels!