- Detailed information of the Palcoyo Mountain
- Driving Distance from Cusco: (76 Miles / 125 KM)
- Driving time: 4 and a half hours one way, including breakfast time for an hour halfway and 4 hours back, including lunch time.
- Elevation of the beginning of the Walk: (15,400 feet / 4,700 masl.)
- Difficulty: Easy.
- Trail: Dirt trail at the beginning, then there is a cobbled trail that runs down one side of the mountain to the last lookout point. It is mostly flat with a gradual ascent. Then to the top, the stone forest site is a zigzag trail of about 200 meters up to the 20 minute walk.
- Hiking distance: (2.5 ML / 4 KM round trip)
- Horse rental: Does not exist.
- Walking time: Walking to the last viewpoint (with some breaks along the way) is approx. 45 minutes. After all, the return to the bus station takes 30 minutes.
- Photo sessions: From time to time, locals appear on the road, walking with an alpaca offering a photo session. In return, they just want a tip.
- Maximum elevation: (16,076 feet / 4900 masl.)
- Tour duration: 10 hours.
- Elevation Difference During Hike: (656ft / 200m)
- When was the Palcoyo mountain discovered?
When the number of visitors increased greatly to the mountain of 7 colors in 2017, it was when the residents of Palcoyo (an Andean community) realized that they also had an attraction that resembled the mountain of 7 colors. They had the red mountains of Palcoyo, which only they knew about.
They were organized internally. They understood the benefits that tourism activity brought. They began to promote and open the way to those red mountains, which are three in total and still as a plus it has its stone forest that completes the adornment of the landscape. This is how Palcoyo made himself known during 2018, he went throughout Peru and continued around the world. Thanks to its visitors who increasingly recommended as an alternative walk to the mountain of 7 colors.
- Where is the Palcoyo mountain?
Palcoyo Mountain is located a few kilometers further south from the famous Mountain of 7 Colors. In the same mountain range of Vilcanota in the District of Pitumarca province of Canchis, more than 110 km.
- Can go children and older adults?
A walk through the mountains of Palcoyo is ideal for everyone. This place is suitable for children and seniors for a family trip, proposing a walk through Palcoyo would be doing them a favor. It is known that the distance of the walk is less compared to the similar Mountain of 7 colors and therefore less demanding as well. So when you walk the first 30 minutes you will be able to see the three different colored mountains.
To be clear about this distance, in Palcoyo 4 km are covered. In two hours including stops while the mountain of 7 colors requires 6 hours for everything and about 7 km there and back. In case you were still looking for this difference that exists between the two now you already know.
- What colors make up the Palcoyo mountain?
The colors that make up the Palcoyo mountain are:
- Fucia pink Mixture of red clay, osfango and reana.
- Whitish Quartz sand and limestone.
- Purple or lavender A mixture of clay and calcium carbonate and silicates.
- Red Argillites and clay.
- Green Clays rich in ferro-magnesium, (mixture of iron and magnesium and copper oxide).
- Yellowish brown, mustard, golden Sulfur calcareous sandstones combined with sulfur.
- How was the mountain of Palcoyo formed?
During the stratospheric formation of the earth, the minerals falling by their own weight, formed layers one on top of the other and in the transformation of the earth with earthquakes and movements of tectonic plates. The sedimentary layers in formation were turned into mountains and slopes, exposed to the elements and from there with the passage of time the oxidized minerals gave attractive color tones as seen today.
- When does it snow on the mountain of Palcoyo?
Knowing this is fundamental, the behavior of the climate in the area where the Palcoyo mountain is located. The snow seasons are generally in the rainy season, which is considered between November and April, but pay close attention to this. The weather is usually changeable at these heights of 4000 meters above sea level, which is why an extemporaneous and unexpected snowfall could occur anticipating November or passing the month of April. From now on we will see what happens when there is rain and snow in Palcoyo, which is not bad at all, but gives rise to a temporary attraction to be able to appreciate it, just join us.
- Palcoyo and the Red river
Now let’s see what can happen while it rains and snows in Palcoyo. Basically the water begins to bathe the slopes and red hills of those mountains and when they join in the lower part they give life to the red river. Anyone who enters the Palcoyo mountains upon seeing the red river will always stop and take a moment to look at all that beauty because it is nothing more than a must-see and rewarding option.
This coloration lasts according to the intensity of the rain, that is, the more it rains and the more water gathers on the slopes, it can last longer than when it is only moderate rains. Then the river when entering all that valley of Salqa that means indomitable valley, joins the large river of the same name. When mixed with a lot of water it tends to lose that red color that it shows while it is only a small river in the height.
- What to do in the Palcoyo mountain?
Visiting the mountains of Palcoyo is also a great experience, of all the attractions that are in Cusco. Here you walk away from the crowds of tourists. Palcoyo is about three red mountains that are distributed a short distance from south to north. All visitors from the beginning of the walk go up a path in the same direction until they reach the viewpoint of the third mountain. From that point there is the possibility to continue walking towards the striking peaks of sharp rock, known as the stone forest and if not only to return by the same path.
If you want to get to the stone forest which is the highest point on this route, 4900 meters above sea level. You must follow the path that leads to it. The walk is partially light, only that to get to the stone forest requires a greater effort, but it is not far, everything is possible. From the top you can see the three mountains together and you have a 360 ° view. If the day is clear, the snowy Ausangate will appear in the distance. So the experience of being in a quiet and serene place is the best. What you will find is the presence of local people dressed in Andean costume with one or two alpacas. If anyone dares to take a picture with them, they can ask for it and in return a small tip.
- Flora and fauna in Palcoyo
For some, the presence of the alpacas and their beauty, plus the elegant landscape suggests that it is a small paradise. The llamas (lama glama) but mainly the alpacas (vicugna pacos) are the ones that inhabit this area in greater numbers. It is not that they live their wild life, but they are raised by the locals and serves as a livelihood for them. There are also foxes (dusicyon culpaeus) and chinchillas that appear very rarely and birds, such as the Cara Cara (phalcoboenus megalopteros) Huallatas (chloephaga melanoptera) Etc. And speaking of vegetation in Palcoyo and surroundings it can be mentioned about the abundant wild straw (stipa ichu) and grasslands that are food for camelids, also some cacti and all kinds of herbs that grow at ground level.