The most spectacular, and crowded, trekking route in Parque Nacional Huascarán is the four- to five-day, 40-kilometer Santa Cruz trek, which traditionally begins from the small settlements of Vaquería or Colcabamba and ends at Cashapampa near Caraz . The high point of the pass is Punta Unión, at 4,760 meters, and the rest of the trek is all downhill along the Quebrada Santa Cruz, which offers a series of emerald lakes and mesmerizing views of Taulliraju, Alpamayo, Quitaraju, Artesonraju, and other snow peaks.
Two days can be added to the beginning of the trek by starting at Lagunas Llanganuco  and heading over the Portachuelo Llanganuco pass at 4,767 meters. Acclimatized and fit trekkers can hike this route with a light backpack, and burros can be contracted at Vaquería or Colcabamba. This route can also be approached in the opposite direction, starting in Caraz  and finishing near Huaraz .
A two-week, 150-kilometer option starts in Cashapampa and involves a huge northern circuit around Alpamayo. The trek takes in pristine mountain scenery and a roller-coaster ride of high passes on Alpamayo’s remote northern side, including Paso los Cedros at 4,900 meters.
If you start from Cashapampa, the final days of the trek lead down the Quebrada Santa Cruz along the traditional route. This trek is operated by Pony Expeditions in Caraz  and is almost always done with burros.
Just above Huaraz , we recommend a two- or three-day hike up the Quebrada Quilcayhuanca, with a longer option to climb over a high pass and descend Quebrada Cojup on the return. Another option is a hike into Quebrada Rajucolta, two valleys over.
All of these are pleasant two- or three-day hikes up into the valleys to lakes. Because few tourists walk these routes, they are safe to do alone or with another person. No burros are required.
There are at least two highly recommend routes that cross the Cordillera Blanca  south of Huaraz  and end at the ruins of Chavín de Huántar . The best-known version starts from Olleros, a village just south of Huaraz, and heads up and over Punta Yanashallash at 4,700 meters along an ancient trade route. If you get a ride up the dirt road above Olleros, this 35-kilometer route should take 3–4 days and can be done with or without a burro.
The other route that takes you to Chavín  is a 40-kilometer, four- or five-day route. It requires a bit of mountaineering and starts above the village of Pitec (above Huaraz ) and climbs the Quebrada Quilcayhuanca and then forks south into the Quebrada Cayesh. At the end of the valley, a rough trail leads up and over a snowy pass next to Nevado Maparaju (5,326 meters). This peak can be climbed from the saddle before continuing down the pass on the other side to the village of San Marcos, 8 kilometersfrom Chavín de Huántar .
Because of the technical demands of this route, it is best done with a guide. Regardless, ask around about conditions before you try this route, as we have received reports that the far side of the pass is badly melted out and difficult to descend. You should bring all your own technical equipment, like crampons and ice axes, and inquire beforehand if there are snow-covered crevasses or other conditions that might merit a rope.