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"The Santa Cruz running adventure with the Olleros to Chavin extension was trail running at its best!"

- Jerry Frost, St. Louis, MO

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Multiple scenic trail runs through Huascaran National Park

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Cross the 15,600ft Punta Union Pass along the renowned Santa Cruz Trail

The Santa Cruz Trail Adventure


The Santa Cruz Trail is the most popular and beautiful trekking route through the Cordillera Blanca. This 26 mile trail passes by many of the waterfalls, crystal lakes, and high peaks that define Huascaran National Park.

Dates : May 28 – June 7, 2017        With Olleros to Chavin Extension: May 28 – June 9, 2017

Dates : June 12 – 21, 2018        With Olleros to Chavin Extension: June 12 – 23, 2018

Duration: 10 – 12 Days, 2 Nights Camping        Group Size: 4 – 10 Participants, 2+ Guides

Difficulty Rating:

Price: $2,495, Double Occupancy        $2,745 w/ Extension        What does this include?

  • Overview

    Some of the highlights of this Santa Cruz Trail running adventure will include running over the continental divide at Punta Union Pass, 15,600′, a run to Alpamayo Base Camp and two nights of full service camping in beautiful alpine meadows. Our gear will be transported to each camp by an arriero led team of Running Gallery - 19222 (1)burros, giving you the freedom to run with nothing on your back but the essentials for the day. With the obvious challenges of running over a 15,000’ pass, we will prepare you with multiple day runs in and around Huascaran National Park to help you acclimatize to the thin air of the high Andes. Following each scenic day run we will return to the comfort of our hotel in Huaraz or one of two cozy mountain eco-lodges near the Park and dine on authentic local cuisine.

    Highline Santa Cruz '15 - 19214

    What to expect

    The Santa Cruz Trail will be our main objective and final trail run on this 10-day adventure in the Cordillera Blanca. This will take place after a week of acclimatization runs in and around Huascaran National Park. Some of the highlights of these day trips will include runs to turquoise alpine lakes such as Laguna Churup and Laguna 69, as well as a longer run up the meadow filled valley of Quebrada Quilcayhuanca. Only after visiting these higher elevations multiple times and feeling well acclimatized will we start our run up and over Punta Union Pass. Please see the detailed itinerary for the day to day runs and acclimatization plan.

  • Please note that daily runs are subject to change due to weather and trail conditions. In the event of bad weather, MOST planned runs have a contingency option that will give us a safer, more enjoyable, run for the day. All runs are optional and you can choose not to participate at anytime.

    Day 1: Arrive in Lima

    Depart the U.S. and arrive in Lima in the afternoon. We will be there to pick you up at the airport and transfer you to our hotel in the Miraflores District.

    Lodging: Miraflores

    Meals included: Dinner

    Day 2: Travel to Huaraz

    Travel from Lima via bus to the city of Huaraz. This ride will take 8 hours as it passes along the desert coast and up into the highlands of the Andes. Our acclimatization will begin today as the bus will climb up and over a 13,000′ pass before descending into the Callejon de Huaylas and onto Huaraz situated at 10,000′.

    Lodging: La Casa de Zarela (10,000′)

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

    Day 3: Acclimatization above Huaraz

    Today we will go for our first run and begin acclimating our bodies to a higher elevation. After breakfast at our hotel, we will head above town and stretch our legs on a nice run through the countryside.P1120402 copy This run will take us along secluded country roads giving us views of Huaraz and the snow capped, high peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.

    Lodging: La Casa de Zarela (10,000′)

    Run: 8 miles, 1,800′ Gain, 1800′ Loss

    Elevation: 10,000′ – 11,800′

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

    Day 4: Acclimatization Hike/Run to Laguna Churup

    Today we leave Huaraz and hike to the beautiful Laguna Churup. Located at 14,700’, Laguna Churup sits below the 18,000′ Churup Peak and is accessed by a fairly steep trail climbing 2000′ in nearly 2 miles. Although most will find this trail too difficult to run and choose to hike, our goal is to merely travel to this elevation for acclimatization purposes.P1120454 copy After spending some time at the lake we will travel back down to the trailhead and have casual run along country roads to the Lazy Dog Inn where we will stay for the next two nights.

    Lodging: Lazy Dog Inn (11,800′)

    Hike to Laguna Churup: 4 miles, 2,000′ Gain, 2,000′ Loss

    Run: 6 miles, 500′ Gain, 1,400′ Loss

    Elevation: 12,700′ – 14,700′

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

    Day 5: Valley Run up Quebrada Quilcayhuanca

    Today will be our first long alpine valley run into Huascaran National Park and will no doubt be one of the running highlights of the trip. Quebrada Quilcayhuanca is a beautiful open river valley with soft grassy trails that you’ll enjoy all the way up to Laguna Tullpacocha at 14,000ft.P1120756 (1) copy  Following our run we will travel back to the Lazy Dog Inn for one more night of relaxation.

    Lodging: Lazy Dog Inn (11,800′)

    Run: 16 miles, 1,800′ Gain, 1,800′ Loss

    Elevation: 12,300′ – 14,100′

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

    Day 6 – Run/Hike to Laguna 69

    Today we will run to one of the prettiest lakes in the entire Park, Laguna 69. This lake is known for is stunning turquoise color, huge waterfalls and surrounding giant peaks. From the lake we will run back down to the trailhead where we will meet up with our van and drive over Portachuelo Pass (15,500′) and to the town of Vaqueria, the start of the Santa Cruz Trail.

    Lodging: Illariy Lodge (12,200′)

    Hike/ Run: 8 miles, 2,200′ Gain

    Elevation: 12,800′ – 15,000′

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

    Day 7: Start Santa Cruz Trail Run

    Today we will begin the Santa Cruz Trail. During the first half of the run we will pass through small Quechua communities, open meadows and forests as we gradually climb to the base of Punta Union Pass. Running Gallery - 13260Here we will make our camp just below the pass at 14,500′ where we will enjoy amazing view of the high peaks in there area for the night.

    Camp: Below Punta Union Pass (14,500’)

    Run: 10 miles, 3,300’ Gain

    Elevation: 11,200’ – 14,500’

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Day 8: Run to Alapamayo Base Camp

    Today we will continue up and over Punta Union Pass. After a well deserved break at the Pass, 15,600’, we will continue our run down from the Continental Divide into the Santa Cruz Valley and our camp for the night at Alpamayo Base Camp.

    Camp: Alpamayo Base Camp (14,200’)

    Run/hike: 7 miles

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Day 9: Finish Santa Cruz Trail Run

    Today will be the final running day of the trip and one of the most enjoyable. Following breakfast we will pack up our camp and head down valley towards Cashapampa with our arrieros and small train of burros. With no real elevation gain and enjoyable trail conditions, most find today’s run very relaxing and a perfect way to finish this rewarding adventure.Running Gallery - 19357 In the small town of Cashapampa we will collect our bags from the burros as they arrive and begin our drive back to Huaraz.

    Lodging: La Casa de Zarela (10,000’)

    Run: 14 miles, 0’ Gain, 4,600’ Loss

    Elevation: 14,200’ – 9,600

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

    Day 10: Travel to Lima
/ Fly Home

    Today we will fly back to Lima and connect to our international flights home. Flights from Huaraz leave mid morning and arrive in Lima one hour later. When scheduling your international flight be sure to choose one that leaves either in the late afternoon or night.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Optional add on Days 11 and 12: Rest Day in Huaraz, Olleros to Chavin Trail Run

    For those who feel like they will need more following the the Santa Cruz Trail run we offer an additional two days to run the Olleros to Chavin Trail. This beautiful 26 mile trails follows an ancient pre-Incan route through Huascaran National Park to the town and ruins of Chavin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Running Gallery - 13531 This trail is the perfect way to finish your trip and should not be missed.

    Lodging: La Casa de Zarela (10,000’)

    Run: 26 miles, 4,200′ Gain, 5,000’ Loss

    Elevation: 11,800’ – 15,400′ – 10,400′

    Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

  • Lodging

    All lodging, between our scheduled first and last nights in Lima, are included in the price. We believe that while on vacation the places you stay can dramatically affect a trip of this sort. Staying in nicer, more comfortable, places at a slightly higher cost does nothing but benefit the group. If you eat well, sleep well and enjoy your accommodations you will most likely perform better on our daily runs. While in Huaraz we will be staying at La Casa de Zarela which is just a few minutes walk from the Plaza De Armas in the heart of the city. This small comfortable hotel is a great place to relax while taking in the views of the city and mountains from one of the many terraces or roof top patio. During our initial acclimatization runs in Huascaran National Park we will be staying at The Lazy Dog Inn just out side the entrance of the Park. This ranch style eco-lodge sits high in the hills above Huaraz and offers a quiet relaxing getaway from the city. While here we will have close access to our daily runs, large comfortable rooms and delicious home cooked meals. Not to mention spectacular views of the mountains and surrounding countryside.
    All trip prices are based on double room occupancy when staying in hotels. Most, but not all, of our accommodations have the option for single occupancy if you prefer. Please inquire with Highline for these options and additional costs.


    This trip will have a total of two nights full service camping while in the Santa Cruz Valley. Both nights will be spent in green, open meadows alongside the Santa Cruz Trail.Phil Peru 2015 - 20103 (1) Our camps will consist of many tents including large cooking and dining tents and several roomy sleeping tents (double occupancy). All of our group and personal bags will be transported daily by a team of burros led by our small hired staff of locals. These friendly local experts will not only be setting up and take down camp when needed, they will also be preparing all of our delicious meals, leaving you time to relax from the day’s run and refuel for the next.

  • Gear

    High in the mountains of Huascaran National Park temps can fluctuate significantly like in most alpine environment and we need to plan for any conditions we might come across. Please see the detailed gear list and please contact us if you have any questions.



  • Difficulty

    This adventure has intermediate level runs with distances up to 16 miles, high elevation gain days with altitudes up to 15,600’. 
Although we do our best to help you prepare for higher elevations it is a known fact that everyone acclimatizes differently. With this in mind, know that running at these altitudes will still be challenging for all whether you are acclimatized or not and you should not expect your body to perform as it does at home.Running Gallery - 13342 Most runners should expect to hike many sections of these trails, especially during the first few days at altitude. During this time most will enjoy running only the easier flats and gradual down hill sections while hiking the uphills like many people do during longer ultra-marathon races. Because of the beautiful scenery through out our trips most people have no problem adopting this philosophy of “run when I can, hike when I can’t” and simply take in the beauty of Peru while hiking.

    How strong of a runner do I need to be for this trip?

    Highline Running Adventures offers trips for everyone. You do not need to be an experienced trail runner, ultra marathoner or avid outdoor enthusiast enjoy our adventures. We invite first time trail runners who might not have access to mountainous terrain at home and want to experience the joys of alpine trail running. Like any endeavor in the mountains, most runners will have a far better experience if they are in shape and should begin a training program well before the trip. We are available for training tips and advice for those who are new to this kind of running.

    Although Highline Running Adventure caters to most ability levels, most runners will find our Peru Adventures to be more challenging than other trips. With higher elevations and typical climbs over 15,000’ mountain passes, those interested should plan a training routine months in advance. With proper training, most runners will have a more enjoyable time whether you are an experienced mountain runner or someone looking for a good personal challenge. Please study the detailed itinerary for the day to day distances and elevation gains. Keep in mind that we will typically have most of the day available to complete these distances and you will most likely have the option to take significant breaks at scenic over looks, lakes, mountain passes etc.. More importantly, one should be able to complete these distances day after day because there will be few rest days planned. As always, we are available to help advise you in training for this more advanced terrain.

  • Cost Includes:

    • Experienced guides
    • All in country transportation including airport transfers
    • All in country lodging
    • Most breakfasts and dinners, and some lunches, in town or at lodges (See itinerary for what meals are included)
    • Arrieros, Cooks, Burros and/or Llamas
    • All group camping equipment
    • All camp food
    • All National Park entrance fees

    Not Included:

    • Guide gratuity
    • International transportation to and from Lima
    • Hotel costs before and/or after scheduled trip dates
    • Personal trail food, gels, energy drink mixes
    • Any alcohol with meals
    • Trip cancellation insurance
    • Personal running and camping gear and clothing


    If you have any questions regarding one of our trips or would like help deciding which trip is right for you please feel free to give us call. Once you have decided, just let us know and we will send you a registration form and other additional information you will need. We do require a non-refundable $1000 deposit to hold your spot at the time of registration. We recommend doing so as soon as possible since all of trips are subject to availability and have a maximum of 10 participants. Final Payment is due 90 days prior to all trips. If registering within 90 days of the trip full payment will be due at that time.


    We strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance for all of our trips. Because we must invest a certain amount to reserve your place on this trip with our lodging partners, transportation and hired help we can not always refund the your full amount if you need to cancel. We understand that every situation is different and we will do our best to work with you if you need to to cancel your trip for any reason. As a policy, our cancellation refund deadlines are as follows:

    • Cancellations more that 90 days prior to trip: Full refund minus deposit.
    • Cancellations between 45-90 days prior to trip: Refund 50% of trip costs minus deposit.
    • Cancellations within 45 days of trip: No refund.