The hike to Rainbow Mountain Peru starts at 3 am with three hours of driving, half of that along gravel roads carved into the mountainside. The actual hike starts in the small town of Quesiuno at an elevation just over 14,000 feet, placing it in the same category as Colorado’s 14ers.
From there, you hike along streams in luscious green valleys before hiking uphill, at an unimpressive pace as you plead for oxygen, to the peak of the Montaña de Colores. The higher you get, more of the surrounding snow capped mountains begin to appear through the clouds with herds of alpacas roaming on nearby hillsides.
While this was one of the more challenging hikes I’ve ever done, and easily the highest in elevation I’ve been, being able to enjoy the views, the company, and the surprisingly quick descent made the trip worth way more than $45.