Trip duration   1 day (approx 12 hours)
Trip type  sightseeing tour/day hike
Grading   Easy
Places visited   Caraz (main square), Lake
                         Paron, Ruins of Tumshukaiko

Highest point  Lake Paron 4140m
Distance   120km from Huaraz
Hike duration    2 hours to the end of the lake, 2 hours back the same way
Lake Paron is the largest lake in the Cordillera Blanca and also one of the most beautiful, its dazzling turquoise waters surrounded by imposing icy peaks. In recent years, the lake’s water level has dropped from 75m to a mere 15m, but Lake Paron is still a jewel, with the unrivalled picture perfect view of Mount Piramide de Garcilaso’s pyramid of ice (5885m) rising above crystalline waters bordered by powdered white sand.
An easy path surrounds the lake revealing in turns the snow-covered summits of Mount Piramide, Huandoy East (6000m), Aguja (5888m) Caraz West (6025m), Chacraraju (6112m), Pisco (5752m) and finally the magnificent perfect pyramid of Artesonraju (6025m).
The lake is located in the northern section of the Huascaran National Park, 32km east of Caraz, and reached after following a dirt road that snakes its way up the Paron Valley. The sheer granite cliffs that tower high on either side of the valley are an impressive sight, and include the 5325m high monolith known as The Sphinx, which is a popular destination for rock climbers.
A visit here is ideal for acclimatisation and is suitable for hikers and non-hikers alike.
We leave Huaraz at 7 am and travel north along the Huaylas valley to the town of Caraz, where we stop to have a look at the pretty main square at around 8.30 am. We then follow the dirt road that leads up to the Huascaran National Park, climbing up the narrow Paron Valley. After one and a half hour of driving, we reach the stunning Lake Paron. We walk along an almost even but rocky trail that hugs the northern shore of the lake. A reasonably easy 2-hour hike brings us to the end of the lake, from where we have wonderful views of the magnificent ice pyramid of Mount Artesonraju (6025m). We have lunch by the beautiful turquoise waters of the lake surrounded by numerous perennially ice-caped peaks. We go back to our vehicle via the same trail. On the way back to Huaraz, we have the option to visit the small pre-Inca ruins of Tumshukaiko. We get back to town at around 7 pm.