The Cordillera Negra (Black Range) is part of the Cordillera Oriental, one of three mountain ranges in the Andes Mountains of west central Peru
. Cordillera Negra extends over an area about 180 km long and 25-40 km wide, stretching in a NNW-SSE direction parallel to the Pacific coast, its ridge circa 60 km from the coastline. It is part of the Andean Sierra which inland borders on the Costa, the narrow strip of coastal deserts along the South American coast.
In the north and east the cordillera is bordered by Río Santa which crosses the coastal ridge at 8° 45' S and runs parallel to the Cordillera Negra for almost all its length. In the south the cordillera is bordered by Río Pativilca at 10° 30'. In the cordillera's central part near Huaráz, Río Casma breaks through the cordillera's ridge. Río Santa separates Cordillera Negra from Cordillera Blanca, a snow-covered range rising up to 6,768 m in the east. Cordillera Negra for most of the year has no snow although it rises to 5,000 m in its highest parts. Cordillera Negra intercepts the warmth from the coast, causing the line of perpetual snow sinking as low as 5,100 m in the Cordillera Blanca.
The route Casma-Huaraz is not a very highly travelled road. The highway begins with a paved path that arrives up to Yaután. Then it quickly begins to ascend through an unpaved path by the sides of the Cordillera Negra (Black mountain range), following the course of the Casma River. This route becomes more steep once it arrives to Pariacoto. Along the road, there are not important towns at all, except for Pira that offers some traveler's services.This route, extremely steep and narrow, goes between big abysses and gullies. It can be seen small rural districts with chacras (smallholdings) that have been sown with potatoes, wheat, barley and other food products. It can also be seen livestock and a lot of human activity. The gullies of the Cordillera Negra -that goes, simultaneously, with the Cordillera Blanca throughout 150 km- are gloomy and dark. Most of them are dry or their flow is scarce. From north to south, there are some hills like Rumicruz (5020 m), Rocarre (5187 m), Cerro Rico (5015 m), and Chonta (4810 m).
The beauty of the Cordillera Blanca is largely determined by the Cordillera Negra, because this mountain range soften the winds that come from the Pacific ocean. The Cordillera Negra, acting as a shield, avoids the thaw of the big glaciers from the Cordillera Blanca. The Cordillera Negra has rocky peaks with very little winter snowfall, reaching a maximum height of 5500 m. Its name comes from the comparison with the white snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.