“Experience a 4 day hike through rugged mountains and ancient ruins on the way to the famed Machu Picchu.”
— Caleb Joyce
River/Creek · Views · Commonly Backpacked
Permits are required, and many find the use of a guide or outfitter helpful.
This 4 day hike will take you into the clouds at 13,700 feet and through endless Inca ruins. The landscape is stunning, dramatic, and peppered with history.
Need to Know
It's advised to gear up with all water and food before you start your journey since supplies along the route are very limited. Some people bring little toys or candies to give to the children in the villages you'll pass through.
This trek starts out in the small town of Piskacucho. Most outfitters will drop you off here to stage and prepare for your 4 day/3 night journey to Machu Picchu
. Once you are with your guide, you'll enter through the checkpoint where permits are checked. Be sure to bring your passport.
The first day is relatively easy as it follows the Urubamba River Valley. The elevation gain is low. Around 3.5 miles in, you'll come up on the Llactapata Archeological Site. Meander through the ruins and look to the other side of the stream to see neighboring ruins. The first day will most likely end at Wayllabamba, the last community on the Inca Trail.
Day 2 is by far the most strenuous since you'll climb over Dead Woman's Pass, which peaks out just under 14,000 feet above sea level. It's a beautiful section, but most focus on breathing and putting one step in front of the other. A beautiful camp is just over the pass in Llulluchapampa. While running water is available, its bacteria levels are questionable. It's best to bring a filter.
Day 3 keeps you high on the peaks as you wind around the mountains exploring and soaking up a handful of Inca ruins. This section is spectacular and unforgettable for historical and geological reasons. Most find their last night at Winay Wayna, giving you only an hour on day four to reach the Sun Gate. This is the best way to beat the rush of people visiting Machu Picchu
via train and bus.
History & Background
Inca ruins galore, need I say more?!