Inca Trail Trek Itinerary & Route Map
Inca Trail Trek Quick Facts
- Accommodation: 3 nights camping (two person tents), twin share.
- Meals: All meals are provided as well as snacks and water from day 2.
- Equipment and Facilities: All equipment is supplied for camping (except sleeping bags) and cooking. Facilities while camping are basic (shower on the last night and some toilets). Entry fees are included.
- Transport: Transfers via minibus, bus and train are included.
- Group: The size of the group will vary depending on demand.
- Staff: You will be accompanied by a qualified, English-speaking guide, as per INC regulations. Porters and a cook will support you during the trek.
- Extras: Please budget for drinks (i.e. soft drinks, bottled water and alcohol), tips and lunch in Aguas Calientes on day 4.
- Passport & permit: You are responsible for travelling with the passport your permit was booked with. Should your passport be lost or stolen, you must buy a new permit to match the details on your replacement passport. You will not be permitted to trek the Inca Trail unless you have a permit which matches your passport details exactly. Visit this page for more details on Inca Trail permits for your travel dates.
- Closure of the Inca Trail: The Inca Trail is usually closed once a year for a month (around February) for a clean up. During this time we offer the alternative Lares Valley Trek which also culminates with a visit to Machu Picchu. Please see our Lares Valley information sheet for details.
Please visit the Inca Trail Trek Overview page for more information.
Inca Trail Trek Cross Section
Inca Trail Trek Itinerary
Day 1, Ollantaytambo – Piskacucho – Wayllambamba
Your Inca Trail trekking guide will hold a briefing in your hotel the evening before the trek starts. This briefing will give you more information about the route and equipment you need to bring. You will also receive your duffel bag (to be carried by the porters) which must not weigh more than 5 kilograms. If you are leaving from Cuzco, there will be an early start (around 7am) to travel by bus (with the trek guide and porters) to Kilometre 82 waymarker (2,680 metres above sea level) – the start of the Inca Trail. There will be a short stop at Ollantaytambo to use toilets and buy walking sticks, water and last minute snacks. If you have spent the night in Ollantaytambo it is just a short drive to Kilometre 82. Day 1 consists of a relatively easy, reasonably flat, 4.5-hour, 10- to 12-kilometre-walk. Depending on the walking speed of the group, camp is usually made at Hatunchaca or Wayllabamba (at approximately 3,000 metres altitude).
Day 2, Warmiwañusca – Pacamayo
Rising early (around 6am), today begins with a gradual ascent covering around 2 kilometres, followed by a challenging 7 kilometres constantly uphill (on dirt tracks and stone steps) to reach the highest pass at Warmiwañusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ (4,200 metres). The views of the mountains and valleys are spectacular as you make your way slowly towards the pass. This section is the most demanding of the whole trail and reaching Dead Woman’s Pass is quite an achievement. However it is not technically difficult and can be completed by anyone of any age who leads a reasonably active life. It is very important to take this section entirely at your own pace. Usually the first people in the group to reach the pass will wait for the rest of the group to finish so celebratory group photos can be taken. The pass offers fantastic views of the surrounding snow capped peaks and a wonderful feeling of being ‘on top of the world’! After the high pass it’s a further 3 kilometres downhill, winding along old Inca stairs to the campsite (3,600 metres).
Day 3, Runkurakay – Winay Wayna
Day 3 begins with another early start (6am) and a gradual 2-kilometre hike uphill to the second high pass, Runkurakay (3,950 metres). Again the pass affords excellent views of the magnificent Andes. Most of the next 6 kilometres is downhill and we have a chance to explore the fascinating ruins of Sayacmarca. The scenery becomes more lush as we continue towards the third high pass at Phuyupatamarca (3,580 metres). From here we have a further 5 kilometres downhill to reach the final campsite at Winay Wayna (2,650 metres). Although downhill most of the way, this section has many steps as the path winds around the side of the mountain and can be demanding on your legs – particularly if you are stiff from the climb up to Dead Woman’s Pass! The camp at Winay Wayna is a welcome sight and your efforts can be rewarded with a cold beer and a shower.
Day 4, Intipunku – Machu Picchu – Cuzco
On the last morning we rise before dawn (4am) to begin the final section of the trail to the famous ‘Sun Gate’ (Intipunku) and on to Machu Picchu. After a light breakfast you will say goodbye to your porters as they pack up the camping equipment and head back to Cuzco.
Although we are continuing to descend, this section is a combination of steps – both up and down! Affectionately known as “Inca flat” by the guides, there is actually nothing flat about it and it can be tiring! It is approx 4 kilometres from Winay Wayna to the Sun Gate and the final push includes a set of steep Inca stairs – which will almost certainly take your breath away before your first sight of the famous city! At 2,745 metres above sea level, the Sun Gate is 345 metres higher than Machu Picchu and, on a clear day, affords a majestic view down over the site and the surrounding valleys. From the Sun Gate, there is a final 2 kilometre downhill walk to the entrance of Machu Picchu.
Reaching the site around 7am, your guide will take you on a full guided tour. You will then have plenty of free time to explore this mystical Inca city, perhaps climb the towering Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain) which overlooks the site or visit the Inca Bridge. Returning to Aguas Calientes by bus you may decide to have lunch in one of the many restaurants (not included), soak in the nearby hot springs or meander through the markets. We then catch the late afternoon train back to Cuzco arriving mid-evening.
Click here for our recommended Inca Trail trek packing list.
See our Peru adventure tours page for the full list of packages that include the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.