The Inca Trail hike is one of the most popular treks in South America. The trail leads through the Andes Mountains to the ancient city of Machu Picchu and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes — group tour departures every day with Panoramic Vistadome Train Included.

Experience the Epic 4-Day Classic Inca Trail Trek

Trek details

Duration
4 days - 3 Nights
Activities
Hiking - Adventures
Difficulty
Challenging
Maximum Altitude
4214 m - 13829 ft
Destination
Machu Picchu
Group Size
16 Pax
Overview

The classic Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is one of the most popular hikes in South America and is often listed as one of the top ten hikes in the world. On this 4-day adventure, you will encounter the perfect combination of history and natural beauty. Visit the ancient Inca site and get to Intipunku (Sun Gate) before sunrise to see Machu Picchu.

Highlights:

  • Arrive at Machu Picchu through the Sungate
  • Stay at the best and least crowded campsites
  • Enjoy the best of Peruvian cuisine
  • Return on the panoramic trains (Vistadome or 360°)

Inca Trail at Glance: 

Day 1: Cusco — Km 82 — Llactapata — Ayapata.

Pick up at 4:30 am from your hotel in Cusco and drive to Km. 82. Afterwards, you will start the 6-hour hike to the first campsite, Ayapata (3300 m/10826 ft.).

Day 2: Ayapata — Warmiwañusca — Runkuraqay — Chaquicocha

Wake up in your tent with a cup of coffee and start preparing for the most challenging day of the trek: hiking 2 mountains. The first one takes 4 hours up to Dead Woman’s Pass (4214 m/13829 ft.) and 2 hours down for lunch. After lunch, the 2nd mountain takes 2 hours up and 2 hours down to the campsite.

Day 3: Chaquicocha — Phuyupatamarca — Wiñaywayna

After breakfast, you’ll start an easy half-day hike for 6 hours to the 3rd campsite, located at Wiñaywayna. You will explore several archeological sites, experience the fastest changes in the landscape, and sleep in the cloud forest near Machu Picchu.

Day 4: Wiñaywayna — Machu Picchu — Cusco

On the final day, you’ll get up early and hike for an hour to the Sun Gate to experience the best view of Machu Picchu. Next, you’ll continue for one more hour to Machu Picchu. In the afternoon, you’ll have a guided tour of the citadel and take the Vistadome train and private van back to Cusco. Arrive back at Cusco around 7.30 pm. 

Full Itinerary
Day 1: Cusco — Km 82 — Llactapata — Ayapata

After picking you up from your hotel around 4:30 am, we will go to Km 82, arriving at approximately 8:00 am. After enjoying a delicious breakfast prepared by our trekking chef, we will head to the checkpoint to begin the trek to Machu Picchu (ensure you have your original passport). The first 2 hours of this walk are relatively easy. We will arrive at our first Inca site, Patallacta, an ancient Inca city that highlights the Inca lifestyle’s diversity and has beautiful panoramic views.

From Patallacta, we will hike for 2 hours to Hatunchaca (located on the Inca trail) to eat lunch. After lunch, we will walk for another 2 hours until we reach our first campsite, Ayapata (3300 m/10826 ft.), to go to the legendary Inca Trail than was lost for over 400 years. We will arrive at the campsite at approximately 5:00 pm, rest, take in the mountains’ view, and enjoy a hot drink and snack. We will then have dinner and a well-deserved night’s sleep.

  • Campsite Altitude: 3300m – 10826ft
  • Highest altitude: 3300m – 10826ft
  • Distance: 13.5km – 8 miles
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Day 2: Ayapata — Warmiwañuska — Runkuraqay — Chaquicocha

We will wake up with a cup of coffee or coca tea to start the day. Today is considered the longest and most challenging day of our trek. We will walk for about 4 hours to Dead Woman’s Pass (4214 m/13829 ft.). Once we reach the summit, we will experience the magic and serenity of this location. We will then trek for two more hours downhill to the Pacaymayu Valley. After enjoying lunch, we will begin to ascend the second pass for 2 hours until we reach the top of the mountain. On the way, we will stop in Runkuraqay and Sayacmarca. We will walk another 20 minutes to reach our second campsite in Chaquicocha (dry lake, 3600 m/11811 ft.) while admiring the sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range. If you are not tired, we will stargaze and appreciate the constellations’ unobstructed views.

  • Campsite Altitude: 3300m – 10826ft
  • Highest altitude: 3300m – 10826ft
  • Distance: 13.5km – 8 miles
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Day 3: Chaquiccocha — Phuyupatamarca — Wiñaywayna

On our most relaxing day, we will hike only 5 hours to our campsite while passing various ecosystems and entering the cloud forest. The majestic Salkantay mountain, the second-highest peak in Cusco’s Vilcabamba mountain range, will be visible. Upon reaching Phuyupatamarca (3600 m/11811 ft), you will be rewarded with breathtaking Urubamba River and Machu Picchu Mountain views. Our final campsite, Wiñaywayna (Forever Young), is a 3-hour hike down. We will visit 2 Inca sites on the way: Phuyupatamarca (City in the Clouds) and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). From these locations, we will have spectacular views of the Andes. We will arrive at our campsite at approximately 1:00 pm for lunch and rest. In the afternoon, we will visit the Inca site of Wiñaywayna, where we will have a comprehensive tour, and then we will return to the campsite for tea and dinner.

  • Campsite Altitude: 3600m – 11811ft
  • Highest altitude: 421700m -13835ft
  • Distance: 16km - 10 miles
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: moderate to difficult
Day 4: Wiñaywayna — Machu Picchu

As our most important day – the arrival of the legendary Lost City of the Incas – we wake up very early. After breakfast, we will go to the checkpoint and wait until it opens at 5.30 am, when we will commence our 1-hour hike to the Sungate. We will have an amazing view from this site, and Machu Picchu is just an hour’s hike downhill. Around 7:30 am, we will arrive at the final control point to begin our 2 guided tours. Later, you can explore Machu Picchu alone or climb Huayna Picchu Mountain (must be booked as far in advance as possible). Your guide will explain how to take the bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes for lunch and return to Cusco by the panoramic Vistadome train and private van back to Cusco where we will drop you off at your hotel.

  • Highest altitude: 2700m -8858ft
  • Distance: 6km - 3 miles
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Difficulty: easy

Included

Pre-departure briefing Pick up from your hotel in Cusco or Sacred Valley

All Transfers Included during the four days

Permits to Inca trail

Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu

Duffle bags for your personal stuff 7 kilos

Personal Porter to carry your stuff (Max 7 kilos)

Porters to bring food and equipment

Trekking chef to prepare your meals

Professional tour guide

Bus ticket from Machu Picchu

Panoramic Trains to return (Vistadome or 360)

4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners.

Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Camping equipment (tents, chairs, tables, pillows)

First aid kit, Oxygen tank, satellite phones

All taxes and fees included

Not Included

Huayna Picchu Mountain

Sleeping bags, Trekking poles, Air Mattress

Last Day lunch

Travel Insurance

Important to know about this tour

Permits are based on availability. All booking needs confirmation

Veg, vegan, and all dietary restrictions available on request

FAQs

How long does the Classic Inca Trail take to complete?

The Inca Trail winds through the Andes Mountains, offering breathtaking views of glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and verdant valleys. Along the way, hikers will pass by ancient ruins and get a glimpse into the lives of the Inca people who once called this place home. The trek is about 26 miles (42 kilometers) long, and most people take 4 days to complete it.

Why Is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Important?

The Inca Trail is important because it is one of the few examples of Inca engineering. The trail is a feat of engineering, with its stone steps, bridges, and tunnels. The trail is also a spiritual journey, taking hikers through some of the most sacred sites in Inca culture and arriving at Machu Picchu through the Sungate. During 4 days and nights, travelers will enjoy stunning views of the ancient ruins, the Andean Mountains, and the tropical forest.

How difficult is the Classic Inca Trail?

The Classic Inca Trail is one of the world’s most difficult hikes. It is a 26-mile (42 km) trek that starts at an altitude of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) and climbs to 13,800 feet (4,200 meters). The trailhead is located in the town of Picscacucho, near the district of Ollantaytambo – Peru. The hike takes four days and includes several steep ascents and descents. The highest point on the trail is Dead Woman’s Pass, which sits at an altitude of 13,800 feet (4,200 meters). The average elevation gain per day on the trail is approximately 3,300 feet (1,000 meters). The Classic Inca Trail is notoriously challenging due to its high altitude and challenging terrain. However, many hikers find the experience to be incredibly rewarding. If you are considering hiking the Classic Inca Trail, being prepared for the challenge is important.

What is the best time of year to hike the Classic Inca Trail?

The best time of year to hike the Classic Inca Trail is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. This is also the busiest time of year on the trail, so book your permit well in advance. The weather during the dry season is generally sunny and warm, with occasional showers. October and April are also good times to hike the Classic Inca Trail, as the weather is usually mild, and there are fewer crowds. However, this is the rainy season in Peru, so there is a chance that rainstorms will disrupt your hike. If you don’t mind cold weather and don’t mind hiking in the rain, then you can try hiking the trail during the winter months (December to February).

What should I pack for the Classic Inca Trail?

When packing for the Classic Inca Trail trek, it's important to bring essential items to help you stay comfortable and safe during the journey. Here are some general recommendations:

Clothing:

  • Comfortable hiking boots with good ankle support
  • Moisture-wicking socks (2-3 pairs)
  • Hiking pants (2-3 pairs)
  • T-shirts (2-3)
  • Long-sleeved shirts (1-2)
  • Fleece jacket or down vest
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Gloves for warmth

Equipment:

  • Daypack (25-30 liters)
  • Sleeping bag (rated for at least 0 degrees Celsius)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
  • Trekking poles
  • Water bottle or hydration system
  • Personal first aid kit with blister treatment, pain relief medication, and any necessary prescription medications
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Wet wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Quick-dry towel

Optional:

  • Camera and spare batteries/charger
  • Binoculars
  • Snacks (e.g., energy bars, trail mix)

It's important to remember that porters will be carrying most of your gear, so it's best to pack light and bring only the essentials. Additionally, the weather can be unpredictable in the Andes, so it's important to be prepared for changing conditions. Be sure to check with your tour operator for any specific gear recommendations and requirements.

Do I need a permit to hike the Classic Inca Trail?

Yes, you need a permit to hike the Classic Inca Trail. The Peruvian government has placed a daily limit of 500 people (including staff) who can start the hike from KM 82, the official starting point of the trail. If you plan to hike the Classic Inca Trail, booking your permit as early as possible is important, as permits often sell out months in advance, particularly during peak season (May-September). The Inca Permits can be obtained only by authorized tour operators like Ultimate Trekking.

Can you hike the Inca trail without a guide?

To hike the Inca Trail, you must travel with an authorized tour operator, a professional tour guide, chefs, and porters.

Is Inca Trail to Machu Picchu worth It?

The Inca Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the world. Every year, thousands of people from all over the globe come to Peru to hike the trail and see the famous Machu Picchu ruins. So, is the Inca Trail worth it? Absolutely! The Inca Trail is an incredible experience that is not to be missed. The scenery is breathtaking, the history is fascinating, and the sense of accomplishment at the end is unbeatable. Of course, hiking the Inca Trail is not for everyone. It is a challenging hike with some tough sections. But if you are up for the challenge, then the Inca Trail is worth it!

Is Inca Trail open all year round?

The Inca Trail is open almost all year round. However, February is closed every year due to maintenance or weather conditions.

What is the Cost for the Classic Inca Trail To Machu Picchu?

The average cost of the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is 650 USD to 750.USD. This includes the entrance fee to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu site, the guide, porter, and chefs.