10 Photos That Will Convince You to Hike the Inca Trail

Machu Picchu is no doubt one of the most famous sights in the world and prevails on bucket lists worldwide. Most visitors get there by taking the train to Aguas Calientes, the nearest town, and then heading up for a day visit. However, if you are looking for something a bit more adventurous, I would recommend hiking the 4 day Inca Trail.

The classic Inca Trail is the most famous of multiple treks that lead to Machu Picchu. It’s a hike of 43km that leads you through scenic valleys, majestic mountain passes, lush cloud forests, and of course Inca ruins. A permit is required for the hike and you must go with a registered tour company. Most of these companies offer similar experiences and include all food and camping gear, as well as options for hiring a porter to carry a portion of your things.

The trek is definitely challenging, but can be completed by most people with a basic level of fitness. The most important preparation is acclimatizing to the altitude, which reaches 4200m at the highest point. Spend at least 2 nights (I would recommend 3) in Cusco, which sits at 3400m, before starting the trek.

It sounds cliche but the Inca Trail was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. While Machu Picchu was an incredible sight, the trek itself was far more rewarding and the highlight of my trip.

Here are 10 photos from the Inca Trail that will convince you to get your hiking shoes out (or in my case, buy hiking shoes) and book your trek.

girl hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Day 1: Pure excitement at the start of the hike.
Inca ruin of patallacta seen on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Day 1: Passing by the Inca Ruin of Patallacta.
urubamba river seen on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Day 1: Hiking along Urubamba River. This was by far the flattest section of the entire trek, not complaining.
hiking through cloud forests on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Day 2: Meeting new friends in lush cloud forests.
mountain scene at dead woman's pass on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Day 2: View from Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of the trek at 4200m above sea level.
hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu through thick fog
Day 3: Hiking through a misty cloud forest.
mountain lake seen on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Day 3: Just a lake on top of a mountain.
girl hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in fog
Day 3: Not even heavy fog can obscure the beauty of this landscape.
beautiful sunset over the mountains at winay Wayna on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Day 3: A magical sunset over the mountains.
girl standing in front of Machu Picchu
Day 4: Arriving at Machu Picchu. Tired but completely and utterly satisfied.

 

Ready to book your trek yet? Even though it was painful at times, I would go back and do it again in a heartbeat. We went in May 2017 with Peru Treks and I have nothing but positive things to say about them.ย Here’s a photo of our entire group with the guides and porters.

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