The Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage site for both culture and nature!
Inca trail elevation
The Inca Trail sits within the 32,000 hectares (79,070 acres) of the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary.
The trail's two climate zones
The Inca Trail's cloud forest is – as its name suggests – often shrouded in mist.
The trail in the rainy and drier seasons
November to March is the wet season on the Inca Trail, and April to October is the drier season.
dirt paths uneven stone pathways stone steps (some now have wood handrails in place) narrow contour paths with very steep drop-offs a handful of bridges
What the route looks like each day
Day 1: Inca ruins of Urubamba Valley
Start point: Km 82 train station (2,709 m / 8,888 ft) End point: Huayllabamba (2,750 m / 9,022 ft) Distance: 11 km Duration: Around 5 hours Highlight: Ruins of Llactapata
Day 2: Tackle Dead Woman's Pass
Start point: Huayllabamba (2,750 m / 9,022 ft) End point: Pacamayo (3,000 m / 9,843 ft) Distance: 7.5 km Duration: Around 6 hours Highlight: Crossing Dead Woman's Pass (4,215 m / 13,829 ft)
For most of us, encountering a llama on the Inca Trail is a real bucket-list moment!
Day 3: Beautiful cloud forest and incredible ruins
Start point: Pacamayo (3,000 m / 9,843 ft) End point: Wiñaywayna (2,670 m / 8,760 ft) Distance: 16 km Duration: Around 9 hours Highlight: The ruins of Sayac Marca
For many, Day 3 of the Inca Trail is their favourite day of the trek, as the scenery and ruins are both utterly incredible!
The terraces at Wiñaywayna showcase the Incas' amazing ability to grow crops in even the most challenging mountain environments.
Day 4: Sunrise hike to Sun Gate and explore Machu Picchu
Start point: Wiñaywayna (2,670 m / 8,760 ft) End point: Machu Picchu (2,430 m / 7,972 ft) Distance: 5.5 km Duration: 2 hours Highlight: First view of Machu Picchu from Sun Gate (2,720 m / 8,924 ft) The Inca people of the Andes had a special relationship with rock. Stone informed their entire culture, and was key to their empire-building success.