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How to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu

  • Inca Trail Specialist
  • Updated: May 27, 2022

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that many people dream of. This ancient trail winds through the Andean mountains, passing through beautiful landscapes and ancient Incan ruins before reaching the iconic Machu Picchu. If you’re planning to embark on this adventure, here’s a guide on how to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

  1. Plan ahead

To hike the Inca Trail, you’ll need to plan ahead. The Inca Trail is a popular trek, and permits are required to hike it. Permits are limited, so it’s essential to book your trip in advance. You’ll also need to prepare physically for the hike by exercising regularly and ensuring you’re in good health.

  1. Choose a reputable tour operator

There are many tour operators that offer Inca Trail tours. Choose a reputable operator that provides experienced guides, quality equipment, and takes care of the environment. Do your research, read reviews, and ask for recommendations from friends or travel agencies.

  1. Pack appropriately

Packing appropriately for the Inca Trail is essential. Your backpack should include warm clothing, hiking boots, a rain jacket, a sun hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent. You should also bring a first-aid kit, snacks, and plenty of water. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning views along the way.

  1. Start at Kilometer 82

The Inca Trail officially starts at Kilometer 82, located in the Sacred Valley near the town of Ollantaytambo. After checking in with the officials at the checkpoint, you’ll cross a bridge over the Urubamba River and pass through Miskay, a small village. The trail then leads through lush forests, past waterfalls, and ancient Incan ruins.

  1. Pace yourself

The Inca Trail is a challenging trek, and it’s important to pace yourself. Take breaks as needed and don’t push yourself too hard. The first day is considered the easiest, with a gradual climb and relatively short distance to cover. The second day is the most challenging, with a steep climb up to Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point on the trail.

  1. Enjoy the views

The Inca Trail offers stunning views of the Andean mountains and lush forests. Take the time to enjoy the scenery and appreciate the history and culture of the trail. Don’t forget to take breaks and capture photos of the breathtaking views along the way.

  1. Arrive at Machu Picchu

After four days of hiking, you’ll finally arrive at Machu Picchu, the iconic Incan citadel. Take a guided tour of the ruins and learn about the history and culture of this fascinating site. Don’t forget to take in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.



Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a challenging and rewarding experience that offers stunning views and a glimpse into ancient Incan culture. By planning ahead, choosing a reputable tour operator, packing appropriately, pacing yourself, enjoying the views, and arriving at Machu Picchu, you can have a safe and unforgettable Inca Trail adventure.