Daily Distances on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The daily distances on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu will vary depending on your itinerary. Firstly, we highly recommend our classic Inca Trail itinerary as it stretches out the time spent on the trail. This you more time to experience each site along the way and stay in the best campsites. Check out our upcoming trips.

Learn from the Experts

I have trekked the famous trail over 20 times and we have designed our itinerary to offer up the best of the region, along with the best way to experience the Inca trail. The daily distances you will trek on a multi-day trek will give you a greater understanding of how you need to train for the adventure!

Here are the Daily Distances on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Of course, the daily distances you will cover will depend on what itinerary you have chosen to take.

Distances on the Inca trail

Distances on the Inca Trail

Once you have reviewed the daily distances on the trail, then you should read about the Elevation Gains on the Inca Trail.  The information on these two combined blogs should then give you a better idea of how you want to train and prepare. For the majority of the Inca Trail, you will be hiking up and down steep and uneven stairs.  If you are not on stairs, then you will be hiking up and down trails on steep and rocky terrain.

Therefore, you have to make sure you have the conditioning in the legs and body to handle the distances and more importantly the steps up and down. You need to focus on strength and endurance training for this type of hiking. We are available to discuss training with you at any stage. Read some REVIEWS from our trips.

Daily distances on the Inca trail

Daily Distances on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

In total, the Inca Trail covers a total of 42km/ 26 miles over four days.  The following information is only if you are doing our Classic 5 Day Inca Trail itinerary.  If you are doing the Traditional 4 Day trek or the Salkantay Route, then your daily distances will be slightly different.  When you think of 42km/ 26 miles in four days, that does not seem like a huge amount!  However, the terrain you are covering over those four days is extremely challenging terrain.
We prefer the Classic 5 Day Itinerary for a few reasons.  Firstly, it gives you more time to enjoy each site on the trail.  Secondly, it breaks down the daily distances on the trail each day, so that you spread the hiking distances out.  Finally, it gives you two visits to Machu Picchu, where the other itineraries only have one!
Daily Distances on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Day 1).  Wayllabamba

We will pick you up from the hotel at 6am in Ollantaytambo and drive to Piscacucho at 2,700m/ 9,000 feet.  This is the famous KM 82 marker, and the starting point of our trek. After checking in and showing passports and permits, the trek will begin!

In the first stretch of the hike we will have beautiful views of the landscape and surrounding peaks, such as Apu Huakay Willka, 5,850m/ 19,193 feet, otherwise known as Veronica. We will begin to see the many plants and trees of the region, which our team will explain as we walk.

After approximately 3/4 hours of walking today, we will reach the Inca City of Llactapata 2,750m/ 9020 feet. From this point, we make a short descent and follow the trail towards Tarayoc. There is a beautiful Incan site right off the trail. We will explore this site before sitting down for a delicious lunch.

After lunch, prepared by our chef and kitchen team, we will keep moving up the trail.  We will have a gradual ascent in this semi-tropical valley until we reach our campground at Wayllabamba, at 3,100m/ 10,170 feet. The total time trekking today is approximately 6 hours and you will cover a distance of 10.6km/ 6.6 miles.

Camp on our first night on the Classic 5 Day Inca Trail

Day 2). Pacumayu

We will rise early this morning for breakfast.  Today will be one of the toughest and most physically demanding days on the trail. We will be reaching the highest point in the Inca Trail, the high mountain pass of Abra Warmihuañusca, or the Dead Woman Pass, at 4,215m/ 13,776 feet.

Along the climb today, the landscape will change from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). We will also have the chance to spot domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on Ichu, one of the few plants that grow at this altitude.

The trail will cross an area of the Cloud Forest, which is inhabited by many different kinds of birds and animals.  You may see hummingbirds and sparrows and if you are lucky, you may even see the Andean Bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctus Ornatus).

We will have lunch at Llulluchapampa, 3,850m/ 12,589 feet, where we will be treated with beautiful views out over the valley we have just came through. After lunch, we will continue further upwards to the top of the Dead Woman’s Pass. After a strenuous morning and early afternoon of ascending the pass, you will get to the summit to celebrate.

We will spend time enjoying the views and having a rest, before we begin the steep, downhill trek, on uneven stairs, for approximately 700m/ 2,296 feet down to our campsite for the night. Tonight, we will be sleeping in Pacaymayu Camp at 3,500m/ 11,482 feet.

The distance today will cover 12 km/ 7.46 miles and will take approximately 8 hours of hiking.

Distances on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

Day 3). Phuyupatamarca

We start the day with a steep hike up to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay at 3,970m/ 13,022 feet. Halfway up the pass, we will stop to visit the archaeological complex with the same name. This site, located at 3,800m/ 12,464 feet, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower.

After visiting the site, we will continue to the top of the second pass 3,970m/ 13,022 feet. From there, we descend steeply towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest. We will then arrive at the beautiful complex of Sayacmarca at 3,624m/ 11,887 feet, where we will take a tour.

After the tour, it will take another 45 minutes to reach Chaquicocha, where a beautiful lunch will await! It has been a long morning until we reach the lunch spot, so having an extra snack with you to tide you over will be important today!

After lunch, we will continue on the trail towards the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca, at 3,700m/ 12,136 feet, where we spend the night. This section of the trail takes us through lush landscapes, with great views off the trail towards Mount Salkantay and the Amazon Forest.

We will go through the first of the Incan Tunnels before reaching our camp site at Abra Phuyupatamarca, which means ‘town over the clouds’. Tonight, we sleep high above Macchu Picchu, and will have stunning sunsets and views of the surrounding mountains.

Today you will cover a total of 10.5 km/ 6.5 miles and it will take approximately 6/7 hours of hiking today.Day 2 on the Classic 5 Day Inca Trail

Day 4). Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes

After our delicious breakfast accompanied by the “Apus” sacred mountains we will descend for about three hours on steep steps. This part of the famous Inca Trail was only found in the 1980’s after a large fire.

After the long 1,000m/ 3,280 feet descent we will arrive at Intipata for some rest. We will have an amazing view of the Urubamba valley from Intipata. We will continue the descent for half an hour to our lunch spot.

Just past the lunch spot, we will visit one of the most impressive sites on route to Machu Picchu, Wiñayhuayna.  We will hike back the same way, where will have our last lunch on the Inca trail. Here, we will have the opportunity to thank and tip our porter team and cooks for the great experience we had in this Inca Trail.

Distances on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

After lunch, the trail follows a narrow path that leads us around Machu Picchu mountain, all the way to the Sun Gate (Intipunku). Look out for the Inca face carved beautifully into the rock face.

After enjoying our first stunning view of Machu Picchu, we keep descending taking breaks at key points on the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu. There will be plenty of time to take pictures and savor this final hike along the Inca Trail.

It is important to take our time to truly take in this magical place. From the sun gate, it takes about 1 hour 15 minutes to reach the city of Machu Picchu, arriving at that post card view of Machu Picchu.

We will take photographs and enjoy the beauty of the city and surrounding mountains before we take the bus from the Inca city of Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes.

Tonight, we will spend the night here in a hotel in Aguas Calientes. After a nice shower and rest, we will have a great dinner out at the famous Indio Feliz restaurant.

The total distance walked today is 11km/ 7 miles and will take approximately 6 hours of hiking.

Daily distances on route to Machu Picchu

Day 5). Machu Picchu – Cusco

If you have elected to hike up Huayna Picchu you will start an hour earlier than the rest of the team. The permit for Huayna Picchu needs to be booked and paid for at the time of booking your permit. Learn more about Inca Trail permits. Huayna Picchu offers spectacular views of Machu Picchu city.

Distances on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu

We wake up early and board a bus, which will take us back up to Machu Picchu.  There, we begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. We will then have limited free time as we exit Machu Picchu.

In the late morning, we head back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch. In the early afternoon we will take the 1 hour 50 minute train ride back to Ollantaytambo.  Finally, by private bus, we will return from Ollantaytambo to Cusco, where we arrive around 6pm.  Today you will only be walking through the town of Machu Picchu!

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Get in Touch Today

We hope this information on the daily distances on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was helpful for your planning. Our Classic 5 Day Inca Trail itinerary is the best way to experience the beautiful trail to Machu Picchu!

The classic Inca Trail itinerary offers you more time to enjoy each of the Inca sites along the Inca Trail. It also includes two visits to Machu Picchu!  READ MORE about why this is the best itinerary!

If you want to make the journey to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail, then GET IN TOUCH today! Let us help you make this incredible journey with the Incas!

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