Hiking the Inca Trail


The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the world’s great hikes. At 43 km (26.7 mi), the route is coincidentally similar in distance to a marathon, but hikers spend three and a half days completing it.  In August 2015, my wife Rachel and I hiked the trail during our honeymoon.  We both agreed that hiking the Inca Trail was one of the most memorable experiences of our lives, but also one that we were quite happy doing only once.  Here is my series of articles on the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.  The articles start with planning, continue through each stage of the hike, and finish with a couple of special topics.

Series on the Inca Trail (Camino Inka)

Planning a Trip to Bolivia and Peru (background)

Introduction (Cusco to Ollantaytambo by Bus)

Day One (Piscacucho to Wayllabamba)
12 km (7.5 mi) distance, +300 m (984 ft) elevation

Day Two (Wayllabamba to Pacamayo)
11 km (6.8 mi) distance, +1,200 m (3,937 ft)/-600 m (1,969 ft) elevation

Day Three (Part I, Pacamayo to Qunchamarka AND Part II,  Chaquicocha to Wiñay Wayna)
15 km (9.3 mi) distance, +350 m (1,148 ft)/-1,300 m (4,265 ft) elevation

Day Four (Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu)
5 km (3.1 mi) distance, +40 m (131 ft)/-265 m (869 ft) elevation

Inca Trail’s End: Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu in Infrared

Identifying a Hummingbird at the Inca Trail’s Second Pass