inca trails map

Inca Trail Map

The map above displays the general route of the classic Inca Trail 4 days. Nowadays, most Inca Trail expeditions begin at km 82 along the road, although some companies start at km 88, which doesn’t make a significant difference. Below is a brief day-by-day summary of the hike:

Day One: The first day is a relatively easy walk along the Inca Trail to the first significant archaeological site, Llactapata. From there, you will continue until you arrive at the first campsite, usually located at Wayllabamba. The first day serves as a warm-up for the second day, which is considered the most challenging of the whole trek.

Day Two: The second day requires you to tackle the daunting Dead Woman’s Pass (Warmiwañusca), which is the highest point on the Inca Trail. For most hikers, this is the most demanding portion of the hike. If you manage to conquer the pass, you can rest assured that the rest of the Inca Trail is doable. After the pass, you’ll descend to your campsite, typically located at Pacaymayo, for a well-deserved break.

Day Three: Day three involves a lengthy hike up and down, but it is not as strenuous as Dead Woman’s Pass. The third day provides stunning vistas and a few archaeological sites, including Runkurakay, Sayaqmarka, and Phuyupatamarka, which you’ll have some time to explore. You’ll then descend to the Wiñaywayna campsite. If you have any energy left, you can walk an additional 30 minutes to the Wiñaywayna archaeological site before settling in at the campsite.

Day Four: You’ll start the final leg of the hike early in the morning, which is the shortest portion of the trail, giving you plenty of time to explore Machu Picchu. However, before that, you’ll trek to Intipunku, also known as the Sun Gate, to witness the sun rise over the mountains (if you’re there early enough). It’s not a true sunrise over Machu Picchu, but it’s still an awe-inspiring sight. Then you’ll proceed to Machu Picchu and the conclusion of your journey.

The elevation profile of the Inca Trail above displays approximate altitudes along the trail. As shown, the second day of the hike has the most significant altitude gain, rising from about 9,800 feet (3,000 m) to 13,780 feet (4,200 m) as you cross Dead Woman’s Pass. Days three and four of the Inca Trail are mostly downhill as you make your way to the Machu Picchu archaeological site. At 7,972 feet (2,430 m) above sea level, Machu Picchu is situated at a lower altitude than almost every other point along the Inca Trail. To learn more about Machu Picchu’s altitude and altitude sickness prevention, please read further.

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