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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the world's most renowned trekking routes, offering an unparalleled blend of breathtaking natural scenery and historical intrigue.

This iconic path winds through the majestic Andes Mountains of Peru, traversing lush cloud forests, alpine tundra, and ancient Incan ruins. Spanning approximately 26 miles (42 kilometers). Along the trail, hikers encounter diverse ecosystems and a series of archaeological treasures. Rich in cultural heritage, the Inca Trail offers a unique glimpse into the ingenuity and resilience of the Incan civilization. For adventurers and history enthusiasts alike, this trek is not merely a hike but a trek through an ancient civilisation.

Why trek the Inca Trail with KE Adventure

KE Adventure has been trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, to Cusco and the surrounding mountain ranges since 1997 when KE founder, Glenn Rowley, joined our inaugural group to complete the “Inca Trail and Beyond”. This trek has become a KE classic and is often listed by our staff as one of their "best ever" treks. In fact, Vanessa Douglas in our sales team took this trip as her honeymoon! 

With over 30 years’ experience of operating Inca Trail treks and tours around Cusco, we know how to make the best of your precious time to ensure that you trek the most beautiful trails and see the main sights at the right times and in the right order. Plus we offer “off-the-beaten-track” options! Once you arrive, you will be in great hands. Our Peruvian guides are the best in the business and will ensure you feel welcome and well taken care of. Camp standards on a KE Inca Trail trip are amongst the best in the world!

Inca Trail routes to Machu Picchu

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Peaks Peaks
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Why do you need to book your Inca Trail to Machu Picchu early?

Such is the popularity of the classic Inca Trail trek, the numbers of trekkers is controlled by the Peruvian government and permits are limited to 500 people per day.

Of these 500 permits, approximately 200 are allocated to tourists and 300 to porters, cooks and guides. Permits for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu go on sale in January each year and are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Each year we see the permits sell out quicker than the year before with popular dates selling out immediately. For this reason we strongly recommend that you book one year in advance to be sure of a place. Learn more information on trips which require an Inca Trail trekking permit.

Highlights of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Trek through Dead Woman's Pass

The highest point along the Inca Trail is called Warmiwanusca, also known as Dead Woman's Pass, and it stands tall at 4,200m above sea level. This pass has gained a fearsome reputation among hikers and everyone who embarks on an Inca Trail trek knows that the path will eventually take them up and over this infamous pass. Failing to cross it means not completing this iconic trek and having to return to Cusco without reaching Machu Picchu. To prepare for this challenge it is recommended that anyone planning to do the trek should get ready months in advance by completing other hikes, at lower altitudes, to build up their physical stamina.


Trek to the stunning Sun Gate

The Sun Gate, also known as Inti Punku, offers a beautiful panoramic view of Machu Picchu and is situated to the side of Machu Picchu Mountain. At an elevation of 2,720m above sea level, the trail leading to it is not as steep as the one to Machu Picchu Mountain even though they run parallel. During the Inca era, Inti Punku played a role as a checkpoint for people entering or exiting the fortress. Its considerable distance from the ruins has led many to speculate that it may have primarily catered to elite members of the Empire. The breathtaking view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate makes the two hour trek well worth the effort.



Which Inca Trail holiday should I choose?

Although the “Inca Trail” is the classic way to reach Machu Picchu, there are thousands of Inca trails to Machu Picchu that criss-cross the Peruvian Andes presenting a wealth of choice in routes, terrain and difficulty for your walk to Machu Picchu.

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Trek

If time is precious and you really just want to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, then we recommend the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu holiday. After 2 days acclimatizing in the colourful city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, you will head off onto the Inca Trail. Averaging 10kms of walking on each of the 4 days, you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba.

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu


Should you want a more challenging trek in the High Andes and a flavour of ancient Inca culture, the Choquequirao trek is your best bet. The ruins at Choquequirao rival Machu Picchu with more buildings and terraces being discovered each year. The 8 day alternative Inca Trail trek to the ‘Cradle of Gold' is via the Apurimac Canyon involving a descent and ascent of 2,000m. There is a day to explore the ruins before trekking out via the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the Totora Pass (4,500m) before descending to the Urubamba Valley and our final destination, Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail and Beyond

This is a long-time KE classic trek that includes the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu but adds much more to the experience. After acclimatizing in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco and the Sacred Valley, we begin a picturesque trek through the Silque Valley and over Ancascocha Pass (4,625m) before meeting up with the Inca Trail and following it to Machu Picchu. Starting the Inca Trail after 3 days of additional walking at altitude means we approach the trail fit and acclimatized and therefore better able to enjoy the stupendous views.

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu

With quiet campsites and no permit complications, the Salkantay Trail provides a fantastic alternative to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Passing close to Salkantay, the "Savage Mountain" of the Quechua people, this short trek ends at Intihuatana. From there we take the train to Machu Picchu for a full guided visit. Returning to Cusco, we travel south across the continental divide to Puno and spend a day exploring Lake Titicaca with a boat trip out to the amazing floating islands of the Uros people.

Luxury Salkantay Lodge trek

Want to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu but in comfort? Then choose the Salkantay Trail. Staying in excellent hotels and luxurious mountain lodges, there are 6 days trekking up the Salkantay Valley in Peru's Cordillera Vilcabamba. This route is served by 4 lodges, each with tasteful twin-share en suite rooms and hot showers, log-burning stoves, hot tubs and great food. Highlights include the Salkantay Pass (4,683m) and the unusual view of Machu Picchu from the Llactapata Pass. Andean trekking in style!





More Information About the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The optimal periods for a Machu Picchu visit and Inca Trail hike are from late March to May and from September to mid-December. These months are situated just before and after the rainy season, ensuring decent weather and fewer crowds. However, the dry season from June to August is also an excellent option, albeit more popular and potentially crowded.

Worldwide Adventure Holidays

We offer over 360 active adventures in 100 countries worldwide. Best known for our pioneering itineraries and challenging trips with an 'edge', we also offer a range of easier guided and self-guided walking, cycling, family and wildlife journeys throughout the world. Based in Keswick in the Lake District, we are passionate about creating unique travel experiences for our customers.

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From leisurely walking and cycling to push-your-limits expeditions.

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