How Long is the Inca Trail?
The Inca Trail is possibly the most famous hike in the world and definitely one of the most sought after. It is a four-day, three-night hike that starts in Kilometer 82 (a small town between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes) and ends at Inti Punku or the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu.
The Incas in their prime built an extensive network and trails across their empire and the Inca Trail was the first to be found by Hiram Bingham, the explorer who is credited with discovering Machu Picchu.
It is said that they had built anywhere from 23,000 to 45,000 km of pathway throughout their empire crisscrossing Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Chile, and Argentina.
The Inca Trail is 26 miles (43km) long and combines beautiful mountains, lush cloud forests, subtropical jungle and, an amazing mixture of original Incan stones, ruins, and tunnels.
As previously stated you must have Inca Trail permits and you are required to go through an agency. It is best to purchase entrance permits at least six months in advance due to it’s high demand.
Inca Trail Length Day-by-Day
Day 1: (7.8 miles or 12.5 km)
This first day is relatively easy and flat. It starts off with approximately 5-7 hours of hiking before you get to your campsite. You will hike the first 3 miles (5 km) along the Urubamba River to the ruins of Llactapata. After lunch, you will continue along the Cusichaca River until you reach your campsite at Huayllabamba.
Day 2: (5.1 miles or 8.3 km)
This is the most difficult day. Today is approximately 8-9 hours of hiking with lots of elevation gain. We’ll begin the day climbing Warmiwañusca (Dead Woman’s) pass, Inca Trail’s highest point, on the morning of the second day which will take approximately 5.5 hours until we reach our lunch site shortly after getting over the pass. The pass shows an amazing view of Pitusiray and Colquecruz mountains if it is not cloudy.
After lunch, it is approximately 1.5 hours to the campsite at Pacaymayo near Runkuraqay.
DAY 3: (4.5 miles or 7.3 km)
The third day is slightly easier than the previous but longer. There is less elevation gain but is the longest day of hiking at approximately 10 hours of hiking. This is made up of the scenery as it is possibly the most beautiful day on the trek. The trail climbs begins up another pass. It is approximately an hour to the ruins of Runkuracay and then up a second pass to the ruins of Sayacmarca. The ruins of Sayacmarca has a gorgeous view.
From here we will go up the third and final pass for the day through the cloud forest to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, also known as Cloud-Level Town. From there we hike to our campsite at Winay Wayna, which means Forever Young.
DAY 4: (6.9 miles or 11 km)
Have an EARLY breakfast to see the sunrise over the ruins of Machu Picchu. You will hike the remaining 6.9 miles (approx 4 hours) to Machu Picchu, Arrive at Inti Punku, the Gate of the Sun, entrance to Machu Picchu in the morning for a 2-hour guided tour.
So there you have it! The Inca Trail trek is a relatively moderate hike. But when you combine the length with the high altitude it can take a toll on your body. Fortunately, the sights along the way will help to lessen the pain on your body. It’s absolutely an experience you are going to love!
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There you have it. The Inca Trail is 26 miles or 43 kilometers in length. How are you planning to prepare for that duration on the Inca Trail? Let us know in the comments?