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Inca Trail Map: Step by Step to Machu Picchu

Embark on an Andean trekking adventure to Machu Picchu. Using our illustrated Inca Trail map, discover the attractions and altitudes each day of the classic 4-day Inca Trail.
by Britt Fracolli

The Inca Trail is one of the most exciting treks in the world. We created a detailed Inca Trail map to help travelers navigate their way through this unforgettable adventure.

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Updated by Melissa Dreffs in June 2020. 

Classic Inca Trail Map: Following Inca Steps

The world-famous 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu covers 31.2 miles (50 kilometers) from start to finish. The path is a sacred part of what was an extensive network of Inca footpaths called Qhapaq Ñan, meaning “Royal Road.” It was once the only route leading to the remote citadel, and today offers a unique way of arriving at the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. 

Inca Trail Map with elevations, distances, and campsites labeled.

Download Bonus: View our Inca Trail map on a larger scale as a PDF.

Start to Finish Attractions

Day 1

Walking Distance: 7.4 mi (12 km)

Gradient: Moderate

Trekkers collect their equipment in the town of Ollantaytambo and continue by bus to km 82, where the Inca Trail starts. Hikers pass through the control point and cross a bridge to the other side of the Urubamba River. The Inca Trail parts from the train tracks that mirror the river’s path through the Sacred Valley.

The terrain gradually climbs uphill towards Llactapata, a massive archeological site containing terraces and hundreds of housing structures. After lunch, walk for roughly two more hours to the first designated campsite of the Inca Trail at Wayllabamba.

Day 2

Walking Distance: 6.8 mi (11 km)

Gradient: Challenging

The second day of the trek is the most difficult. After breaking camp, the walk going up to Abra de Warmiwanusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass, is arduous and steep. Trekkers should go at their own pace and drink plenty of water. Note in the sectional view of the trail map that Abra de Warmiwanusca is the highest point in the trek with an elevation of 13,795 feet (4,205 meters).

The trail landscapes change from the moderate temperatures of the Sacred Valley to the arid and cold high plains. The camp is set up at Pacaymayu. Far away from bright city lights, hundreds of twinkling stars are visible overhead. Read more about Inca stars and constellations.

Day 3

Distance: 10 mi (16 km)

Gradient: Moderate

Archaeological gems are the highlights of the third day of the Inca Trail.

The ruins of Runkurakay are semi-circular in design and reside in a location with a beautiful view of the Valley of Pacaymayu, or “Hidden River” Valley below. The next pass is a steep climb away but offers gorgeous vistas of the Vilcabamba and Pumasillo mountain ranges.

Resting at an elevation of about 11,800 ft (3,600 m), Sayaqmarca is a set of ruins located on a cliff with a panoramic view of the surrounding terrain.

Continuing the ascent, trekkers pass the third and final mountain pass of the trek at Phuyupatamarca, undoubtedly one of the most unique villages along the Inca Trail. It’s located on the side of a ravine looking down on the Urubamba River surrounded by terraces. The ruins are covered in a blanket of mist more often than not.

Trekkers camp at Winaywayna.

Day 4

Distance: 3.7 mi (6 km) to Machu Picchu

Gradient: Moderate

Wake up before the sun on the fourth and last day of the Inca Trail. After an early breakfast at 4:30 am, the group is on the trail by 5 am to head to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu. Then it’s time to discover Machu Picchu.

Before Walking the Inca Trail

There’s more to walking the Inca Trail than just showing up at the trailhead with your pack strapped to your back.

  • Best time to go: The best time to trek in and around the Sacred Valley is during the dry season, generally running between May and September. The rainy season is between November and March. 
  • When not to go: Don’t make plans to hike the Inca Trail in February. The path is closed every February for conservation work and maintenance.
  • Reserving your permit: Travelers need a permit to walk the Inca Trail. Each day there are 500 permits available, approximately 200 allocated to tourists and 300 to guides, porters, and cooks. Demand for Inca Trail permits is high, especially during the dry season. Plan ahead because permits sometimes book up months in advance! If there are no permits for the dates you want to walk the classic Inca Trail, consider an alternative route: Lares or Salkantay.
  • What to bring: Download our complimentary packing checklist for trekking to Machu Picchu.

Summary

  • The classic 4-day Inca Trail is a breathtaking 31.2 miles (50 kilometers) from start to finish.
  • The trek will take you through 8 Inca ruins: Llactapata, Wayllabamba, Warmwanuska, Pacaymayu, Runkurakay, Sayaaqmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Winawayna, and finally Machu Picchu.
  • Book well in advance as there are only 500 permits per day, and tickets sell out fast!

Want to learn more about trekking to Machu Picchu? Browse our Treks to Machu Picchu guide to compare options, get tips about seasonal weather, and so much more. If you’re ready to book your trek, contact our team and reserve your spot along the Inca Trail.