The Inca Trail is one of the most exciting treks in the world, and to help travelers navigate their way through this memorable adventure, we created a detailed map of the Inca Trail.
Step by Step to Machu Picchu
Inca Trail map, following Inca steps
The classic 4-day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu begins in the Sacred Valley. Use the map to follow along on a day-by-day breakdown of the adventure.
Distance: 7.5 mi (12 km)
Trekkers collect their equipment in the town of Ollantaytambo (red dot on the far left of the map) and continue by bus to km 82, where the Inca Trail starts. Here trekking groups go across the bridge to the other side of the Urubamba River. As referenced in the map, the Inca Trail (orange dotted line) parts from the train tracks (yellow line) that mirror the river’s path (blue line) through the Sacred Valley.
The terrain is relatively flat until the small village of Miskay; then the uphill climb begins. After lunch, it’s about a two hour trek to the first campsite of Wayllabamba.
Distance: 5.6 mi (9 km)
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 map that Abra de Warmiwanusca is the highest point in the trek with an elevation of 13,780 ft (4,200 m).
The landscape along the trail transitions from the moderate temperatures of the Sacred Valley into the arid and cold high plains.
Distance: 9.3 mi (15 km)
The third day of the trek is sprinkled with archaeological gems.
The ruins of Runkurakay are semi-circular in design and reside in a location with a beautiful view of the Valley of Paqaymayo, or “Hidden River” Valley below. The next pass is a steep climb away, but offers beautiful vistas of the Vilcabamba and Pumasillo mountain ranges.
Resting at an elevation of about 11,800 ft, Sayacmarca is an interesting 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 small villages along the Inca Trail. It’s located on the side of a ravine looking down on the Urubamba River that’s surrounded by terraces. The ruins are covered in a blanket of mist more often than not.
Trekkers will camp at the ruins of Winay Wayna (the fourth red dot along the orange line, moving from left to right).
Distance: 2 mi (3 km)
Trekkers wake up before the sun on the fourth and last day of the Inca Trail. After an early breakfast at 4:30 a.m., the group is on the trail by 5 a.m. in order to reach Inti Punku, the Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu for sunrise.
Then it’s time to discover Machu Picchu.
Before booking 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. Consider the following before going:
When not to go | Don’t make plans to hike the Inca Trail in February. It’s closed at this time every year for conservation work and maintenance.
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 October and April.
Reserve a 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.