Can a Beginner Hike to Machu Picchu?

by | Dec 2, 2023 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

Inca Trail Hiking for begginers

Are you ready to prove yourself and Hike Machu Picchu? My question is Can a Beginner hike to Machu Picchu? Can you do the Inca Trail without a guide? This comprehensive guide is here to help you embark on this unforgettable journey.

If you’re a novice when it comes to high-altitude treks, the thought of embarking on this journey can seem daunting. Even a multi-day trek in less challenging terrains, like the Irish hills, can appear intimidating to first-timers!

Machu Picchu is an ancient site that has been captivating people for years. While it may seem daunting, beginners can definitely trek to Machu Picchu. It may be physically demanding, but it is not just for seasoned mountaineers.

The Classic Inca Trail 4 days is designed to be accessible for individuals with moderate fitness and hiking experience. If you are up for the challenge, there is no reason to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Beginner-Friendly? 🏞️

Absolutely! You don’t need any technical skills to trek to Machu Picchu. However, that doesn’t mean you can just rock up in a pair of hiking boots and go trekking.

As with any multi-day expedition, you need to train and get as fit as you can before you depart. The fitter you are, the more enjoyable it will be!

While some say that beginners can hike to Machu Picchu without technical skills, others say that the hike is not for complete beginners and that you should be in good physical shape to tackle the challenges. Here are some tips for preparing for a hike to Machu Picchu:

  • Train: Before you go, you should train and get as fit as you can. You can try activities like swimming, cycling, or long-distance running. You can also start with small walks in a park near your home.
  • Wear comfortable clothes: Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers.
  • Consider the trail: Some trails are better for beginners than others:
    1. Cusco Inca Trail guided tours: Designed for beginners with good fitness, this trail involves an average of 10 miles of hiking per day, including a challenging ascent to Dead Woman’s Pass.
    2. Lares Trek: This trek is suitable for beginners and experienced hikers alike, and offers a chance to explore the Andes and learn about Incan history.
    3. Short Inca Trail: This is considered the easiest option to visit Machu Picchu, as it doesn’t involve any difficult high-altitude climbs and is also good for families with young children.

RELATED TOURS: Machu Picchu by Train3 Days

Inca Trail Porters
Tour Leaders Team and Succes Hikers

Beginners Fitness Requirements for Hiking Machu Picchu

If you are wondering, “How fit do I need to be to hike Machu Picchu?” You should be able to comfortably handle hillwalking for 7 hours per day, for two consecutive days.

The best way to reach this fitness level is by regular hiking, ideally at least twice per month as you prepare for this expedition.

In the three months leading up to your departure, include two long training hikes (6-8 hours) at a steady, comfortable pace on back-to-back days. These hikes should be done with an 8kg rucksack to simulate the actual trekking conditions.

In addition to trekking, incorporate cardio training into your routine as well. For more detailed guidance on how to train for Machu Picchu, please refer to our [Training Guide]

Related: Best Time To Visit Machu Picchu

Short Inca Trail 2 days
Short Inca Trail 2 Days or 4 day Inca Trail which is the best option to see Machu Picchu twice?

High Altitude at Machu Picchu

Regardless of your trekking experience, high altitude can affect anyone. The most effective strategy to mitigate the risk of altitude sickness is to adopt a slow pace, take adequate rest, maintain hydration, and eat regularly.

The unique aspect of our Machu Picchu trek is that we start at a higher altitude and descend, unlike other expeditions. However, this can still pose a challenge. For an in-depth understanding of how to cope with the altitude, please refer to our blog post.

Can a beginner climb machu picchu?

Machu Picchu, a world-renowned hiking destination nestled in the heart of Peru, offers an exhilarating trek that takes you to an altitude of 7,972 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level.

With temperatures swinging between 50°F (10°C) to 70°F (20°C) during the day and dropping to around 32°F (0°C) at night, it’s a hike that truly tests your endurance.

The terrain is a mix of steep paths, stone steps, and narrow trails. The total distance depends on your chosen route, with the classic Inca Trail spanning approximately 26 miles (42 kilometers).

Can you hike machu picchu in one day?

The difficulty of the hike varies depending on the chosen route. The classic Inca Trail is moderately challenging and suitable for individuals with a good level of fitness and hiking experience. For the more adventurous, the Salkantay Trek and the Lares Trek are tougher, with higher altitudes and longer distances.

For beginners, the One Day Short Inca Trail is your best bet. It’s less strenuous and covers a shorter distance but doesn’t compromise on the breathtaking views and the experience of the beauty of Machu Picchu.

Ancascocha Lagoon
Ancascocha Lagoon and Our Team

Alternative trail to Machu Picchu, Unique Adventure

At Tour Leaders Peru, we offer an alternative trail to Machu Picchu for those looking for a unique adventure. Our trail gives you the chance to explore this world-famous site as well as some of its lesser-known surrounding areas.

Along the way, you’ll get to experience breathtaking views and learn about Inca culture from our knowledgeable local guides. If you’re looking for something different than your typical Machu Picchu tour, then this is the perfect option! So join us today and let us show you why this alternative route offers an unforgettable experience. Trust us – it will be well worth it!

Pack Smart – Essential Gear and Supplies

To conquer Machu Picchu, you’ll need:

  • Sturdy hiking boots with ankle support
  • Comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing (layers recommended)
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket and pants
  • Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection
  • A backpack with a capacity of at least 30 liters
  • A sleeping bag suitable for cold temperatures
  • Trekking poles for stability and support
  • First aid kit with essential medications, including altitude sickness medication
  • Water bottles and water purification tablets
  • Snacks and high-energy food
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Personal toiletries and hygiene products
  • Cash for entrance fees and additional expenses

Fitness and Preparation – Getting Your Body Ready

Start a regular exercise routine to improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Gradually increase physical activity and incorporate hiking or walking on uneven terrain. Practice hiking with a loaded backpack to simulate the conditions of the trail.

Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet before the hike. Spend a few days in Cusco or other high-altitude locations before starting the hike to acclimatize to the high altitude. Learn about altitude sickness prevention techniques.

Can you get to Machu Picchu without hiking

We highly recommend hiring a professional guide or joining a group tour when hiking Machu Picchu.

They provide valuable knowledge about the trail, ensure safety, and offer cultural insights. A guide can also assist with navigation and assist in case of emergencies.

Respect the Local Community and Environment

As you take in the breathtaking views and rich history of Machu Picchu, remember to respect the local community and the environment.

Follow the principles of Leave No Trace, which include packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting the cultural heritage of the site. Also, consider supporting local businesses by purchasing souvenirs and services from them.


Is it possible for a novice to hike Machu Picchu?

Embarking on the journey to Machu Picchu is not just a physical endeavor don’t worry if you are a beginner you can hike machu picchu on your schedule.

Prepare well, respect the surroundings, and enjoy every moment of your hike. Happy adventuring!


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Cesar Conde

I’m Cesar Conde Licensed Tour Guide in Peru, owner of Tour Leaders Peru and Travel Advisor. My other side job is a Digital Nomad. I share my amazing travel experiences, stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


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