How long Does it take to Walk the Inca trail to Machu Picchu?

by | Dec 3, 2023 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

How long is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

How long is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? Every year, an impressive number of 25,000 hikers from all around the globe embark on an extraordinary journey along the ancient trail constructed by the Incas. This trail leads them to the awe-inspiring citadel of Machu Picchu, nestled deep within the lush high jungle of Cusco.

The adventure commences in the town of Qorihuayrachina, at kilometer 88 of the Quillabamba railway – Cusco, and spans 3 to 4 days of challenging yet rewarding trekking.

This legendary path grants tourists access to the magnificent Machu Picchu, encompassing a breathtaking array of altitudes, climates, and ecosystems, ranging from the grandeur of the Andean plains to the enchanting cloud forests.

RELATED: When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

Inca Trail Tours
Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

The Renowned Inca Trail Walking Distance

The Inca trail 4 days spanning 42 kilometers (26 miles), presents a unique experience. Campsites along the trail are carefully assigned by the National Park Rangers Ministerio de Cultura and Sernarp. Making it difficult to predict the exact distance to be covered each day.

However, expect to embrace an average of 6 to 7 hours of invigorating hiking per day for the initial three days, followed by a final day of 2 hours before reaching the majestic Machu Picchu.

For those seeking a shorter but no less enchanting trek, the 2-day Machu Picchu trek is available. This alternative route commences at Km. 104, allowing trekkers to join the trail on its second day. Although it means missing out on the initial two days of the classic trek, it offers a wonderful opportunity for those with limited time or a preference for a shorter hike.

Sights and Scenery: The Inca Trail’s Natural Wonders

Prepare to be awestruck by the remarkable sights and scenery that adorn the Inca Trail. From cloud forests teeming with biodiversity to towering Andean peaks, the trail offers a feast for the eyes at every turn.

Keep your camera ready for unexpected encounters with local wildlife and panoramic views that will take your breath away.

Machu Picchu Trek
Final Day Machu Picchu After Salkantay Trek for 5 day Hike

Choose Your Adventure: Hiking Options for All Levels

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, the Inca Trail has something for everyone. There are various hiking options available, tailored to all levels of fitness. You can choose between the classic 4-day hike, a more challenging 5-day trek, or shorter 2-day hikes for those pressed for time or seeking a less strenuous experience.

RELATED: Can you do the Inca Trail without a guide?

Timing is Everything: Best Time to Hike the Inca Trail

While the best time to hike the trail is not explicitly mentioned in the files provided, generally, the dry season (May-September) is considered ideal for hiking the Inca Trail.

October and November are the optimal months to visit Machu Picchu, despite being in the wet season.

However, keep in mind that these months also coincide with peak tourist season.

Ancascocha Trek
Hike Ancascocha Trek 7 days + Inca Trail

Distances and Walking Times on the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu stretches out to a total distance of 43 kilometers (or 26.12 miles). This journey is broken up by camping sites that have been strategically assigned by the Ministry of Culture and are typically spaced 10 to 13 kilometers apart.

Consequently, the walking times can range between 5 to 8 hours per day for the first three days, and around 2 hours for the final day. The exact distance covered and hours of walking each day can fluctuate based on each hiker’s physical condition. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the distances between key points along the trail:

  • From Qoriwayrachina to Kusichaka: 3 kilometers (1.9 miles)
  • Kusichaka to Wayllabamba: 8 kilometers (5 miles)
  • Wayllabamba to Abra de Warmiwañusca: 10 kilometers (6.1 miles)
  • Warmiwañusca to Runturakay: 5 kilometers (3.1 miles)
  • Runturakay to Sayakmarka: 6 kilometers (3.7 miles)
  • Sayakmarka to Phuyupatamarka: 5 kilometers (3.1 miles)
  • Phuyupatamarka to Wiñaywayna: 3 kilometers (1.9 miles)
  • Wiñaywayna to Machu Picchu: 5 kilometers (3.1 miles)

Remember, the journey is about more than just the destination – so take these distances into account, pace yourself, and enjoy every step of this incredible trek!

Inca TrailMap
Map Of The Inca Trail 4 Days

Don’t Forget Your Permit: How to Obtain Necessary Permits

Remember, permits are required to hike the Inca Trail. Permits can only be obtained through an authorized tour operator, so plan as they sell out quickly. The Peruvian government limits the number of hikers permitted each day to protect the trail’s integrity, so early booking is essential.

Your Journey’s Duration: Estimated Time to Walk the Inca Trail

The estimated time to walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can vary due to several factors. Generally, the classic 4-day hike covers approximately 26 miles (42 kilometers). But remember, factors such as weather, altitude sickness, and physical fitness can impact hiking time.


The Inca Trail isn’t just a hike; if you want to know How long it takes to walk the Inca trail to machu picchu first plan your trip to Per. It’s an unforgettable adventure filled with historical insights, stunning landscapes, and personal achievement. So lace up your hiking boots, and prepare for the journey of a lifetime!


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Cesar Conde

I’m Cesar Conde, owner of Tour Leaders Peru & Travel Advisor and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own amazing Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


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