How Long is The 4 Day Inca Trail – Itinerary & Elevation

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

Inca Trail Distance 4 days

How to Prepare for the 4-Day Inca Trail Trek, Peru? Are you ready for an exhilarating adventure that combines breathtaking scenery, historical intrigue, and physical challenge? pack your gear and be ready to hike the iconic 4-day Inca Trail trek in Peru. This guide will provide you with essential information and tips to help you prepare for and thoroughly enjoy this unforgettable journey.

Your Journey Begins: The Starting Point

Your adventure starts at Kilometer 82, near the charming town of Ollantaytambo. Immerse yourself in the local culture before setting off on the trail.

Don’t forget to take a moment to soak in the anticipation – your journey through the heart of the ancient Empire is about to begin!

RELATED: Ad ONS Day Trips in Cusco

Inca TrailMap
Map Of The Inca Trail 4 Days

Embrace the Challenge: The Inca Trail Trek Distance

Embark on the magnificent Classic Inca Trail Route to Machu Picchu, a thrilling 26-mile hike that spans over 4 days and reaches a breathtaking elevation of 13,828 feet (4,215 meters). This trek presents a delightful challenge, but fear not! With a solid fitness routine before the hike, most hikers conquer this adventure with ease. So lace up your boots and get ready for an unforgettable journey!

Be prepared for a moderate to challenging hike that includes steep ascents, descents, high altitude, and uneven terrain. But don’t worry – the stunning views and ancient ruins you’ll encounter along the way make every step worth it.

RELATED: How hard is The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

Marvel at the Scenery: What You’ll See

As you traverse the trail, you’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring range of landscapes. From the majestic Andes Mountains to lush cloud forests, the trail offers a feast for the eyes.

Keep your camera handy to capture the diverse flora and fauna, as well as the numerous ruins that dot the route.

Machu PicchuPeru
Machu Picchu Cusco Peru

Essential Packing: What to Bring

To ensure a comfortable and safe trek, here are some essentials you should pack:

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • A backpack
  • A sleeping bag
  • Warm clothing
  • Rain gear
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • A water bottle
  • Snacks for energy
  • And of course, a camera

Remember, being well-prepared is key to enjoying your trek!

RELATED: Can a Beginner Hike Machu Picchu

Where to stay? 

Discover some top accommodation choices in Cusco: Here HOTELS

Reach the Pinnacle: The End of Your Trek

Your journey culminates at the Sun Gate, where you’ll catch your first glimpse of the ancient city of Machu Picchu. It’s a moment that will make all your efforts worthwhile – a stunning reward for a challenging trek.

Daily Distances on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Day 1 : Cusco – Piscacucho (Km. 82) – Huayllabamba

6:mm am, early morning departure from Cusco to Piscacucho (2,663mt./8,735ft.) by bus. The trail meanders easily alongside the river with views of snow-capped peaks before reaching the ruins of Llaqtapata. There are views of the Urubamba mountain range and its most spectacular peak, Veronica (5,832mt./19,128ft). The campsite is at Huayllabamba (2,928mt./9,606ft).

we include Meals: Lunch and dinner.

km 82 Inca Trail
Inca Trail Main gate – km 82

Day 2 : Huayllabamba – Warmihuañusca – Pacaymayo

Today will be the most strenuous part of the trek going up to Llulluchapampa where the hike becomes truly spectacular with scenery that more than compensates for the effort.

Vegetation thins and the day warms on the approach to the highest point of the trail – Warmiwañusqa Pass (4,236mt./13,894ft). Camp on the Pacaymayo Valley (3,526mt./11,566ft).

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Inca Trail Elevation
Inca Trail Elevation Dead Woman Pass 13,000f

Day 3 : Pacaymayo – Runkuracay – Wiñaywayna

The group climbs a stairway to Runkurakay and begins the final push to the Runkurakay pass (3,962mt / 12,996ft.). After visiting the impressive ruins of Sayacmarca (3,657mt. / 11,998ft.), continue to the Phuyupatamarca Ruins (3521mt. / 11,552ft). The trail becomes increasingly more dramatic as it leads down to the next campsite at Wiñaywayna.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Camp Site Inca Trail Pacaymayu Second day campsite

Day 4 : Wiñayhuayna – Inti Punku – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Morning arrival to the spectacular Machu Picchu. After a professional guided tour, catch a bus to Aguas Calientes where the group boards a train for Cusco; a journey winding through the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. Transport to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Optional: If you would like to spend an extra day in Machu Picchu, please let us know so we can change the date on your return train ticket to CuscoTour leaders Peru can provide a guide and hotel for the extra day at an additional cost. Please be aware that you will have to pay for a second-day entrance ticket to Machu Picchu City.

Machu Picchu Ina Trail Hike
2 Day Hike Machu Picchu Picchu Inca trail – Winayhuayna Inca Ruins

Looking for a day tour?
 Here are my 5 favorite day tours around Cusco: 

See more Cusco day trips.

Shorter Hike to The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

If you choose to do the short Inca Trail With Hotel, it is recommended that you start your hike at around 8 am. This will give you enough time to reach the Sun Gate, which is the endpoint of the trail, by mid-afternoon. From there, it takes about an hour to walk to Machu Picchu.

The trail itself is 5.81 miles or 9.35km long and is considered moderate in difficulty. However, this can vary depending on your fitness level and hiking experience. It typically takes between 4-5 hours to complete, but this may also depend on your pace and any breaks you take along the way.

Once you reach Machu Picchu, you can spend some time exploring the ruins and taking in the breathtaking views before heading back down to Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo) for the night. Many people choose to spend a full day at Machu Picchu, so if you have limited time, plan accordingly.

It’s important to note that there are no campsites along the short Inca Trail route, so if you plan on spending the night near Machu Picchu, make sure to arrange accommodations beforehand in Aguas Calientes or nearby towns.

Overall, the short Inca Trail is a great option for those with limited time but still want to experience a part of this famous trek and visit Machu Picchu. Just remember to pack appropriate hiking gear and supplies, stay hydrated, and take breaks when needed!

Book in Advance: Permits and Sustainability

Due to its popularity and to protect the trail, permits for the Inca Trail are limited. Make sure to book your trek well in advance to secure your spot. This not only guarantees your adventure but also contributes to sustainable tourism.


Embarking on the 4-day Inca Trail trek is more than just a hike; it’s an immersive experience that combines history, nature, and physical challenge. So lace up those hiking boots and prepare yourself for a journey of a lifetime. Happy trekking!


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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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