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Inca Trail Elevation


Mar 31, 2023 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

Embarking on the Inca Trail route through the majestic Peruvian Andean mountains is an experience that should not be missed in one’s lifetime. As you hike this iconic trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, be prepared to reach great heights. The Inca Trail elevation constantly fluctuates, taking you on a journey through breathtaking passes and verdant valleys.

Take a look at the daily elevation increases to better prepare for your unforgettable trek. The altitudes on the trail are significantly higher than what most travelers are accustomed to.

In this article, you can find everything you need to know about altitudes on the Inca Trail.

Along The 4 Days Inca Trail to Machu Pichu there are certain places with a higher elevation than the rest of the days such as the Dead Woman Pass 4,200m (13,780ft) above sea level. It is because of the unbalanced surface of the mountain. 

Inca trail map Elevation
Inca trail map Elevation

Popular Inca Trail Tours To Machu Picchu

Explore our Inca Trail treks and guided hiking tours to Machu Picchu. Request a custom trip or browse our liking trips to see upcoming Tour offers in Peru.

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Inca Trail Altitude What To Spect From km 82

The Inca Trail hiking Trip to Machu Picchu is one of the most popular hiking trails in South America. It leads through the Andes Mountains to the ancient city of Machu Picchu in Peru. The trail is about 26 miles (42 kilometers) long and takes four to five days to complete.

The Elevation of the Inca Trail ranges from about 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) to 13,800 feet (4,200 meters). The highest pe is at Dead Woman’s Pass, which is about halfway through the hike. The trail is steep and challenging in places, but the views of the mountains and valleys are stunning.

Hikers need to be in good physical condition to attempt the Inca Trail. It is recommended that hikers acclimatize to the altitude by spending a few days in Cusco doing Day Tours before to intent to the hike. Hikers should also be prepared for changes in weather, as the trail goes through a range of different climate zones.

The Inca Trail is an amazing experience and a bucket-list hike for many people. It is important to be prepared and to have a great attitude in order to enjoy the hike and reach Machu Picchu safely.

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Inca Trail Elevation
Our Intrepid Hikers Surviving the Inca Trail Elevation

Complete Guide Of The Inca Trail Distance Pery Day

We will discuss the hiking routes for people who want to explore the Inca trek elevation. It is important to go through the authentic detail of the route before going for the hike. It will keep you safe during the entire Hike because you will be aware of the highest Inca trail places of the mountain going to come up on the way.

Maximum Height of The Inca Trail – 13,776 ft.

The highest elevation of the Inca trail is 13,776 ft. If you are taking the popular 4-day Inka Trail hike, it will only mean covering 25 Mile distance, approximately 40 km. The distance between the Inca Trail and Machu Pichu is not much, but it depends on the number of days you want to cover the trek. You will come across different packages which provide you with the freedom to choose according to your stamina levels.

Inca Trail Elevation
Inca Trail Hiker – KM 82

Start of Inca Trail Elevation- 9000 ft/2750m – Day 01

The trek starts from an elevation of 9000 ft/2750m. Kept in mind that this mountain is at an altitude, which means it is not safe for people suffering from altitude sickness.

There are some reports according to which a few people died because of heart attacks and lung failure caused by altitude sickness. You need to check your medical conditions properly before going for the height. On the way, you will face the Great Inca Trail elevation.

Llaqtapata First Big Inca Ruins Along The Inca Trail- 8366 ft/2250m.

The next Inca trek elevation is at the height of 8366 ft/2250m. It is at a lower location from the starting place because the whole trek consists of ups and downs because of the structure of the mountain.

Patallacta Inca Site (also known as “Farming The Terraces”), there were once many such farms that made up part or perhaps even most important for travelers along Inca roads like Machu Picchu.

People needed to grow their own food to ensure they had sustenance for their journeys. It wasn’t just about getting enough calories each day, but also obtaining essential nutrients like protein and iron to maintain their health while traveling across vast, challenging terrain. Additionally, having the ability to grow their own food provided both entertainment and intellectual stimulation.

The Patallacta complex was built in two distinct phases, the first being during Wari pre-inca Culture (600-950 CE) and the second during Inca (1450-1534 CE). The site is located approximately 80 kilometers northwest of Cusco on an alluvial terrace at an elevation of 3,700 meters. It consists of a series of large rectangular enclosures, each with an average size of 400 square meters, which were probably used for storing food such as maize, quinoa, and potatoes. There is also a Kallanka (large communal hall) at the site that could have been used for social or religious gatherings.

First Inca Trail Areological site along the Inca Trail – Llactapata or Patallacta

Huayllabamba First Day Campsite – 9678ft/2950m.

After the second campsite, the Inca trek elevation Starts increasing. The altitude of the mountain keeps on increasing continuously. The second point means you have to travel against gravity, and you will need a lot of stamina. Most people come across this concern on their second day of climbing. The height of first Town along the Inca Trail is, known as Huayllabamba, which Has a height of 9678ft/2950m.

Day 1 Summary

  • Pick-up time from your hotels 5 am
  • Starting Hike: 9:30 am – 10 am
  • Starting Point: Km 82 (2,680 meters / 8,792 feet)
  • Highest Point: Huayllabamba (3,000 meters / 9,840 feet)
  • Highlights: Crossing the Urubamba River, exploring Inca ruins like Llactapata, and experiencing the beautiful Andean landscapes.

Llulluchapampa alternative Campsite – 2598ft/3840m.

It is another campsite of elevation within the complete Inca trail elevation. The height of 12598ft/3840m. It makes it at the greatest height from sea level. It is also considered one of the steep spots of the whole trek.

Second Day – Dead Woman Pass – Highest Point Of The Inca Trail – 13780ft/4200m

It is the most heightened pass of the Inca trek elevation. It is considered the maximum height of the Inca trail Making it of great importance for Tourists and hikers. You can come across a lot of beautiful scenic views on this occasion. The surrounding mountains can also be seen clearly from the dead women’s pass.

However, people with acrophobia must be careful because it is one of the highest elevations with low oxygen levels. People suffering from respiratory diseases can face problems at this Elevation. It is at a height of 13780ft/4200m

Dead Woman Pass Elevation 4200m – Highest Point of the Inca Trail

Pacasmayo Second Campsite along the Inca Trail – 10991ft/3350m

After the dead woman passes, you have to travel toward gravity. The height of the mountain starts decreasing for a certain distance after crossing the dead woman’s pass. Most of the people cross this location on the third day of the trek. However, it depends upon the speed of the height you want to maintain. The height of the next Inca trail elevation is 10991ft/3350m.

Day 2 Summary

  • Wake up time 5 am
  • Starting Hike: 6:30 am
  • Starting Point: Huayllabamba (3,000 meters / 9,840 feet)
  • Highest Point: Dead Woman’s Pass (4,215 meters / 13,828 feet)
  • Campsite: Pacaymayo (3,600 meters / 11,811 feet)
  • Highlights: The challenging ascent to Dead Woman’s Pass, enjoying stunning mountain views, and descending to the Pacaymayo campsite.

Third-Day Hike Runkurasay Pass – 13035ft/3975m

To reach this point, you have to travel upwards from the point Pacasmayo. Runkurasay pass Is at a height of 13035ft/3975m, Which makes it quiet at an altitude compared to the Pacasmayo.

The majestic site of Runkurakay is known for its position atop 3,760 meters above sea level and is surrounded by thick vegetation. This complex sits prominently within the mountains that serve as the perfect backdrop providing fantastic views across to other high-altitude locations such as Warmi Wañusca Pass which offers hikers an opportunity towards reaching the iconic landmark Machu Picchu via Inca Trail hike at 5800m

Circular Ica Building Runkuracay Complex – Inca Trail

Sayacmarca Inca Ruins – 11811ft/3600m.

Once again, you have to go downwards to reach this point. This point of the Inca trek elevation is at an altitude of 11811ft/3600m.

Sayacmarca Inca Fortress, the top of a mountain 3 600 meters high and home to ancient ruins that provide beautiful views. Say AHO! The visit will grant you access to this site’s architecture which consists mostly of maze-like paths with tightly organized enclosures built on precipices for ceremony or astrological use during Incan times; it was undoubtedly an important place in their empire because we can see how they used these sites strategically by building them at just enough height so as not be decode easily but still have great visibility from anywhere nearby expertly planned structures all around

Third Pass – Phuyupatamarca – Elevation 11975ft/3650m

The next elevation point is located at 11975ft/3650m above sea level. It usually takes three days of hiking to reach this point for the majority of people. However, if you are hiking the popular slow mode Tour 5 days Inca Trail, you may reach it on the fourth day.

Phuyupatamarca is a fascinating ruin that sits high up in the Andes, with views over both Intipata and Wiñaywayna. The site’s construction represents an excellent example of balance between humans and nature as it contains various terraces carved into mountainsides; enclosures for animals such as llamas or alpacas (the latter represented by their fiber); ritual baths still being replenished today thanks to underground water channels. All were created through sophisticated hydraulic systems which are used today too!

Intipata Inca Trail Terraces Elevation – 9000ft/2758m.

This point is located at a distance from the Phuyupatamarca. It is also lower in altitude, which is 9000ft/2758m.

Winayawayna Mos Beautiful Inca Trail Ruins – 8366ft/2550m.

Inca trail elevation Extent at an altitude of 8366ft/2550m. Winayawayna is one of the places that are loved by most hikers because of its beauty and location.

One of the most impressive sites along the Inca Trail, Winay Wayna is located at 3600 meters above sea level and only 6 KM away from Machu Picchu.

The complex was skillfully carved into mountainside with terraces throughout which experts deduce possible uses as a farming/administrative center complemented by high waterfall views over the Urubamba Veronica mountain range.

Day 3 Summary

  • Wake up time 6 am
  • Starting Hike: 7:30 am aprox
  • Starting Point: Pacaymayo (3,600 meters / 11,811 feet)
  • Highest Point: Runkurakay Pass (3,950 meters / 12,960 feet)
  • Campsite: Wiñay Wayna (2,650 meters / 8,694 feet)
  • Highlights: Visiting archaeological sites such as Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, and Phuyupatamarca, trekking through diverse ecosystems, and descending into the cloud forest.
Beautiful Winayhuayna Inca site

The Sun Gate 8850ft/2700m.

It is also called the Inti Punku. You will come across this location at an altitude of 8850ft/2700m.

The Sun Gate, or Inti Punku in Quechua, is the main entrance to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu From the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu. It is located on the eastern side of the site and provides a stunning view of the ancient city as well as the surrounding landscape.

The name “Sun Gate” is derived from its strategic position as the first place where the sun’s rays strike in the morning. The gate was likely used as an entrance for religious and ceremonial purposes.

The Sun Gate is a must-see for anyone visiting Machu Picchu. The views from the top are simply breathtaking and it is an experience that you will never forget.

Sun gate Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu end of the Inca Trail Route – 7972ft/2400m.

This is the second last location of the Inca trek elevation at the height of 7474ft/2400m.

Day 4 Summary

  • Wake-up time 3 am
  • Starting Hike: 6:00 am
  • Starting Point: Wiñay Wayna (2,650 meters / 8,694 feet)
  • Arrival Point: Machu Picchu (2,430 meters / 7,972 feet)
  • Highlights: Witnessing the sunrise over Machu Picchu from Inti Punku (Sun Gate), exploring the ancient city of Machu Picchu, and optionally climbing Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain for panoramic views.

Puente Ruinas – Inca Bridge

The last point of elevation that you will come across on the Inca trail is at the height of 6500ft/2000m. This is the ending point of the elevation, after which you will reach Machu Pichu.


The complete detail of the Inca trail elevation is discussed in the above-mentioned text. After going through the given article, you will have a complete idea about the Inca trek elevation. You must keep this information in mind if you are planning to go for a hike on the Inca Trail. It is also present at an altitude which is why you have to consider your medical conditions and take precautions before going hiking.

Please Note: that these Machu Picchu Hike elevations gain are approximate and can vary depending on the source. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the effects of high altitude and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trek.

Tour Leaders Peru Adventure arrange a different trek in Peru Consider our advice and embark On Peru Luxury Travel and Glamping along the Inca Trail in Peru

Inca Trail Detailed Google Map


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Cesar Conde

Cesar Conde

Position: Tour Leaders & Digital Creator

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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