Call Today

+1 888-812-8687


Salkantay Trek Difficulty

Salkantay Trek Difficulty | How To Prepare For This Hike

Feb 16, 2021 | Peru Travel Blogs | 0 comments

Salkantay Trek Difficulty blog post will help you to understand this wonderful trip to Peru. The name Salkantay means “salqa” in Quechua, which translates to wild, savage, or invincible. The name itself should give you an idea of what to expect. The mountain pass takes you through snow-capped mountain peaks, low jungles, and a slow but exhilarating buildup to an elevation of over 4600m before plunging 1000m. 

The trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca trail for 4 days; for those who miss it since the tickets sell out faster. You can have a four-day or five-day itinerary depending on your schedule. Although the 4-day trek is usually reserved for seasoned hikers and those used to the mountains’ climate. The 5-day hike is traditionally preferred as it gives you enough time to recover and enjoy the environment while on the way.

It’s not easy neither is it impossible. The long hours of trekking during the day, steep and daring descents, and the rapid altitude changes certainly make the Salkantay trek a challenge you should definitely try.

Salkantay Trek Pass difficulty

How Difficult is The Salkantay Trek?

Salkantay is much more difficult than the Inca trail but even more rewarding. You will have to get through 6 to 9 hours of trekking daily for four days across treacherous mountain trails.

On the first day, you will get to move through Mollepata to Soraypampa and visit lake Humantay. The day’s activities aren’t strenuous, and it’s a moderate uphill climb. The descent is much steeper and will need you to be extremely cautious. Your tour company usually decides where to start from, either Mollepata or Soraypampa. 

Day 2: and four will be significantly more challenging. On day 2, you will have reached the Salkantay pass at 4650m, and the altitude sickness will be settling in. The pass is also 400m higher than the highest point on the Inca trail-Dead Woman’s Pass.

Day 3: you will be in the jungle. And you have the day to explore the famous semi-tropical Andean jungle and learn about its coffee in Lucmabamba before getting ready for the next difficult day.

Day 4: you’ll be moving to Aguas Calientes from Lucmabamba, and even though it is flat. It takes much longer at nearly 8-9 hours. You will also get to Llactapata, where you can see Machu Picchu from a distance, glistening its ancient perspective and breathtaking surroundings.

Since the trail to Machu Picchu on day five is through muddy and steep terrain while descending 1000m. You might need trekking poles-you will, however, have to leave this out of Machu Picchu. Finally, you will get to Machu Picchu, and your 5-day Salkantay challenge trek will have paid off.

For the most part. You will be trekking and feeling the effects of higher altitudes. So it’s probably much easier when you are in your best state health and fitness-wise. The Salkantay trail has mules to do all the porting, so you don’t have to worry about carrying all the stuff. If you are a seasoning trekker accustomed to the altitude, you should hire mules and a muleteer to help you through the trek.

Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu

IS The Salkantay Trek Dangerous?

The trail snakes its way through high altitude regions and high mountain landscapes dotted with Andean jungles and alpine scenery. Unless you are adequately acclimatized, the change in altitude could cause altitude sickness. Even for expert trekkers, getting acclimatized will make the hike easier. It is recommendable you spend time at Cusco as it is a high-altitude area and will give your body the required environment to adjust to before you begin the trail. 

Independent trekkers will need to hire a mule for the heavy lifting and a muleteer for security. Despite being punishing and a little on the difficult side, the sight of Machu Picchu gives a refreshing sense of accomplishment.

Is The Salkantay Trek Worth It?

The mountain landscapes and luscious lowland vegetations along the way are spellbinding. The Salkantay trek is perfect for those who want to have a laid back and less hectic route to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. Salkantay is voted top 25 best treks in the world.

 You will get to see prestigious passes and the elegant Mollepata valley and Salkantay peak above 15000 ft. From the delightful local communities, you’ll meet along the way to the majestic scenery and the fabled Andean experience, the Salkantay trek is a journey through mountains, jungle, and Humantay Lake.

Salkantay from Llactapata

How Do I Train For The Salkantay Trek?

Acclimatize before the hike. Visit the city and explore the surrounding area. You have a lot of opportunities to see archeology sites, like the impressive Sacsayhuaman. The activities you should be keen on include walking, running, biking while you are in Cusco to familiarize your body and system with the rapid change in altitude as you ascend and descend the trek.

Before beginning your trek, join a training program before your departure date. Depending on your fitness level, you can train for at least six weeks and up to 4 months if you aren’t sure you are up for it.

Your training should feature aerobic exercise to improve cardiovascular endurance. Strength conditioning to withstand the hike’s strain. Flexibility conditioning for tight muscles, and hike-specific activities like carrying a backpack for climbing conditioning. While training, watch your speed, heart rate, pack weight, duration to get a view of your-hiking conditioning.

The training regime should consist of shorter hikes regularly from 1-hour hikes as you ease into much longer ones like 10 km. Before choosing to start any fitness program, consult your doctor. It is very recomendable to eat healthy hydrate. Coca tea and herbs usually work best.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cesar Conde

Cesar Conde

Position: Tour Leaders & Digital Creator

I’m Cesar Conde, Tour Leader In Peru and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own Hiking Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


This post contains select links to products from our sponsors. When you click on these links, we may earn a commission. For more information about our Advertising Policy, please visit this page..

Salomon Men’s X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking

Salomon Men’s X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking

Rubber sole
Heel measures approximately 1″
Waterproof Hiking Shoes: Power through uphills and descents with the X Ultra 4 GTX; It has the agility of a trail running shoe but with the stability, grip, and waterproof protection you need for technical hikes

SCARPA Women’s Rush GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Shoes for Hiking and Trail Running

SCARPA Women’s Rush GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Shoes for Hiking and Trail Running

Polyurethane sole
Traction and Weather Protection | With a women’s-specific fit, the new Rush GTX combines support and weather protection in a lightweight package ideal for fast day hikes and trail runs alike.
GORE-TEX Extended Comfort | Waterproof protection that doesn’t sacrifice climate comfort for all-day wear in moderate to warmer conditions.

Related Post

Machu Picchu Trip Planning

Machu Picchu Trip Planning

Planning the Perfect Adventure to Machu Picchu. Peru is one of the most beautiful and serene places in South America - This guide will show you how to get to Machu Picchu. When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu? Machu Picchu Hike is one of the most beautiful and...

What To Pack For Machu Picchu

What To Pack For Machu Picchu

What To Pack For Machu Picchu? What an amazing view from Machu Picchu! If only I had known what to pack for Machu Picchu before my trip. Lucky for you, I'm going to share with you 10 Essential Items You Must Pack for Your Trip to Machu Picchu I mean everything you'll...

Ausangate Trek Without Guide to Rainbow Mountain 6 Days

Ausangate Trek Without Guide to Rainbow Mountain 6 Days

Ausangate Trek Without Guide and survive the Andes in Peru. Want to hike the Ausangate Trek but don't want to pay for a guide? Here's how to do it yourself on a budget! This trek is one of the most popular in the Cusco region, and for good reason – it offers amazing...

Ausangate Trek To Rainbow Mountain Without Guide From 4 to 6 Days

Ausangate Trek To Rainbow Mountain Without Guide From 4 to 6 Days

Ausangate To Rainbow Mountain Trek Comprehensive Hiking Guide in Cusco Peru. The Ausangate Trek is a high-altitude 70km hike in the Peruvian mountains near Cusco with an average altitude of over 4000m. Unlike most other hikes in the region, Ausangate is not about Inca...

How To Travel To Machu Picchu | Most Of Your Visit To Peru

How To Travel To Machu Picchu | Most Of Your Visit To Peru

How To Travel To Machu Picchu from the US? When to visit machu Picchu? here in this travel article, we'll answer the most important questions about Peru Travel & Best hiking trips to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in...

Best Hiking Shoes Amazon And REI Compare Prices

Best Hiking Shoes Amazon And REI Compare Prices

It is no secret that a good pair of best hiking shoes for women or men can make or break your hike. With so many different brands, materials, and styles on the market, it can be tough to decide which best women's hiking shoes are right for you. This comprehensive Best...