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Inca Trail difficulty
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dificultad del camino inca machu picchu

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a hiking route of moderate difficulty. There are very demanding mountainous sections but there are also very simple descending sections surrounded by incredible nature. Most visitors like this type of hike. However, people who are not in good physical condition can also do the route.

Is the Inca Trail difficult?

  • The Inca Trail has a moderate difficulty.
  • Comparing it with other hiking routes in Cusco, it could be said that it is not as demanding as the 5-day Salkantay trek but it is not as simple as the 4-day Lares trek.
  • The Inca Trail runs 39 kilometers along high mountain roads as well as descending trails surrounded by abundant vegetation. These roads were built by the Incas hundreds of years ago in order to connect Cusco with Machu Picchu.

What are the most difficult sections?

  • The first day of the Inca Trail 13 kilometers are covered. The second, 11 kilometers. The third, 16 kilometers. Finally, the last day you only walk 3 kilometers until you arrive at Machu Picchu.
  • The first and second days are the most difficult because they go through demanding Andean landscapes. On the first day, it is estimated that during the 13-kilometer walk you will ascend 300 meters with slopes of 10, 20 and 30 degrees to the Huayllabamba camp.
  • The second day is an intense short walk up to the highest point of the Inca Trail, the ‘Paso del Abra Warmiwañusca’ (the pass of the dead woman), which is located at 4,200 meters above sea level. That day he spends the night in the Pacaymayu camp.

Should I be in good physical condition?

  • If you have a healthy diet, you do not overindulge with alcoholic beverages, you do not smoke, you get enough sleep and you do physical activity regularly; then the degree of difficulty of the Inca Trail may be more bearable.
  • However, if you are a person with overweight problems, knee pain, ankle pain and who does not like to do physical activity; then the difficulty of doing the Inca Trail will be greater.
  • In any case, all people can do the Inca Trail. Every day there are two hundred tourists who enter this hiking route. Some are older adults, overweight people, and even children. They all finally finish the Inca Trail and arrive at Machu Picchu.
dificultad camino inca Machu Picchu

Difficulty Inca Trail Machu Picchu

How to prepare for the Inca Trail?

  • The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a challenge due to the nature of its terrain, altitude changes, steep trails, steep paths, endless steps, etc.
  • The correct preparation includes a good diet (without fat or alcoholic beverages), physical activity such as walks, ‘running’ (preferably that include ascents by stairs) and, very important, a previous conditioning in a high-altitude city like Cusco.
  • The Inca Trail covers sections from 4,200 to 2,430 meters above sea level. The city of Cusco, the starting point of the route, is 3,399 meters above sea level. Therefore, it is recommended to spend at least 2 days in Cusco before starting the Inca Trail. Thus, the body adapts better to the mountainous geography.

Can I do the Inca Trail?

  • All people, regardless of their physical condition, can make and complete the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
  • Older adults should check with their doctor if they are in good physical condition to do the Inca Trail.
  • Children under 8 years old should like this type of hiking route.
  • The tour to the Inca Trail includes a tour guide who is responsible for accompanying all tourists to complete the trek. In practice, all people finish this hiking trail.


  • The state of mind is very important when doing the Inca Trail. A positive attitude in the most difficult sections are essential to complete the walk.
  • The Inca Trail is a walk supervised by the Government of Peru, so it can only be done with a tour organized by a tourism agency. The agencies are in charge of providing all the necessary implements such as: walking sticks, food, camping, porters (people who carry the necessary utensils) and more. This makes the hiking trail easy for visitors.


By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 30-09-2021

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