Frequently asked questions about hiking the Inca Trail

Hiking the Inca trail is one of the modern iconic treks of the world. This 4-day journey through the Andes is testing but manageable for most active individuals. The weaving Inca pathways take you through an orchard filled cloud forest, Inca agricultural terraces, high mountain passes, notably Dead Woman’s Pass at 4200m above Sea level, and remarkable ruins such as the terraces of Huinay Huayna and the clifftop guard-post at Sayacmarca. At the end of the trek hikers are rewarded with a misty sunrise over the Sun Gate, Inti Punku. Once used as a control gate for the Inca citadel.

These are some of the most frequently asked questions my clients have about hiking the Inca Trail in Peru.

Inca Trail

Do I need a guide to hike the Inca trail?

Yes. You cannot trek without a licensed guide. Only 500 people a day can be on the inca Trail at a time, and that number includes the guides and porters, approximately 300, leaving about 200 spots accessible for trekkers. There are numerous options when it comes to trekking companies and the one you select will have a huge impact on your adventure.

How long is the journey?

45 km broken down over 4 days of hiking. You can anticipate 6 to 7 hours of trekking on days 1-3 and just a couple of hours on day 4 with your trek finishing off within the gates of Machu Picchu. You’ll begin your journey at 83Km just outside Ollantaytambo in the morning on day 1 and finish your trek before daybreak on day 4 at the gates of Machu Picchu.

Food Inca Trail
Lunch on the Inca Trail

What time of the year should I go?

May through September is the dry season.  July is the busiest month of the year to make the trek. May and September are a pleasant balance between good weather and having ample space to enjoy the experience with fewer crowds. The trail is closed every year in February for maintenance.

What can I expect from camp along the Inca Trail?

The trekking company you choose will have Porters that travel with you along the trail.  They will carry all the gear needed for camp along the trail. A personal bag for each trekker, sleeping shelters, dining & cooking shelters, latrine shelters, and all the accessories needed for camp.  They will also be the ones to build and tear down the camp each day. The Peruvian porters are amazing at what they do.  They are highly trained and will be your hero by the end of your trek.  The chefs that prepare your food along the trail are fantastic at ensuring you have hot, nourishing meals while trekking.  Some have been even known to bake cakes along the trail for birthdays. 

Latrine Tent
Sleeping tents

What gear is supplied?

Most reputable trekking companies will supply almost everything you need for your hike along the trail. Sleeping bags, camping mattresses and walking poles are available to rent. You’ll be responsible for your personal items and clothing.

Inca Trail Dinning
Dinning Tent

The trek along the Inca trail is considered a pilgrimage to many.  A chance to walk along the ancient paths through the ruins of a civilization lost long ago while taking in the beauty of unforgettable landscapes along the way. Have you considered hiking the Inca trail?

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Hiking the Inca Trail
My 2nd visit to Machu Picchu in June 2019
Michelle Gaudet

Michelle Gaudet

Michelle Gaudet is an award-winning Certified Travel Counsellor and the owner of Inspired Travel Adventures, an independent travel agency based in the Niagara Region. With a specialization in custom travel itineraries and small group adventures, Michelle creates personalized and unforgettable journeys for her clients
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