The Top Hikes To Machu Picchu

What best ways to hike to the Inca citadel in the cloud forest? There are three popular hikes that trekkers insist are the best options. This article specifies which routes to Machu Picchu were taken by the last 100 hiking groups booked with a local trekking operator in Cusco, Peru. 


The most popular three treks to the Incan city are:

  • The classic four-day Inca trail.
  • The Salkantay trek.
  • The Express 2-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. 

The Classic 4 Day Inca Trail

The classic trail to Machu Picchu was a route the Incas would take to reach the stone city hundreds of years ago. Today the road features cobblestone paths that modern travelers can follow to the Sungate entrance to Machu Picchu. Throughout the trek, travelers will camp out in the Andean wilderness for three nights before reaching their destination. The Inca trail is not just one of the most popular hikes to Machu Picchu. It is one of the most requested hikes in the world. Currently, there is a 500-person daily limit, which is needed to accommodate everyone trying to join a trekking party. If this trek sounds interesting, book it 4 to 6 months in advance to ensure available spots. Making a part of a Peru tour package is also a brilliant idea. You’ll get to hike the trail and ensure all accommodations and land transportation are included before and after the excursion to Machu Picchu. 


The Salkantay Trek 

The Salkantay trek is considered the most difficult of the top 3 hikes to Machu Picchu. It doesn’t have a cobblestone path like the classic Inca trail. Instead, it is a more “off the beaten path” hike style. Trekkers will see almost no Incan ruins along the route, but as a tradeoff, the trek is more geared toward natural landmarks, glaciers, and higher elevations. Rarely will a traveler complain about taking the Salkantay hike, and for a good reason. It was chosen as one of the most beautiful treks in the world by the nature magazine “National Geographic” in 2017. The Salkantay is also very customizable; travelers can choose between trekking a 3, 4,5, and even six day version of this fantastic trek. 


The Express Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The express Inca trail is a 2-day experience that picks up what would be day 3 of the classic Inca trail experience. Trekkers will briefly hike up the route until finally make their way to the entrance of the cloud forest. Once the group makes it down to Aguas Calientes town, they’ll have the option of visiting the soothing natural hot springs the town is known for. The following morning the hiking group will head to Machu Picchu for a guided tour. At the end of day 1 of the trek, travelers will spend the night in a hotel and not camping out. This can be a negative aspect to some, but others prefer a full day of hiking and a warm bed to sleep in the night before the visit to Machu Picchu. 




All three trekking options will include a guided tour of Machu Picchu, meals, and train tickets back to Cusco at the end of the day. Each hike has unique and incredible views along the way to the Inca citadel.


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