A group of hikers on a set of stairs on the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu.


The Best Route on Inca Trail – Avoid Crowds & Acclimatize

Avoid the Crowds!

Can you have the Inca Trail largely to yourself? Yes, when you go with Wilderness Travel. We have perfected the timing of our daily hiking schedule so that the majority of other hikers will be either far ahead or far behind you each day. This delivers a much better experience of this World Heritage Site, and our trip members often comment on the magic of “having the Inca Trail to themselves!”

A group of hikers resting on the Inca Trail.
A happy couple.

Five Days on the Trail

Our journey has five hiking days (most companies push it with just four days on the trail—and some even three). The WT way allows you to acclimatize gradually to the altitude, have reasonable wakeup times (no hiking in the dark, as with other companies), and enjoy well-paced hiking days that give you time to explore the extraordinary archaeological sites along the route. We want you to experience the wonder of the Inca Trail, not race through it.

Here is how we plan your Inca Trail hiking experience:

First Hiking Day: 

Approximately 3 miles, 2-3 hours, 200′ ascent/descent, maximum elevation: 8,900′, campsite elevation: 8,700′.

Second Hiking Day 

Approximately 6.5 miles, 5-6 hours, 150′ ascent/380′ descent, maximum elevation: 8,900′, campsite elevation: 8,900′.

Third Hiking Day

Approximately 6 miles, 6-7 hours, 3,400′ ascent, maximum elevation: 12,180′, campsite elevation: 12,180′.

Fourth Hiking Day

Approximately 8 miles, 7.5-8.5 hours, 3,100′ ascent/descent, maximum elevation: 13,830′, campsite elevation: 12,100′.

Fifth Hiking Day

Approximately 6.8 miles, 5-6 hours, 4,350′ descent, maximum elevation: 12,033′, Machu Picchu elevation: 7,972′.

Inca Trail elevation map.


I don’t know how our Trip Leader did it, but while we were hiking the Inca Trail, he somehow timed everything so that it seemed we were the only ones there! He avoided all the crowds, making the trip all the more amazing.


I was extremely glad we had chosen this particular itinerary—more days on the trail and fewer miles per day.


The cultural days in and around Cusco are a wonderful way to become acquainted with the Inca Culture and to acclimatize. The unique way WT structures the Inca Trail makes the experience feel less crowded and more personal.

Machu Picchu sign.

The Perfect Pace for Proper Acclimatization

Our itinerary is specifically designed to give you three full days at altitude before you start any strenuous hiking. We give you an overnight in Cusco (11,200′), then an overnight in Ollantaytambo (9,160′) in the Sacred Valley, and on the third day, you’ll have a short, relatively level hike to our private camp at 8,700 feet—all in all, a perfect way to acclimatize. This, together with the design of the trek itinerary itself, are the reasons why we have an unmatched 100% success rate, with no guests ever coming off the trail due to altitude issues.

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Talk to an Expert

Our Latin America Specialists know every detail about our Peru trips. They will be happy to answer any questions and help make sure it’s the right adventure for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!