inca trail one day hike

1 Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The one day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is designed for travelers who have less time and want to hike the famous Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu Citadel all in one day. If hiking doesn’t suit you, take our 1 day Machu Picchu tour by train.

This shorter version of the Inca Trail still allows you to visit the most beautiful Incan sites along the way to Machu Picchu arriving at the Sun Gate for your first view of the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ Machu Picchu.

It is very important for potential trekkers of the 1 day Inca Trail hike to understand that you will do the same trail as the 2 day Inca trail, just quicker. Trekkers have to be in moderate to good physical condition to be able to do the trek and reach the Machu Picchu ruins on time to explore the Circuito 1 – Ruta Terraza Superior.  If you think this trek may be too strenuous, you can book the two-day Inca Trail which arrives at Machu Picchu in one day but at a slightly slower pace and later in the day and enjoy Machu Picchu twice the Circuit 1 and Circuit 3.

The Inca Trail One Day hike to Machu Picchu is generally believed to be one of the most beautiful hikes the Sacred Valley has to offer.
Total Distance 12 km (7,800 miles)
Estimated Walking Time 5 hours
Maximum Altitude Point 2,700 m (8,858 ft)
Weather warm/hot

Itinerary 1 day Inca Trail km 104

You will be picked up from your hotel at 4 a.m. and we will travel for approximately 1.5 hrs to the train station at Ollantaytambo from where we will depart on the 6:10 a.m. train. The train follows the Urubamba sacred valley River, until we reach Km 104, where we’ll begin the hike. Along the way, you’ll see spectacular views of farmlands, snow-capped mountains and the mighty Urubamba River, one of the sources of the Amazon River. At Km 104, we will begin our trek. Once you have everything you need, we’ll take a group photo before visiting our first Inca site. After orientation and a tour of the Incan ruins, we are going to begin hiking upwards, as we head up to reach the Classic Inca Trail. If the weather is clear, we’ll have tremendous views of Machu Picchu mountain, the Urubamba River and other surrounding Incan sites.

After hiking for 3-hours, we reach the most beautiful archaeological site on the Inca trail, Wiñay Wayna (meaning ‘Forever Young’) at 2,600 m/8,500 ft. Most people do not get the opportunity to see the elaborate water fountains, temples and agricultural terraces, which provide a perfect opportunity to learn about the history of the Incas. The site is bordered by steep drops, allowing you to see the stunning mountains surrounding the area. From Wiñay Wayna, we’ll walk to the Sun Gate, from where we’ll see the picturesque landscape of Machu Picchu. After taking in the once-in-a-lifetime views, we will begin our descent to Machu Picchu itself.

A big advantage of this hike is that, by the time we reach Machu Picchu, most of the day travelers will have returned home, so you will have the area nearly to yourself. After taking the classic photos of Machu Picchu on the Circuit 1 – Upper Terrace Route, your private English-speaking guide will explain you the importance and history of the Inka citadel before you take a bus, or walk, down to Aguas Calientes for dinner (not included). Afterwards, you will take the 6:30 p.m. train back to Ollantaytambo, and then a bus to Cusco, where you will be brought back to your hotel around 10:30 pm.

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