• Full Day
  • Moderate
  • 12km
  • 2,800m

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most famous treks in the world and for those without enough time to hike the multi-day trek to Machu Picchu, or simply not looking to camp, the one day Inca trail to Machu Picchu is a fantastic alternative. Aracari offer this trek on a private basis only, booked as part of a tailormade trip to Peru. Contact us today to talk to an expert travel planner.

One Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

This one day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu allows you to arrive at Machu Picchu by foot and avoid the usual crowds that arrive by train and bus. The trek is sometimes referred to as the 2 day inca trail as you hike on the first day to reach Machu Picchu, while visiting the ruins proper with a guided visit the following day.

Why Hike the One Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

  • Short on time? Only use up one day of your trip and still enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate just like Classic Inca trail hikers
  • Don’t like camping? Sleep well but still with all bragging rights of having done the Inca Trail!
  • New to trekking? No need to committ to a long  multi-day hike
  • Want to do lots of hiking? There are so many options in the Sacred Valley, from Ausangate to Lares, that you can easily round off any of these multi-day camping or lodge-to-lodge hikes with the one day Inca trail for the best of both!

The One Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Route

Most of the trek is uphill and with a fair number of precipices. The total trek covers approximately 12km (7.5mi), which is about six to seven hours of hiking. On the way you will visit Wiñay Wayna, a remarkable Inca site that is only approachable on foot. Upon arrival to Machu Picchu you will enter the ruins with time to take in the fantastic views before transferring by bus down to your hotel for the evening in Aguas Calientes, unless you choose to stay in Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only property at the top of the hill outside the entrance to Machu Picchu.

The Itinerary

Day 1: Depart Cusco (Poroy station) or the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo Station) to take the train to kilometre 104, before the end of the line at Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu. Hike approximately six-seven hours in total, accompanied by an expert guide, with lunch included. Enter Machu Picchu via the sun gate. Stay overnight in Aguas Calientes.

Day 2: Visit Machu Picchu in the morning, taking the bus up to the entrance (unless staying in Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only property at the top). Enjoy a full guided tour of the citadel, with the option for further hikes within the ruins – like Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. Leave Machu Picchu at midday to take the bus down and catch a train back to the Sacred Valley or Cusco.

Permits for the One Day Inca Trail

Permits are required for the one-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and each day 250 people are granted access to the one-day trail. Like the full camping Inca Trail, permits must be purchased well in advance. If there is no longer availability fret not – there are still treks you can enjoy within the site of Machu Picchu – including Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain – as well as multiple alternatives in the area from day hikes, to lodge-to-lodge treks, to other camping options. Contact us for availability or to book the one day inca trail on a private basis as part of a longer tailormade trip to Peru.

Taking the train on the One Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

To start the hike you take the train to Machu Picchu from either Poroy, just outside Cusco, or Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley. You have a choice of trains that you can take to get to the start of the trekking route, varying in comfort level and schedule – not all train to Machu Picchu stop at Kilometre 104. Instead of taking the train the full distance to its final destination Aguas Calientes, the station at the foot of Machu Picchu, you disembark the train early at Kilometre 104, approximately an hour before the end. From here you connect to the Inca Trail and start your hike to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Alternative Treks

Aside from the full 4-day / 3-night Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, there are a myriad of treks in the area well worth considering, from the most popular alternative multi-day camping trek Salkantay, to lodge-to-lodge treks like Ausangate, to one day treks and half-day hikes that take in wonderful views of the countryside, ruins and rural communities.

We offer the one day inca trail to Machu Picchu, like all of our activities, on a private basis only and we only arrange this service as part of a complete tailormade itinerary, including hotel accommodation and guided excursions. Contact us today to speak to an expert travel planner.

Please keep in mind that distances, altitudes and chosen campsites are subject to minor variations as the route undertaken may vary slightly. In addition, trekking time can vary for each hiker and any times detailed in the description below are averages.