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How Difficult Is the Inca Trail?

June 19, 2014|Posted in: Hiking, Inca Trail, Peru

inca trail difficulty

So many people have hiked the Inca Trail that it is easy to get lulled into a false sense of complacency. How hard could it possibly be if a 74-year-old grandmother can summit the feared Dead Woman’s Pass?

In spite of the numbers of people who have successfully completed the trek, the Inca Trail is plenty hard. Consider that you will hike a total of 26 miles, summit two mountain passes at nearly 14,000 feet each, and hike for up to 10 hours a day.

Even if you hiked Kilimanjaro, you may not be adequately prepared for the challenge of the Inca Trail. Kilimanjaro is gradual. The Inca Trail is steep.Not training properly for the Inca Trail can mean having a miserable experience where every muscle screams at you for the duration of the trek, or worse still, being forced to turn back after the first day.

To understand the elevation changes, look at how the Sierra Club would rate the Inca Trail according to their grading system. Here is the Sierra Club system.

GradeElevation Gain
1Up to 6 milesAUp to 1000 feet
26 to 10 milesB1000 to 2000 feet
310 to 15 milesC2000 to 3000 feet
415 to 20 milesDOver 3000 feet
5Over 20 milesEOver 3,500 feet

Now, here is how that system applies to the four- and five-day versions of the Inca Trail.

Classic Inca Trail (4 days)Extended Inca Trail (5 days)

Let us know when you are ready to reserve your space for this unforgettable pilgrimage to Machu Picchu.

See you at the top of Dead Woman’s Pass!


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