Did you know that 500 people per day hike the Inca Trail?
That’s quite a lot of people.
Now, we’re not judging but we DO want to let you know about an alternative hike Intrepid offers called the Quarry Trail. A trail where you won’t bump into a single other tourist. A trail that’s one day shorter than the Inca Trail (so you spend the night in a hotel, not a tent, before arriving at Machu Picchu). And a trail that boasts both a higher altitude and even more spectacular mountain scenery than the classic route. Oh, and did we mention it doesn’t require a pesky permit either?
It was exactly these reasons that led me to picking the Quarry Trail over the Inca one on a recent Intrepid trip to Peru. And although I love words so much I literally write for a living, I’ve got to tell you something: words. just. don’t. do. it. justice.
So, here’s what the 3-day hike was like, in (unedited!) picture form:
Quarry Trail day 1
A day of getting acclimatised to the altitude and getting to grips with the near-constant, picture-perfect mountain views. Highlights include hiking right by a waterfall and dazzling valley views from a reconstructed Incan ruin.
Quarry Trail day 2
The longest day and one with PLENTY of uphill portions, this is equal parts challenging and utterly incredible. Not only will you pass altitudes higher than ones on the Inca Trail, you’ll also be trekking through ever-changing landscapes and passing jaw-dropping mountain vistas.
Quarry Trail day 3
Though it’s day that’s devoted to downhill, there’s still plenty of surprises in store before the two-hour post-hike train ride to Machu Picchu. Learn why the trail gets its name at Kachiqata Quarry (a rock quarry that the Incas never completed during the Spanish conquest), and enjoy the gorgeous descent back into Ollantaytambo.
Useful additional reading:
-Everything you need to pack for the hike to Machu Picchu
-What it’s like taking the train to Machu Picchu
-How to make the most of under 1 day at Machu Picchu
-A Lima city guide
-A Cusco city guide
Ready to embark on this magical hike to Machu Picchu? Check out Intrepid’s wide range of trips to Peru.
(All images taken by Rebecca Shapiro on Intrepid’s Quarry Trail hike.)