Do you want to experience the majestic beauty of one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, without the epic hike?

The One Day Inca Trail is a great option for those wanting to set their sights on Machu Picchu and experience a taste of trekking in Peru, without doing one of the multi-day Classic Inca, Quarry or Choquequirao trails. This four-hour trek starts from the train station known as Km 104 and after a steep ascent, it follows the last portion of the Classic Inca Trail up to the Sun Gate to the ancient civilisation of Machu Picchu.

At a glance

ruins icon

Number of ruins: 2

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Average duration: 1 day

Peak time to trek: May to September

Trips that include the One Day Inca Trail

The One Day Inca Trail is included in the following trips; however we are happy to discuss ways to include it in other Peru itineraries for you. Contact us to discuss your options.

15 Days From 2948

Tour through Lima, Puno, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes and...

21 Days From 6693

Travel from the city sights of Lima through to the vibrant beat of Rio via Machu Picchu...

Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

Highlights of the One Day Inca Trail

All of Intrepid Travel's Machu Picchu treks


Winayhuayna (Forever Young)

Winayhuayna packs a punch overlooking the Urubamba River – with upper and lower terraces lined with well-preserved stone houses on a hillside. Said to be one of the highlights of the region, this is one of the final ruins that you will see before you reach Machu Picchu.

Sun Gate

Into Punku (Sun Gate)

Inti Punku, better known as the Sun Gate, brings you to the spectacular entrance of Machu Picchu. Evidence suggests this structure was used as a security checkpoint, and the views overlooking the ancient city ruins are impressive to say the least.

Why choose Intrepid

Trek experts

All our guides are certified local tour guides and trained in-house on Intrepid Safety Policies. Each trekking guide also receives exclusive Intrepid training, provided by mountain rescue experts in the field.

Safety First

All our guides and trek leaders have been trained by medical specialists in handling altitude illness and are proficient in first aid. Our team carries oxygen cylinders on all treks for emergency use.

Local matters

Our team members live and work in the Andean region, which means revenue from all our treks benefit the local economy.

Full inclusions

We take care of the details, so you can focus more on enjoying the journey. Our tours include all meals, with essential camping equipment and the option to hire additional hiking equipment if needed.

Rainforest Alliance tick of approval

We are proud to have the tick of approval from the Rainforest Alliance indicating that we meet and operate at the highest standards in environmental, social and economic sustainability

Sustainable travel

We strive to use travel as a force for good. That’s why we choose to give back to the communities we visit, carbon offset all our trips and take our social and environmental responsibilities seriously. We’ve been officially certified as the world’s largest travel B Corp, which means when you choose Intrepid Travel, you can rest assured you’re travelling to improve the planet.

Meet our team

Woman standing in front of the ruins of Machu Pichu

Maritza, operations manager

"I am passionate about empowering local Indigenous communities, especially women, and am also a committed defender of Mother Earth, known in the Andes as Pachamama. I have also worked tirelessly with local communities and governments to help improve the sustainability of treks in the Cusco region".

Man standing in front of the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru

Paul, leader

“It will be a pleasure to share our traditions and beliefs, take you to the most amazing sites and, most importantly, interact with the locals! Get ready for a behind-the-scenes tour where we’ll visit hole-in-the-wall restaurants and find the best picarones (Andean doughnuts). I’ll be waiting for you here, in my beloved Peru."

Man smiling into the camera with camping gear in the background

Fernando, general manager

"I like working for Intrepid because their social and environmental philosophy isn’t just a slogan to sell more trips, they really do care about it. I have changed my life in so many aspects due to all the learning coming from Intrepid, from recycling to accepting myself, and being proud for who I am."

A local porter giving a thumbs up to the camera along the Inca Trail in Peru

Ascencio, porter

"I started working with Intrepid in 2014 and now I'm 61 years old. I'm very happy to be working with Intrepid because each porter's treatment is better than other tour operators in Peru. Because of this job (which includes fair pay), I can provide a better education for my children". 

Local woman with a backpack on along the Inca Trail in Peru

Valentina, porter

"I come from Huilloc Community in Ollantaytambo town in the Sacred Valley (Cusco), and I started working as a porter on the Inca Trail in 2021. I love walking the Inca Trail and I'm very happy to be working for Intrepid as my income enables me to provide a better education for my 7 children". 

A smiling man standing in front of the Intrepid logo at an office in Peru

Teofilo, porter

"I'm from the Community of Kalla Rayan (Calca town) in the Sacred Valley, and I'm 53 years old. I've worked as a porter for Intrepid since 2009, mainly because I love it and we have very good working conditions. Thanks to my job, I've saved money to spend on my wife and better education for my children". 


We are able to add the One Day Inca Trail to a number of our existing Peru itineraries. Please contact us to discuss the different options available to you.

While you don’t need the same permit you need for the Inca trail, places are limited so you must pre-book this option at least 30 days prior to departure. We will arrange all the necessary paperwork on your behalf.

On trips where the One Day Inca Trail is included, the day begins bright and early with a 6:30am train ride to the starting point. With a local guide leading the way, the trail will lead uphill and downhill, passing a few archaeological sites. See Winayhuayna (2680 metres), also known as 'Forever Young'. This impressive complex is considered by many to be most impressive site on the whole Inca Trail, and is made up of a terraced agricultural centre, religious sector and urban sector. From here, it's about a one-hour trek to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate), where (weather permitting), you'll enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu. Depending on how long the trek takes, you'll have a guided tour of the area for 1.5 to 2 hours, with time to take photos, before taking a short bus ride down to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town).

The high season for trekking in Peru runs over the drier months from April to October. The most popular time to hike to Machu Picchu is in June and July – which is therefore the most crowded time.

The wet season runs from November to March – this is when the temperature rises, and the region receives heavy rainfall. The Inca Trail closes every year in February (the wettest month of the year) for maintenance.

The altitude at Machu Picchu is 2430 metres (7970 feet) above sea level.

The One Day Inca Trail is 15 kilometres (just over 9 miles) in total. The first 10 kilometres are uphill and can be pretty steep, but if you have a moderate level of fitness you should be fine. The trek takes about 4 hours at leisurely pace.

While there is no official minimum age for hiking the trail, we do recommend children be at least 10 years old. While the trail can be completed by a person with moderate fitness, it is worth considering whether your child would be able to meet the physical requirements of the trek.

Most people can start to feel the effects of altitude at over 2000 metres (6561 feet) regardless of age, gender or fitness level. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you make yourself aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. It’s important to take it easy, drink plenty of water and speak to your leader at once if you feel unwell. We recommend seeing your doctor if you have any health concerns before undertaking the trip. Particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking any medication.

For the One Day Inca Trail, we suggest you tip the local guide between PEN 10 and PEN 20.

Basic toilet blocks are situated along the Inca Trail. We recommend you bring some toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitiser.

You shouldn’t need too much to complete the One Day Inca Trail, but we do recommend bringing a small day pack containing essentials like water, sunscreen and snacks, as there are few opportunities to purchase food at Machu Picchu. If you wish to bring walking poles you may, but they are not essential.

After spending the day exploring Machu Picchu, you will take a train and bus through the Sacred Valley and back to Cusco. You also have the option to walk back to Cusco if you want, which takes between 45 minutes and one hour.

Yes, but of course it will depend on your specific condition, fitness and what support will be available to you. Contact us to discuss your circumstances and we can assess you from there.

Yes, it is always possible to skip trekking components on our trips, with no extra charge. Simply speak to us at the time of booking and we can discuss alternative options for you, such as a train to Machu Picchu.


Responsible trekking

Intrepid Travel is absolutely committed to ensuring the environmental sustainability of the amazing destinations we visit and we take our social responsibilities very seriously. In Peru, we have committed to paying our porters and guides a fair wage and supplying them with the necessary equipment and resources to undertake their work safely. We also support several community initiatives aimed at promoting the long-term sustainability of the region's environment and preserving the traditional cultures of its communities. 

Read more about Machu Picchu