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Inca Trail History

Inca Trail History is about how famous is this trekking route around the world; though the trail many tourists know is just a small sector of the thread of Inca paths that held this great empire together. The Incas generated a vast network of roads and trails that they named “Qapacñan”; the majority of these trails were paved with stones. Part of this trail you still can walk and visit ancient Inca ruins. The most popular of these Inca trails for hiking is the Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail History
Inca Trail History in Peru

The Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu is most well-known trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top 5 treks in the world. In a distance of 26 miles (45km), it manages to combine beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, and subtropical jungle and, of course, a stunning mix of Inca paving stones ruins and tunnels; there are tree high passes to cross one of which riches to 4,200 masl that is the highest from were one is rewarded with stunning mounting scenery.The final destination of the Inca trail is the mysterious «Lost City of the Incas» – Machu Picchu.

The Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu can be hiked year round although the months of April till October are probably more comfortable since the weather is drier. June, July and August are in the high season when the Inca trail can become fully booked so, be sure to make the Inca trail reservations in advance. The 4-day Inca Trail is closed each year during the month of February to allow conservation work to take place. The months of January and March are in the wet season so hiking the trail can be a little miserable unless you have a good rain jacket and waterproof tent. If you are searching in the web for information about the 4-day Inca Trail you’ll find hundreds of tour companies offering this popular trek amongst their services.

Many of these companies are acting only as agents for the relatively few specialist trekking companies that actually operate the trek. Prices for the 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu starts at $440 USD per person for a basic service (including entrance fees and return on train) and can climb anywhere up to $1000 depending on the service and how comfortable you want  to be. Purchasing the trek directly with a local tour operator in Cusco can often be less than half the price of buying the trek in your own country through an agent.

Inca trail Building

Inca Trail History
Inca Trail History in Peru

The Incas started building the Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu around 1400 AD, but it was abandoned as an official path for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest of the Inca Empire.The 45,000 km of Inca road was the most extensive and advanced transportation system in the 15th century; the network was based on four trails that start at the Main Square of Cusco and leads to the four regions of the Inca territory that they named Tahuantinsuyo: Antisuyo, Contisuyo, Chinchaysuyo and Collasuyo; it was built using local material and taking advantage of the nature considering the  capricious of the geography. The Inca trails in the valleys can be over two meters of width and in the mountains until one meter.

The famous «Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu» which connects the city of Cusco to Machu Picchu’s sacred citadel, is only a small part and tangential huge network of Inca roads. There were many trails built by Incas in Peru and South America, but there is only one Inca Trail, the one that is connecting to Machu Picchu the Inca’s «Royal Sacred Highway» The Capac Ñan (in Quechua ‘the road of the Inca king’) or Inca Trail is the name given to the extensive trail system of 45 thousand kilometers linked and connected to the main axis of the road network Tahuantinsuyo (the Inca Empire.) All roads of the Empire were linked to Cusco, the Imperial Capital, from which emerge a series of roads connecting the various peoples of the Inca Empire. During the Inca Empire was a means of integration for the Inca imperial expansion in the political-administrative, socio-economic, social, cultural and environmental.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Inca Trail History
Inca Trail History in Peru

The best known portion of the Inca road system is the Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu that was discovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1915; The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, served to the royal estate populated by the Inca and several servants; This trail start at km 82 following the rail way from Cusco to Machu Picchu or at Pisqhacucho continuing by the left bank of the Urubamba river 1:30 hour after reaching Patallacta (up city) from where continue through Cusichaca Valley until first camp at small community named Wayllabamba (Valley of Grass).From here, the trail climbs up toward the first pass at 4,200 masl named Warmiwañusqha (Dead Woman) is considered very important as «Apu» or powerful deity where is important to leave some offer for the spirit of the mountains specially some coca leaves; continuing the descents by the well-preserved Inca steps to Paqhaymayo and then, the ascent to Runkuraqhay ruins which served as a lodge for the travellers or pilgrims.

Continuing the journey, the trail leads to the second pass at 4,000 masl from where the views are unique, this is  the last mountain before the beginning of the jungle it is very easy to recognize where the Andes finish and where the jungle starts. After this suddenly appears to be a stunning Inca complex called by Hiram Bingham as Cedrobamba which was renamed by Paul Fejos at 1942 as Sayacmarca (inaccessible town) this marks the access to the Amazon with different landscape, whether and different temperature; continuing the trail through amazing vegetation it reach to Phuyupatamaka named by Hiram Bingham as Qoryhuarachina and renamed by Paul Fejos who was leader of important expeditions at 1940.

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From this point, the trail descent by well preserved Inca steps some of them carved on natural rock until Wiñayhuayna (Young Forever) which contains a group of terraces and temples. After this, the trail leads to Intipunku and then to Machu Picchu.Visitors come from all parts of the world to Peru, not only to see Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, but also to walk  through the Inca Trail. They come to see the ruins and the scenary which make this trail very famous. The total distance of the Inca trail is approximately 45 km and you can trek in a regular program of 4 days and 3 nights considering 8 hours of daily trek this time includes the resting times.

Hiram Bingham, discoverer of Machu Picchu in 1911, found the trail in 1915. The highway was traced and explored in more details in 1942 by the Viking Expedition with Paul Fejos 1941. There is nothing like the feeling of discovery you get when, after 4 days of hike with stone-paved Inca pathways, you finally ascend the last trail, walk to the arch of Intipunku («Gate of the Sun»), and see spread before you Machu Picchu, the beautiful, enigmatic, «Lost City» of the Incas. To arrive on foot, as the Incas did, is to step back in time and feel a real link with Inca history. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a classic hike.

Route Options to Reach Machu picchu

Inca Trail History
Inca Trail History

Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2 days

This is a less energetic route and starts at kilometre 104 along the railroad from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The trail climbs up to Wiñay Wayna where you join the final stages of the Classic 4-day hike. From Wiñay Wayna, the trek continues to Machu Picchu. The trek has the advantage of allowing you to visit the beautiful ruins at Wiñay Wayna and also to experience at least part of the Inca trail...Read more    descarga1


Inca Trail History
Inca Trail History

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days

This is the most popular route trekked by hundreds of visitors each day. This beautiful trail starts at kilometre 82 (so called because it is 82 km along the railroad from Cusco to Machu Picchu) and takes in many of the Inca ruins including Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñay Wayna and of course Machu Picchu….Read more    descarga1

Inca Trail History
Inca Trail History

[Luxury Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 5 days

This itinerary follows the same route as 4-day trek. However, you have the opportunity to visit the ruins of Llactapata. You’ll also camp at different less crowded campsites during your trek. You will arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon of the fourth day of the trek and see the sunset over Machu Picchu…Read more    descarga1

Inca trail weather

Average weather conditions on the Inca Trail.

OAv. Max Temp ºC202121222121212121222322
Av. Max Temp ºF687070727070707072727372
Av. Min Temp ºC777421-114667
Av. Min Temp ºF454545403634303440434345
Wet days / month1813118322227812

The best months to do the Inca Trail are from May to October when the conditions are fairly dry and the weather generally sunny. However, the months of June, July and August can also be very cold at night so bring a good quality 4-season sleeping bag.