Short Inca Trail 2 days hike to Machu Picchu

Experience Machu Picchu in just two days on the Short Inca Trail, an enjoyable 2-day hike that leads to its historic city. This path is shorter and fewer people than its traditional Inca counterpart, offering an opportunity to truly appreciate Machu Picchu without long hikes and big crowds. Starting from km 104 of Cusco-Machu Picchu railway line, the path traverses jungle terrain before ascending mountains before arriving at Sun Gate where stunning views await!

Overview of the Inca Trail 2 days

The Short Inca Trail is an easier and shorter 2-day hike than its Classic Inca Trail counterpart and may be ideal for people wanting to see Machu Picchu but are unable to hike for as long.

Tour details:

  • Distance: 16 km / 9.9 miles
  • Duration: 2 days, 1 night
  • Depart: From Cusco or the Sacred Valley
  • Destination: Machu Picchu
  • Considered: Moderate
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel
  • Type: Adventure – Cultural

History of the Inca Trails

The Inca Trail is an ancient network of stone paths and roads built by Inca people more than 500 years ago to connect various Inca cities such as Machu Picchu. Known for its stunning mountain scenery in Andes Mountains, the Inca Trail has long been considered an incredible hiking route; one day Inca Trail provides an ideal solution for people with limited time who cannot undertake longer treks.

short inca trail


The Short Inca Trail 2 days is located in the Cloud forest region Cusco-Peru. It is a popular destination for hikers and tourists alike. The Short Inca Trail starts in Km 104-Chachabamaba and leads to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, one of the world's most well-known archaeological sites.

Inca sites inside the short Inca Trail 2 days

The Short Inca Trail boasts many archaeological sites worth visiting besides Winaywayna. These websites provide insight into Inca culture and history as well as being preserved to show what life was like back then. Many places can even show what things looked like back then!

  • Chachabamba: Located in Chachabamba at Km 104, the first archaeological site located next to the Urubamba River.
  • Choquesuysuy: Located in km 107, next to the porter exit trail, this Inca site is only visible from a distance. 
  • Wiñaywayna: The largest and most beautiful Inca site from the Inca Trail. You will have time to explore it. 
  • Intipata: Farming terraces are located at 30 minutes hike up from Wiñaywayna. You will be able to see this place from a distance. 
  • Sungate: Located at 2700 meters, it offers amazing views of Machu Picchu. You will arrive around 3 - 4 pm; this place is only for the Inca Trail hikers.
  • Machu Picchu: The most famous Inca site. Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the World's New Seven Wonders. It is on a mountaintop with many buildings, temples, and palaces.

The altitude of the Short Inca Trail hike

The Short Inca Trail hike's altitude. Located in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 2,104 meters (6,906 feet), many visitors enjoy visiting this scenic route because it provides stunning views of nearby mountains while simultaneously experiencing Inca culture first-hand.

Flora of the Inca Trail

There are various species of plants found along the Short Inca Trail, but bromeliads, orchids and ferns are among those most frequently seen. Bromeliads have a cluster of leaves at the base that support flowers that bloom together while orchids have fleshy roots which typically attach themselves to trees; similarly ferns have long green leaves with no seeds for reproduction - an easily found sight!

Fauna of the Inca Trail 

Along the Inca Trail you may come across various animals. Llamas, alpacas, guinea pigs and chickens are popularly seen. You might also come across rats, mice or snakes. Furthermore, the trail boasts many bird species such as hummingbirds, hawks and eagles.

Short Inca Trail frequently asked questions

When hiking the Short Inca Trail, several factors should be kept in mind. First is getting your permit early. Depending on which season and month you choose for travel - June to August and December/January tend to be busier times with crowds than other periods; to avoid them choose times where there are less people around and make sure you bring appropriate clothes and equipment - plus get used to hiking at altitude!

How long is the short Inca Trail?

Many travelers enjoy hiking the Classic Inca Trail from Cuzco to Machu Picchu in Peru. The trail consists of 26 miles (42 kilometers). Completion typically takes four days; you can use this trail between April and November. Alternatively, The Short Inca Trail provides an easier alternative, measuring 16km (10 miles). You can complete it in just two days!

Why Did The Incas Leave Machu Picchu?

  1. Many believe the Incas abandoned Machu Picchu due to the Spanish Conquest. Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador, led an expedition into the Inca Empire in 1532 under Atahualpa who they took as hostage and demanded ransom money for his freedom; they received this payment, yet Pizarro still killed Atahualpa after which many inhabitants fled Machu Picchu fearful that Spanish soldiers might discover and ruin it.
  2. Others believe that Machu Picchu was abandoned because of a smallpox outbreak. The Spanish brought smallpox with them when they invaded South America, and its spread is easily managed. A sick person may have visited Machu Picchu and infected its inhabitants; as it would kill many quickly, those left alive would likely leave in search of safer refuge.
  3. Machu Picchu may have been challenging to maintain due to its location deep in the mountains, making it difficult for residents to access food and supplies.
short inca trail

How To hike The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail is an ancient network of pathways and roads leading directly to Machu Picchu - one of the world's best-known Inca cities located there.

  • The Inca Trail is a highly acclaimed hiking route that is enjoyed by many for a multitude of reasons, as you will walk on an exquisite trail while experiencing amazing sights along its route - passing old Inca cities along its journey before arriving at Machu Picchu itself.
  • Hike the Inca Trail independently or join one of many guided tours offered by trekking companies.
  • There are various routes on the Inca Trail with different lengths ranging from short treks to more extensive journeys; most typically require at least four days for completion.
  • It is crucial that you prepare properly before setting out on any hike, particularly the Inca Trail. Ensure you have the appropriate equipment, food and water with you while being mindful of your own physical abilities.

Hiking the Inca Trail can be an unforgettable experience and highlight of any trip to Peru if prepared carefully.

Cost of Inca Trail Ticket 

The cost associated with hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can vary based on various factors.

  • Time of year you hike is key when selecting the Inca Trail as it usually costs more during this peak season, while costs tend to be reduced during shoulder seasons between April-May and September-October.
  • Hikes that take longer usually cost more, with shorter ones usually costing less; most short hikes taking place over 2-3 days and longer hikes up to 4 days in duration.
  • Cost of tours depends upon which tour option is chosen, with some companies providing full packages whereas others only include transportation and guides; full package tours usually tend to cost more.

Price can depend on multiple factors when hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu; on average, however, one should expect to spend approximately $500 per person for their adventure.

How Many Miles Is The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail is 26 miles in total; however, you may choose to break this into shorter daily hikes. On an initial day's hike you should cover an approximate 12 mile distance; subsequent days cover 8 and 6 miles respectively before embarking on an optional fourth-day trek of approximately 2 miles in length - thus creating an average length of 26 miles before branching off further if desired.

What Is The Inca Trail In Peru?

The Inca Trail is an iconic hiking path in Peru that travels 26 miles through the Andes Mountains before culminating in Machu Picchu, a former Inca city located 900m above sea level. Most people complete this hike in four days.

Peru offers stunning landscapes along the Inca Trail, offering hikers breathtaking sights of cloud forests, high-altitude treelines and alpine meadows as they traverse their journey. Hikers may also come across ancient Inca ruins along their journey.

The Inca Trail hike may be daunting at high altitudes, but its rewards make it worthwhile in the end. When completed, you will get amazing views of Machu Picchu - one of the Seven Wonders of the World!

How Difficult Is The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu?

Hiking on the Classic Inca Trail from Cuzco to Machu Picchu can be challenging and requires moderate to difficult effort, as its distance covers 26 miles with some steep sections along its route. Most hikes take four days but shorter versions may only require two or three.

The Short Inca Trail can be completed in two days with only minimal difficulty. Measuring 16 km (10 miles), this trek typically lasts about 7 hours each day - making it suitable as a moderate trek.

Is the 2-Day Inca Trail Worth It?

Machu Picchu offers an unforgettable experience along this unforgettable trail, offering stunning mountain scenery along its route and making for a remarkable stop at Machu Picchu itself - which cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world!

Hiking the Inca Trail can be challenging, and is certainly not for everyone; but those willing to accept its challenge can find an amazing experience on this historic path that provides stunning views of Peru's most magnificent landmarks and landscapes.

How to Prepare for Hiking the 2-Day Inca Trail?

Below are some tips for successfully undertaking this two-day Inca Trail expedition:

Getting fit for the Short Inca Trail

  • Before hiking the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, it's essential that you are physically prepared. Although only four days long, this trek presents numerous challenges that must be navigated efficiently in order to be completed successfully. You must be capable of walking long distances while carrying heavy backpacks.
  • There are various ways you can prepare yourself and get into shape for the Short Inca Trail, such as increasing walking frequency - aim to walk for at least 30 minutes each day if possible! Or consider joining a gym and performing cardio and strength-training exercises there.
  • It is wise to initiate specific Inca Trail training before setting off on your hike date. Among other exercises, this may include walking up and down hills while carrying your backpack as well as practicing climbing stairs.

As you increase your physical fitness, you will become better prepared to tackle the challenges of the Short Inca Trail and hike to Machu Picchu more safely and enjoyably. These tips can make the trip safer and more rewarding.

short inca trail

Getting the hiking gear in advance

  • It is essential to purchase hiking equipment ahead of time in order to be adequately prepared for a hike. In particular, comfortable boots, a backpack and warm clothing will come in handy as essential pieces.
  • To hike the Inca Trail, it is necessary to secure a permit in advance due to its popularity. With this permit you may hike for an allotted number of days along its course.
  • Before hiking the Inca Trail, it's essential to train as it can be physically demanding. To prepare yourself, go on some hikes near where you live - this will familiarize you with your environment while building stamina.
  • Before beginning a hike, ensure to consume a nutritious breakfast and bring enough water and snacks with you to sustain you for hours on end.
  • Once you reach Machu Picchu, take a moment to enjoy and appreciate its stunning scenery. Accomplishing this feat is no small feat and promises an unforgettable experience!

Book the Inca Trail in advance

  • Make sure to book the Inca Trail early! In order to hike this popular hike, book it as early as possible - people often reserve spots months in advance! For best results on this incredible adventure, reserve your spot ASAP!
  • Choose an Inca Trail hike lasting two to four days for maximum flexibility if time is tight; many opt for two-day excursions when visiting Machu Picchu.
  • Since the Inca Trail lies at high altitudes, altitude sickness should be taken seriously. Before setting out on your trek, take time to acclimate yourself with its climate by drinking plenty of water and taking it slow on your first few days of hiking.

Peru's Inca Trail offers breathtaking vistas. On your hike you will see ancient ruins such as Machu Picchu as well as gorgeous landscapes - you won't want to leave!.

Acclimatize before the Short Inca Trail 

Before hiking the Inca Trail, it's important to adjust to its altitude gradually. Since this trail ascends into high altitudes and may present hazards for those not used to the elevation changes, acclimatizing before making the trip is crucial. There are various methods available that can help get acquainted with their environment before the hike begins.

Visit Cusco for several days, which is located at an altitude. Doing this will allow your body to adjust to the increased altitude. Furthermore, hiking in Cusco's surroundings will also help you adjust and become used to living at such high altitudes.

Consume plenty of fluids and carbohydrates-rich food before embarking on any hiking adventures. Hydration will keep your body hydrated while providing energy to power the hike ahead.

Before embarking on an Inca Trail hike, it is crucial that you acclimate properly. Doing this will prevent problems caused by high altitude conditions and could save lives!

During the hike

As part of your four-day hike on the Inca Trail, starting point will be at Kilometer 104 (KM 104 is also the starting point of its four-day version) where hiking takes approximately three hours until reaching Winay Wayna for overnight accommodation and then beginning again early the following morning.

On your second day, you'll hike for approximately five hours until reaching Machu Picchu and experiencing its amazing views. There will then be time for exploration before returning back to Cusco where your adventure will come to an end.

If you don't have much time but still wish to experience one of the world's most iconic locations, the Short Inca Trail hike is an excellent option. Although challenging at times, this rewarding trek promises an exciting journey!


Submitted by Irma Granit on



Me and my brother are interested in the 2 day Inka trail hike to Machu Pichu. Could we receive some more information of the trip?

For example, where would we get picked up from?

Are all food, drinks and Machu Pichu tickets included? What is the hotel we would be staying at? And what is the cost?

We would be looking to do the trip on the 11th December.


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