Inca Trail & Lares Trek

In the footsteps of the ancients

Follow the footpaths of the Inca to the roof of the Andes, passing ancient Tambo ruins, and breathing in pure mountain air by the lungful. Memorable moments are plentiful on the Inca Trail’s four-day trek, but none can compare to the moment you walk through the Sun Gate and catch your first glimpse of the forgotten city of Machu Picchu. It’s not just an accomplishment; it’s a transformative moment.

Why is the Inca Trail so popular?

The Inca Trail is one of our most popular trips in the region, and is ideal for travellers eager to combine the cultural highlights of the Sacred Valley with the challenge of one of the world’s best-known hikes. Since its rediscovery over a century ago, much has been done to excavate and study the site. The stretch referred to as the “Inca Trail” today is, in fact, merely the final, dramatic stretch of the Incan road to Machu Picchu. This part of the Trail is a challenging four-day trek from the floor of the Sacred Valley up high mountain passes and through cloud forests and jungle that tests the limits of mind, body, and spirit.

While it is physically demanding, the 40km (25 mi) hike remains within the reach of most reasonably fit travellers. Some parts are steep, especially the three high passes – one of which reaches an elevation of 4,200m (13,776 ft)! The end is appropriately nicknamed the “Sun Gate,” where mist-shrouded views of Machu Picchu prove to all who make it that the climb was undeniably worth it.

The Inca Trail & Lares Trek

You can’t take the trek if you don’t know where you’re headed. Check out our handy map of the Urubamba Valley’s iconic routes and get your bearings.

Inca Trail & Peru Trekking FAQ

Many travellers interested in trekking the Inca Trail have questions about the experience and the permit process. We’ve answered a few of the more common ones here.

Most popular questions

Can I obtain my own Inca Trail permit?

Only tour operators like G Adventures can acquire permits. Tour operators are subject to thorough annual inspections by the government agencies that govern the Inca Trail.

Why do I need a permit?

Before permits were introduced, there were no regulations and many trekkers camped wherever they pleased, used the ruins as latrines, and generally made a mess of the place. In 2002, Inca Trail regulations were introduced to protect the site and the surrounding ecosystem. These regulations restrict the number of annual visitors and prevent undocumented trekkers from hiking the Trail.

How are permits secured?

We’ve been running trips here for years, and as the world’s largest Inca Trail operator, we have an established set of protocols to best secure your permit. With years of experience, our Cusco-based team is on hand to book and collect your permit in person. This means that as soon as your permit is confirmed, your spot on the Trail is confirmed. Book with confidence!

How long has G Adventures been trekking the Inca Trail?

We’ve been bringing travellers to the Inca Trail for over 15 years. Because we run our own treks with our own staff and equipment, we can ensure our porters are treated fairly and that the quality of our food and gear is always top notch. Our groups enjoy the best adventure possible and are afforded plenty of time to bond before and after the trek. Each itinerary is planned to give you the best possible experience.

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Instagrams of the Week: The Inca Trail

Memorable moments are plentiful on the Inca Trail’s four-day trek—and you can count on G Adventures travellers to capture the magic on Instagram.

Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail

You've heard about it, dreaded it, tried to consider how high 4,215m really is. Fear not. G Adventures' own Jason Allen explains that with a little gumption, the highest pass on the Inca Trail yields the highest rewards.

The G Difference

Trekking the inca trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for travellers, and we approach each one of our departures with that perspective in mind. Here’s how.

The best of everything

On-trip meals are prepared from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Our high-quality tents and camping gear are set up and maintained by our support staff, freeing you up to get the most out of your experience.

Unmatched experience

We are the single largest tour operator on the Inca Trail, helping well over 10,000 travellers trek the Inca Trail every year.

Embedded experts

All tours are led by skilled staff recruited from local communities and employed directly by us. Every trip is managed and equipped from our dedicated operations base in Cuzco.

Local commitment

All our guides, porters, support staff and cooks work under the region’s best employment conditions and are fairly compensated for their efforts.

Exclusive departures

Other companies pool different travellers together to maximize profits. All of our departures are exclusive; everyone in your group will be one of our travellers. We guarantee it.

Visit the Women’s Weaving Co-op

Meet the women of the Sacred Valley and learn about the stages of the weaving process that’s been handed down to them through generations, then try it out for yourself.

Trek Peru without a permit

Sometimes it's difficult to obtain an Inca Trail permit, especially during the peak season. But there's no need to push back your Peru trekking plans. There are several other trails that Peru has to offer, all beautiful, scenic, and challenging!

The Lares Trek

An amazing three-day trek through the mountains and communities surrounding the Sacred Valley with views of the snow-capped Cordillera de Vilcanota range and ending with a spectacular train ride and guided tour of Machu Picchu.

View Lares tours

The Huayhuash circuit

A challenging eight-day trek through the high altitude region of Huayhuash, featuring towering snow-topped peaks and considered by many to be the prettiest hiking destination in an already gorgeous country.

View Huayhuash tour

Salkantay Trek

A four-day guided trek along the Salkantay route through spectacular mountain scenery and breathtaking vistas. Descend from the high Andes to the cloud forest around Machu Picchu.

View Salkantay tour

Choquequirao trekking

A challenging yet rewarding eight-day pilgrimage to hillside ruins. Trip begins in Cusco, treks to Choquequirao and continues to Santa Teresa and Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.

View Choquequirao tour

Take the trek, give a little back

Our Lares Trek tours make use of a special campsite established by Planeterra and our local operatives. The community-owned campsite features composting toilets, solar showers, and a solid-waste management system that's the first of its kind in Peru. Just another one of the ways Planeterra helps to make the world a little more perfect.

Learn more about the campsite

Featured Inca Trail & Lares Trek Tours