Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu

HARD 62 reviews

Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu is a 66.9 kilometer moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
66.9 km
ELEVATION GAIN
3,381 m
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

rocky

snow

historic site

A wonderful alternative to the classic 'Inca Trail', which rises higher, offers superb views of the Salkantay and is much less frequented.

1 day ago

Vous devez avoir un bon guide et être en forme. Excellente alternative à Inca Trail plus populaire.

hiking
7 days ago

A pretty epic trail with variety of terrain and scenery. Make sure you’re acclimatized first so you can really enjoy it.

20 days ago

Completed in 4 days, with the 5th day at Machu Picchu. Had trek guides “Tour Leaders Peru” and they were energetic, had excellent equipment, and generally fantastic — local guys who spoke great English and were very passionate about the money from the trip going directly back into the Peruvian economy.

It’s of course simpler to have a trek guide and also porters for your stuff, as we did. I am a moderate hiker at best and the trail was tough for me. I trained weekly beforehand on similar inclines for a few hours at a time with a weighted backpack and my hiking boots (15 lbs as I didn’t need to carry food/tent). Acclimated for 2.5 days beforehand in Cusco, which is necessary. Took Diamox just in case, and the altitude was still tricky going up Salkantay. Was passed by tons of people going up on horses.

If your knees are bad, like some of the people in my group, the hours of downhills on slippery rocks is going to be tough. Poles were absolutely necessary — heading both up and down. Pack in layers as you’ll go through many different climates, the first night in tents it was so cold some members of our party couldn’t sleep.

Would recommend just buying a train ticket into Aguas Calientes instead of hiking the last set of miles bc it’s not a comfortable hike, although flat, due to the loose rock, and you’ll also be exhausted at this point. We hiked it and it was miserable.

I heard that this trail may be permitted (like the Inca) in about a year or two.

Hardest physical thing I’ve ever done but also most rewarding. Every day I saw magical landscapes that made me inadvertently gasp. I may never do another hike this demanding again in my life, but am proud to have done this one. Made the grandeur of Machu Picchu even more amazing when you realized how people traveled to the ancient city.

hiking
1 month ago

Just finished this trek in a 5 day trip towards Machu Picchu. I live below sealevel, so had to get used to the altitude. Went from Lima (msl) to Arequipa (2500m) to Cuzco (3300) and started the trek at Soraypampa (3800m). Which was fine altitude wise but if your not a trained hiker/runner and your daypack is too heavy (like mine ... 8kg) because you want to take your big-ass camera ... Do yourself a big favour BUY DECENT POLES!

They helped me a lot. Furthermore there are a number of opportunities to buy water and snacks so do not load up your backpack. Take the camera, a water bottle, a snack or two, a raincoat/poncho, gloves/beanie/buff and layer up (clothes) so you can layer down as well.
Leave enough room in your daypack to be able to stow the clothes you take off,

You will climb from moderate pampa, to a cold snowy mountain pass and descend to warm pre-jungle.

It’s super!

Leave some energy for the Machu Picchu (1670 steps) climb or even consider taking the bus up if you have to walk back (2hrs) to HydroElectrico afterwards.

Have fun

1 month ago

just finished this in 3 days with 2 friends. we did it on our own without a guide. went up to humantay lake first then on to the salkantay. make sure you acclimate before starting. it is a tough hike but very rewarding. camp in one of the coffee plantations just after the town of la playa. there is a lot of water on the trail so bring a filter and dont bother carrying much water. the final several miles to aguas calientes is miserable as it follows the train track and you are walking on loose rocks the entire way.

1 month ago

Challenging hike, beautiful scenery culminating in Machu Picchu. Unforgetable experience!

backpacking
2 months ago

I did this trek solo with all my own gear and food /water starting on Mollepata. See my profile for a day-by-day breakdown. The All Trails map is outdated in spots, as I found, and it starts from Soraypampa vs Mollepata. It was 5 days, 4 nights and incredible. Email me if you have any questions - bobbyboombeck at gmail dot com.

2 months ago

We did this as part of a guided tour through Mountain Lodges of Peru (highly recommend) in June 2016. I struggle with altitude but spent two days in Cusco beforehand and took Diamox and was able to manage it fine. The last little bit was tough, above 14,000 feet, but definitely worth it. I did not take hiking poles and was fine except at the very highest part because altitude makes me dizzy. If I did it again I would probably take poles. Pack lots of layers and water.

backpacking
3 months ago

We did this as a 3 day hike, beginning in Sorayampa. Don’t underestimate the effects of the altitude near the pass- it’s extremely hard to breathe- we ended up taking a horse for about a mile or so until the top of the pass. After that, the trail gradually descends and the scenery is beautiful. The campsites were nice- our guide took good care of us! We ended in Agua Caliente, and bussed to Machu Picchu.
We chose this trail instead of the original Inca Trail, as there are less people.

backpacking
3 months ago

We went independently backpacking. Amazing nature & landscapes. You pass through 3 different ecozones. The directions are easy to followed as we we downloaded the offline map from all trails. The hike is hard; altitude plays a huge role in its difficultly. Better to acclimatize for 3 days before hitting the trail. You need to carry meals at least for 3 days as in some camping areas you might not find food. At first two nights it gets really cold. It’s worth all the tiredness.

3 months ago

Good

hiking
5 months ago

We chose Valencia Travel and they were excellent. The hike itself was my first major hike and it was something I will never forget!

A great alternative to the Inca Trail - you get to see high mountains with snow, the jungle, the country... it's really nice! However there's a lot more climbing down than up so your knees may hurt! And the afternoon of the second day is really muddy, so boots are recommended.

8 months ago

One of the best treks I've ever done

camping
10 months ago

Absolutely amazing

backpacking
10 months ago

This is a gorgeous trek with lots of great mountain landscapes. Here is a trip report I wrote describing my experience on the Salkantay Trek. https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/machu-picchu-salkantay-trek/

11 months ago

We hiked with salkantay trekking. Awesome experience. They take you to Llactapaka so you get a second hard summit. See my review on TripAdvisor under salkantay trekking. 4 reasons.

backpacking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Once in..I wish.. everyone's lifetime

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

moderate to difficult. scenery is out of this world. day 2 is most difficult but not impossible.

hiking
Monday, May 29, 2017

The best thing I've ever done. The views are out of this world. Harder than I could have imagined but I would do it all again, best experience

hiking
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

just completed the 4 day, 3 night trek, distance in km was 11, 26 and 26 for each day respectively to get to Machu Pichu, beautiful scenery, mountains, glaciers, cloud forests, jungle, make sure you are acclimated to altitude snd are in excellent shape

hiking
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Best trek ever. Drink plenty of cocoa tea!!!

hiking
6 days ago

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