Inca Trail Altitude

Have you ever felt the thrill of walking among the majestic mountains of the Peruvian Andes, exploring ancient Inca trails as you ascend to great heights? In this blog, we will take you on a virtual journey through the elevations of the Inca Trail hike, exploring how altitude can influence your experience on this legendary trekking route.

Get ready to discover the challenges and wonders that await you as you venture into the Inca Trail altitude. From the effects of altitude sickness on the Inca Trail experiences to panoramic views from mountain peaks, you’ll immerse yourself in a world of adventure and discovery. Join us on this exciting journey and be inspired by the majesty of the Andes!

The Inca Trail Hike Altitude: What It Is and Why It Matters

If you’re about to embark on this adventure, understanding the Inca Trail altitude is crucial. The trail traverses mountainous terrain above 3,000 m / 9,842 ft ASL, which can negatively affect travelers, especially seniors and children. Preparing physically and mentally is essential to face the trek’s challenges adequately.

Knowing the effects of the Inca Trail altitude will help you plan how to confront it and its potential consequences effectively.

paisajes únicos de la altitud del camino inca

Get the best scenery from a combination of mountains and flora unique to the Inca Trail.

Health and Safety

Good health is vital for overcoming the challenges and altitude along the Inca Trail hike. Months before your adventure, visit your doctor for necessary tests and recommendations that ensure you’re healthy enough for the journey.

Required Physical Condition

The Inca Trail Peru is demanding, involving long distances, steep steps, and high altitudes in the first two days. Training and improving your physical condition beforehand will enhance your experience and ensure you can handle the challenges without complications.

descenso de turistas por los escalones del camino inca

Remember to be physically prepared to enjoy the challenges of the trail.

Logistical Planning

The altitude and lenght of the Inca Trail tour affect the trip’s logistics, influencing the amount of water, food, and gear you need. Understand that altitude can impact your speed and endurance, so carrying too much weight will make the tour more strenuous.

Note: Choose a professional, experienced agency for the Inca Trail. They will support you with camping gear, daily meals, and medical assistance, making a significant difference during the trip.

equipamiento adecuado para superar la altitud del Camino Inca

Packing properly is important for this hike

Travel Experience

Overall, health, physical condition, and logistics are crucial factors if you are keen on a pleasant experience on the Inca Trail. Consult about any doubts and select an agency that provides the top-of-the-line trekking equipment to ensure your safety and comfort.

Embark on your journey with confidence, knowing you’re ready for the unique challenges of the Inca Trail. Enjoy the breathtaking views and rich history as you trek towards the ancient city of the Incas.

turistas felices de experimentar el Camino Inca

Enjoy the best hike in South America

The altitude of the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail altitude varies from the beginning to the end, traversing diverse geographical environments. The route goes from high mountains over 4,000 m / 13,123 ft ASL to the jungle of Cusco, which ranges between 2,800 m / 9,186 ft and 2,000 m / 6,562 ft at Machu Picchu Pueblo or Aguas Calientes.

Highest Altitude of the Inca Trail

On the second day of your Inca Trail hike journey, you face one of the biggest challenges: reaching the highest point at Abra Warmiwañusqa, a mountain pass at 4,125 m / 13,533 ft ASL. Upon reaching the summit of Warmiwañusqa, hikers reward themselves with an incredible panoramic view and have plenty of time to take memorable photos!

altitud máxima del camino inca

Taking over the highest point of the trek

Lowest Altitude along the Inca Trail

Aside from the archaeological complex of Machu Picchu, located at 2,430 m / 7,972 ft ASL, the lowest point is at the trailhead of the Inca Trail (Km 82), which stands at 2,572 m / 8,438 ft ASL. Piscakucho or km 82 is the trailhead of the 4-day and 5-day Inca Trail. If you opt for the Short Inca Trail (2 days), the trailhead starts at Km 104, the lowest point of that trek, at 2,100 m / 6,890 ft ASL.

explicación del la altitud del camino inca por un guía profeisonal

Bried explanation at the trailhead of the hike

Average Inca Trail Altitude

The average altitude of the Inca Trail is around 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) above sea level, making it an accessible hike for travelers of all ages.

Effects of Altitude on the Body

Altitudes above 3,000 m / 9,842 ft ASL can cause discomfort, especially for first-timers at such heights. Upon arrival in Cusco (3,400 m / 11,154 ft ASL), you may experience the effects of altitude sickness. If not addressed promptly, this can severely impact your plans and travels.

Altitude Sickness: Also known as mountain sickness or soroche, it causes headaches, fatigue, nausea, and difficulty breathing. So, it is a must to understand how altitude can affect your body and how to mitigate these effects.

Training for the Inca Trail Altitude


Months before attempting the Inca Trail, we recommend engaging in cardio exercises like running, swimming, or aerobics. These activities will improve your cell’s oxygenation, helping prevent dizziness, fatigue and altitude sickness.

Tips for Proper Acclimatization Before the Hike:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to avoid headaches and nausea, and supplement with coca or chamomile tea.
  • Eat Light: On your first day, consume light meals such as salads, soups, and fruit-based breakfasts.
  • Take Short Treks: Explore Cusco with short tours like the City Tour or Sacred Valley to gradually adapt.
  • Get Adequate Rest: Avoid staying up late and ensure you get enough rest.

Tips for Hiking at High Altitude.

Practical Advice for Safe and Comfortable High-Altitude Hiking:

  • Route Planning: Knowing the altitude of the Inca Trail helps you plan your route effectively. Coordinate with your guide to decide how much time to spend on each section and where to rest and acclimatize.
  • Understanding the Geography: Weather and topography are rough at higher altitudes in the Andes. Understanding your current altitude helps you prepare for weather changes and decide on necessary gear and clothing.
  • Packing Light: Utilize the porter’s service to carry 5 kg (13 lbs) of your personal luggage. You should bring only essentials in your backpack for a lighter and more comfortable hike.
  • Honesty: If you feel unwell or experience altitude sickness’ effects, inform your guide or travel companions immediately. To report possible illness is crucial for timely assistance and preventing serious health risks.
ascenso de turistas por un tramo del camino inca

Climbing up the Inca Trail

Tips to Mitigate Negative Effects of Altitude During the Hike

Imagine you were already on the Inca Trail and wondering how to avoid getting tired quickly or make your experience more enjoyable despite the altitude and weather conditions. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Hike at Your Own Pace: The Inca Trail isn’t a race; on the other way around, this trek was designed to be completed gradually. You don’t need to be the first to arrive at every campground.
  • Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Drink water when needed and eat your snacks moderately. Hydration keeps your energy levels up, helping you cope with the altitude.
  • Rest Appropriately: Listen to your body and take breaks as needed. Enjoy the journey and allow your body to adapt to the trail and altitude.


The Inca Trail altitude is more than just a number; it defines your experience on this unique adventure. Before booking your trip, understand the importance of altitude and its impact on your health, safety, and enjoyment while hiking.

Preparing physically and mentally is key to overcoming all challenges successfully. Train your body and mind to face difficult sections and altitudes with resilience and positivity.

Remember, the training starts well before setting foot on the Inca Trail Peru. Acclimatize gradually, stay hydrated, eat light, and get enough sleep in the days leading up to the hike.

During the hike, walk at your own pace, stay hydrated and nourished, and rest when needed. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and your guide or crew if you experience altitude sickness’ symptoms.

After reading all these tips and having a positive attitude, you’ll be ready to face the challenges you’ll come across on the Inca Trail and enjoy this unforgettable experience to the fullest. Prepare to conquer new heights and create lifelong memories!

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