If you are pressed for time but still want to visit the famous 7th Wonder of the World then the hike from KM 104 is perfect for you. You reach Machu Picchu on foot passing through the famous Sun Gate viewpoint. This route is also known as the short Inca Trail. Like the previous route, it can be traveled only with a licensed Tour Operator like SAM Corpotations.
The trip begins in Cusco, from where your travel agency will take you by bus and train to kilometer 104, the starting point of the trek. From Km 104 you can reach the citadel in just a single day of walking!
*** The biggest highlight of this trek will be the stunning views, Inca ruins and the views over Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate.
Elevation of Km 104 in the Inca Trail
The elevation of Km 104 in the Inca Trail is 2,200 m/7,218 ft above sea level. The elevation of Km 104 in the Inca Trail is where we start the Short Inca Trail Trek.
Distance from Km 104 to Machu Picchu
The distance from Km 104 to Machu Picchu is 12 kilometers. You must walk the distance from Km 104 to Machu Picchu with a profesional tour guide.
How to get to Km 104 of the Inca Trail?
First we need to take the bus or a van from Cusco to Ollantaytambo train station, then we take the train to the Km 104, where we will start the trekking. Remember that the train will not stop unless you request it and it will not stop for a long time, so you must be aware of the kilometer marking.
The 4 day Inca Trail Tour is one of the most popular trails that connects Cusco with Machu Picchu. If you plan to stay in Cusco for several days, don’t miss the opportunity to walk this 43-kilometer trail on foot. The trip lasts four days and you will discover incredible forests, ancient villages and stone stairs that seem to rise to heaven. The Sun gate and the sacred city of Machu Picchu await you at its end.
Versions of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Not all people have the days necessary to travel the Inca Trail (4 days and 3 nights). That is why there are 2 versions depending on the time you have:
Classic Inca Trail: 4 days and 3 nights (43 kilometers of walking).
Short Inca Trail: 2 days and 1 night (12 kilometer walk).
Also, you can get to Machu Picchu from Cusco, choosing the following routes of the Inca trail: Machu Picchu 3 day hike, 2 day Inca Trail with camping, one day Inca Trail.
Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Km 104)
If you do not have enough time, to do the 4-day Inca Trail, the trail from Km 104 to Machu Picchu is a good option; it is a section of the Inca Trail that begins at Km 104 of the Cusco – Aguas Calientes railway line.
This is an uphill hike, make sure you have everything you need such as: insect repellent, sunscreen, head protection, water, etc. In the route from Km 104 to Machu Picchu you will have to constantly climb grasslands for 3 hours until you reach Wiñayhuayna and another two hours of walking until you reach the entrance to Machu Picchu. It will pass through archaeological sites with a wide variety of sources or bath houses and deposits, including Chachabamba that had religious functions or probably guarded access to Machu Picchu.
After passing through Chachabamba, the path merges with the forest and after an additional climb, you reach a beautiful waterfall just before reaching Wiñayhuayna agricultural center. You have the option to visit the Inca City of Machu Picchu the next day or choose to enjoy the sunset over the Inti Punku and descend until you reach Aguas Calientes.
Temperature and rain on the Inca Trail
It is advisable to wear a raincoat because the rain is constant between November and April, but it is also highly probable that it will rain the rest of the year.
The minimum temperature in winter (June) ranges from 4ºC to 11ºC (30°F to 50°F).
The maximum temperature in winter ranges from 20ºC to 26ºC. (65°F to 78°F)
What do I need to for the Hike from the Km 104 to Machu Picchu?
To do the Inca Trail from the Km 104 you need to contract an excursion, since special permits are required and it cannot be done on your own. We recommend hiring the excursion several months in advance (not less than 5 months), because places are limited by the Peruvian government to 250 people per day.
Between April and October is when more tourists travel to Cusco and Machu Picchu. Keep this in mind when planning your trip and excursion to the Inca Trail.
When you hire the tour they will tell you what to bring and what the conditions are. Even still, we can give you some recommendations:
The excursion is not recommended for people with respiratory and cardiac problems, since you will be walking at 4,200m/13,779ft above sea level.
You don’t need special equipment, but you do need to carry a sleeping bag in your backpack; personal toiletries (also toilet paper); a small medicine cabinet that includes dizziness medicine and sunscreen; warm clothes for the night, light clothes and hat for the day; knife; insect repellent; towel; flashlight and batteries; candies, chocolates, dehydrated fruits, bottled water and purifying tablets. A walking stick can be of great help to you on steep slopes. Both the sleeping bag and the walking stick can be rented in Cusco.
The rest of the equipment (tents, food, kitchen equipment, etc.) is provided by the organizers of the excursion.
Hike from the Km 104 to Machu Picchu information was updated on June 2023!
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