Located in the department of Cuzco, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is Peru's most popular trekking route and possibly one of the most spectacular walks in the Americas. It forms part of the more than 23,000 km of roads built by the Incas across South America. Each year, some 25,000 hikers from all over the world walk the 43 km stone-paved trail, built by the Incas to get to the impregnable citadel of Machu Picchu, deep in the Cuzco cloud forest.
The trail sets out from Qorihuayrachina, at Kilometer 88 of the Cuzco-Quillabamba railway, and takes three to four days of tough hiking. The route runs through an impressive range of altitudes, where climates and eco-systems range from the high Andean plain down to the cloud forests. The trail climbs up through two highland passes (the higher of the two, Warmiwa�uska, lies at 4,200 masl) before reaching Machu Picchu through the Inti Punku or Gateway of the Sun. One of the attractions of the trail is that it winds past carved granite Inca settlements (Wi�ay Wayna, Phuyupatamarca), and is surrounded by breath-taking natural scenery. The forests abound in hundreds of species of orchids, brightly-colored birds and dream-like landscapes, the ideal complement to this indispensable hikers' route.
Machu Picchu was connected with the city of Cusco and the rest of the Inca empire by amazing trails, specifically designed for the use of the Inkas in a perfect harmony with the flora and fauna of the area. It has to be said that they had an absolutely wonderful knowledge of architecture and construction. Throughout the whole trail you can locate some shelters surrounded by gorgeous country sites and great views, some of the trails lead you to a few archeologycal rests. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is known as the most famous and tough hiking circuit all over South America,
because of the conjuntion of different elements that it offers to its visitors.
The Inca Trail is approximately 32 km long . Starts at Km 88, off the railway line. It passes several archeological ruins along the route. At the same time, it crosses 9 different ecological areas which are located between 2000 and 6000 metres above the sea level.The trail is occupied by more than 400 species of orchids, begonias, trees and bushes such as the Que�a (Polylepis racemosa), the Pisonay (Eritrina falcata), the Mu�a (Minthostachys glabrecens) and some more. It also hosts a huge fauna. Many of the 400 birds registered in the sanctuary can be found in the forests, like the Rocky Cock (Rup�cola peruviana) and the Mountain Turkey ( Penelope montagnii). Along the rivers,
the "river duck" (Merganetta armata) can be found , the majesctic c�ndor (vultur gryphus) can be seen flying over this unique area. The cucarachero inka (Thryothorus eisenmanni) is the representative bird of this area.