Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, popularly known as 2 Day Inca Trail Hike is a fascinating short version of the legendary four days Inca Trail. It is ideal for those with less time in Peru but who want to retrace the footsteps of the Incas.
The 2-Day Inca Trail Hike is an easier option. It involves no high latitude hikes or outdoor campings. The highest point of the Classic Inca Trail is the Dead Woman’s Pass at 4215m/13,828ft. Wherein, the highest point of the Short Inca Trail is at 2650m/8692ft.
The entire stretch of 12 kilometers/7.5 miles can be hiked in six hours from Km 104, the Short Inca Trailhead.
Before reaching Machu Picchu, you will be visiting three iconic Inca ruins that lie along the trail, Cochabamba, Wiñay Wayna, and Intipunku (Sungate). Our dedicated English-speaking local expert will be giving you an immersive tour of each Inca ruin.
To enhance your 2 Day Inca Trail hike experience, we will also be serving you a box lunch at the campsite in Wiñay Wayna.
On the first night of the Short Inca Trail hike, we will be accommodating you in an ensuite hotel room in Aguas Calientes. The second day of the tour is dedicated to a guided tour of Machu Picchu citadel.
Treks In Cusco is a local tour company based in Cusco. All our guides are trained mountaineers and natives from the region. They speak good English and have a passion for Inca History and Andean traditions.
We operate the 2 Day Inca Trail Hike both as a small group tour or as a private tour.
Please note that this is a high-altitude experience. We highly recommend that you spend a few days in Cusco before embarking on the trail to acclimatize and avoid altitude sickness.
The best time to hike the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is during the dry season – between April and November.
Check out our detailed post on Inca Trail Packing List.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Your epic 2-Day Inca Trail hike begins with an early morning pickup at 0400 from your hotel in Cusco. We will be embarking on an hour and a half drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Ollantaytambo Train Station.
Here you will be boarding the train to Aguas Calientes. The two hours train ride offers stunning views of small Andean villages tucked amidst the snowcapped peaks as the train would snake along the course of the Urubamba river.
We will be getting down at Km 104. This is the trailhead of the Short Inca Trail hike. After crossing the checkpoint, we will begin with a gradual uphill hike.
Our first stop will be at the archaeological site of Chachabamba (2150m/7053ft).
The complex houses a stone altar. The Incas used it to seek blessings from their supreme entities Apus (Mountain Peak) and Inti (Sun). Locals here continue the practice even today.
Our local expert will be giving you a detailed tour explaining the rituals and beliefs.
After touring the complex and getting an insight into the Andean rituals and traditions, we will be hiking gradually further up the hill to the most notable site of the 2 Day Inca Trail Hike, Wiñay Wayna.
The route is dotted with distinct flora and fauna. Our local expert will be explaining their prominence in detail as we will be having some rest stops.
Wiñay Wayna in Quechua means forever young. It is perched on a steep hillside overlooking the valley at 2650m/8694ft. The complex features upper and lower house complexes linked by fountain structures and staircases.
After a detailed tour of the complex, we will be stopping at the campsite to unbox our lunch.
After lunch, we will be continuing the hike through the tropical jungle to the emblematic Sungate (Intipunku). You will be rewarded with the first view of the Machu Picchu citadel from here. We will be stopping here so you can soak in the views and immerse in the serenity and nature’s bliss.
Once you have contemplated the stunning views, we will be hiking down the Inca path for 45 minutes to the citadel. We will then exit the complex and take a 25 minutes bus ride down the hill to Aguas Calientes town.
Here we will be accommodating you in an ensuite hotel room for the night. Aguas Calientes is popular for its natural hot springs. You can spend the evening relaxing in the hot thermal waters here after a full day hike.
We will be taking an early morning bus ride up the hill for visiting Machu Picchu citadel. It takes 25 minutes. The tour guide will be assisting you to pass the security control where your original passport will be verified against your permit.
Once inside the citadel, you will witness the shimmering rays of sun beaming on the walls of the Inca citadel. We will begin your two hours guided tour with an introduction to the Inca empire and the prominence of the Inca citadel.
On this guided tour, we will be visiting the prime areas of the citadel including the main plaza, remains of royal quarters, ceremonial centers, and more.
After the guided tour, you will have some free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. If you have booked to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, our guide will be directing you to the respective entrance.
Please note that you will need a permit to hike either of these mountains. Only 200 trekkers are allowed to hike in a day and permits are sold out months in advance. So if you intend to hike then do let us know at the time of booking trail.
Once you have had your fill of the alluring sites here, we will be exiting the citadel and taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes town. You will have some free time here to have lunch (not included) or simply walk around the little town.
Later in the evening, we will be taking the train back to Ollantaytambo where our representative will be meeting you and will be transferred back to your hotel in Cusco. We arrive in Cusco by 09:00 PM.
The Short Inca Trail is a two days trip. It covers a total distance of 10 miles (16 kilometres). This makes it perfect for families with children and for those with less time in Peru.
The Short Inca Trail is not challenging as Salkantay Trek or Classic Inca Trail. You would need to be moderately fit to hike this.
Yes! Short Inca Trail is totally worth it. It is the best alternative to the Classic Inca Trail of four days but less challenging.
If you are looking for the best alternative to the emblematic Classic four-day Inca Trail, then yes, the 2 day Inca Trail is totally worth it. It takes you through some of the prominent Inca ruins that can be visited only by hiking the Inca Trail. Moreover, you will be entering Machu Picchu through the Sungate which is also exclusive to those hiking the Inca Trail.
Very reliable tour company. Carlos is a fantastic guide and is very helpful and friendly. Totally recommend them.