Salkantay Trail: What You Need to Know

Connecting Cusco to the Citadel of Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek is approximately 55 miles long. Beginning at the village of Mollepata, the trail is filled with lush jungle, Andean peaks, and rich forests. Showcasing one of the most beautiful mountains in the Andes, the Salkantay Trail does not disappoint.

Salkantay Trail Difficulty

A moderately challenging hike, the Salkantay Trail should be prefaced by a stay at Cuzco, to acclimatized before starting on the hike. Despite fitness level, altitude is a serious issue and should be accounted for. A multi-day hike, walking hours vary per day.

Slightly more difficult than the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trail winds through an assortment of different terrains and altitudes. Several feet above sea level, the Salkantay Pass is the hardest part of the trek. Some hikers suffer from altitude sickness when hiking through this area. However, all symptoms will disappear once the trail descends closer to sea level.

What to Expect

The Salkantay Trail presents several challenges that any prospective hiker should be aware of. Chilly wind, low temperatures, and uphill climbing are all part of the hike. Certain parts of the trail, such as the Salkantay Pass, often experience below-freezing temperatures. Packing accordingly and preparing beforehand is necessary before attempting the popular trek.

Prepping for the Hike

An unforgettable experience, the Salkantay Trail takes four days and three nights to complete. The final day is spent at Machu Picchu. Several items are not provided on the hike, including a sleeping bag, an air mattress, and trekking poles. The final lunch at Aguas Calientes is also not included.

A passport, day pack, hiking boots and sandals, warm clothes, a head lamp, toilet paper, a personal medical kit, and insect repellent are all necessary items that should be packed prior to attempting the Salkantay Trail. Optional items include rain gear, a bathing suit, and extra money for tips and souvenirs. Bringing a camera is also encouraged. With adequate planning, common hiking challenges will be minimized and the Salkantay Trail can be enjoyed without worry.

Filled with awe-inspiring views, the Salkantay Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. Surrounded by the culture and history of Peru, the trek includes time to experience the neighboring villages. Accessible, with sufficient preparation, by average travelers and tourists, the unique multi-day hike is filled with plentiful time to enjoy the vast array of terrains and expansive views.

To plan your Peru adventure and to learn more about the Salkantay Trail and its hike, get in touch with Alpaca Expeditions. Alpaca Expeditions is a Peruvian travel operator with a main office in located in Cusco, Peru, and we are the top-rated tour operators of the Inca Trail.

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