Hiking and Biking Peru's Inca Trails

40 trekking and mountain biking routes in the Sacred Valley

By William Janecek

Guidebook to hiking and mountain biking Inca trails in the Sacred Valley of Peru, including 7 routes to Machu Picchu. A range of mountain bike and trekking routes: half-day, full-day and multi-day. All routes graded for difficulty, and the guidebook includes many previously unpublished routes away from the tourist trails.



best months to visit are May to September, when the weather is virtually guaranteed to be dry; the other months fall in the rainy season but there will also be plenty of sunshine.


Agua Calientes, Cusco, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, Huancancalle, Ausangate


the trekking and mountainbiking in the Sacred Valley is often strenuous and difficult; all routes are graded for difficulty and terrain indicated and also whether it is better to go with a trekking agency or hire a local guide; a few glacier climbs are outlined which require the correct expertise and equipment but most routes require no special equipment or skills and can be accomplished by anyone of average fitness.
Must See

Must See

the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu but also many other routes to many other Incan sites such as Choquechirau, Espiritu Pampa; spectacular Mt. Ausangate.
10 Jul 2013
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.6cm
  • Overview

    The eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes is one of the most dramatic and diverse places on the planet, dropping from over 6000m (20,000ft) to just 200m above sea level. This dramatic drop in elevation produces a wide range of constantly changing climactic and vegetative zones – it is often possible to hike from the base of a glacier down to the jungle in just a day or two. Combined with the countless Inca sites and ubiquitous Inca roads, this makes the Sacred Valley one of the best trekking and mountain biking destinations in the world.

    Machu Picchu is well known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the Inca Trail trek that leads there is nearly as famous. What is less known, however, is the vast choice of other epic adventure trips that exist in the region – treks through soaring Andean glaciers and Incan ruins, bike rides through stunning alpine and jungle scenery. Nearly every route in this book uses an Inca road or visits an Inca ruin – and most do both. The majority of the Inca roads can also be biked as well as hiked, so there is plenty of scope for both activities.

    There are several bases to choose from for a Sacred Valley visit:
    Ollantaytambo is perhaps the best base, as from here you can trek or mountain bike to Machu Picchu, Quillabamba, Choquequirao and nearly every other major site in the Sacred Valley. The town itself retains its original layout, Inca architecture and culture, and small village charm.
    Cusco is the largest Inca city, with attractions including museums and restaurants as well as Inca sites. It is the starting point of only a few treks, but those include the iconic routes to Machu Picchu and Choquequirao.
    Ausangate is the highest peak in the Cusco area, at a staggering 6270m. The region is home to some excellent hot springs, as well as various outstanding treks, and is usually accessed from the village of Tinqui.

    The Andes are a formidable trekking and biking destination however. The altitude is often 3-4000m, so you will need time to acclimatise, even for the more moderate routes. The terrain is steep and rocky, which is particularly important to know for bikers when hiring a bike. Author Will Janecek has taken care to explain what to look out for when choosing your bike rental, to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

    The routes in this guide describe the very best day and multi-day, walks and MTB routes, many previously unpublished, right across the Valley.

    • 40 routes illustrated with custom mapping
    • includes many alternative routes to Machu Picchu, off the main tourist trail, which don't require a licensed guide or Incan trail permit
    • full background information on visiting the area, including how to hire bikes, guides and mules
  • Contents

    The story of the Incas
    The Sacred Valley
    History in the making
    Don’t miss…
    Exploring by bike or on foot
    Centres and bases
    Getting there
    Getting around
    When to go
    Health matters
    Mountain biking
    What to take
    Cultural impact
    Maps and waymarking
    Using this guide
    1 Tourist Trails to Machu Picchu
    Route 1 Agua Calientes to Machu Picchu
    Route 2 The Classic Inca Trail
    2 Around Cusco
    Route 3 To Calca via H’uchuy Cusco
    Route 4 The back way to Ollantaytambo
    Route 5 To Urubamba via ‘44’
    Route 6 Urquillos Canyon
    3 Around Urubamba
    Route 7 Salt Mines of Maras and Moray
    Route 8 Moray to Paucarbamba
    Route 9 Abra Azulcocha to Calca
    Route 10 Calca to Lares
    Route 11 Chicón summit
    Route 12 To Lares via the Pumahuanka valley
    4 Around Ollantaytambo
    Route 13 Pumamarca
    Route 14 Choquechaca
    Route 15 To Lares via Abra Wakawasi
    Route 16 To Lares via Patacancha
    Route 17 The Weaver’s Trek
    Route 18 Inca Raccay and Q’orimarca
    Route 19 Ñaupa Iglesia (Pachar Caves)
    Route 20 Las Canterras quarries and Inti Punku
    Route 21 The Veronica glacier
    Route 22 Patacancha valley
    Route 23 To Quillabamba via Abra Yanamayu
    Route 24 To Quillabamba via Abra Malaga
    Route 25 To Ivochote and Pongo de Manique
    Route 26 Machu Picchu ‘back door’ route
    Route 27 To Huayllabamba and the start of the Inca Trail
    Route 28 Ollantaytambo to Soraypampa via Salkantay
    5 South and West of Machu Picchu
    Route 29 Mollepata to Huayllabamba
    Route 30 Soraypampa to Machu Picchu via Salkantay
    Route 31 Soraypampa to Machu Picchu via Hydroelectric
    Route 32 Choquequirao from Cachora
    Route 33 Inca Wasi from Yupanqua
    Route 34 Huancancalle to Choquequirao
    Route 35 Huancancalle to St. Theresa via Yanama
    Route 36 Huancancalle to St. Theresa via Abra Mojón
    Route 37 Mollepata to Choquequirao
    Route 38 Espiritu Pampa (Vilcabamba)
    6 Ausangate
    Route 39 Tinqui to Pitumarca via Ausangate
    Route 40 Tinqui to Pitumarca via Puca Punta

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Glossary of Spanish and Quechan words
    Appendix C Useful contacts
    Appendix D Further reading

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  • Reviews

    'The author, reassuringly, is a north American - 'gringo' in local Peruvian parlance - who's settled in Ollantaytambo where he runs a hotel and adventure tour business - see www.kbperu.com - so should know what he's talking about and we reckon the book is potentially indispensible for anyone heading off on a trekking or biking holiday to one the most popular areas of Peru.'

    Read the full article

    Jon, Outdoors Magic, August 2013


    ...'The book is incredibly comprehensive, with detailed directions, maps and photos that direct hikers to some amazing, but surprisingly little visited, Incan sites.
    My wife and I were so inspired by the book that we changed our plans and decided to spend several days in Ollantaytambo hiking to these hidden gems.'...

    Extract from Trip advisor review of Hiking and Biking Peru's Inca Trails. May 2014. Our thanks to Trip advisor, and to their contributor for the review.

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William Janecek

Will 'KB' Janecek grew up in the US on a small lake in Minnesota, where he learned his love of the outdoors from his father. His pursuit of high altitude mountain biking and trekking led him first to Colorado and then Europe and Africa, before finally settling in Ollantaytambo, Peru where he runs a small hotel and adventure tour guide business (www.kbperu.com). In his spare time, he enjoys drinking coffee, listening to music, and high altitude mountain biking and trekking (preferably simultaneously).

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