Hiking and Biking Peru's Inca Trails
40 trekking and mountain biking routes in the Sacred Valley
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 All routes graded for difficulty, and the guidebook includes many previously unpublished routes away from the tourist trails.
Seasonsbest 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.
CentresAgua Calientes, Cusco, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, Huancancalle, Ausangate
Difficultythe 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 Seethe famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu but also many other routes to many other Incan sites such as Choquechirau, Espiritu Pampa; spectacular Mt. Ausangate.
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
The story of the Incas
The Sacred Valley
History in the making
Exploring by bike or on foot
Centres and bases
When to go
What to take
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)
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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'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.'
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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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).View Articles and Books by William Janecek