Mollepata / Salkantay Trek

Key information: Mollepata / Salkantay Trek

  • Climb higher and remoter than the "Classic" Inca Trail, and under the shadow of the goliath sacred Inca mountain of Salkantay (6,264m).
  • Enjoy the wild and plunging landscapes of the high Andes from the top of a 4,950m pass (the Inca Chiriaska pass).
  • This walk is seriously tough, even before you join the crowded classic routes on which many people still have trouble.  Acclimatization properly first, and come prepared.
  • This trek requires a permit, needs to be booked well ahead, and you must join an organised expedition.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating97
  • Beauty34
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest15
  • Charisma34
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating97
  • Note: Negs: throngs on second half

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 6-7 days
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,950m
  • Level of Difficulty: Difficult


This six / seven day trek starts at a different place from the rest of the Machu Picchu-bound Inca Trails, in Mollepata (west of Cuzco).

Superb walking takes you over a (very) high pass near snowy, thrilling Salkantay, before dropping to join the ?Classic? Inca Trail beyond Paucarcancha at Huayllabamba. (Permits are required, and an organized expedition - book ahead.)

The Mollepata/Salkantay trek is tougher than the Classic Inca Trail, not only longer but crossing an exceptionally steep and high pass (at around 4,950m); its huge advantage is getting you into truly remote country, before joining the throngs for the last 3 or so days on the ?Classic? Inca Trail.

You will experience wilder, more dramatic scenery even than on the Classic Trail, getting close in under the grand, snow-girt mass of the Incan sacred mountain, Salkantay (6,264m) with views across towards the sprawling Vilcabamba range.

The ruins at Paucarcancha (Incarajay), near the junction with the ?Classic? Inca Trail, are partially reconstructed but remain enthralling, a sentinel standing guard at the head of Cusichaca valley, protecting Machu Picchu?s southern approaches; the river far below charging on to a confluence with the Rio Apurimac. Contour in along 15th Century Inca terraces, above gabled buildings and typically expansive civic spaces. Then, it?s climbing the soaring terraces above the fort and out towards Huayllabamba (then the Classic Inca Trail, or back to Cuzco). organise an expedition here : we have travelled with Tourdust, and were delighted. They were very nice and flexible to deal with, and evidently cared about quality, as their walk was meticulously prepared and our support team were outstanding in every way. We are proud to be their partners.​

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See our Inca Trails page for detailed practical information and links to more walks in Peru.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.


Name: edgar
Posted on: 30/10/2017

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is an alternative to the Inca Trail and considered by most to be the best alternative route (and maybe even better!). This magnificent trail is perfect for adventurers who wish to become personally integrated in changing ecosystems from one day to the next. You will walk through sweeping, magical landscapes of a snowy mountain paradise to a tropical jungle where you will find a wide range of animals and medicinal plants and flower varieties. Witness with your own eyes a living, but ancient, culture in remote villages hardly ever seen by foreigners!

Walkopedia says THANK YOU!

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.


Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


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