Cajas Inca Road

  • Inca trail emerging at west park boundary - © William Mackesy
  • Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy
  • Cloud forest at Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy
  • Inca road above Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy
  • Above Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy
  • From Inca road near Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Up the valley from Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy
  • Inca road at Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy

Key information: Cajas Inca Road

  • An Inca road crossed the magnificent Cajas area, roughly east to west. While most of it is in poor condition (indeed invisible), wherever you are on its course has a fascination.
  • Day walks on the road or a 2 day traverse of the range whatever you do will be memorable.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating87
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest8
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating87

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Your choice
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,500 m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
Inca road above Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy


El Cajas is a secluded area of high, rugged, eroded mountains and lakes in the last southern gasp of the western cordillera, with a huge variety of landscapes.

As if this isn't enough, an Inca road crossed the area, from roughly from east to west, running from what is now Cuenca to the coastal lowlands. While most of it is in poor condition (indeed invisible), there are some stretches where remains of the road can be seen. And wherever you are on its course, there is a fascination to it. Other old trade routes over the high ground now form the basis of walking routes.

Inca road: you can cross the range, roughly from east to west (or vice versa), on the old Inca road. A fabulous selection of habitats and scenery, from cloud forest to the high passes and innumerable lakes of the roof of the park. 2 days.

Lakes and Inca road: A particularly exciting day walk would be a 4hr or so route dropping steeply south from just west of the high (4,167m) Tres Cruces pass to the fabulous Laguna Larga and Laguna Togilacocha lakes, then turn west on the Inca road and walk down a gorgeous paramo valley, back out to the main road.

You can also access the Inca road from Laguna Llaviuco: you could walk up into the hills and back through interesting forest in a glacial valley.

This can be demanding walking in high, remote mountains with unpredictable weather,frequently cloud-bound and thus difficult to navigate and with a reputation for being cold. You will have to be self-sufficient. Altitude can cause problems. Come fully prepared, including proper acclimatization.

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This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Cajas NP walk page.

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

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.

From Inca road near Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy

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

Inca road at Laguna Llaviuco - © William Mackesy...

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