The popularity of the Inca Trail and the scarcity of available spots have led to the opening of several alternative hikes of varying length and difficulty.
The two-to seven-day Salkantay trek is named for the same named for the 6,270 meter (20,500 feet) peak of the same name.It begins at Mollepata, four hours by road from Cusco, and is a strenuous hike thet goes through a 4,800 meter (15,700-feet) pass. The Salkantay excursion joins the Inca Trail at Huayllabamba.
The Ausangate trek takes its name from the Nevado Ausangate, 6,372 requiers a day of travle each way from to six days on the trail. Nearly the entire excursion takes you on terrain over 4,000 meters (13,100 feet).
Multidays hikes through the Lares Valley, north of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, offer a little bit of everything for anyone who enjoys the outdoors; a series of ancient trils once used by the Inca wind their way through native forest and past lakes fed by runoff from the snowcapped ,mountains nearby. Excursions also offer a cultural dimension, with spots at several traditional Quechau villages along the way. The Lares trek compares in dificulty to the Inca Trail.
The lesser-known but remarkably rewarding trek to Choquequirao (cradle of gold) takes in stunning Andean scenary as you make your way to ruins that have been heralded as Machu Picchu's "Sacred Sister". The site, another long-lost Inca city still under excavation and not yet engulfed by mass tourism, sits at 3,100 metres (10,180 feet). The 4 to11 day treks entail a series of steep ascents and descents.
The Chinchero- Huayllabamba trek has two selling points: it can be acomplished in one day-about six hours-and is downhill much of the way, although portions get steep. the hike begins in Chinchero, north of Cusco,and follows an Inca Trail that offers splendid views as you descend into the Sacred Valley towards the small village of Huayllabamba.