Were the Inca moun­tain bik­ers? Judg­ing by the mas­sive net­work of trails and roads they built all over Peru (10,000 km by some esti­mates) at the peak of their empire, mod­ern-day archae­ol­o­gists could be mis­tak­en for think­ing they were.

On this Ride, we’ll explore South Amer­i­ca’s best sin­gle­track, get a taste of Inca his­to­ry in places like Cus­co and Ollan­tay­tam­bo, and rev­el in the majesty of the world’s 2nd-biggest moun­tain range. Your local guides are pas­sion­ate about show­ing you the beau­ty of their coun­try, and will give you a rich, ful­fill­ing expe­ri­ence that goes well beyond an amaz­ing moun­tain bike trip.

Check out these great arti­cles writ­ten by past Rid­ers on this trip:

This trip is for expe­ri­enced and tech­ni­cal­ly strong rid­ers only!  Be sure to review our Skill and Fit­ness Rat­ing Sys­tem for a bet­ter under­stand­ing of what to expect.
 

Is This Ride For You?

You can han­dle very rocky ter­rain and nar­row trails, and have excel­lent bike han­dling skills. You’re com­fort­able and con­fi­dent rid­ing all-moun­tain trails (steep climbs and long, tech­ni­cal descents). You don’t mind the odd long day if it gets you to a spec­tac­u­lar and remote place that few oth­er vis­i­tors will see. You’re not afraid to get out of your com­fort zone and expe­ri­ence a total­ly dif­fer­ent and fas­ci­nat­ing cul­ture. You’re up for try­ing new things, like roast­ed guinea pig or vol­un­teer­ing at a remote Quechua com­mu­ni­ty. You have a sol­id, well-main­tained do-it-all trail bike (with rough­ly 130–160mm of trav­el, drop­per post and beefy tires. Rentals also available).

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive in Cus­co, Peru

Wel­come to Peru!

We offer an air­port pick-up on Day 1 at 11:00 a.m. from the air­port in Cus­co (Ale­jan­dro Velas­co Astete Inter­na­tion­al Air­port CUZ). After col­lect­ing your bag­gage, head out to the main pas­sen­ger pick-up area of the air­port, and look for your shut­tle dri­ver with a Sacred Rides sign in their hand. We’ll then trans­fer you to our hotel in Cusco.

After set­tling into your hotel in Cus­co, we’ll head out for an ear­ly lunch near the bustling main plaza of Cusco.

After lunch, we’ll head back to our hotel to build our bikes. We’ll then head out right from our hotel for a short intro ride to the upper part of the city. Once we are on top of the city, we’ll ride down an Inca trail with a few sur­pris­es thrown in. We’ll end our ride back at our hotel leav­ing enough time to explore Cus­co or catch up on a few lost Z’s from travel.

Tonight, we’ll head to one of the best restau­rants in Cus­co. At din­ner, we’ll take the time to review in detail our full itin­er­ary for the week and answer any ques­tions you may have. Tonight, we can enjoy some of the nightlife this Impe­r­i­al city has to offer.

Day 2. Sacred Val­ley Treasures

Anoth­er ear­ly morn­ing will be wel­comed with a hearty break­fast of local cui­sine and coffee.

Today, we’ll shut­tle to Chinchero, one of the most impor­tant Inca sites near the Sacred Val­ley. Chinchero is locat­ed at a whop­ping alti­tude of 3,700 m (12,139 ft.).

From here, it’s pos­si­ble to see the entire plateau of Maras and the Vil­can­o­ta’s Moun­tain Range with its +5,000 meter glac­i­ers like Chicon and Veron­i­ca. We’ll cross agri­cul­tur­al fields, bor­der Lake Huay­po and reach the vil­lage of Mis­mi­nay where we’ll have lunch at a local family’s house.

We’ll con­tin­ue the ride on an Inca Trail that will take us to the round ter­races of Moray, the town of Maras and then descend to Sacred Val­ley fol­low­ing an incred­i­ble ancient trail. Get your cam­eras ready, as the view of the Sacred Val­ley below is like no other.

Final­ly, we’ll end our ride at the Urubam­ba Riv­er, at an alti­tude of 3,000 m (9,843 ft.).

Tonight, we’ll stay in the Sacred Val­ley, home for the next 5 nights.

Day 3. Lamay Val­ley Shut­tle Runs

Today is a lit­tle more relaxed and super fun.

We’ll ride two dif­fer­ent descents from the top of Lamay Valley.

The first trail starts at the top of the val­ley at an ele­va­tion of 4,350 m (14,271ft.). We’ll expe­ri­ence Enduro style rid­ing on the top, fol­lowed by an incred­i­ble descent down ancient Inca trails to the bot­tom of the val­ley at 2,900m (9,514ft.).

After catch­ing our breath and wip­ing the tears of hap­pi­ness from our windswept faces, we’ll hop back in our shut­tle and head back to the top of the moun­tain.  Our sec­ond run will cross moun­tain­side farms where we’ll cross paths with the locals hard at work.

This ride will be a true Inca expe­ri­ence, high atop the moun­tains of the Sacred Valley.

We’ll enjoy a group din­ner and head back to the same hotel as last night.

Day 4. The Ori­gin of The Inca Empire

There are three the­o­ries that explain the ori­gin of the Inca Empire, all of which agree that it stemmed from Ollan­tay­tam­bo, in the Pat­a­can­cha Valley.

Ear­ly this morn­ing, we’ll start with a shut­tle from Ollan­tay­tam­bo and climb towards the Pat­a­can­cha Val­ley, a trib­u­tary of the Sacred Val­ley at an ele­va­tion of 4,500 m.  We’ll descend most­ly, with the occa­sion­al climb. We’ll cross rivers, pass through moun­tain­side vil­lages and enjoy the stun­ning views of the Andes.
 

We’ll stop in the vil­lage of Huil­loc for lunch, where the local peo­ple will show us how they work the land and make their clothing.

In the after­noon, we’ll con­tin­ue on a dirt road for about 5 km before we start climb­ing to Puma­mar­ca. The climb­ing to Puma­mar­ca is around 20 min­utes on the bike and 5 min­utes of push­ing (you can do it!).  The sin­gle­track that starts in Puma­mar­ca and ends in Ollan­tay­tam­bo is one of the best, flowy sin­gle­track trails in the area, with some rocky sec­tions and excel­lent 360° views.

We’ll enjoy a group din­ner and head back to the same hotel as last night.

Day 5. Rest Day or Choose Your Own Adventure

Day 5 is a sched­uled rest day with no activ­i­ties planned. For those need­ing to catch up on some extra Z’s are wel­come to take the day at leisure.  The fol­low­ing options are avail­able as Add-Ons through the Add-Ons tab.  Please vis­it the Add-Ons tab for pricing. 

MACHU PICCHU

(Please Note:   the Machu Pic­chu tour is not includ­ed in the trip price. Please vis­it the Add-Ons tabs for pric­ing. The Machu Pic­chu tour includes return train ride to Aguas Calientes, bus to Machu Pic­chu, admis­sion and guide.)

We high­ly rec­om­mend you vis­it Machu Pic­chu while in Peru, con­sid­ered one of the 7 won­ders of the world!

The Machu Pic­chu tour starts with a train ride from Ollan­tay­tam­bo to the town of Aguas Calientes. From there we’ll take a bus up to the Citadel.

Machu Pic­chu (like most of the Quechua names of towns and dif­fer­ent sites in the region) is a com­pound word that comes from Machu = old or ancient, and Pic­chu = peak or moun­tain; there­fore, Machu Pic­chu is trans­lat­ed as “Old Mountain”.

The famous moun­tain that appears in most of the clas­si­cal views of the site is named Way­na Pic­chu (Young Mountain).

We’ll have the entire day to explore the remark­able Citadel and learn about its well-pre­served secrets.

Tonight, we’ll dine in Yanahuara Vil­lage and head back to our lodge for a good night of rest.

RIDE HUCHUY CUSCO, THE INCA FORTRESS

(Please Note: the Huchuy Cus­co ride is not includ­ed in the trip price. Pric­ing for this ride depends on the # of par­tic­i­pants. Please con­tact us to be added to the “Rid­er” list and for more infor­ma­tion on pricing.)

For those choos­ing to ride Huchuy Cus­co, The Inca Fortress, it won’t disappoint!

We’ll have an ear­ly start and head towards the Sacred Val­ley and the sur­round­ing moun­tains in Chinchero.

This expe­ri­ence will be a true epic Enduro ride, where we’ll have to first climb until we reach 4,336 m and then descend fol­low­ing an ancient Inca trail down to Sacred Valley.

This Ride will treat us to amaz­ing views of the moun­tains, small vil­lages and the Inca Fortress of Huchuy Cus­co, locat­ed strate­gi­cal­ly high atop the Sacred Val­ley.
 

Tonight, we’ll dine in Ollan­tay­tam­bo and head back to our lodge for a good night of rest.

Day 6. Ollan­ta to Lares Val­ley to Hot Springs

Today is a tru­ly epic ride.

We’ll cross the moun­tains of the Sacred Val­ley towards the Lares Val­ley. Our shut­tle will drop us at the pass of the Vil­can­o­ta Moun­tain Range at an ele­va­tion of 4,350 m (14,272 ft.) and from that point, we’ll ride an amaz­ing ancient trail that descends towards the Lares hot springs. We will go through very remote areas and meet the local peo­ple that live in the Andes. As we descend we will pass through dif­fer­ent type of ter­rain and then reach the hot springs at an ele­va­tion of 3,200m (10,500ft.). This Inca trail is very impres­sive and we were the first to ride it! This is sure to be a high­light of your rid­ing expe­ri­ence in Peru!

We’ll reach the hot springs with lunch ready and wait­ing! We’ll spend the after­noon chill­ing at the hot springs, per­fect for recoup­ing our worked mus­cles.  If you’re eager to keep rid­ing this after­noon,  we’ll have the shut­tle avail­able for an option­al ride through the val­ley, anoth­er amaz­ing trail that ends at the hot springs. 

The shut­tle ride back to the hotel is about 3 hours, enough time to take a nap and edit a few pho­tos from the day’s adventure!

Day 7. Lares Inca Trail & Back to Cusco

After enjoy­ing break­fast at the hotel, we’ll shut­tle to the top of the Lares moun­tain pass, locat­ed at 4,420 m (14,501 ft.).

From here, we’ll start our ride head­ing down­hill fol­low­ing anoth­er impres­sive Inca trail with rock steps that look like they were made specif­i­cal­ly for moun­tain bikes.

We’ll pass one of the most impres­sive land­scapes through­out the trip, cross­ing a deep canyon that is only pos­si­ble to pass by moun­tain bike.

We’ll pass over a vari­ety of ter­rain, from the rel­a­tive­ly flat plateaus of the moun­tain­top to the rugged valleys.

We’ll final­ly end our ride in the town of Cal­ca, where we’ll meet our shut­tle and trans­fer back to the city of Cusco.

There will be an option­al after­noon ride once back in Cusco.

Day 8. Cus­co Shut­tle Runs

This is our last day of rid­ing in Cus­co and we have an amaz­ing day planned! We will ride three fun and flowy trails that descend right into to the city.

Shut­tles are short and the rid­ing will have you smil­ing from ear-to-ear! We will descend around 2,000 ver­ti­cal metres  through­out the day and fin­ish this amaz­ing trip in the main plaza of Cus­co with Cusqueña beers!

In the after­noon, we will wash and pack up our bikes. Guides will be avail­able to help! Then it’s time to cel­e­brate this week of adven­ture with deli­cious food, cold bev­er­ages, and your new moun­tain bike friends! Cheers! 

Day 9. Adios Cusco! 

We have reached the last day of our amaz­ing trip in Peru and it’s time to say good­bye to Cus­co and it’s won­der­ful Inca Trails.

We’ll arrange for your shut­tle to the air­port based on your indi­vid­ual flight times.

Please note: we only offer an air­port shut­tle on Day 9. If you are depart­ing a dif­fer­ent day, we can book an air­port shut­tle for you at an addi­tion­al cost, please vis­it the Ride Add-Ons information

Picture Yourself Here…

Book Inca Trail All-Mountain Now

Dates chosen: Apr. 24, 2021—May. 02, 2021
Skill Rating: Black Diamond
Fitness Rating: Black Diamond
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Skill Levels
Green Circle

Typically, green Rides are safe for beginners. Green Rides may have both avoidable and unavoidable obstacles. Trails are generally low grade, wide, consistent surface texture and have minimal features. You are likely to come across unavoidable obstacles 2-inches or shorter, which is small enough for mountain bike tires to simply roll over. More challenging than tarmac, but in general, a wonderful Ride for those riders new to mountain biking or looking for a casual experience.

Blue Square

In general, Blue trails are narrower than green trails, encounter unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, and drops that are up to 8-inches tall. You will want to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of mountain biking including body positions, powerful braking, cornering, riding on varied terrain, steep sections and experience riding trails that requires line choice. Airtime is not mandatory, but you will find yourself on trails with alternate lines giving you the option.

Black Diamond

The Black Diamond Rides are  suitable for riders looking for that edge. Maybe it’s the edge of a drop, the edge of a cliff, or singletrack requiring focus and fast reactions developed from extensive experience riding “the edge”. You will find yourself on steep trails of varied surfaces. In the Pacific North West that could be slick roots and loam, in Nepal you will find exposed granite in the Mustang Valley and in Guatemala it maybe narrow stairways through cliffside villages. While airtime is rarely required, the ability to find the backside or clean a tabletop should be comfortable or in a state of progress. Obstacles on Black rides are likely to be outside the range of your bikes ability to cover your goofs with its awesome suspension and grip.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black ride is for those that already know they are looking for a Double Black. It’s going to be very hard and require advanced bike handling skills. You will find yourself on trails with sections most non-riders would look at and say, “that’s totally nuts!”. You will know how to look at a line and contemplate where it will work and where it won’t. Drops of a couple feet should be comfortable and getting your bike off the ground should feel predictable and fun.

Fitness Levels
Green Circle

You should be ready to spend 2-4 hours per day on the bike. Mileage may be up to 30km/20 miles and elevation gain will be under 500m/1500feet. On e-MTB tours, numbers will be higher, however the approximate effort would be considered similar to a standard Green Circle ride. If you get on your bike once a week, you will be just fine. However, when preparing for a Ride, you will benefit from more rides and time in the saddle.

Blue Square

Blue should be considered a good deal more effort than our Green Rides.  You should be able to handle 3 to 5 hours in the saddle covering up to 45km/30miles and be able to pull off a big day of 1000m/3000feet of elevation gain. Managing fuel is important as well.  You should have a good understanding how your body responds to multiple days on the bike. We will help with positive coaching, a manageable pace and plenty of trailside snacks.

Black Diamond

A Black Fitness ride will test you. Aside from needing to be able to manage up to 6 hours on the bike, day after day, including distance up to 50km/30miles and elevation gains up to 1750m/5000feet of climbing, you will be adding extra challenges along the route like periods of hike-a-bike and the extra effort required by the whole body to safely dance with your bike over technical terrain. Generally, riders who are up for a Black Fitness ride, likely spend time on the bike a couple times each week.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black will be for those with the strength and endurance to get to the top of anything they want and understand the term “turning the screw”. Distance could be quite high on some routes and elevation gain numbers could hit 2000m/6000 feet+ in a day. You are likely riding multiple days a week during the dry periods and have a trainer or belong to a gym for the rest of the year.