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Inca Trail Closed for Maintenance


Trekkers walking along the Inca Trail, PeruEvery year the traditional Inca Trail closes during the entire month of February to undergo maintenance. This trail was built over 500 years ago by the ancient Inca culture as a small section of a royal highway connecting the most important Inca cities in the Andes. Archaeologists estimate that the Incas actually built stone roadways all over South America stretching from Argentina all the way up to Ecuador covering over 32,000 kilometres. Many of these roads were allegedly destroyed by the Incas during the Spanish conquest so the invaders would never be able to reach the most sacred Inca cities.

A short 42-kilometre portion of this Inca road system is known worldwide as the “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu”. Every year over 75,000 people trek along this manmade stone pathway into the heart of the Peruvian Andes with the illusion of crossing over the threshold of the Inti Punku (Sun Gate), for the magical and unforgettable experience of seeing the mist rise over Machu Picchu at dawn.

Heavy traffic along the trail on a daily basis combined with rain and snow, can cause damage and erosion to the landscape and the archaeological sites along the path. For this reason, the Peruvian government closes the Inca Trail for the entire month of February every year to undergo restoration and maintenance works. The trail, campsites and archaeological sites are assessed for damage, restored and cleaned. Rainwater drainage systems are given maintenance, growing vegetation is trimmed and some parts of the path are reforested.

Luckily, these efforts have helped to preserve the Inca Trail and its sacred cultural and historical heritage so every year more people can experience a unique trek. All Inca Trail treks and trips including the Inca Trail will not operate between February 1st and February 28th. However, treks such as the Lares, Choquequirao, and Inca Quarry are great alternatives during this time.