A little known part of Machu Picchu is an Inca bridge around the back of the ruins. It was like a secret back door to Machu Picchu and may have been designed as an escape route. The bridge itself is wooden, unlike Q'eswachaka, an Inca rope bridge that is rebuilt every year.

Inca Bridge

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: One hour

Max elevation: 2,500

Start/end point: The trail starts on the upper terraces of the Machu Picchu citadel

Inca bridge machu picchu peru

The Inca Bridge, the lesser-known back door to Machu Picchu

What you’ll see

You’ll have a fantastic view west, up the Urubamba River valley behind Machu Picchu. The trail is narrow but you don’t have to cross the precarious bridge to enjoy it. Many visitors hike up to the bridge for the view but don’t try to walk across.

Length of the hike

This is an easy 20-30 minute walk on a relatively level dirt and stone pathway. It’s great if you want to see something extra without a demanding hike or extra cost.

How to book

There are 30 tickets for the Inca Bridge available each hour from 7 am to 10am. From 11am to 2pm there are 40 tickets per hour, for a total of 280 people per day. Even though it does not cost any more than the regular Machu Picchu ticket, you must select this add-on when you purchase the ticket. If you buy tickets with the Inca Bridge, you will do circuit one or two through the citadel.

About the author

Inca Bridge hike

Heather Jasper

Based in Cusco, Peru, Heather is an expert on travel to Peru and South America. Heather writes on tourism, trekking, and social issues in Peru for publications including BBC Travel, Fodor’s Travel, Matador Network, Thrifty Nomads, World Nomads, Frommer's, Flashpack, and more. Heather co-founded the Covid Relief Project with Henry Quintano Loaiza to assist vulnerable families in the Cusco region.

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