5-6 hours hiking/5 miles, 6900 – 8000 feet
Fit and acclimated, arise early to tackle the last day of your trek heading uphill for 3-4 hours through lush cloud forest over the Pallayata Pass (2,600m/8,500ft). This is one of the most beautiful protected remnants of an Inca Trail trek that leads to the recently discovered and incredibly extensive Inca ruins complex of Llactapata. Thought to have been the primary residential complex for workers who built Machu Picchu, it is located just 4 1⁄2 km across a deep chasm with spectacular views of Machu Picchu’s legendary Watchman’s Tower. You explore Llactapata including a sun temple, residential areas, and remnants still unexcavated just as Hiram Bingham stumbled upon them in 1912. Descend a winding trail to the Urubamba River through lush bamboo forests, crossing a long, hanging bridge under the gushing waterfall of the hydroelectric station where the trail opens up at the railway line. Hop the rail for a short ride up the tracks to the village of Aguas Calientes to check into your hotel. Overnight at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel at 8,000’.