Day 1 begins before dawn when you're picked up from your Cusco hotel between 4-4:30am. Travel by bus to the trail's start in Piscacucho stopping for breakfast around 6:30am in Ollantaytambo (at your own expense). The first day of hiking is relatively easy, and will have great views of an ancient Incan fortress (Huillca Raacay).
Hike for 8-9 hours on Day 2, after waking up at 5am for breakfast. Summit the trail's highest pass, Abra de Warrmihuañusca, before descending to your lunch stop at Pacaymayo (11,646ft/3550m). After lunch summit a steep, two-hour climb to Runkurakay pass and arrive at your campsite around 5pm.
Day 3 starts with breakfast at 6am, followed by a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca ("Town in the Clouds") — the third-highest point on the trail. Wind through the cloud forest and and impressive agricultural Incan site to arrive at your third campsite.
Leave camp at 3:30am on Day 4 to get to Inti Punku ("Sun Gate") before sunrise. Here, enjoy your first dramatic view of Machu Picchu as the sun rises over it. Get the classic picture postcard shot of this ancient city, then finally visit Machu Picchu itself. Follow a 2-hour walking tour given by your guide before exploring the mysterious city by yourself.
You will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes for lunch (it can be reached by bus or on foot), where you'll be given your train tickets back to Cusco.
Hotel pickups commence approximately 30 - 60 minutes prior to this time