Dead Woman’s Pass on the Inca Trail

Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail

Located in the Peruvian Andes, Dead Woman’s Pass, also known as “Warmiwañusqa,” is a prominent feature on the famous Inca Trail. At an altitude of 4,200 meters (13,779 feet), it is the highest point on the trail and a challenging, yet rewarding, part of the journey.

Why is it called “Dead Woman’s Pass”?

The origins of the name are not certain. Some say it is due to the difficulty of the climb, with hikers needing to use all of their strength to make it to the top. Others believe it is because of the many lives lost on the trail during Inca times.

The climb to Dead Woman’s Pass is not for the faint of heart. It is a steep and strenuous hike, but the views from the top are worth it. From the pass, hikers are treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The vistas are especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset, when the colors of the sky and landscape are at their most vibrant.

Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail

Are there Inca ruins nearby?

In addition to the stunning views, hikers on the Inca Trail will also be able to visit several important historical sites along the way. These include the well-preserved Inca ruins of Llactapata, Sayacmarca, and Phuyupatamarca, which offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Incas.


Llactapata is an Inca archaeological site located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru. It is situated at 2,840 m (8,136 ft) above sea level and offers spectacular views of the Inca Trail from its mountaintop location. Llactapata was first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 as part of his explorations for Machu Picchu. Since then, it has become a popular destination for visitors to the region.

The main structures are terraces used for agricultural purposes along with several other buildings including a large circular tower. There are also many stone staircases leading up to various parts of the site. This ancient site was likely used by pilgrims visiting from afar during religious festivals or important ceremonies.

Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail


Sayacmarca is an archaeological site located on the slopes of a mountain in the province of Cusco, Peru. The ruins consist of several terraces and stone structures built by the Incas during their reign from 1438-1532 AD. Hiram Bingham rediscovered this site in 1911, during his search for the Lost City of the Incas.

The main structure at Sayacmarca is a large semi-rectangular building surrounded by three levels of terraces. Also, there are remnants of walls that were likely used for defense purposes.

The ruins offer visitors a glimpse into what life must have been like during this period in history. Also, they provide insight into how advanced the Inca civilization was at this time.

Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail


Phuyupatamarca is an archaeological site located on the Inca Trail. It was probably used as a resting place for travelers along their pilgrimage route to Machu Picchu. The site consists of many terraced platforms carved from rock and some stone walls.

It also includes several stone steps that lead up to a plaza where pilgrims would offer prayers and sacrifices before continuing on their journey. The terraces are surrounded by stunning views of mountains and valleys, providing visitors with a breathtaking experience.


Should you visit the Dead Woman’s Pass?

Despite its challenging nature, the Inca Trail and Dead Woman’s Pass are a must-do for any adventure seeker visiting Peru. The trail is open year-round, but the best time to go is during the dry season from May to September. It is recommended to hire a reputable tour company and to be properly acclimatized to the altitude before embarking on the journey.

Overall, the Inca Trail and Dead Woman’s Pass are a testament to the resilience and strength of the human spirit. The trail offers a unique opportunity to not only push oneself physically, but also to connect with the rich history and culture of the Incas. It is a truly unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your return home.

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