Lares Inca Trail

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - FEATURE -

Once the cap­i­tal of the Inca em­pire, Cusco, Peru, is now a unesco world her­itage site and the main tourist hub to ex­plore both Machu Pic­chu and the Inca’s Sa­cred Val­ley. It’s also one of South Amer­ica’s premier moun­tain bike des­ti­na­tions.

“The coolest thing about Cusco is that there are phe­nom­e­nal rid­ing on trails the Inca built cen­turies ago,” says Nate Less­nick, the rider hap­pi­ness di­rec­tor at Sa­cred Rides. “It’s this beau­ti­ful blend of moun­tain bik­ing and cul­ture. It feels like a real ad­ven­ture.”

Moun­tain bik­ing in this re­gion can feel in­tim­i­dat­ing, so Less­nick highly rec­om­mends ei­ther book­ing a multi-day trip prior to trav­el­ling or find­ing a lo­cal guide for day rides. Most moun­tain bike trails be­gin above 4,000 m, so it is es­sen­tial to ac­cli­ma­tize be­fore head­ing out. The rid­ing isn’t easy, ei­ther, as the routes are rugged and tech­ni­cal: large rocks, un­even ter­rain and ex­po­sure are all com­mon­place.

“If I had to pick a sin­gle trail,” Less­nick says, “it’d be the Lares Inca Trail. We started up in the clouds, at 4,420 m, and ended in the Sa­cred Val­ley, de­scend­ing thou­sands of rock steps, wind­ing through a stun­ning river val­ley and pass­ing through sev­eral small vil­lages where lo­cals only speak Quechua. It’s a breath­tak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

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