There are a wide variety of options for trekking and hiking around Cusco, Peru from single to multi-day treks and many different levels of difficulty. The most well known hike by far is the Machu Picchu hike, but even a Machu Picchu trek can be planned based on how challenging you want your Peru trip to be. These are what I would consider the top hikes in Peru.
1. Machu Picchu
The reason most people think that Machu Picchu is a challenging hike is because it’s often linked to a multi-day Inca Trail hike such as the 2-day Inca Trail Hike or the 4-Day Inca Trail Hike with Machu Picchu on the last day. If you’re less inclined to hike and camp (and/or are short on time), you can visit Machu Picchu in One Day, but you’ll need to leave Cusco (the closest major city and where you would arrive by plane) at 3am.
Another option is the Machu Picchu 2-Day Tour, which is the easiest option with an overnight stay in Machu Picchu town (a.k.a. Aguas Calientes), recommended for anyone who wants the least stressful option to visit Machu Picchu. This is the one I took my parents on. Note that you can also tack on a few more tourist sites local to Cusco in the Sacred Valley-Machu Picchu Tour.
Visiting Machu Picchu: 6 Ways – Easiest to Hardest
2. Rainbow Mountain
The Rainbow Mountain hike is by far the second-most popular hike in the area after Machu Picchu. It involves a drive close to Vinicunca (the local name of Rainbow Mountain) and a moderately challenging walk/hike for 1.5 hours up to an area where you can see the naturally formed stripes of colors on the mountain, which give it its name.
Similar to the Machu Picchu trip options, you can choose between the Rainbow Mountain 1-Day Tour or the Rainbow Mountain 2-Day Tour. The Rainbow Mountain trek that lasts 2 days includes an overnight campout before hiking to Peru’s colorful mountain on the second day. It may also be worth considering the Palcoyo Mountain Tour – it’s an easier hike and you have a similar view at the top.
Colored Mountains in Peru: The Rainbow Mountain Hike & More
3. Lares Trek
Of the multi-day Peru treks, I would choose the 4-Day Lares Trek because it’s off the beaten path, so you’re not shoulder to shoulder with other camping groups like on the Inca Trail. It’s said to be the easiest of the multi-day hikes, but it’s still a pretty challenging hike based on the distance you’re covering daily. And your reward at the end is a tour of Machu Picchu on the last day.
The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu: 4 Days Off the Beaten Path