Dead woman's pass: a mysterious spot in the Inca Trail

Reading : 3 min April 21 2023

The Inca Trail is well known all over the world by adventure and outdoor enthusiasts. It is probably one of the most famous hiking trails in the world, known for its breathtaking mountain scenery, ancient ruins, and challenging terrain. The trail is filled with  amazing constructions, natural wonders and Andean mysticism, but maybe the most  mysterious spots on the Inca Trail is Dead Woman's Pass, a high-altitude mountain pass that is named after a nearby rock formation that resembles a woman lying down.

You will reach Dead Woman's Pass on the second day of the classic Inca Trail trek, the most challenging part of the trail. The pass is at 13,828 feet (4,215 meters) altitude above sea level, making it the highest point on the Inca Trail. Hikers must climb a steep, winding path for several hours to reach the pass, and the high altitude can make climbing even more difficult than it already is.

Despite the challenging ascent, many hikers say that the view from Dead Woman's Pass is one of the most spectacular sights on the Inca Trail. From the top of the pass, hikers can see sweeping views of the mountains and valleys, and can take a moment to appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the region.

The Legend of the Dead Woman’s Pass

The name Dead Woman's Pass holds a secret about this majestic place.  According to local legends, the pass was named after a young woman who died while attempting to cross the mountains. The woman was said to be a princess from a neighboring tribe who had fallen in love with an Inca prince. When her family found out about the relationship, they forbade her from seeing the prince and forced her to flee into the mountains.

Regardless of her youth and inexperience, the woman was determined to make the journey across the mountains to be with her loved one. She set out alone and made it to Dead Woman's Pass, but was overcome by the altitude and the cold. She died on the mountain, alone and far from her true love.

Today, many hikers on the Inca Trail report feeling a strange energy at Dead Woman's Pass, as if the young woman spirit still lingers in the mountain air. Some hikers even report hearing ghostly whispers or feeling a chill in the air, even on warm days. There are many stories around this legend and visitors can hear them all while walking the Inca Trail.

The infamous Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail | BookmundiBut while the legend of Dead Woman's Pass may seem like a spooky story to some people, it also speaks to the deep spiritual and cultural significance of the Inca Trail and the beliefs of Andean people. The Inca civilization was known for its deep connection to nature and the mountains, and many of their beliefs and rituals revolved around the natural world.

The Significance of Nature

For the Inca people, the mountains were seen as sacred beings that were connected with  powerful spirits and deities. They believed that by climbing to the top of a mountain, they could come closer to the gods and receive blessings and guidance. The Inca Trail, which winds through the Andean mountains and passes by ancient Inca ruins and sacred sites, was considered a pilgrimage route for those seeking spiritual enlightenment and connection to the divine.

Even today, the Inca Trail remains a deeply spiritual and transformative experience for many hikers. The demanding terrain, breathtaking natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of the region come together to create a powerful and unforgettable journey.

The best Inca trails to Machu Picchu | How to see Machu Picchu |  Abercrombie & KentWhile Dead Woman's Pass may be one of the most challenging and mysterious spots on the Inca Trail, it is also a symbol of the resilience and determination of the human spirit. The young woman who died on the mountain may have been alone and far from home, but its spirit lives on in the breathtaking scenery of the Andean mountains and in the hearts of those who travel there.

For those who are brave enough to take on the challenge of the Inca Trail, the reward is not just in the stunning vistas and ancient ruins, but in the deep connection to the natural world and the spiritual legacy of the Inca civilization. Dead Woman's Pass is just one of the many wonders that hikers can discover along the trail, and a reminder of the power and mysticism of the Andean mountains.

If you are planning to hike the Inca Trail and want to experience the mystery and beauty of Dead Woman's Pass by yourself, it is important to prepare properly for the trek. Hiking at high altitudes can be challenging, and it is essential to be in good physical condition and to take the necessary precautions to avoid altitude sickness. It is also important to travel with a reliable tour operator or a guide who can provide you with the necessary support and guidance to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Besides that you just need to enjoy the adventure and keep walking.

The Inca Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers hikers the chance to explore some of the most stunning natural and cultural sites in the world. While Dead Woman's Pass may be an extraordinary experience, it is also a testament to the enduring spirit of the Inca people and the legacy of their culture and beliefs. By accepting the Inca Trail challenge and experiencing the wonder and magic of Dead Woman's Pass, you can discover the beauty and power of this remarkable part of the world, yourself.



Suscribe to receive the latest news of Incarail