There are many paths and ways to see Machu Picchu, but we decided that to get the full effect of the "pilgrimage trek" was to do the 4 day/3 night hiking trip into Machu Picchu. This was a well orchestrated affair arranged by Llama Path, a Cusco based trek outfitting company. There were 14 of us gringo participants from both the US and Canada, supported by 20 native porters, a chef, and two guides. The company did a great job providing us with a camp (tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag), three square meals a day, and in depth descriptions of the mountainous terrain and Inca history. To be honest, all three of us after the first day trekking and evening sleeping on the ground, had reconsidered our decision to participate in this trip, but the mountain scenery, sense of accomplishment to complete the trek, peer pressure of the other 20+ year old trekkers, and the eventual reward of seeing Machu Picchu at sunrise on the fourth day was definitely worth the effort and sacrifice. As an example of our schedule, our first morning started at 4:30 am when we boarded a bus to drive 3 hours to the start of the Inca Trail followed by 6 - 8 hours of uphill hiking at around 11,000 - 12,000 feet elevation. The second day starting with a 5 am wake up call was our toughest day hiking with our first mountain pass to conquer called appropriately "Dead Woman's Pass" at over 13,000 feet. There were no dead women sighted on the pass but poor Cindy who had contracted a stomach virus and was fighting gastrointestinal events all day, almost sacrificed herself at the top of the pass to appease the Inca gods. Of course, once we made it to the top of the pass we still needed to make our way down into a valley and cross a second pass, albeit slightly lower than the first, until we reached our campsite at 12,000 feet elevation. Got a little nippy that night, with ice forming on the tent in the morning from the frozen dew. Oh, and to make an even more memorable experience, all of the bathroom facilities were the infamous "squatty potties" that challenged one's dexterity, sense of balance, and ability to withhold a sense of smell until cleanly free of the well used banos interior. Fortunately, the food from the Llama Path chef was absolutely wonderful, the porters carried most of our stuff except for jackets, water, and personal gear, and the mountain scenery was awe inspiring. I would definitely recommend this activity and trekking company, but make sure you get in shape, acclimate to the elevation a few days before the hike, take plenty of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, and maintain a sense of humor!