The general entrance ticket to the ruins includes the Ciudadana, and will allow enough time to continue a trek along the infamous camino de Inca. While these options allow many wonderful views of the ruins, it does not compare to the view provided at the top of la Montana de Machu Picchu.
The mountain peak climbs 2,000 feet above the Ciudadana and looks directly over the ruins below of Vilcabamba, the most recognized icon of the Inca.
The mountain trail is separate and not to be taken lightly. You will be given a one hour slot to enter and can stay at the top until 12 noon. The grounds keepers will tell you to allow 2 hours to climb to the top, however most are able to reach the top within an hour and a half.
The climb begins at the base where you must sign in providing your name and time of entrance. Upon leaving you must sign out. ‘It is so that we know you survived’ says the vigilente at the office at the entrance. You are then sent along your way to enjoy the sights along the route.
The trail is a popular attraction, so you will find many people who are there to climb with you.
It is not a bad idea to look into the trek before you set off, however. I was not warned of the difficulty of the hike and found myself practically scaling the mountaintop in my Toms with no food or water. At one point on the hike I laughed to myself, of course Peruvians would advertise the trek as a mere hike up a steep mountain. A British lady on the way up noted if the mountain were in her country, they would require harnesses and railings at the least.
Either way, the hike is certainly something to consider as a part of your visit to Machu Picchu.