The Inca Trail in Peru is arguably one of the most well-known hikes in the world. That means that you need to plan in advance for this trek because it gets booked up fast considering how the Peruvian government has set daily limits on how many people can enter the Inca Trail. Planning in advance not only ensures that you get a spot but also allows you to choose the best time of year and gives you ample time to train for the very worthwhile challenge.
You can hike the Inca Trail any time of year, but the absolute best time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is during the dry season months of June, July and August. These are the months with nearly the perfect climate for hiking in the province of Cusco, which means:
- Blue skies
- Warm days in the Andean sun
- Fresh, cool nights
- Minimal rain or no rain at all
- Minimal or no cloudiness or fog that could block your view
The multi-day hike is notoriously challenging enough with its steep slopes and sudden changes in altitude and can be made more difficult during the rainy season months of December to February. Even though the temperatures remain relatively the same, the rain, fog, and cloud can be unpredictable (think, downpours out of nowhere) and make the experience less than comfortable. But ultimately, the best time to hike the Inca Trail is when you feel ready and willing to face the adventure as we hear again and again that the experience was worth it.
Another strategy is to book the Inca Trail Hike for the shoulder months of April, May, September, or October. Although there may be a spots of rain, the Inca Trail itself will be much less crowded, which makes the experience more about you and nature versus you and crowds of other trekkers.