Discover the Best Time of Year to Do the Inca Trail

by | Feb 3, 2024 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

Inca Trail

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Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is not just a journey through captivating landscapes, but a walk through ancient history. This iconic trail in Peru draws adventurers from around the globe to experience its mystical ruins, diverse ecology, and the awe-inspiring citadel of Machu Picchu.

If your soul is set on this unparalleled adventure, understanding when to embark is crucial to optimize your experience. This post lays out the different times of year you can take on the trail and what you can expect from each season.

How Long Does it Take to Walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

People want to know, “How long does it take to walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?” There are officially 2 Inca Trails to Machu Picchu: the 4-day Inca Trail and the 2-day Inca Trail, giving you an idea of how long it takes to walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

The 4-day hike is 26 miles, but you will reach a high altitude of 13,776 feet at some point. Depending on your fitness level and experience, this can make your hike a little bit more complicated. The 2-day Inca Trail is about 7.5 miles long, where you will encounter the highest altitude of 8,800 feet. The 2-day trek is a more leisurely hike that you can enjoy.

If you take the longer hike, day two will be your most challenging day, where you can expect to hike for at least 8 or 9 hours, depending on your group. Sometimes some things happen, such as weather creating hazards, which can make the hike longer. It can also be longer or shorter, depending on your tour guide.

Salkantya Trek and Inca Trail 7D

Salkantay Trek & Inca Trail 7D


Short Inca Trail And Lares Valley Trek 4D

How Hard is it to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

One of the most common questions people have is, “How hard is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?” The difficulty of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu honestly depends on your fitness level and which trek you decide to take.

When talking about how hard is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, some people may find the trek more difficult than others. Everyone’s experience is as unique as they are.

Factors that can determine how hard the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is include how fit you are, how your group approaches the hike, and how experienced you are hiking.

RELATED: What is The Best Month to Hike the Inca trail?

When is the Rainy Season in Machu Picchu?

Best Time of Year to Do The Inca Trail
2 days hike When is the Best Time of Year to Do The Inca Trail

When traveling, you may want to know the rainy season in Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu has relatively warm and humid weather. The daytime is warm, and you will notice a drop in temperatures at night.

The answer to “What is the rainy season in Machu Picchu?” is that the rainy season occurs between November and March. It’s important to know what is the rainy season in Machu Picchu so that you can better plan your adventure in the area.

Factors to Consider

Three pivotal factors influence the timing of your trek—the weather conditions, the number of fellow hikers sharing the route, and the availability of permits, which are limited to preserve the trail and environment.

Weather Conditions

The Andean weather is a major consideration as it affects trail conditions and visibility. The Inca Trail lies within a subtropical highland climate, causing variability in weather.

Crowd Levels

Popularity brings people, and peak months can see the trail bustling with hikers. A crowded path changes the dynamic of the trail and wait times at significant sites.

Availability of Permits

Permits to hike the trail are capped at 500 per day, including guides and porters, making early booking essential, especially during peak times.

Best Time of Year hike the Inca Trail

High Season (Peak Months)

Traditionally, the best months to hike the Inca Trail have been from June to August. These months offer some of the driest weather, providing clear skies and spectacular views of the Andean mountains.

Shoulder Season (Transitional Months)

May and September to October are considered shoulder months. These periods offer a compromise between good hiking conditions and thinner crowds.

Low Season (Off-Peak Months)

From November to March, the region experiences its rainy season, which can make for a challenging hike due to wet conditions and obscured views.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Each Season

High Season

Benefits: Best weather and visibility, very limited rainfall.

Drawbacks: Crowds can lessen the solitude of the hike, and permits must be booked far in advance.

Shoulder Season

Benefits: Fewer hikers on the trail compared to high season and still good weather conditions.

Drawbacks: Occasional rain showers and slightly colder temperatures.

Low Season

Benefits: The trail is less crowded, and permits are easier to obtain.

Drawbacks: Heavy rainfall, potential mudslides, and February trail closure for maintenance.

Tips for Hiking Inca Trail in Different Seasons

Packing Essentials

You’ll need waterproof gear for the rainy season, and sun protection year-round. Layer clothing to adjust to changing temperatures throughout the hike.

Safety Precautions

Be prepared for rapid changes in weather and terrain. Ensure you have adequate travel insurance that covers high-altitude hiking.

Booking Considerations

Book several months in advance for the high season. For shoulder seasons, book with some flexibility to allow for weather shifts.

Some things can make the hike Inca Trail easier for you.

The first thing to remember is that it’s not about how quickly you can do the hike. Rushing can make the trek a lot more difficult for you. This decision can also take away from truly experiencing the scenery. It’s also essential that you select a tour company with a leading guide and an assistant.

This option can help you feel more comfortable as the assistant usually walks along the back of the group to ensure everyone is still together.

They will notice clues that people are struggling to keep up with the trek and adjust their schedules to ensure that people have the best possible experience.

Keeping a positive attitude during this outdoor adventure as you take this stunning hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can help you have the best experience.


Each season has its charm and challenges, but April to October often emerges as the optimal window to hike the Inca Trail. Planning is paramount; securing permits early while considering weather and crowd conditions will help ensure your Inca Trail adventure is nothing short of spectacular.

Whether you seek the vibrant energy of peak months or the solitude of the wetter season, the Inca Trail is a profound experience awaiting your footsteps.

Remember to respect the sacred paths and the natural environment as you make your pilgrimage to the ancient city in the sky. Happy hiking!


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Cesar Conde

I’m Cesar Conde, owner of Tour Leaders Peru & Travel Advisor and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own amazing Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


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