If you’re an adventurous spirit looking to explore and see the world, there’s no better way to do it than by hiking the Inca Trail. This ancient trail weaves its way through breathtaking landscapes, connecting travelers with history and arriving at the world-famous Machu Picchu.


Runkuraqay Inca Site - Best time to hike the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail hike

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most popular hikes in the world. Every year, thousands of people from all over the globe come to hike the trail. The Trail is a challenging hike, so it’s important to be prepared for it.

Inca Trail Location

The Inca Trail is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The trailhead is located in the District of Ollantaytambo, Village of Piscacucho – Km 82, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Cusco. From Km 82, the trail winds its way through the mountains, passing by several Inca ruins before reaching the site of Machu Picchu. The entire journey takes about 4 days to complete.

Inca Trail Weather

The average temperature on the Inca Trail ranges from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). During the day, it is usually warm and sunny, but at night it can get cold. Be sure to pack layers of clothing so that you can adjust to changes in temperature throughout the day.

Best season to trek the Inca Trail

The best time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is typically from May to early October. This is because the weather is generally dry and sunny during this period. However, it is important to note that this is also the high/peak season, and Machu Picchu is crowded.

  • Inca Trail in the dry season

This is when the weather is at its best, with clear skies and warm temperatures. It’s also the busiest time of year on the trail, so book your permit well in advance. While the day is expected to be hot and sunny, at night temperature will drop almost below 0° Celcius or below. These months include May to September and even early October.

  • Inca Trail in the wet season

The weather during the wet season is cooler and more comfortable than during the dry season, when temperatures reach up to 30 degrees Celsius. Rainfall also helps to keep the dust down on the trail. Although there are fewer tourists during the wet season, you’ll still need to book your trek well in advance as spaces fill up quickly.

Hiking in the rainforest in the wet season can be muddy and slippery, so ensure you have proper footwear and equipment. It’s also important to be aware of potential hazards, such as flash floods and landslides.

  • Inca Trail in the shoulder season

The Inca Trail is open almost year-round, but the best time to hike it is during the shoulder season (April-May, September-October, and even November). During these months, the weather is milder, and there are fewer crowds.


Inca Trail Month by Month

Each month has something special in the Inca Trail. As a tour guide who has hiked this place for so many years and 4 times a month, I would say there is no bad time to hike the Inca trail.

  • Inca Trail in January

Hiking the Inca Trail in January can be challenging since it is the rainiest month of the year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a beautiful time to hike the trail. The Inca Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the world, and for a good reason. The views are stunning, the history is fascinating, and the challenge is just enough to make it a rewarding hike.

  • Inca Trail in February

The Inca Trail is closed for February due to bad weather conditions and mantainance. This includes heavy rains and mudslides, making the trail dangerous and impassable. The closure is in effect from February 1st to February 28th. If you plan to hike the Inca Trail during this time, you must make alternative plans.

  • Inca Trail in March

March is still inside the rainy season; however, after the mantainance season, the campsites, trails, and facilities are in perfect condition. The weather is cool and dry. There are also fewer crowds on the trail during this time of year.

  • Inca Trail in April

April is an ideal time to hike the Inca Trail. The dry weather and the trail are less crowded than in peak season. Plus, you’ll see the beautiful Andean landscape in all its springtime glory. If you plan to hike the Inca Trail in April, you can expect beautiful weather and stunning scenery, but always be prepared for rainy days.

  • Inca Trail in May

May is the preferred time to hike the Inca Trail because the weather is dry and sunny and is out of the rainy season and just before the cold winter. The average temperature in May is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This is perfect hiking weather as it is not too hot or cold.

  • Inca Trail in June

June is inside the dry season and peak season in Peru. The Inca Trail is complete and beautiful; during the day is sunny, and at night, the sky is clear and perfect for stargazing. June is one of the coldest months on the Inca Trail, so you’ll need to pack accordingly. Bring warm clothing, including a jacket, hat, and gloves. You should also pack a sleeping bag rated for cold weather camping.

  • Inca Trail in July

In July, you need to be prepared for hot weather during the day and cold weather at night. The average high temperature in Cusco, Peru (where the Inca Trail starts) in July is 22°C (72°F), with an average low of 8°C (46°F). However, temperatures can range from 0°C (32°F) to 30°C (86°F). July is one of Peru’s busiest months for tourism, so if you’re hiking the Inca Trail, be prepared for large crowds. It’s recommended to book your hike well in advance, as spaces fill up quickly.

  • Inca Trail in August

August is the busiest month of the year in Machu Picchu; while the Inca Trail will get a maximum of 500 people per day, you might experience long lines in Machu Picchu and other Inca sites. This month is almost out of the cold winter season; however, it is still cold at night and windy in the afternoon.


  • Inca Trail in September

The Inca Trail can be hiked any time of year except February. September is considered one of the best months to hike the trail as I the beginning of spring, and the landscape of the Andes will become greener. This is because weather conditions are generally more stable during this time of year, with few chances of rain or snow. Additionally, daylight hours are longer in September, giving hikers more time to enjoy the stunning scenery.

  • Inca Trail in October

Hiking the Inca Trail in October is perfect. The days are warm but not too hot, and the nights are cool but not cold. This makes for comfortable hiking conditions throughout the day.

October is right between the busy and cold summer and the rainy season, so you won’t have to contend with large crowds on the trail. And finally, the fall foliage in October is simply beautiful, adding an extra element of beauty to an already amazing experience.

  • Inca Trail in November

The start of the rainy season in November means the trail is often wet, making it more challenging to hike and camp. If you’re planning on hiking the Inca Trail this month, pack your rain gear and be prepared for some challenging conditions.

  • Inca Trail in December

Hiking the Inca Trail in December can be a great experience. The weather is cool, and the crowds are smaller. However, there are more chances of getting rain, and you must be prepared for all weather conditions.

The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu get busy at the end of the year for the holidays. Book the hotels, flights, and tours in advance.


How many people visit the Inca Trail every day?

A maximum of 500 people is allowed on the Inca Trail, including porters, chefs, tour guides, and travelers. Inca Trail is almost always full. However, on some dates might be possible to see fewer travelers depending on the season.

  • Inca Trail in high season

The peak season in the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu starts in April and until October, with the busiest months May, June, July, and August. These months the Inca Trail is at every day at its total capacity, and all tour groups have assigned campsites.

  • Inca Trail in the slow season

The slow season starts in November and until March; during this time, the Inca Trail is still fully booked; however, some dates might be at 60%, 70% of the total capacity. In January and early March is possible to book last-minute tours on some dates, and some campsites might be empty.

Some dates, like Late December and March, usually get busy, and you need to book the Inca Trail far in advance.

Best time to hike the Inca Trail FAQs

Which is the best month of the year to hike the Inca Trail?

The best month to hike the Inca Trail is May. The weather is perfect for hiking, with warm days and cool nights. This month is out of the rainy season and just before the cold winter nights.


Which day of the year is the best to hike the Inca Trail?

This is a personal opinion and recommendation: I will give you 3 dates as the best days to start the Inca Trail:

  • March 1st is perfect to start the Inca Trail and be among the first to hike to Machu Picchu after the closure in February.
  • June 18th is also a great day to start, and we arrive at Machu Picchu on June 21st during the winter solstice.
  • December 29th is another perfect date to celebrate in Machu Picchu the new year.

Is it safe to hike the Inca Trail in the rainy season?

The rainy season (November-March) is generally not the best time to hike the Inca Trail, as the trail can be muddy and slippery, making it dangerous and difficult to hike. However, if you are prepared for the conditions and have the proper equipment, hiking the Inca Trail during the rainy season can be a great experience. The scenery is often more lush and green during this time of year, and there are fewer crowds on the trail. Just be sure to pack your rain gear and wear proper footwear!

When Is The Inca Trail Closed?

The Inca Trail is closed from February 1st to February 28th for maintenance every year.

What are the busiest months on the Inca Trail?

The busiest months in the Inca Trailk are May, June, and July. This is the heart of the dry season in Peru.

What’s the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

The best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. The weather is warm and sunny during this time, making it ideal for exploring the ancient ruins. Remember that Machu Picchu can be crowded during the high season, so booking your tickets and tour in advance is a good idea.

When is the best time to visit Cusco, Peru?

The best time of the year to visit Cusco, Peru, and hike the Inca Trail is from April to October. The weather is dry and sunny during these months, making for ideal hiking conditions. December to March is the wet season in Cusco, so it’s best to travel prepared for rainy, cold weather during the day.