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Best Time To Hike The Inca Trail

Alison Macallister

The Inca Trail is one of the most famous treks in the world. For many travellers, this hike is the highlight of a trip to Peru. 

So when is the best time to hike the Inca Trail?

The Inca trail is open almost all year round but some months are definitely better than others. Take the weather into account and be aware of the peak tourist seasons.

Read on for a season-to-season guide to hiking the Inca Trail. In this article, I will tackle the pros and cons of hiking each month.

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Best Time To Hike The Inca Trail

Best Time To Do The Inca Trail

Peru is blessed with good trekking conditions for most of the year.

Strictly speaking, June to August have the best weather for hiking the Inca Trail. Over these months, the days are sunny with a low chance of rain.

You can book the trail for every month except February. Personally, I recommend May or October as the best time to hike the Inca trail. At this time, the weather is good plus you miss the crowds. You can usually find great deals on Inca trail tours over these shoulder months.

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Please Note: Only 200 hiker permits per day are issued for the Inca Trail. During peak months, Inca Trail permits can sell out up to a year in advance. Take seasonal differences into consideration and plan accordingly.

Inca Trail Dry Season Hiking

The dry season on the Inca Trail falls between April and October. At this time of year, you can expect blue skies and sunny days, also making this the best time to hike the Inca trail.

These are the winter months. Night skies are clear and temperatures can drop to almost zero degrees Celsius (about 32 degrees Fahrenheit) in the evenings.

Let's go through the most ideal months to hike the Inca Trail.

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The Inca Trail In April

April is the tail end of the wet season on the Inca Trail. Generally, you can look forward to excellent hiking weather as April marks a change of seasons and you may catch a few showers.

Following the rain, the mountainside turns green. Hikers can enjoy seeing thousands of wildflowers along the trail.


The Inca Trail In May

May is often said to be the best month to hike the Inca Trail. At this time of year, the rains have ended and there is plenty of sunshine.

May falls in the shoulder season. There are not as many bookings during this time of year compared to June and July. This combination of factors makes May a perfect month to hike the Inca Trail.

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The Inca Trail in June, July, and August

June to August is peak season on the Inca Trail. Hikers can enjoy warm days with a low likelihood of rain. There is also no fog to obscure the breathtaking scenery.

In addition, Cusco has a festive atmosphere in June. There are lots of festivals and events happening around the city at this time of year.

Please Note: Permits for these months sell out fast. If you plan on hiking during this time of year, you should book your trail package at least 10 months in advance.

The Inca Trail in October

October is a shoulder month on the Inca Trail. Personally, this is one of my favourite months to hike this trail. The weather is ideal with warmer temperatures than those in June-August. October is also early enough to avoid the rain.

If you think that the best time to hike the Inca Trail is in October, you would also be right. You will find that most of the crowds have already cleared off. This makes it easier to book the trail at this time. Decreased foot traffic means it is also one of the best times to visit Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail Rainy Season Hiking

The rainy season in Peru runs from November to March. If you are planning on hiking the Inca Trail over the Rainy season, know what you are getting into.

Hiking Tip: Trails are wet and sudden downpours are almost guaranteed at this time of year. Be sure to pack lots of layers and waterproof clothing.

The Inca Trail in November

November is the start of the rainy season in Peru. Even so, most days are rain-free. Summer days and warm temperatures make for comfortable walking conditions.

The only negative with the warmer weather is that there are more bugs around the trail.

Hiking Tip: Make sure you pack good repellent! I personally recommend buying a product like Repel Insect Repellent. It's made from natural ingredients like lemongrass eucalyptus which protects your skin, leaving it feeling and smelling fresh for up to 6 hours.

Less people book the hike in November, so you can sometimes find better prices on tours. This also means you will see fewer crowds on the trail.

The Inca Trail in December and January

December and January are in the middle of Peru’s summer and the rainy season. Heavy downpours are common at this time of year.

Rain here is unpredictable and you can experience multiple conditions in a single day. As the famous English saying goes, ‘when it rains, it pours’. Flash floods and landslides are a real risk during this period. The pathway is also muddy which makes for a slower trek.

If you prepare well, the wet weather can add a certain ambiance to the landscape. Mist snaking around the ruins is an eerie and beautiful sight.

See: Machu Picchu in December

best time to hike the inca trail

The Inca Trail In February

The Inca Trail is closed during the month of February. This is when the most rain falls. The closure period is necessary to maintain the trails, which is why it is not the best time to hike the Inca trail. 

The Inca Trail In March

During March, the change of seasons is well underway. The rains have all but disappeared and temperatures are still fairly warm. Tourist season has yet to properly begin. This makes March another great month to find deals on Inca Trail Tour Packages.

Inca Trail Availability

Best time of year to do the Inca Trail: FAQs

Which is the best month to hike the Inca Trail?

Most people vote for May as the best month and the best time to hike the Inca Trail.

When Is The Inca Trail Closed?

The Inca Trail is closed every year over February.

Can I hike the Inca Trail over the rainy season?

It is possible to hike the Inca trail over the wet season. Make sure you are properly prepared though by wearing water-proof clothing to protect you from the elements.

When are the busiest months on the Inca Trail?

June, July, and August are in the peak season, making them the busiest months for Inca Trail bookings.

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Thank you for reading my Best Time To Hike The Inca Trail article! Now you have everything you want and need to prepare for the ultimate hiking experience in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. 

Alison Macallister

With a degree in Nature Conservation and experience working with wildlife including the Big 5, Alison works as a guide for a 5-star reserve. She enjoys sharing her passion for all things nature-related. She enjoys hiking, horseriding, 4x4 driving and kayaking.

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