This amazing trail leads you through kilometers and kilometers of history and culture, usually ending up at Machu Picchu, probably the most popular destination on this journey. Actually there are several Inca trails that lead to the Sun Gate of the ancient sacred complex. They differ by the level of complexity and length, and, unfortunately, you have to book your permit to get there in advance - half a year in beforehand would be the best timing.
The Classic Trail is hard but manageable. It takes four to five days from Sacred Valley to a final destination point. It definitely challenges even those who consider themselves professional hikers, especially on a segment called Dead Woman's Pass. Its crests lie on 4,200 metres above the sea level and they resemble a supine female's body. Even though you may get some sweat from a physical load, most of the visitors can make it.
The Short Trail is the easiest one. It starts much closer to Machu Picchu than the Classic Trail and it can be managed in two days of hiking. Mostly following the Urubamba River the path doesn't climb higher than 2,700 metres. Choose this option if you lack enough time or you doubt your health abilities.
The final option is a prolonged Classic Trail. You firstly walk around the gorgeous snowy mount Salkantay. This trek is not only the longest, as it requires six to seven days, but is also the hardest, as the altitude reaches about 4,900 meters.
Despite the Trail you choose, keep in mind that in February they are closed for cleaning. But in general, the best time to visit Inca Trails is in April and May or September and October, when the weather is comfortable, crowds are bearable, and you can be sure to book your permit for hiking.
No matter when you go, mind that nights are pretty cold, so bring some warm, good quality sleeping bags.