Inca Trail? Not this summer.

World travelers just can’t get enough of Peru’s famous Inca Trail. But has the Inca Trail had enough of them? It may come as surprise to anyone still planning summer travel to Peru, but the world-famous path to Machu Picchu is completely sold out for the 2008 summer travel season, with the next available opening in September 2008.

As veteran Peru trekkers might know, the Peruvian government began imposing restrictions in 2005 on the number of hikers who could take the path each day to no more than 500. Couple this with the insane popularity of Machu Picchu on globetrotter “must-see” lists and increasingly affordable airfare deals and you have a serious supply and demand problem on your hands. While this quota is helping to preserve the impact of human visitors on this priceless cultural artifact, it’s certainly frustrating news for anyone planning their trip to Peru around a stopover at the site.

If it turns out the big, bad Peruvian government has thwarted your travel plans this summer, don’t despair just yet. As this article article points out, there are a few alternative routes to the famed Inca Trail including the Salkantay Trail, which also climaxes at Machu Picchu, along with the scenic Lares Valley and the spectacular Colca Canyon.

And if you’re still dead set on that Inca Trail trek? Give it another try in the off-season. You might even have that million-dollar view at the top all to yourself.