Hiking up to the Sun Gate

Sun gate - Inca trail 1 day


Carrently the hike up to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu its not allowed anymoreSO, now, the ONLY way to get to the Sun Gate, it by doing the Inca Trail trek like: 1 day Inca Trail, Short Inca Trail or Classic Inca Trail 4 days.

If you are very fit and like adventure, then the best hike is the 1 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

What is the Sun Gate?

The sun gate (2,720 m / 8,924 ft), also known as Inti Punku (sun gate in Quechua), is a great viewpoint of Machu Picchu on one side of the Machu Picchu Mountain.

In fact, it goes almost parallel to the path leading up to Machu Picchu Mountain but the good news is that it’s not as steep.

It takes approximately between 1.5 – 2 hours round-trip and you’ll make up around 290 m (951 ft) in altitude.

It’s more than just “a viewpoint of Machu Picchu”, it is the first viewpoint of Machu Picchu for all the people that do the Inca Trails like:

  • 1 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days

It used to be control gate for people who entered and left the holy city of the Incas; Machu Picchu. Due to its rather remote location from the ruins, it is believed to that Machu Picchu only welcomed people from the elite of the empire.

Is it worth to hike to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu?

Of course! Yes it is! The view you get of Machu Picchu is breathtaking and the hike itself also isn’t too hard, considering that you are in a good physical shape and that you are acclimatized already.

If you have the time to do the hike to the Sun Gate, you should go for it.

How to get to the Sun Gate?

When you enter Machu Picchu (having passed the entrance) just follow the regular path where all the people go until you get that first initial view of the Machu Picchu ruins and of Huayna Picchu Mt

Then you need to turn left and follow the path leading away from Machu Picchu passing the agricultural terraces.

Look for wooden signs on which it says “Inti Punku”. As already mentioned, the hike takes quite a bit so it is required that you have a good level of fitness. A 3-4 hour (round way) hike doesn’t seem to bad, I agree, but don’t forget that you are hiking at over 2500 m.

After the Inti Punku viewpoint, the trek goes on to Wiñay Wayna, the last control point of the Inca trail. However, you won’t be able to continue the trail as you’d need the Inca Trail permit. All the people coming this way have done the Inca trail.

What ticket do I need for the Sun Gate?

You can hike up to the Sun Gate with the regular Machu Picchu ticket if you choose to go there before doing the tour of the Machu Picchu ruins.

If you decide to do the tour first and then visit the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu, you would have to buy an additional ticket (or a Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain ticket) because you would have to leave the complex after the tour has ended and enter again.

If you decide to go to the Sun Gate first, you can witness the sunrise and how the sun illuminates Machu Picchu without many people hiking up with you.

This is undoubtedly a beautiful moment, but don’t worry if you decide on doing the tour first because the view will always be amazing.

However, for some people the hike might be tiring so that you won’t enjoy the tour of Machu Picchu afterwards. For them, we recommend to do the hike to the Sun Gate after having done a guided Machu Picchu tour.