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Sun gate - Inca trail 1 day
Cusco,Machu picchu Tours

Can I hike up to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu?

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu May 7, 2022

Note: Its not possible to hike up to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu, it can be done only the any of the Inca Trails.


With the new regulations, only the Inca Trail trekkers / hikers will have the opportunity to have a great view over Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate.  Visitors can no longer hike from Machu Picchu Citadel to the Sun Gate anymore. 

For travellers who trek the Inca Trail, they enter into Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate, also called Inti Punku, and watch the sunrise. 

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’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:

It used to be a 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 elite guests from the empire..

Sun Gate, Machu Picchu: An Overview

  • Height: 2,745m / 9,005ft
  • Altitude gain: 290m / 951ft
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Location: Upper level, southeast of Machu Picchu
  • Attractions: Panoramic views, terraces, Sun Gate, walk on original Inca Trails
  • Walking time: Depends on the Inca trail you take, the short Inca Trail takes 2 days.
  • Difficulty: Moderate – Depends on your fitness
  • Access: ONLY through the Inca Trail.

Hiking up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

The Sun Gate at Machu Picchu offers wonderful views over the Inca citadel, and is well worth visiting. Inca Trail trekkers have to pass through the Sun Gate, while Intipunku is a relatively short walk for day trippers.

The Sun Gate’s accessibility, good pathways, and no extra entry requirement all add to its appeal. Get there at a quiet time, and it’s not hard to imagine yourself as an Inca guard protecting the site.

Best Time for Hiking up to the Sun Gate

The Inti Punku Sun Gate, like Machu Picchu itself, is possible to visit year round, but certain times of year can offer a more enjoyable visit. The wet season lasts from November to April and during these months it’s possible to experience heavy rainfall on the trail. This region also sits just above the jungle and has a humid subtropical climate throughout the year. Visiting the Inti Punku Sun Gate early in the morning will not only provide the best view, it will also help you to avoid the glaring midday sun. So, the best time to visit will be from April to September!

Sun Gate at Machu Picchu – Is It Worth It?

In general, 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.

The advantage to the hikes to Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu is that you don’t need an additional ticket if you decide to go to the Sun Gate first.

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

Frequently Asked Questions About Inti Punku (Sun Gate)

Can I visit Sun Gate from Machu Picchu?

No , Visitors can no longer hike from Machu Picchu Citadel to the Sun Gate anymore.

What does Inti Punku mean in Spanish?

Located one hour from Machupicchu, the Intipunku or Puerta del Sol (Sun Gate) is one of the most visited attractions that complement the tour of this important tourist destination. It is an imposing stone portal that, during the time of the Incas, had the function of being the main access to the citadel.

What to do at Intipunku?

Take the hike The ascent from Machu Picchu to the Intipunku is one of the most famous hikes taken by tourists who travel approximately 2 kilometers along the ancient trails built by the Incas hundreds of years ago.

Observe landscapes From the top of the Sun Gate you can observe landscapes of Machu Picchu that cannot be seen from elsewhere. You can see the Urubamba river, the Huayna Picchu Mountain, the town of Aguas Calientes and its surroundings.

Take pictures Some of the best photos that visitors can find in the Inca city is from the Sun Gate. Not only at the top, but in some of the sections of the road, you can get unique photos of the Inca city.

Bird watching During the journey to the top you can observe some of the bird species that inhabit Machu Picchu. Visitors will be able to appreciate species such as the cock of the rocks, the Andean guan, the blue jawed tanager, the chestnut breasted hummingbird, the mountain watchmaker, among others.

Get to know the Sun Gate This construction is one of the most important in Machu Picchu but it is not regularly visited by tourists due to its location in the highest part. If you want to know more about this place, You should hire a private tour guide  we recommend referring to the Orange Nation Peru for best and most competitive price and safest hike.

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