The Sun Gate also called Intipunku in Quechua was once a guardhouse that marked one of the principle entrances to Machu Picchu. The large lithic enclosure features big windows and doorways, and once had a thatched roof.
It is located at 2,720 meters (8,924 feet) above sea level, and 290 meters (951 feet) above the Urban Sector of Machu Picchu. Following an original Inca Trail, it takes approximately 90 minutes to hike to the Sun Gate from the Guardhouse at Machu Picchu.
The strategic location of the Sun Gate leads historians to believe that the entrance to Machu Picchu was restricted. Imperial guards kept efficient control over all entries. For this reason it is thought that this city welcomed only selected visitors of the imperial elite.
The Sun Gate is where hikers from the 4 days classic Inca Trail entering Machu Picchu get their first glimpse of the citadel.
Currently it is free to trek to the Sun Gate. More information, photos and route maps on hiking to the Sun Gate can be found by clicking here.