If you’re a lover of the great outdoors and are planning a trip to Indonesia, it’s probably likely that hiking Mount Rinjani is high on your bucket list of things to do. This mammoth volcano in the north of Lombok stands at an elevation of 3,726m above sea level and affords both spectacular views of the surrounding landscape as well as the breathtakingly beautiful crater lake. Hiking to the top (or even base camp for that matter), is not an easy task, but the sense of achievement and the wonderful views will make it more than worth it. This guide tells you all you need to know about trekking Mount Rinjani, including the options available, information about the ascent and descent and camping at the top.
Can I Trek Mount Rinjani Without A Guide?
While the route up Mount Rinjani is fairly straight forward, it is not at all recommended to make the ascent without a guide. The amount of supplies needed to ensure you are fed, watered and warm enough at the top, not to mention camping gear, is quite intense. Therefore, unless you are an avid hiker with tons of experience and a high level of fitness, it’s likely that the trek to the top will be a bit much without a guide.
Which Route Up Mount Rinjani To Take?
If you like the idea of hiking a volcano but aren’t the fittest of fiddles or simply don’t have much time on your hands, you may want to opt for the two-day trek to base camp and the crater lake, rather than the full three-day hike to the summit.
The two-day option still has a pretty gruelling first day hike from the bottom to base camp, which includes a steep incline, large steps and a number of uneven patches which can prove quite hard on the ol’ legs! However, once you’ve reached base camp at the end of the day, you know there is no more uphill battles to be done so you can relax and enjoy the view of the lake and the rolling surrounds. The second day is a straight-forward descent back to where you started, but with loose scree underfoot it can be tough on your knees. If possible, bring a walking pole or fashion one out of a branch for added support.
For more of a challenge you might want to choose the three-day trek which includes base camp, the summit and the crater lake. This is not for the faint-hearted but spreading the journey over three days does allow you to take your time and enjoy the views as you go.
The first day begins the same as the two-day trek, walking along the flat green plains at the base of the volcano before staring the intense ascent up to base camp. The trek includes at least three hours of steep uphill climbing, so keep putting one foot in front of the other and taking regular breaks to ensure you make it! You’ll then stay overnight at base camp (where your tent will already have been erected and a meal cooked by your amazing guides). Depending on whether the clouds have descended, you may or may not have spectacular views of the crater lake. You’ll also be greeted with a sky full of stars before you drift off into an exhausted sleep!
The next morning starts early so that you can reach the summit by sunrise. You’ll need to wrap up warm as hiking in the dark at this elevation will be blisteringly cold! You can see the summit from base camp so you’ll have the peak in your sights as you begin the next leg of the trek. When you arrive at the summit you’ll feel on top of the world (both literally and metaphorically) as you take in the epic sunset and feel pride at your incredible achievement.
NB: If you listen to your body and it tells you it cannot manage the hike to the summit, fear not, the group will be coming back to base camp before moving on so you can relax for the morning at the crater rim and wait for the others to return. There is still a long way to go so you don’t want to overdo it if your body is telling you to rest.
Once everyone has reconvened at the crater rim, you’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast that will keep you going throughout the day. From here, you’ll descend towards the blue caldera, taking in the gorgeous views as you go. It is here that you’ll have the chance to dip into the natural hot springs that will help soothe your aching muscles from the previous two days of exertion – bliss! Back up to the crater rim for your final night of camping and a last look at the epic views from the volcano.
The final day involves a descent through the jungle, and the shade from the canopy of trees will be a blessed relief from the hot Indonesian sun. Stay present during this downhill hike, taking in all the flora and fauna that surrounds you.
You’ll end back in the village of Sembalun where it all began three long days ago and you’ll want to take a dip in a pool and a long lie down in a hammock to recover!
How To I Book My Hike Up Mount Rinjani?
If you’re now inspired to hike Mount Rinjani you’ll want to get yourself over to Lombok to begin the trek. You don’t need to worry about booking the hike before travelling to Lombok as there are loads of travel agents (in Lombok as well as Bali and the Gili Islands) that will be able to help you plan your journey. You just want to make sure your trip has guides, camping, food and water included so you’ll have everything you need to enjoy the trek.