Hiking Mount Kerinci: Active Volcano in Sumatra

Hiking Mount Kerinci

This article on Hiking Mount Kerinci is graciously sponsored by Indo Trekkers. To learn more visit them at www.indotrekkers.com


Hiking Mount Kerinci is not really the first tourist destination that comes to mind when people decide to visit Indonesia and hike its volcanoes. For most people, Mount Rinjani on the Lombok island – province West Nusa Tenggara is still the number one volcano for foreign hikers. One of the reasons for that is that to reach Lombok island one just needs to take a 2 hour boat ride from Bali, the biggest tourist destination in Indonesia. But this does not mean that Mount Kerinci cannot hold its own. In fact, it should be on the list of every hiker thinking about coming to Indonesia.

Hiking Mount Kerinci should be on the list of every hiker thinking about coming to Indonesia.

Mount Kerinci is 3,805 MASL, and the highest volcano in South East Asia. It is an active volcano. The trek is shorter but steeper than hiking Mount Semeru in East Java or Mount Rinjani. Despite being shorter it is a very challenging trail. One reason is obvious: the steepness of the trail. Another reason is that one has to hike and pass through a thick network of tree roots. Some are over one hundred years old. They form small tunnels or look like culverts. For a big part of the trail, hikers pass these almost crawling through them. Kerinci definitely is a unique challenge.

Getting to Mount Kerinci

The journey starts when you arrive at Minangkabau airport in Padang, West Sumatra. Eventhough Kerinci is located in the Jambi province, it is faster to reach the foothills of the mountain from Padang airport rather than from Sultan Thaha airport in Jambi.

From Padang airport, one needs around 7 hours to reach Kersik Tuo, the area at the foothills of Mount Kerinici. It is best to arrive at Padang early in the morning, ideally before 9.00 am local time (GMT+7), meet your guide and start the journey by car provided by Indo Trekkers. During the drive you will pass by endless green hills, rice fields and tea plantations.

For lunch, you can stop by a local restaurant. But beware as typically in Indonesia the local restaurant cook the food traditionally spicy, rich in spices and often with coconut milk. If you are not used to eating spicy food, it is better to order fried rice with Padang-style fried chicken without chili or some sautée vegetables.

Staying at the Homestay

You will arrive at the homestay around 5 pm in the afternoon. The homestay is usually a house of a local family that is renting out a few rooms during the tourist season. Often hikers will stay at the house belonging to our trekking guide in his village. You will essentially feel part of village live and feel its daily rhythm.

Temperatures at the foothills of Mount Kerinci are often a little chilly, almost cold. Therefore, one must make sure to sleep in warm clothes and socks in addition to the provided blankets.

The bathroom is very simple, offering only bare necessities. Water comes from a natural mountain spring: fresh and cold. If you prefer warm water, you can ask the house owner to heat up a bucket of water for a small tip of 30 – 50K IDR, depending on the amount of hot water.

After dinner, the guide will ask you to separate your equipment: what you wish to be carried by the porters up the mountains (only the essential of course), what goes into your day pack and what stays down in the village. Your belongings will be stored safely until you return.

Hiking Mount Kerinci: Beginning of the hike

On day 2, you wake up around 6 am, have a shower, and have a small breakfast prepared by the host. Ideally, you should do a bit of stretching or yoga. Then, at 8 am an open pickup car will come and collect you, the guide, the porters and all the gear. The drive to the starting point of the hike passes down a narrow road through beautiful tea plantations. You will feel the morning mist and fresh air. On the way, people normally stop at the Tiger Monument of Kersik Tuo. It is a great photo spot with the towering might of Mount Kerinci in the background.

The journey from the homestay to the starting point takes around 30 minutes. The guide and porter will take care of the registration and the hiking permit. Then the adventure starts!

At the very beginning of the trail, you will pass through a flat footpath. On your left and right Montana humid rainforest, very thick, with some sunrays only occasionally sneaking through breaches between trees. It resembles a beautiful illuminating light.

From the starting point to Post 1 it takes about 30 minutes. The track is flat and has solid ground. However, in the rainy season the ground can become very slippery. Therefore, good quality hiking shoes are highly recommended for hiking Mount Kerinci.

At Post 1, there is a long concrete bench for resting. Heading then to Post 2, called Batu Lumut, also takes about 30 minutes on flat track. There is a shelter that you can use for a short break.

From Post 2 to Post 3 takes around 45 minutes. The path starts to go slightly uphill, the air humid and the path surrounded by jungle.

Then, when leaving Post 3 the hike really starts. One walks past big twisted tree roots for about 1.5 hours to reach Shelter 1.

Between Post 3 and Shelter 1

Lunch at the first shelter

Lunch is usually served at the first shelter. Our guide and porters prepare a quick makeshift lunch camp for you. Roll out a mat, boil water for tea and coffee. The lunch is a lunch pack, with a standard menu of Indo Trekkers for hike, which is always more protein than carbs.

With every Indo Trekkers hiking meal, we are very concerned about the nutrition, taste and energy needed during hike. We can of course customize it to your request in case of allergies or diets.

Lunch on the Trek
Lunch on the Trek

After lunch we take a short rest before the climb continues towards Shelter 2. The slope has become steep now. The sun’s heat and the humidity starts sapping your energy slowly. The hike to the next stopping point, Shelter 2, takes around 2 hours. At Shelter 2 you can take little break and having light snacks

Then towards Shelter 3, the steep trek crosses narrow tree roots that form a small tunnel. You needs to be extra careful and watch your step when stepping on them to not trip. It is often good to step on the big and small tree trunks to get better grip and have less risk of slipping. Occasionally you can only advance by crawling. This section takes about an hour.

First night on Mount Kerinci

At about 5 pm you will arrive at Shelter 3, the camp spot for the first day. The guide and porters prepare the tents and dinner for the evening. The site is in-midst of a vast fiend with low vegetation. Strong winds often come in from various sides. For this reason, our guide will carefully select a spot for the tents that is not too exposed to the winds. Temperature are cold and chilling. So you should wear warm clothes for the night. Around 7 pm, dinner and hot tea will be served, if needed directly to your tent.

Hiking Mount Kerinci Sunset at Shelter 3
Sunset at Shelter 3

Hiking Mount Kerinci: Summit attack

On Day 2, the guide will wake you up around 4 am to get ready for the hike to the summit. A light early breakfast of toast and hot tea helps you to wake up. After that, at 4.30 am the summit attack starts! Ensure you always follow every instruction of the guide. Also watch out for the strong winds.

The path to the summit takes around 1.5 hours, depending on the thickness of the morning fog and weather conditions. The volcanic sand on the track and the steep slope create a challenging and slippery slope. However, on Mount Kerinci the sand is not as deep as Mount Semeru, for example. For safety reasons, the guide is responsible for the decision when to stop the climb. Whether it is because of bad weather or other dangers.

The peak of Kerinci is called Indrapura. When the weather is sunny, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the volcano crater under the blue sky surrounded by far reaching country side. On days with super clear sky, one can see the Indian ocean and the Bukit Barisan mountain range. On rare days the clouds are below the peak and one is looking at a white ocean. You feel the sensation standing above the clouds.

Once you are at the top and taking in the beautiful view Mount Kerinci, all the struggle of the climb will be forgotten. After the first round of pictures taken, our guide boils water for tea and coffee and serves them with some light snacks for a royal summit breakfast.

Indrapura - Summit
Indrapura – Summit

Returning from the summit

After 7.30 am, we start the 1 hour descend to the camp site at Shelter 3. Here some choose to rest in the tent a bit more whilst others soak in more of the scenery or take a second breakfast prepared by our team.

After that, at around 8.30 am the packing starts and we are ready to go back. Typically, including breaks, we reach the starting point of the hike by 5 pm. There, the car is ready to drive you back to the homestay where you can take a shower, relax your muscles and after a good dinner have some well deserved rest.

Optional visit to Danau Gunung Tujuh

The next day, if you have still energy left after hiking Mount Kerinci, we go for a half day bonus trek to the Seven Mountain Lake (Danau Gunung Tujuh). Lake Seven Mountain is also part of the Kerinci National Park, which is the widest and highest in South East Asia, comprising 960 hectares and at average 1,950 MASL altitude.

As the name suggests, the lake is surrounded by seven mountains. They are Mount Hulu, Mount Hulu Sangir, Mount Madura Besu, Mount Selasih, Mount Lumut, Mount Jar Panggang and Mount Seven.

Seven Mountain Lake

There you can enjoy a lunch picnic on the lake side. After which our guide sets up a small tent for you to rest. If looking for more activity, you can rent a small boat ride in the wooden boat of the fisherman to the fishing nets in the like.

At around 3 pm we return back to the homestay and rest. Finally, at 10 pm the car will pick you up to drive back to Padang. You will reach the airport at about 5 am.

Book this trip

To get this exciting trip and the best service, book Mount Kerinci trip via :


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Best season for the hike : April to end of October

Trip is not available on Islamic Public Holiday (Eid) and end of year holiday season.

Cost as of July 2019:

  • 11 or more people: USD 240 per person
  • 9 to 10 people: USD 250 per person
  • 2 to 8 people: USD 280 per person
  • Solo traveller: USD 360 per person

Cost includes:

  • Sharing Micro Bus pick up and drop off from and to airport
  • Pick up car to and from Lake Gunung Tujuh
  • Homestay in local house
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Tent, sleeping bag and basic thin layer mattress (feel free to bring your own inflatable mattress)
  • Guide & porters (You only bring your personal belonging, the rest give it to the porters)
  • Climbing permit
  • Mountain cook and his cooking gear (you don’t need to cook, just sit back and relax)

Cost Excludes:

  • International & domestic flights
  • Visa (if required)
  • Personal expenses
  • Gear rental (if you need any)
  • Sightseeing not listed in the itinerary
  • Meals out of itinerary
  • Tips to guide & porters (Recommended)
  • Any extra expenses incurred from flight cancellation or delay, sudden price escalations in hotels, transport, flight or any other items, any form of rescue

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