The climb up majestic, forested Mount Rinjani (3726m), taking in the magnificent Danau Segara Anak crater lake, is the most taxing and rewarding trek on Lombok. Most climbs start from either Senaru or Sembalun Lawang, on the northern slopes. However, two new access points have opened at Aik Berik, near Benang Stokel waterfall, and Timbanuh both on the southern slopes. If you want to reach the summit, Sembalun Lawang is the best starting point. The entire area was established as a Unesco Global Geopark in 2018.
Tips for climbing Mount Rinjani
Mount Rinjani is the second-highest volcano in Indonesia and climbing it, is a popular activity among outdoor enthusiasts, as it offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The climb to the summit is challenging, and it requires a good level of fitness and endurance. The trek can take anywhere from two to four days, depending on the route and the pace of the climb.
From here there are fabulous views of the vast turquoise crater lake, Danau Segara Anak, which measures 8km by 6km, and the perfect, sometimes smoking, cone of Gunung Baru rising from within the lake. It is also possible to descend to the lakeside and ease aching muscles in scalding hot springs.
At the summit, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the crater lake. This immense volcano can be seen from almost every viewpoint on Lombok, as well as from the Gili Islands, West Sumbawa, and elevated points in Bali.
#1 The best routes for trekking Mount Rinjani
It's a popular destination for hikers and climbers who come to enjoy the stunning views and challenging terrain. There are several routes you can take to climb Mount Rinjani, each with its own advantages and challenges.
Here are some of the best routes for climbing Mount Rinjani.
This is the most popular and easiest route for climbing Mount Rinjani. The starting point is in the village of Senaru, located on the northern side of the mountain. The trek usually takes 2-3 days to complete, depending on your fitness level. The Senaru route offers stunning views of the crater lake, Segara Anak, and the surrounding landscape.
The Sembalun route is longer and more challenging than the Senaru route. It starts in the village of Sembalun Lawang, located on the eastern side of the mountain. The trek usually takes 3-4 days to complete, and it's recommended for experienced hikers. The Sembalun route offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The Timbanuh route is the newest route for climbing Mount Rinjani. It starts in the village of Timbanuh, located on the eastern side of the mountain. The trek usually takes 2-3 days to complete, and it's recommended for experienced hikers. The Timbanuh route offers stunning views of the crater lake and the surrounding landscape.
Aik Berik Route
This route is one of the less-travelled routes for climbing Mount Rinjani, located on the southern side of the mountain. This route is also known as the South Route or the Benang Stokel route. It's a challenging route that offers stunning views of the southern slopes of Rinjani and the surrounding landscape.
The trek usually starts in the village of Aik Berik, located on the southern side of the mountain. The starting point is at an altitude of 600 meters (1,970 feet) above sea level, which means you'll have to climb around 3,100 meters (10,170 feet) to reach the summit.
Senaru and Sembalun Lawang are by far the most common trailheads, but hardcore hikers can also take a route up the southwestern flank from Aik Berik, the site of two well-known waterfalls about 28km northeast of Mataram.
#2 How long does it take to climb Rinjani?
The length of time it takes to climb Rinjani depends on the route and your fitness level. Most treks to the summit take between 2 to 4 days, with the longer and more challenging routes taking up to 5 days.
Shortest: two days, one night
The shortest trek is from Senaru to the crater rim (two days, one night). This starts at the top of the village (601m) and ascends through the forest to Pos II (1500m) and Pos III (2000m); you then leave the forest for the steep slog up to the rim (2641m).
Most people take six to seven hours to reach the sheltered camp area where you overnight; from where it’s about thirty minutes to the rim the next morning for sunrise, with classic views across Segara Anak to Gunung Baru. You can return to Senaru the same way.
Most popular: three days, two night
The most popular trek is a longer version of the above: from Senaru to the crater rim and down to the lake (three days, two nights). From the crater rim, a path (2hr) descends into the crater to the lake (2050m). It is steep and scary at the top, with metal handrails and occasional ropes, but gets better. You can bathe in the lakeside hot springs if there are no religious ceremonies going on and will probably camp nearby, walking back to Senaru the next day. You can also combine the lake and summit from Senaru (four days, three nights).
From the lake, a different path (3hr; pretty steep) climbs to the rim on the Sembalun side and a site called Plawangan II (2639m), where everyone aiming for the summit overnights. From here it’s an extraordinarily steep haul up to the summit of Rinjani (3726m; another 3–4hr, usually done for sunrise, then 2hr back down to Plawangan II). Trekkers usually descend via the shortest route, to Sembalun Lawang.
Longer trips of up to six days, featuring the “milk caves” and hot springs around the lake as well as the summit, are also possible.
In the 2018 earthquake, the trail to the crater rim, via dense forest (6hr) and then down a very steep path to the southern side of the lake (3hr), was obliterated, making the rim inaccessible, but its scenery and waterfalls make trekking worthwhile and are likely to be a lot quieter than the main routes. The return route is the same unless you want to tackle the summit, in which case you need to arrange to get paddled across the lake to the Sembalun side.
The second new trail, at Tibanuh, is the steepest of the four. As with the Aik Berik, the summit is not reachable from here.
#3 Mount Rinjani trekking difficulty
Climbing Mount Rinjani can be a challenging and physically demanding experience, as the trek involves steep climbs, rocky terrain, and changing weather conditions. The difficulty level of the climb depends on the route you choose and your fitness level, but most treks to the summit are considered to be moderate to difficult.
The trek to the summit usually takes between 2 to 4 days, depending on the route and your pace. The longer and more challenging routes, such as the Aik Berik route or the Sembalun route, can take up to 5 days to complete. The ascent to the summit usually involves an early morning start to reach the peak in time for sunrise, which can add to the physical and mental demands of the climb.
To climb Mount Rinjani, it's important to be well-prepared and properly equipped. This includes having sturdy hiking boots, warm clothing for cold temperatures, a waterproof jacket to protect against rain and wind, and plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and fueled.
It's also recommended to engage in regular physical activity beforehand to build up your endurance and stamina.
#4 How to book the best Mount Rinjani trek
Agents in every tourist centre on Lombok, including Gili Trawangan and Senggigi, and even some on Bali, will offer to sell you a Rinjani trek. But choose carefully: this is a serious climb and there have been fatalities due to poor equipment (including lack of sufficiently warm gear) and reckless disregard for safety.
As there have been reports of fake agencies on Bali and the Gili Islands copying the names of established operators to sell inferior packages, it’s best to deal directly with reputable trek organizers, which you can do at Senaru and Sembalun Lawang trailhead villages via their websites.
The Rinjani Trek Management Board (Wrinjaninationalpark.com) coordinates and licenses trekking facilities on the mountain and is supposed to clear litter and train porters. On its website, it posts when the park is officially closed.
#5 How much does it cost
The price of organized treks depends on the number of people in the group and the level of service – budget, standard, or deluxe. There’s plenty of competitive pricing going on, though corners are likely to be cut if you bargain too hard; insufficient food and unbearably thin sleeping bags are common complaints.
The crater rim trek usually takes 2 days and 1 night, with an approximate cost of $185USD. On the other hand, the summit trek takes 3 days and 2 nights, and typically costs around $250USD.
Whatever your chosen service level, you should get a guide, porters, sleeping bags, tents, meals, and water. Before you book, be sure to get specific details of exactly what is included in the price.
Senaru is by far the busiest trekking centre, with hundreds of local guides and porters. Sembalun Lawang is much quieter and has far fewer trek organizers. Recommended guides include:
- Green Rinjani Trekking Senaru Wgreenrinjani.com.
- John’s Adventures Senaru Wrinjanimaster.com.
- Rinjani Women Adventure Sembalun Lawang
- Rudy Trekker Senaru Wrudytrekker.com
#6 How to get to Mount Rinjani
You will need to catch a bus or a bemo to get to Mount Rinjani. Some hotels and climbing operators provide private transfers in a minivan.
Perama offers shuttle transport from Senggigi and Mataram to Tetebatu, with a minimum of two passengers.
Bemos along the north-coast road stop at Anyar or Bayan for connections to Senaru. You can also reach Senaru via a steep and badly maintained 16km road from Kokok Putih on the north-coast road, or from Sapit 16km to the south. There are bemos from Kokok Putih and from Sapit.
There are also irregular pick-ups plying these routes (you stand in the back with villagers and hold on for dear life). Destinations Aik Mel (2hr); Kokok Putih (1hr); Sapit (1hr).
Sapit is served by a daily bus from Mataram, whilst buses from Mataram will get you to Pomotong on the main road, from where it’s about 10km to Tetebatu: either take a bemo to Kotaraja then an ojek, or an ojek all the way.
#7 Best time to climb Mount Rinjani
January to March are the best times to climb Mount Rinjani as the Christmas-New Year crowds have left and the weather is generally warm and dry.
Climbing Mount Rinjani though is both unrewarding and dangerous during the monsoon season (April to September). In November or December, offerings are made at Gunung Rinjani’s crater lake, Segara Anak, to ask for blessings, known as Pekelem, which can make the trails busy.
#8 Where to stay when climbing Mount Rinjani
Accommodation, with one notable exception, is spread for several kilometres along the road through Batu Koq and Senaru. Places on the east of the road generally have the best views of the mountain. Most can arrange local hikes and trekking guides and will store your stuff while you climb. The best places to stay near Mount Rinjani include:
- Rinjani Lighthouse Cottages, Senaru Rebuilt after the 2018 earthquake, this German-owned, eco-friendly guesthouse at the quiet southern end of Senaru is the most relaxed guesthouse in the village.
- Les Rizieres Homestay and Café, Tetebatu Charming French guesthouse with a warm ambience and plenty of activities to keep you busy, if you wish. Rooms are simple yet attractive and there’s a large garden and views of ricefields and Rinjani.
- Rinjani Lodge, Senaru Enjoying sweeping views of the volcano down to Lombok’s coast strip, this upmarket lodge has very smart rooms, trimmed with modish wooden panelling and boasting limestone-walled bathrooms. There’s an infinity pool, too.
#9 What to bring for trekking Rinjani
You will want to pack little as possible in a small backpack. Porters will carry the rest (tip well). Here's what you'll need:
- Good hiking boots
- Suncream, sun hat, and sunglasses
- Insect repellent
- Small towel
- Wind- and waterproof jacket and trousers
- Bathers (if swimming in the hot springs)
- Additional snacks
#10 Safety tips
As with any mountain trek, there are risks involved. Take care on the steep sections, especially if it's been raining. Climb with an experienced guide through a licensed operator and make sure you carry everything you will need during your trek. You will need an average level of fitness before you set off.
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