Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Tina
If you are in Baguio and looking for something other than visiting the usual tourist spots like Burnham Park, Mines View Park, or Camp John Hay, why not go hiking in nearby La Trinidad? Mt. Yangbew and Mt. Kalugong Hike are easy day hikes that you can do from Baguio or even La Union. The trails for both are easy and can be done even by beginners.
Yesterday, I did Mt. Yangbew and Mt. Kalugong hike with a friend I met during a mangrove planting activity in Luna, La Union. Both were chill hikes. You can do both alone but I’m glad I did it with her. A guide is not needed to hike Mt. Yangbew and Mt. Kalugong.
Mt. Yangbew and Mt. Kalugong Hike from Baguio or La Union
I got up early for the hike because I was traveling from San Juan, La Union. I waited for a bus bound for Baguio outside our house in Urbiztondo. Before 6:00 AM I was already out waiting for a bus. After 15 minutes of waiting, two buses passed but they didn’t stop for me. I had no choice but to go to the bus station of Partas in San Fernando to catch the 7:00 AM trip to Baguio. Good thing there was already a jeepney to San Fernando at that time. Otherwise, I would have taken a tricycle to the bus station and it would have cost me more.
The travel from San Fernando to Baguio is less than 2 hours. I don’t normally eat breakfast but I had to before the hike because I needed energy. The night before I had only less than 3 hours of sleep, plus the sleep during the travel to Baguio.
How to get to Mt. Yangbew
The easiest way to get to Mt. Yangbew is by hailing a cab. Tell the taxi driver to take Ambiong Road to get to Tawang as this is the fastest route and also to avoid traffic. I think it took us less than 30 minutes to get to the jump-off point in Barangay Tawang. Depending on where you’re coming from in Baguio, the taxi fare ranges from Php 160 to 250. From Session Road, it was Php 160 but we just gave the driver Php 200 as it was a bit far from the city.
If taking a jeepney from Baguio, take a jeepney bound to Camp Dangwa, Tomay, or Buyagan and alight at Pines Park in Balili, near Tiong San. From there, walk to the Lubas jeepney station. Tell the driver of the jeepney to drop you by the trailhead of Mt. Yangbew.
Mt. Yangbew Hike
Mt. Yangbew has an elevation of 1648 meters. It is the highest mountain in La Trinidad. Before you start the hike, you need to register and pay Php 30 environmental fee at the trailhead.
The hike to the summit of Mt. Yangbew is easy. It will only take you 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how long and how often you take breaks. The very first part of the hike which is the paved road is the hardest as it is very steep. Though it was an easy hike, I got exhausted immediately because I had no exercise in the last two weeks and I had very little sleep the night before. After the paved road, the trail winds into a dirt path up to the summit. As I have mentioned earlier, a guide is not required for the hike because the trail is very straightforward.
There are no trees along the trail so you are exposed to the sun the whole time. We started at 10:30 AM so it was very hot, although it’s not as hot as when you are doing it in the lowlands.
The summit of Mt. Yangbew is covered with shrubs and grasslands. It offers a magnificent view of La Trinidad and the nearby mountains of Benguet. You can also do horseback riding at the summit. I am not sure of the cost though. There are also rocks scattered around where you could take pictures.
Mt. Kalugong Hike
From the summit of Mt. Yangbew, we walked back to the jump-off point. There used to be a trail going to Mt. Kalugong from Tawang Barangay Hall. So we hiked for about 10 to 15 minutes, passing through a graveyard, and then we were welcomed with a sign that says “No trespassing”. We had no choice but to go back and take the other way.
From Ambiong-Lubas-Tawang Road, we walked down to Halsema Highway and from there hailed a cab to the drop-off point of Mt. Kalugong. We asked the cab driver to take us up to the part near the entrance of Mt. Kalugong Cultural Village. However, the cab driver told us his taxi couldn’t drive up so we had to hike up again. It takes around 30 minutes of hiking from the jump-off point on Halsema Highway up to the registration area of Mt. Kalugong.
Mt. Kalugong Hike is also easy, but the first part is again the hardest part as the road is very steep. It is straightforward too. Just follow the road until you reach the entrance of the cultural village. When you reach the entrance, you have to climb the stairs until you reach the registration area. There you need to pay Php 100 entrance fee. We were both super hungry when we reached the registration area and it wasn’t our first time in Mt. Kalugong so we went straight to Mt. Kalugong Cafe/ Kape-an.
Mt. Kalugong Cafe/Kape-an
It is about a 5 to 10 minutes walk from the registration area to the cafe. The cafe sits on the edge of the mountain, and you get a nice view of La Trinidad including the Strawberry Farm and Benguet State University. The cafe is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
The cafe serves pasta, pizza, rice meals, cakes, and hot and cold drinks. Because we were very hungry and tired, we ordered sisig tofu rice, 3 cheese pizza, and frozen blueberry cheesecake. We had to cancel the cheesecake though because we were already full after finishing the sisig tofu rice and a slice of pizza.
The cafe has a very cozy ambience. So comfortable that we stayed there for more than 3 hours. It was already dark when we left the cafe.
Aside from the cafe, Mt. Kalugong also has cabins for rent, in case you’d like to stay there overnight. You can also camp there for a fee. You can either bring your own tent or rent a tent from them.
How to get to Mt. Kalugong
If you only plan on hiking Mt. Kalugong, you can get there by taking a cab. If you only want to do the minimal hike, you can ask the cab driver to take you up.
A cheaper option for getting there is by taking a jeepney. Ride a jeepney bound for Camp Dangwa or Tomay. Alight at Kalugong Road. It is the road on your left, before Francis Restobar. (See picture below) Jeepney fare is Php 17.
Some tips and useful information when doing the Mt. Yangbew and Mt. Kalugong hike
- If you can, try to start early so that the climb won’t be too hot. It would also be good if you could catch the sunrise in Mt. Yangbew. You can also do it late in the afternoon to catch the sunset.
- Bring lots of water. Unlike the mountains in Batangas or Rizal, there are no stalls selling snacks and drinks along the trail.
- Slather on sunblock to protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Although it is cold in the Cordilleras, you will still be perspiring a lot so bring a face towel.
- Leave no trace. Don’t leave your trash anywhere in the mountain.
- Exercise caution at all times especially when climbing the rocks to take pictures.