The best hikes on Mt Rinjani no one tells you about

hikers with mt rinjani summit and segara anak

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Located on the Indonesian island of Lombok, Mt Rinjani [Google Maps location] offers some of the most stunning and challenging hikes in the region. While many are familiar with the popular trek to the summit, several lesser-known trails offer equally (if not more) breathtaking views. In this article, we will uncover two of the best hikes on Mt Rinjani that few people know about, allowing you to explore the beauty of this majestic mountain without the crowds.
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What no one tells you about climbing Mt Rinjani

Most people who have climbed Mt Rinjani will have done so using the Sembalun route to the summit. In fact, when we first looked into hiking Mt Rinjani, all we could find was the summit hike – no wonder it’s the busiest route.

But there are other aspects no one tells you about…

On the Sembalun route, there is no shade on the way up (or down), making the ascent under the scorching sun an arduous and exhausting experience.

sembalun route by azinomoto on unsplash

Largely grassland (with hardly any trees), ascending/descending the Sembalun route is brutal on sunny days | Image courtesy of Azinomoto on Unsplash

The final scramble to the summit is gruelling, with hikers starting between 2 and 3 am, and the ascent often taking longer than the advertised 3 hours due to loose screed.
screed on final summit ascent mt rinjani

The gruelling ascent/descent continues the following morning as you scramble to/from the summit of Mt Rinjani on loose screed | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

What many hikers also don’t consider is the risk of altitude sickness: Mt Rinjani is 3,726 metres (12,224 feet) tall, well above the 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) where low oxygen levels start to trigger a range of symptoms including headache and vomiting. This is also the reason, why many travel insurance policies don’t cover hikes above 3,000 metres (9,843 feet) or require an additional premium.

Because the trail is so busy, it’s sadly also marred by litter, detracting from the pristine beauty of the surroundings.

macaques rummaging through rubbish on mt rinjani

Litter is a massive problem on the busy trails of Mt Rinjani, with wild animals rummaging through the rubbish left behind by inconsiderate people

Unsurprisingly, once you’ve made it to the summit, you’ll be watching the sunrise (if you made it in time) surrounded by many other hikers, all cramped onto a precarious ledge.
mt rinjani summit by sebastien goldberg on unsplash

This is the summit ledge you'll be sharing with many other hikers | Image courtesy of Sebastien Goldberg on Unsplash

What many also don’t know: The best views (at least in our opinion) aren’t actually from the summit. So, by doing the summit route, you’ll experience one of the hardest hikes in your life but actually miss the best bits. And if you’re too exhausted (or sick) after the first day and end up foregoing the summit, you’ll get to see even less.
gunung rinjani and segara anak lake on wikimedia commons

If you're after this stunning view, we got news for you: You won't see it on the 2D/1N Mt Rinjani summit route | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

If none of the above fazes you, and you still want to climb the summit, at the very least, choose the 3-Day/2-Night (or even 4-Day/3-Night) option. The price might be tempting, but 2-Days/1-Night is extremely rushed and exhausting, not only risking your life but also diminishing your chance to fully appreciate the majesty of Mt Rinjani.

An added benefit: Those longer hikes usually end in Senaru village [Google Maps location], which means you get to experience the views from the Senaru crater rim (and you descend through the jungle in the heat of the day).

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Best hiking routes on Mt Rinjani (if you don’t want to climb THAT summit)

Not everyone wants to conquer the summit of Mt Rinjani, us included. If you’re in the same boat: Don’t do it. You don’t need to. There are alternative routes with more beautiful scenery, fewer crowds and less rubbish:

  • 3-Day/2-Night Torean/Senaru hike (the option we did): Ascending from Torean village via Lake Segara Anak to the Senaru crater rim and then descending to Senaru village, you spend one night in the Torean Canyon and one on the crater rim.
  • 2-Day/1-Night Tetebatu/Mt Sangkareang hike (which our friends Clara and Ben did): This trail starts and ends in Tetebatu on the southern slopes of Mt Rinjani. You spend the night on a southern ridge line and ascend to the second summit for sunrise.

Map of Accommodation, Points of Interest, Eateries and Transport

Below is a map of the recommended accommodation, points of interest, eateries and transport terminals/stops mentioned in this article.

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3-Day/2-Night Torean/Lake/Crater Rim/Senaru Hike

Book here | Day 1: 1,000m elevation gain | Day 2: 1,040m elevation gain | Day 3: 1,840m elevation loss

This hike takes you from the village of Torean [Google Maps location] on the northern slopes of Mt Rinjani (at about 600 metres above sea level) to Lake Segara Anak [Google Maps location] (2,000 metres) and the Senaru Crater Rim [Google Maps location] (2,640 metres) before finishing at Senaru village [Google Maps location] (800 metres).

Day 1

Starting at the beautiful Nurul Yaqin Mosque [Google Maps location] in Torean village (which, with its eclectic exterior, could have been designed by Hundertwasser), the trail takes you through the outskirts of the village, farmlands and cultivated patches of forest for the first 200 metres of elevation gain before entering the jungle and becoming steeper.

nurul yaqin mosque in torean

Looking like a Hundertwasser creation, the Nurul Yaqin Mosque in Torean village is the starting point of the 3D/2N Torean/Senaru trek

Ascending higher and higher, now and then the jungle gives way to stunning views of the Torean Canyon, with waterfalls tumbling into gorges deep below and near vertical cliffs towering above. The landscape here is otherworldly and absolutely breathtaking.

waterfall in torean canyon

With deep gorges and stunning waterfalls, the Torean Canyon landscapes are out of this world

At about 1,300 metres, the trail leaves the jungle and continues along a cliff wall, following a sulphuric river in the valley below. From here on (all the way to the crater rim), the trail is more exposed, with vegetation consisting of tall grasses, ferns, and scattered trees and shrubs. The trail in this part is very steep and narrow, with huge drops on one side, requiring you to use the ladders and ropes provided (and occasionally all fours) to climb or descend.

torean canyon path with river below

The trail is equally unreal, with steep drops on one side (and only limited safety equipment) requiring your full attention at all times

Your campsite on your first night is on a highland plateau near the banks of the sulphuric river at about 1,600 metres elevation (called Propok).

propok campsite

Your first night is spent in the Torean Canyon at the Propok campsite at about 1,600m elevation

Day 2

The following morning, you continue your ascent, crossing the river and climbing up the canyon wall on the other side along the same steep and narrow trail (with the occasional rope or ladder).

crossing the sulphuric river in torean canyon

On day 2, you will cross the sulphuric river and continue your ascent on the other side of the canyon

After 1.5-2 hours, you reach a small plateau with a hot spring [Google Maps location] - great for a relaxing soak (and to watch the antiques of the macaques that roam the area) before you continue your hike. After another hour and a bit, the trail reaches the shores of Lake Segara Anak [Google Maps location].

At an altitude of 2,000 metres, the weather at the lake can change in an instant (we experienced everything from sunny clear skies to strong winds, thick fog and drizzle in the span of only 15 minutes).

segara anak lake

Eventually, you will reach Segara Anak Lake at an elevation of 2,000 metres - right in time for lunch

The trail continues along the lake shore for a while, and after lunch, you continue your ascent up the crater rim wall, first traversing a rocky riverbed and then continuing along steep and narrow sections (and yet more ladders, ropes and occasional steel stairs) - offering many opportunities to look back at the lake, the new volcanic cone growing in its middle and the summit of Mt Rinjani above.

view of segara anak lake from path to senaru crater rim

After lunch, your ascent gets even steeper as you make your way up the crater rim wall, rewarding you with everchanging views back down to the lake

A final set of steel stairs brings you onto the crater rim - a grassland ridge and the location of your second night's campsite.

The sunset views from up here are mesmerising, with the lake and summit of Mt Rinjani (AKA the famous photo on one side) and a field of clouds, with Mt Agung in Bali peeking through in the distance (on the other).

campfire with mt agung peaking through the clouds

Your second night's camp is at the crater rim with stunning sunset views all the way to Mt Agung in Bali

Day 3

On your last morning, the trail first follows the ridge line and then starts to descend. Leaving the crater rim after a few final photos of Mt Rinjani and the lake below, the first part of the descent is a slippery journey down a steep rocky trail.

rocky trail descent to senaru

The first part of your descent on day 3 is down a steep and slippery rockwall

After about an hour, the grassland vegetation starts to become thicker, with more and more trees and shrubs appearing along the trail, and the jungle eventually returning at about 2,000 metres elevation. The descent from there on leads solely through the jungle, with the trail finishing at the National Park gate in Senaru village. Expect to arrive in Senaru between 1300h and 1500h.

We've only encountered three companies that do this route and decided to go with Green Rinjani. Please read our detailed review here.

hikers at national park gate senaru

The remainder of the trail (from 2,000 to 800 metres elevation) goes through jungle, ending at the National Park gate - a great spot to take a photo with your crew

2 Day/1 Night Tetebatu/Mt Sangkareang/Tetebatu Hike

Book here | Day 1: 1,650m elevation gain | Day 2: 800m elevation gain and 2,450m elevation loss

This hike takes you from the village of Tetebatu [Google Maps location] on the southern slopes of Mt Rinjani to Mt Sangkareang [Google Maps location] (with a height of 3,200 metres, also called the second summit of Mt Rinjani).

Day 1

The trail starts at the Monkey Forest on the northern outskirts of the village (at about 750 metres above sea level), allowing you to observe groups of long-tailed grey macaques and shy Ebony leaf monkeys/East Javan langurs jumping around the tree tops.

macaques at monkey forest tetebatu

The 2D/1N Tetebatu/Mt Sangkareang trail starts at the Monkey Forest, giving you ample opportunity to observe macaques and langurs | Image courtesy of Clara Fischer

After the forest, for about 15-30 minutes, the trail leads through a small open area with grasses and scattered trees, before thicker vegetation returns.

exposed trail from tetebatu

Open grassland follows the Monkey Forest - enjoy the views as they won't last long | Image courtesy of Clara Fischer

From there on, the trail ascents steadily (and for several hours) through a dense jungle with a wide variety of plants - including many different species of epiphytes (from orchids and bromeliads to ferns and lichens) - ever-changing as the altitude increases.

jungle path from tetebatu

Most of the trail leads through dense jungle, with the vegetation changing as you gain altitude | Image courtesy of Clara Fischer

The final section to the ridgeline (from 1,700 to about 2,400 metres) is very steep (continuing largely through dense jungle). Clouds might roll in in the late afternoon, giving the jungle an even more mystical feel.

jungle in clouds

Late afternoon mist gives the jungle an even more mystical feel | Image courtesy of Clara Fischer

At an altitude of around 2,300 meters, the trail finally crosses the tree line, and the dense vegetation gives way to grasses and shrubs. The camp for the night is set up along the ridge leading to Mt Sangkareang.

campsite crater rim tetebatu

You'll be camping on the ridge leading up to Mt Sangkareang, with beautiful panoramic sunset views

Day 2

Setting off at 0400h the following morning, the path to the summit of Mt Sangkareang (the second summit of Mt Rinjani) initially leads through waist-high grass, which over time, gets shorter and shorter, before disappearing completely and becoming rocky. You'll reach the summit just in time for sunrise. On a clear day, the panoramic views from the top stretch to Mt Tambora on the neighbouring island of Sumbawa.

views from second summit towards mt tambora

Reaching the (second) summit just in time for sunrise, you're rewarded with views all the way to Mt Tambora on Sumbawa | Image courtesy of Clara Fischer

And of course, you'll be able to see the summit of Mt Rinjani and Segara Anak Lake with the new volcanic cone forming within.

views of lake and new cone from second summit mt rinjani

This is the view of Lake Segara Anak and the new cone from the second summit - and no crowds to share it with | Image courtesy of Clara Fischer

After sunrise, you descend the same way you came, stopping at the campsite for breakfast before continuing downhill (with another two rest stops, including lunch) along the way. You'll be back in Tetebatu around 15:00.

Our friends Clara and Ben chose to go with Ulem Ulem Adventures, and are highly recommending them (see their Google review here). As their group (of six people) carried their own gear (including tents, food and water), they did not have porters but just two guides: Sum and Hirman. The Ulem Ulem Adventures office is located right at the start of the trail (Google Maps location).

clara and ben at second summit mt rinjani

Our friends Clara and Ben did this trek with Ulem Ulem Adventures but carried all their gear/food/water themselves | Image courtesy of Clara Fischer

Best time of the year to hike Mt Rinjani

The best time to hike Mt Rinjani is just after the wet season – in April and May. During this time, the ground is still moist, resulting in less dust and better grip on the trail.

June to August is considered high season, especially around Indonesian Independence Day (17 August) when many students climb Mt Rinjani’s summit. For safety reasons, the mountain is closed to hikers during the rainy season (January to March).

It is important to note that there is a maximum limit of 200 visitors per day allowed to trek on the mountain, with a maximum of 160 on the northern trails (entering through the gates at Senaru, Sembalun or Torean) and 40 on the southern trails (entering from Aik Berik, Tetebatu or Timbanuh). Permits are organised by the tour company you book your trek with. You can check how many permits have been issued on the National Park website.

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As travellers, we should all be aware of our travel behaviour and its environmental, economic and social impact; and make conscious decisions about it. Too often, we hear negative stories in the media about tourists behaving badly.

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How to stay safe on Mt Rinjani

By being prepared, aware and cautious, you can minimize risks and ensure a safe hiking experience on Mt Rinjani.

Volcanic and seismic activity

Mt Rinjani is an active volcano and Indonesia (Lombok in particular) a seismic hot spot. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can happen at any time:

  • Mt Rinjani last erupted in September 2016, keeping the mountain closed until after the rainy season in 2017. Hikers will be able to see Gunung Barujari, the new volcanic cone growing in the crater lake.
  • In July and August 2018, Lombok experienced a string of powerful earthquakes, hitting North Lombok particularly hard. Mt Rinjani was closed until mid-June 2019.
rinjani eruption april 2010 on wikimedia commons

Gunung Barujari has been forming in the crater lake since the 1840s with frequent eruptions | Photo on Wikimedia Commons

Earthquakes in the area are not rare occurrences – a shallow magnitude 4 earthquake hit North Lombok two days after our hike (we felt the jolt in Tetebatu).

Stay informed about any recent activity and follow the guidance of local authorities. If you want to be prepared for an earthquake on the mountain, here is some practical advice:


Earthquakes are common in North Lombok – we experienced one two days after our Mt Rinjani trek | Source: Volcano Discovery

Trail safety

Hiking Mt Rinjani is hard work as it is. Don’t try and attempt it if you have any health issues or are sick.

Be cautious on the slippery trails of the northern routes, especially during the dry season. Hikers have fallen to their death – don’t be the next one. Hiking shoes with a good profile are essential. Also, consider using hiking poles for extra stability. Take your time and be fully present while hiking. Don’t take unnecessary risks for the sake of a (selfie) picture.

Last but not least: Make sure you drink enough water throughout your hike (don’t worry, you won’t need to go to the toilet more often – you’ll sweat it all out).

ladders and steps on mt rinjani crater rim wall

The trails on Mt Rinjani are challenging - Use the safety equipment where provided and always pay attention

What to pack for your Mt Rinjani hike

Carrying appropriate gear, including warm clothing and rain gear, is important for any hike. No matter which trail you choose, the temperature range on your hike will be immense: from 30-35 degrees Celsius (86-95 degrees Fahrenheit) in the sun during the day to 5-10 degrees Celsius (41-50 degrees Fahrenheit) on the crater rim at night (and even lower at the summit). Layers are therefore essential (our sleeping bags were not warm enough on their own). Make sure your backpack can accommodate a 1.5-litre water bottle (or two).

Below is my recommendation based on our experience.

QuantityItemRecommendation for womenRecommendation for menComments
1Hiking PackMatador Beast28 Ultralight Technical BackpackMatador Beast28 Ultralight Technical Backpack
2-3T-ShirtUnbound Merino Womens Merino V-Neck T-ShirtUnbound Merino Mens Crew Neck T-ShirtOne per day
Wear the clean one overnight
23/4 Pants / ShortsPrAna Halle E-Waist Short IIColumbia Mens Silver Ridge Utility Cargo ShortsTo wear during the day
1Comfortable Long PantsOutdoor Research Women’s Voodoo PantsPatagonia Mens Quandary PantsTo wear in the evening/overnight
3UnderwearAllbirds Womens Anytime ThongUnbound Merino Mens Boxer Briefs
1BraBoody Lyolyte Triangle Padded Bralette
1Long-sleeve T-shirtUnbound Merino Womens Slim Merino Long Sleeve V-NeckUnbound Merino Long Sleeve CrewTo wear in the evening/overnight
1Jumper or CardiganMons Royale Approach Merino Gridlock JacketUnbound Merino Mens Compact Travel HoodieTo wear in the evening/overnight and early morning
1Leggings or Long JohnsIcebreaker Womens 200 Oasis Thermal LeggingsIcebreaker Mens 200 Oasis 3/4 Thermal LeggingsTo wear under your pants overnight
1Rain JacketMarmot Womens Gore-Tex Minimalist Pro JacketPatagonia Mens Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket
1Hat / BeanieUnbound Merino BeanieUnbound Merino BeanieWear hat during the day and beanie at night
1BuffBuff Merino Lightweight NeckwearBuff Merino Lightweight NeckwearOptional - to protect against the sun, dust and cold
1GlovesMons Royale Volta Merino Glove LinerSmartwool Liner GlovesOptional - to wear at night
1TowelPackTowl Personal TowelPackTowl Personal TowelIf your trek includes a stop at a hot spring
1Bathing SuitBikini Season Coja Multiway Bikini Top and Bikini Season Porto Cheeky BottomPatagonia Mens Hydropeak BoardshortsIf your trek includes a stop at a hot spring
1 pairHiking ShoesSalomon X Ultra 4 GTX Womens Hiking ShoeXero Shoes Mesa Trail WPGood profile/grip - DO NOT wear road running shoes
3 pairsHiking SocksMacpac Merino Blend Trail Ankle SockFox River Basecamp 2.0 Lightweight Quarter Crew Hiking Sock
1 pairSandalsXero Shoes Z-Trail EVXero Shoes Z-TrekOptional, but recommended to wear around the campsite
1 pairSunglassesRudy Project Rydon Sunglasses
1HeadlampNitecore NU25 headlampNitecore NU25 headlamp
1 setHiking PolesHighly recommended - we hired ours from Green Rinjani
Trail SnacksFor example: muesli bars, dates and nuts
1Small Garbage BagTo collect own rubbish (tissues, wraps etc) during the hike
Basic toiletries and wet tissuesYou won't be able to shower for a few days
1Basic First Aid KitInclude at least pain killers and adhesive bandages
1 bottleMagnesium Chloride Spray and/or Diclofenac GelOptional
1 bottleSun ScreenApply daily prior to commencing your hike (and reapply during the day as needed)
1 bottleInsect Repellent
At the time of our hike, Paul used his original Tortuga V2 Travel Pack while Sandra used the Matador Freerain24 2.0, both have since been retired at the end of 2023.
segara anak emergency shelter in fog

With 2,000+ metres elevation gain/loss on your trek, temperature differences will be immense - bring layers to be prepared for hot/sunny and freezing/wet conditions

Where to stay in Tetebatu

For accommodation, as with any other travel expenses, it’s worth shopping around. When we book our accommodation, we look across several booking platforms to find the best value-for-money option. Wherever you book, do make sure you read the fine print to make sure you compare apples with apples. For example, your stay may incur extra charges (like local tourist taxes or cleaning fees). Some booking platforms include them, while with others, you have to pay them to your host upon arrival.

Below are my recommendations for accommodation options that fit the criteria of affordable, often meeting a sustainability certification, and that are close to public transport and points of interest.

NameProperty FeaturesTypePrice IndicatorBook Now
Bale TetebatuRestaurant
24-hour front desk and full-day security
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
House$$Book Now
Bunga Maliq BungalowCertain documented environmental practices implemented at property.Homestay$Book Now
Hide and SeekOn-site restaurant
Tour Desk
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
Hotel$Book Now
Joben EcolodgeOn-site restaurant
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
Guesthouse$Book Now
Mysha Guest House Friendly hosts
On-site restaurant
Offers private tours
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
Guesthouse$Book Now
Tetebatu FullmoonFacilities for physically impaired guests
On-site coffee shop
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
Guesthouse$Book Now
Sustainability Certification included as appropriate, but not validated. $ is USD50 and below. $$$$ is USD150 and above. A marks where we stayed and would highly recommend to our friends and family.
Alternative accommodation options are listed below.

Where to stay in Senaru

Below are our recommendations for accommodation in and around Senaru before and after your hike.

NameProperty FeaturesTypePrice IndicatorBook Now
Green Rinjani Lodge Clean rooms with beautiful views
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
Guesthouse$Book Now
Ila HomestayMountain views
Homestay$Book Now
Rinjani LodgeCertain documented environmental practices implemented at property.Bungalows$$Book Now
Sustainability Certification included as appropriate, but not validated. $ is USD50 and below. $$$$ is USD150 and above. A marks where we stayed and would highly recommend to our friends and family.
Alternative accommodation options are listed below.

How to get to Mt Rinjani

The easiest way is to fly to Lombok International Airport (LOP) [Google Maps location]. There are regular flights from the following Indonesian airports: Bima, Denpasar, Jakarta-Surabaya-Hatta, Soekarno, Sumbawa Besar, and Yogyakarta International and direct flights from the following international airports: Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Many trekking companies can arrange to pick you up from the airport and transport you to your pre-trek accommodation. It takes approximately two hours to drive from Lombok Airport, Also known as Zainuddin Abdul Madjid International Airport to Sembalun.



The most direct route to Mount Rinjani is to fly to Lombok, which has direct flight connections to eight cities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. It takes just over two hours to drive from Lombok Airport to Sembalun – you can book a taxi, or transport might be included in your trek.

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Still on the fence about hiking Mt Rinjani off the beaten path?

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The best hikes on Mt Rinjani no one tells you about
Author: <a href="" target="_blank">Sandra Rosenau</a>

Author: Sandra Rosenau

Sandra Rosenau is a Gen X gal from Germany, born and raised behind the Iron Curtain, with an unquenchable thirst to learn. Self-starter. Multi-lingual. Minimalist. Environmentally conscious. Financially and location independent. Energised by connecting with others and helping people succeed.