Nature gives us a humbling experience. It’s the time we realize that the world in its simplest form is naturally beautiful. Mount Kalugong gives you a several rock formation overlooking the La Trinidad Valley while Mount Yangbo offers a higher and majestic view of the area. #TaleOfTheTrail
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If there’s one objective I had when I started writing The Tale Of The Trail. It was to encourage people to enjoy the trails. It’s not only for the fittest but it can be for everybody. Baguio-Benguet is rich in scenic trails that’s both challenging and beautiful. We were on the lookout on trails nearby Baguio and we found two Mountain Trails in the area in Mount Kalugong and Mount Yangbo. Mount Kalugong was known for its rock formation while Mount Yangbo had that large track of brownish greenlands with an overlooking view of La Trinidad. The trail starting point for Mount Kalugong was at KM 8 in La Trinidad beside Benguet Memorial Services. I was with Jazz Runner Rene and Running Atom who came along with his family. It’s definitely gonna be an adventure since the only part of the route we know was the starting point.
The Map and Elevation
The route starts at the foot of Kalugong Road. It starts with a steep climb on paved roads for about a kilometer with an elevation gain of 120 meters. After a kilometer of climbing, you know enter Mount Kalugong Park, which has a lot of rock formations as well as picnic grounds. The trail resumes on a slightly rolling terrain for the next 3 kilometers to reach Tawang area. There’s a short strip of road before the climbs resume at kilometer 5. There’s a steep climb to Mount Yangbo of about 500 meters with an elevation gain of 160 meters. It takes another kilometer of descent to exit the trail to Ambiong – Lubas – Tawang Road.
Trekking Mount Kalugong and Mount Yangbo
We started at around 11 AM in the morning heading to Mount Kalugong. Mount Kalugong was just a kilometer away from the foot of Kalugong Road. The catch is that it’s really steep. We took it a few walking breaks at a time until we’ve reached Mount Kalugong Park. This part is challenging especially when you’re not used to climbs so my advise is to take it slow and easy.
Just follow the road and you’ll get there. Along the road you can already see some rock formation. There’s a registration fee when you enter Mount Kalugong at P50 per person, which allows you access to the facilities of the park. It’s a family friendly location where you can hold picnics and kids can play at a cooler climate and a higher altitude.
There are two aspects of Mount Kalugong, one is the rock formations and the next is the park. If you take the road on the right, you get to see the different rock formations. The formations were really impressive and gives you an overlooking view of the La Trinidad. It’s risky going from one rock formation to another but if you can brave that part you’re in for an awesome view and photo.
Seeing formations like this is really breathtaking. It tells you so much of the story how the mountains and the rock formations were formed through the years. The area gives you a really good vantage point of La Trinidad. It’s a largely residential area so you get to see some congestion but it’s still great seeing things at this area.
You have all the variety of rock and ridge photos around Mount Kalugong. I managed to climb one of the taller rocks and it was an exhilarating experience. It’s rock climbing without a harness. By the way, it’s called Mount Kalugong because one of the rocks is shaped like a hat (Kalugong in ilocan0). This area has also a trail area heading to the park area but if you want a safer option then just go back the previous route and enter the entrance of the park.
The park is the perfect family friendly spot. It has swings, picnic tables, huts, hammocks and other facilities. It also has a canteen though they only have snacks and a few drinks. It’s like Camp John Hay picnic grounds at a different location and altitude. It’s not a long hike to the park so it’s perfect for family with kids to hang out for a good bonding time outdoors. We had lunch at the picnic grounds.
We also were told that there was an access point from Mount Kalugong to Mount Yangbo. So when you see an uphill trail from the park. Yes, that dreaded uphill climb you hate to take. Well don’t take that road, it’s not the trail heading to Mount Yangbo but it’s about 200-300 meter climb that can give you a different vantage point of La Trinidad. The view is beautiful there though. There’s a trail parallel to the that uphill climb and its flat so that’s the right road.
The trail is about 3 kilometers heading to Tawang area. The trail is rolling but it’s run-able. It’s actually fun running this part with the softer surface and the rich scenery. There’s different surfaces you get to experience from mud tracks, rocks and grass. There are also a few technical part of the trails.
We’ve blitz the first part of the trail which had a moderately rolling terrain. After about 2 kilometers the trail goes on a short ascent. There was a view deck towards the tail end of the climb. It gave another view of La Trinidad. You can also see Mount Yangbo from the trail since it has a relay tower on top of it.
After the climb is the descent to Tawang area which is the entry point of Mount Yangbo. There were steep parts but it’s generally a safe trail. You can feel that Mount Yangbo was so close from here yet you know it’s still one steep climb away. There was a small cemetery along the route. We excited Tawang Area.
There are several entry points from Tawang Area. We walked around a short 500 meters in Lubas – Tawang – Ambiong Road and saw an entry point. There’s also another entry point about a kilometer away too. We took the first entry point we saw, which was the steeper option in the climb. It is just about 500 meters to the peak but you had to take on about 160 meters of vertical ascents. That’s a lung busting climb in my books.
The thing about steep climbs is you should just take it a chunk at a time. I would take about a 50-100 meter of climbs then rest a bit and do the drill until I reach the part. The good part with the rest break is that you get to see the view from atop La Trinidad as well as see the nearby mountains.
We also had a grou-fie break. A grou-fie is another way of saying, let’s take a break. You had the mountain view as your backdrop and there were rocky cliffs too. The higher you get the better the view. We were amazed when we reached the top.
It was a wide track of greenish brown surface that you’d love to run. It has panoramic views from the one overlooking La Trinidad to the different mountains around the area. There’s a registration fees of P30 for the area. There were also available horses if you want to do horseback riding around the wide mountain range. There were a lot of spaces where you can have picnic mats and enjoy the place. You just get mesmerized by the different sights around.
There are so many alternatives going to the area with different trails and different looks. The place just humbles you and makes you feel that the you are just a tiny speck in this awesome world and that nature in its raw form is just beautiful.
From the top, we saw several options as our exit points. We wanted to try a new trail that would lead us to the lower part of the road but we ended up taking the easier exit point, which is around 800 meters to call it an adventure.
Just a piece of trivia. The photo above is the view from our house in Baguio located at New Lucban. If you see closely to the top left, you can see a relay tower, that’s Mount Yangbo. In the front part of the same area, you see some rock formations, that’s Mount Kalugong. It took me a visit to these two mountains to realize that I’ve been seeing these two mountains since I was a kid.
Outfit Of The Trail
- Top: Berghaus with #TaleOfTheTrail design by Breakout Design
- Shorts, socks and hydration bag: Under Armour
- Shoes: Brooks Pure Grit
- GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
- Eyewear: Oakley Radar EV
- Cap: New Era