Top 10 hiking trails near KL

The urban development of Greater Kuala Lumpur is rapidly sprawling in all directions but you don’t have to travel far outside the city to find authentic rainforest hikes or to reach a challenging peak.

There are even a couple of hiking trails within the boundaries of KL City.

The rankings below are based on overall enjoyment and satisfaction of the hikes, taking into account factors such as:

  • Difficulty/Exercise value
  • Views
  • Jungle experience
  • Accessibility

1. Bukit Broga

Height: 400 m

Duration: One hour up, 30 minutes down

Distance: 3.4 km

Views: Excellent. The upper part of the hill is covered in lalang instead of trees so the views are unobstructed.

Exercise value: This is a steep and strenuous climb but fairly short so any reasonably fit person can enjoy it.

Jungle experience: The base of the hill (the first 15 minutes or so) is forested but you are unlikely to see much wildlife other than insects and birds.

Accessibility: At 50 km from Kuala Lumpur, this is one of the furthest hikes from the city but is easy to reach by car. There is plenty of parking bays available too.

Safety: The path is straightforward and you can’t get lost provided you do not continue on to Gunung Tok Wan after reaching the summit of Broga. This is a popular climb so there are usually plenty of other hikers to help if you get into difficulties. Beware the many steep sections which can get slippery.

Cost: The hike is free but you have to pay for parking.

2. Klang Gates Quartz Ridge (Bukit Tabur)

Height: 446 m

Duration: Two and a half hours.

Distance: The entire ridge is 14 km long but the trail only covers a short portion.

Views: Superb views of KL’s famous skyline on one side, and overlooking a reservoir and forest on the other.

Exercise value: This is an energetic and challenging hike but considered easy for experienced hikers.

Jungle experience: Being a quartz dyke this is unusual terrain for Malaysia with more bare rocks and open views than your usual rainforest.

Accessibility: Very close to the city, just behind Zoo Negara.

Safety: There are steep rock faces and narrow craggy paths where care is needed. Accidents have happened.

Cost: Hiking here is only allowed during weekends and climbers must register with a Forestry Department employee at the trailhead and pay RM5 per person.

3. Gunung Nuang

Height: 1493m, by far the toughest hike on the list.

Duration: 11 hours on average. Some can do it quicker. One reader took 21 hours.

Distance: 19.2 km

Views: Far reaching views from the summit if the weather is clear but for most of the hike there is endless dense jungle.

Exercise value: This is a gruelling and exhausting hike for most people but satisfying when you’ve reached the top.

Jungle experience: This is the real thing with mile after mile of rainforest, some river crossings, a waterfall, possible leeches, etc.

Accessibility: About an hour’s drive from downtown KL. Ample parking available.

Safety: No particular hazards but need plenty of water.

Cost: Have to register with park ranger and pay RM1 per person.

4. Bukit Gasing

Height: 160 m

Duration: There are a number of paths within this 100-hectare forest reserve but a typical circuit may take one hour 45 minutes.

Distance: Depends on your route. 5 km is a good walk.

Views: This is mostly a jungle trail but there are a couple of vantage points where views over the city can be seen. The wooden watch tower has been removed for safety reasons.

Exercise value: Moderate exercise but with some steep sections for those looking for a more vigorous workout.

Jungle experience: Considering this place is surrounded by the city, it has a true jungle feel with monkeys and plenty of bugs.

Accessibility: Easy. It is located at the border of Petaling Jaya and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

Safety: No particular hazards but need plenty of water.

Cost: Free. There is a car park nearby.

5. Ah Pek Hill Trail (Bukit Putih)

Height: 400 m

Duration: One hour plus

Distance: This is a small nine-hectare park in the centre of KL with three short nature, jogging and trekking trails.

Views: Good views of the city. Even better from the 200m long canopy walk.

Exercise value: Moderate exercise but you can always do more than one circuit.

Jungle experience: Although it is small and surrounded by city development, the park does act as a refuge for birds and wildlife.

Accessibility: In the heart of the city. Can even arrive by monorail.

Safety: No problems.

Cost: Free. There is a tiny car park. Most people park on the street.

6. KL Forest Eco Park (Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve)

Height: 70 m

Duration: Two hours or more

Distance: Depends on your route. A full circuit including Bukit Saga could be 20 km but the usual route is around 8 km.

Views: Mostly enclosed forest with no views but there are a couple of vantage points where they have constructed pylons.

Exercise value: Excellent exercise with some steep slopes interspersed with more level sections. There is even a “jungle gym” with some rudimentary exercise equipment at one of the rest stations if you really feel the need for more exercise.

Jungle experience: Plenty of wildlife here, monkeys and birds especially.

Accessibility: Easy. On the eastern edge of KL in Cheras district.

Safety: Stick to the main trails to avoid getting lost.

Cost: Free, including the canopy walk.

7. Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve

Height: 233 m

Duration: One and a half hours

Distance: The forest reserve covers 1,200 hectares but it is estimated the normal loop trail is around 6 km long.

Views: The first 10 minutes has open views over suburban Puchong but none after that.

Exercise value: Good exercise with an undulating trail, and one or two steep sections.

Jungle experience: Lowland Dipterocarp forest but the large trees must have been logged long ago. There are terrapins in the stream here.

Accessibility: Easy. In Puchong township, south of KL.

Safety: Like all hiking in Malaysia, stick to the main trail and bring plenty of water and insect repellent.

Cost: Free.

8. Bukit Besi Alam Damai

Height: 291 m

Duration: One and a half hours

Distance: 3 km.

Views: Very good views overlooking the city on the way up and again at the summit.

Exercise value: This is a short hike but you’re sure to work up a sweat.

Jungle experience: There are a lot of ferns on this route and a portion of the jungly where you may spot macaques.

Accessibility: Easy. Near UCSI University in Cheras.

Safety: Keep to the main trail. Take care on the steep sections. Do not trespass near the communications masts at the summit.

Cost: Free.

9. Templer Park

Height: 150 m

Duration: Two hours

Distance: This is a massive forest reserve covering 1,200 hectares but the most common trail is from the entrance to a waterfall which is approximately a 4 km round trip.

Views: Views of waterfall, river and jungle only.

Exercise value: A mostly flat hike but still hard work in hot and humid conditions.

Jungle experience: A seldom-visited trail, overgrown in places, with three river crossings on zigzag bridges. A true jungle experience.

Accessibility: 20 km from central Kuala Lumpur.

Safety: Leeches, wild boars, river crossings and mosquitos are among the hazards. Getting lost is the biggest risk.

Cost: Free and free car park.

10. Chiling Waterfall

Height: 400m

Duration: Three hours plus time at the waterfall.

Distance: Quite far. It involves wading across a river five times.

Views: Views of waterfall, river and jungle only.

Exercise value: Good exercise and a feeling of satisfaction on completion.

Jungle experience: Real jungle with butterflies, fish, pitcher plants and monkeys among the local residents.

Accessibility: This is the most distant of these hikes from Kuala Lumpur being 20 km past Kuala Kubu Bharu. It would take you a couple of hours to get there from KL.

Safety: Waterfalls are dangerous, so take care. Wading waist deep through rivers should only be attempted if the current is not too strong.

Cost: RM1 per person. Open on Friday, Saturday and Sundays only.

This article first appeared in malaysia-traveller.com