Gunung Gading Summit Trail
This trail leads to the top of Gunung Gading (965m), past the remains of an old British jungle base, left over from Konfrontasi days (see Background). The 4.1km trek to the summit takes approximately 3.5 hours from the Park HQ, and can be done as a day trip.
The trail initially follows the Waterfalls Trail, but branches off just before Waterfall 7. From here, follow the yellow/red markings for a further 2.5 hours uphill. The climb is quite steady, but on the whole not particularly steep, other than a few sections near the top.
Towards the top, the mixed dipterocarp forest of the lower slopes gives way to thinner ridge-top vegetation and eventually lower montane forest, with smaller, shrubby trees.
The remains of the British base camp are located just before the summit – mainly bits of corrugated tin, rusty barbed wire, and other leftovers. The summit itself is marked by a small clearing in the trees. There are no views from the summit.
There is room at the summit to pitch a tent, but there is no running water nearby – you would have to haul it either from Waterfall 7 or a small creek about halfway along the trail to Batu Bekubu. You would need to obtain permission from the Park HQ (and pay camping fees) before camping.
The trail to Batu Bekubu leads from the opposite end of the small clearing.
Batu Bekubu Trail
This continuation of the Gunung Gading Summit Trail is one for dedicated history buffs. It leads from the Summit of Gunung Gading across the saddle towards Gunung Sebuloh for a further 2-3 hours, to Batu Bekubu. The trail from Gunung Gading is mostly relatively easy and flat.
Batu Bekubu is a giant rock on the side of Gunung Sebuloh, which was used by communist guerillas as a base camp during Konfrontasi. The name Batu Bekubu in fact means “fortress rock”. There are no views from Batu Bekubu.
Water should be available from a small creek about halfway along the saddle from Gunung Gading Summit. Local tales also relate that the communists used a rock near Batu Bekubu for water. This rock has a hole in it which is always full of water, even during drought – giving the rock the name Batu Telaga – “Well Rock”. However, Park Staff advise that the water can be very murky and should not be relied on as a water source for campers.
The trek from Batu Bekubu is at least a 5-7 hour one-way trip from Park HQ, and so probably not feasible as a day-trip. You would therefore have to camp somewhere along the way – either at Gunung Gading Summit or Batu Bekubu itself. Check with Park HQ for permits and trail conditions.
SESCO Dam Trail
This loop trail leads to a dam build by the State electricity company, SESCO. The trail is well made, consisting of concrete steps and paving-stones, and the whole loop can be done in 45 minutes to 1 hour. Part of the SESCO Dam Trail is used for returning back to the Park HQ, if walking the loop back from View Point 3, and another very short section is used as part of the Waterfalls Trail. Other than that, the trail is not much used for trekking, and there are no views from the dam.
This trail leads to a series of three Viewpoints on the lower slopes of Gunung Gading, making up for the lack of views from Gunung Gading Summit and Batu Bekubu. The trail starts about 10 minutes along the Rafflesia Boardwalk, where it branches off to the left, through similar terrain. This can be a bit squelchy and slippery at times. The views from the three Viewpoints are south to Lundu and along the coast towards Gunung Serapi and Kubah/Matang.
At Viewpoint 1, there is a small set of bleachers from which you can enjoy the fairly limited view. There are better views from Viewpoints 2 and 3 (850m and 1.2km from the PArk HQ respectively). Although the trail as a whole does not climb too much, there is a steepish section between viewpoints 1 and 2 (with steps).
If you don’t want to backtrack from Viewpoint 3, you can continue along the 850m Lintang Trail, which links up with the SESCO trail, which takes you (eventually) back to the Waterfalls Trail.
Gunung Perigi Summit Trail
This trail leads to the summit of Gunung Perigi, the second-highest peak in the Park. It is a challenging trek and probably the most difficult in the Park. However, unlike Gunnug Gading Summit or Batu Bekubu, there can be excellent views from Gunung Perigi.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the trail was not open to the public. Park staff have expressed concerns about the possible existence of unexploded ordinance (old bombs etc) along this trail, leftover from Konfrontasi days. Because it is closed, the trail has not been maintained or marked (and the various maps show it as following widely varying routes). For all these reasons, you should not attempt this trail on your own.
If you are desperate, it may be possible to arrange appropriate authorisation from the Forests Department, plus a ranger from the National Park – however this would probably not be available to casual trekkers.