East Java, Gunung Arjuno

Written by on July 16, 2012 in Java Mountains with 0 Comments

East Java, Gunung Arjuno



This peak is the highest point of the enormous Arjuna-Welirang range, located just 50 kilometres south of Java’s second largest city Surabaya. The lower Welirang peak is active though Arjuna itself is dormant. The twin Kembar peaks nestle between them and a traverse of the entire range is one of the finest hikes in Java. It’s a huge area so camping for a night or two is absolutely necessary. A guide is necessary for all routes as the navigating the paths can be very difficult indeed on the higher slopes. Unfortunately, finding good guides seems to be quite difficult for this mountain range and there have been several reports of guides with little knowledge of the range climbing totally unprepared. Therefore it is best to try to arrange guides in advance rather than just turning up at the starting point.

There are several routes – permits should be easy to arrange at all of them – the most popular and well-defined being from the mountain resort of Tretes to the north of the range. This trail leads up Welirang (3,156m) and then south to the Kembars and finally Arjuna. This route takes a minimum of 8 hours so most people stay for one night in a sulphur collector’s shelter on Welirang before continuing to Arjuna.

The range is also accessible from Selekta/Selecta in the south-west near Batu and from Sumber Brantas/Cangar to the west. This route is especially useful fort anyone wishing to climb either Welirang or Arjuna as it starts high up and leads to a pass between the Kembars. Hikers can then choose to turn left (north) towards Welirang or right (south) towards Arjuna. Sumber Brantas is 11km beyond Selekta and the hike begins at two cement pillars (1,750m) just before the road descends to Cangar air panas (hot springs) at 1,628m. The start of the trek is a farm track leading through fields of carrots and potatoes. There are plenty of track junctions so local knowledge is essential. At 2,022m the trail enters forest and at 2,110 make sure you turn left rather than heading up to the right. There is a tiny camping area at 2,153m before a reight turn at 2,200m. There is a lot of dense vegetation here so it can be difficult navigating the correct path. The route leads under several large tree trunks before emerging at a slightly larger camping area (2,357m) marked with a large boulder. From here the Kembars are clearly visible in good weather.

The route continues through pine woodland, a right turn at 2,571m (follow the yellow and blue string). After another camping area you will encounter some hot steam emerging from beneath boulders in the middle of the pine woodland (2,644m). The forest ends at 2,900m and the truly great views begin. Soon the trail reaches the top of the pass (2,910m) between the Kembars. This is an excellent and popular place to camp.

To reach Arjuna, take a right turn (south) here. The trail is quite difficult to see at this point so simply follow the contour of the mountain ridge and you will find the correct trail. The first peak you reach is Kembar (south) and from here you can enjoy the fantastic panorama to many other mountains both near and far. There are shallow, grassy craters and lots of sulphur vents on this peak so take care not to inhale the gases. From this peak, the trail dips steeply to the col between Kembar south and Arjuna – now clearly visible as an impressive, narrow and steep mountain just ahead of you. The trail leading down from Kembar south is very steep so take you time and be careful not to head down one of the very dangerous cliff areas. Beyond the col is a large and incredibly wild area of huge volcanic boulders scattered across a minor peak. It’s a confusing area and easy to get lost here in bad weather. To avoid this area and head straight to the climb to Arjuna, head round to the left (east) and pick up the trail up the steep pinewood slopes of Arjuna at a green sign (2,851m). It’s a long haul up the slopes but the views are incredible – Gunung Butak to the right, Gunung Penanggungan to the left and Welirang behind (north).

There are plenty of place to camp all over Arjuna mountain so finding a spot even at weekends should not be a problem here, especially above 3,100m. The first top you will reach on Arjuna is crowned with a regional boundary marker (3,315m). The trail then descends slightlyu before heading up to a wider summit area. This is a very similar height to the final top – which most people consider the true summit – and may even be a metre or two higher. From this top Semeru is visible right infront of you. The final top is a very narrow, impressive and boulder-strewn peak and there is a green sign to inform you that you have finally reached the top of Arjuna. This summit itself is known as ‘puncak ringgil’.

If not returning the same way, there are routes down to Lawang and Purwosari in the east. Both are long, long hikes which take a minimum of 6/7 hours. Just below the narrow summit with the sign is a trail heading east (in the direction of Semeru). It leads down through pine woodland to a tree with signs on it (3,100m). Here take a left for a route down to Purwosari (which eventually leads to some ancient monuments) or a right turn for Lawang. The Lawang trail is very overgrown but if you keep the huge mountain range of Semeru infront of you it is difficult to get truly lost. Notable landmarks are Shelter 3 (‘Pos Mahapena’, 2,179m), a border stone at 1,910m, Shelter 2 (‘Pos Lincing’, 1,597m) which has an actual hut before the trail leads down through the large tea plantation at Wonosari. You finally reach a road at 925m and ojeks can easily be arranged at the security post for the 4km journey to the main Surabaya-Malang road at Lawang.

However, if you have time you can actually stay at Wisata Agro Wonosari – a popular weekend retreat at the tea plantation where there is a good range of accommodation available.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn


Getting there

Lots of transport options from Surabaya.


Tretes and Batu are the best places to stay.


Easy to arrange at the best-known starting points – take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase.

Water sources

Depends on the route but definitely wise not to rely on sources – take enough bottled water with you.

Country: Indonesia

Subregion Name: Java (Indonesia)

Volcano Number: 0603-29=

Volcano Type: Stratovolcano

Volcano Status: Historical

Last Known Eruption: 1952 

Summit Elevation: 3339 m 10,955 feet

Latitude: 7.725°S 7°43’30″S

Longitude: 112.58°E 112°35’0″E

The twin volcanoes of Arjuno and Welirang anchor the SE and NW ends, respectively, of a 6-km-long line of volcanic cones and craters. The Arjuno-Welirang complex overlies two older volcanoes, Gunung Ringgit to the east and Gunung Linting to the south. The summit areas of both Arjuno and Welirang volcanoes are unvegetated. Additional pyroclastic cones are located on the north flank of Gunung Welirang and along an E-W-trending line cutting across the southern side of Gunung Arjuno that extends to the lower SE flank. Fumarolic areas with sulfur deposition occur at several locations on Gunung Welirang.

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