- Elevation: 2,821 m (9,255 ft)
- Prominence: 2,105 m
- Ribu category: Tinggi Sedang
- Province: Jawa Barat (West Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Cikurai
This Ribu is the highest peak in the whole of the Parahyangan/ Priangan highlands of West Java. It is a beautiful dormant cone and dominates the landscape near Garut. Given its height, it is actually fairly straightforward because on several hiking routes there are farm fields reaching high up the mountainside. There are now many routes up the mountain, all of which are short enough to make this a possible day-hike, though the finest views are usually at sunrise and sunset. Cikuray is an incredibly popular mountain with Indonesian students, yet there are still plenty of wild animals on its steep slopes.
The summit has a large cement shelter and in clear conditions, views to Ciremai, Guntur and Papandayan are magnificent. The sheer number of local hikers camping up here at weekends means that if you like solitude, or even just peace and quiet, then try to go midweek or during Ramadhan. Campers should bear in mind that there is a large wild pig (‘babi hutan’) population near the top that are not shy of rummaging through your food remains so keep your tents closed securely at all times and, at night, best leave your rubbish bags as far from your tents as possible and ideally high up a tree!
All of the following routes can be combined (i.e up from one route and down another trail) but bear in mind that if you have a guide he may need extra cash to get back round to his local starting point. None of the starting points are more than about 90 minutes from Garut by car, and some are less than an hour away. If we had to choose a good traverse, we would recommend hiking up from Pemancar and down one of the Bayongbong or Cikajang trails (where transport back to Garut is easy to find from the main road) but we haven’t yet tried the Sukamanah route.
Pemancar (Cilawu) from the north-east
Gunung Cikuray is most commonly climbed from Cilawu TV Tower AKA Pos Pemancar (1,450m) in 5 or 6 hours so it is possible to do this as a day-hike if you start very early in the morning. This very popular route has seemingly always been the most famous one and is also known as Jalur Dayeuhmanggung.
A rough farm track leading from the road at Cilawu through a tea plantation goes all the way up to the TV Tower where there is limited space to park vehicles. Ordinary cars may have trouble reaching the starting point – you definitely need a vehicle with reasonably high clearance. Given the popularity of the trail, ojeks are available on the main road. Otherwise it is a long hike in which would probably require a night on the mountain. Another thing to bear in mind is that there is no water on this route so make sure you take plenty.
At the sharp bend in the track just before the TV Tower, head up through the tea plantation. If in doubt, ask one of the many tea pickers. Soon, the edge of the forest is reached. The forest trail itself leads steeply up the side of the mountain but it is a very straightforward hike and there are several areas suitable for camping (at approximately 2,050m, 2,275m and 2,550m). Just before the summit is a large area (Pos 6) with lots of fairly flat camping spaces. These may be more sheltered than the summit itself but watch out for wild pigs.
3 different routes from Cikajang from the south-west
This route is also known as the Giri Awas route. The southernmost route starts in the village of Carik (1,530m). The summit can be reached in under 5 hours (and under 3 for the descent). The trail leads through pine woodland before skirting past carrot and potato and finally chili fields. Pos 1 (1,945m) is simply a small flat area a short distance before the proper forest begins (2,080m). After Pos 2 (2,385m) where the Olan trail joins, the next major landmark is Pos Bayangan (2,590m) which is a lovely, sunny spot of gnarled trees (perhaps the same vaccinium species as on Salak 1). From here, you can just about see the summit cone itself. There is another junction at 2,730m where the Tapak Geurot route joins up, and then you are only a short way to the top of Cikuray.
North of Carik is the route from Olan (1,450m). Ojeks could actually go as far as 1,680m above the village. The forest begins at around 2,000m. The trail joins the Carik trail at Pos 2 (2,385m) and requires a smilar amount of time for ascent and descent.
North of Olan is the route from Tapak Geurot. The trail meets the Olan and Carik trails at 2,730m.
2 different routes from Bayongbong from the north-west
Pamalayan (1,365m). This is the most established of the Bayongbong routes. It takes between 4 and 6 hours to reach the summit. The trail leads through potato, cabbage and onion fields (and coffee plantations from 1,590m). There are occasional arrows to point you in the right direction but usually farm workers nearby to ask for help. Pos 2 (1,980m) is a basic plantation building, and the workers actually ride motobikes as far up as here so ojeks are technically possibly in an emergency. You should have reached Pos 2 in just under 2 hours. This is the only place for water, and even then it is piped water used at the discretion of the locals in the fields. The fields end at around 2,070m and the proper forest starts at 2,130m. From 2,240m to Pos 3 at 2,340m is a large open area where the trees were burnt in a forest fire in 2017. The tiny Pos 4 follows at 2,440m and Pos 5 at 2,550m. Shortly after Pos 5 is the junction with the Cintanagara route after which the trail flattens a little. Just a few minutes before the summit is the junction (2,795m) with the Cikajang trails.
Cintanagara. This newer route joins up with the Pamlayan route at around 2,585m and starts at a similar place and elevation.
Sukamanah from the north
The is the newest of the four principal routes and is also the closest to Garut. Assuming it has as much to offer as the other trails, it is likely to become very popular in the next few years. It joins the Pemancar route near the top. There is a large sign for this trail on the main Garut-Cikajang road about 25 minutes south of Garut.
Bagging information provided by Daniel Quinn (updated May 2018)
- Getting there: From Jakarta, take the toll road to Bandung and continue beyond to the end of the toll at Cileunyi. Follow signs to Garut and then on to your chosen starting point. Primajasa buses to Garut leave from Jakarta’s Lebak Bulus and Cililitan bus depot frequently during the day (journey time between 4 hrs and 6 hrs) and there are angkots between Garut and the main roads on both sides of the mountain. You should be able to arrange ojeks to any of the starting points.
- Accommodation: Plenty available in Cipanas near Garut – but very busy on Saturdays. There are also several hotels in Garut itself.
- Permits: Registration and tickets available at most, if not all, of the starting points. At the moment (2018), tickets cost Rp25,000 at Pamalayan and Rp15,000 at Pemancar and presumably the others are in this range. Foreigners may be asked to pay double but if you have a KITAS you are encouraged to demand equal treatment. As always, foreigners are advised to take a photocopy of their passport photo page just incase, plus KITAS if applicable.
- Water sources: In general, very little on the higher slopes. None on the Pemancar route. Usually available at Pos 2 on the Pamalayan route. Stream at 1,720m on the Carik route. In short: Take sufficient supplies with you.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
Origins and Meaning
This mountain appears to take its name from a nearby locality. Ci means “water” (usually in the names of rivers and streams) and kuray is a kind of tree. So Cikuray means “Kuray River” which presumably is a village or place, and the nearby mountain takes its name from this place. (George Quinn, 2011)