- Elevation: 3,339 m (10,955 ft)
- Prominence: 2,811 m
- Ribu category: Sangat Tinggi
- Province: Jawa Timur (East Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Arjuna, Arjuno-Welirang, Arjuna-Welirang
- Eruptions: Welirang 1950, 1952
This peak is the highest point of the enormous Arjuno-Welirang range, located just 50 kilometres south of Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya. The lower Welirang peak is active and still mined by local sulphur collectors. Arjuno (also spelled and pronounced ‘Arjuna’) itself is dormant and therefore perhaps a little less interesting than Welirang. 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. If time is not an issue, then the best thing to do would be to visit both main peaks for dawn (i.e two nights on the mountains) but strong hikers could complete the range in two very long, strenuous days.
A guide is necessary for all routes (except Tretes to Welirang peak only, which is, for the most part, a wide stone track that jeeps sometimes use) as the navigating many of the paths can be very difficult indeed on the higher slopes because there are just so many of them and not many signs.
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. The little permit office in Tretes is perhaps your best bet if you can’t arrange in advance but definitely need a guide.
The most popular and well-defined trail starts from the mountain resort of Tretes (812m) to the north-east of the range. Be warned that although navigating this route is relatively easy, it is not particularly pleasant on your feet (especially when descending) and it is a substantial climb of over 2,400m in elevation gain.
This trail leads up a wide stone track through sparse pine woodland and an outlying peak, Gunung Ringgit (approx 2,477m high according to the basic map given to us at the Tretes office), is clearly visible on the left of the trail.
Notable landmarks after the office at the trailhead are Pos 1 Pet Bocor (965m), Pos Pantau (1,030m), Pos 2 Kokopan (1,647m), Pondok Baru (a hut with seats at 1,770m), a small stream (2,115m) to the sulphur collectors’ huts (2,454m, roughly 5 hours in total). After the huts, there is a popular camping area (Pos 3 – Pondokan – 2,486m).
Then it is either an immediate left (south) straight up towards Arjuno peak via Lembah Kidang or straight on (west) to Taman Dewa junction (2,953m) which is at the top of the mountain range pass just north of Kembar 1 and is the route to Welirang peak. However, depending on where you are camping, if at all, note that you can still reach Arjuno via Taman Dewa – it just takes longer than using the direct route via Lembah Kidang from Pondokan.
From Taman Dewa, turn left (south) to the Kembar peaks and on to the still-distant Arjuno peak or right (north) to the fascinating crater area of Welirang (3,156m, 3 hours to the highest point of the rim on the far side of the active Kawah Jero summit crater from the sulphur collectors’ huts).
Assuming you are continuing to Welirang, the very pleasant, near-flat track offers great views down the other side of the mountain (in the direction of Cangar and towards Gunung Anjasmoro and the unique shape of Boklorobubuh). Further along, a small trail leads off to the left. This is the sulphur collectors’ trail and you should be able to see them on a smokey side crater of the mountain, surrounded with sacks of large yellow rocks.
The trail to the summit of Welirang bends round a little to the right, passing an old, dormant crater full of vegetation on the left before leading across a rocky plateau where many local student hikers have written messages on the patches of flat volcanic sand using rocks. Finally you reach the summit crater – Kawah Jero – complete with an active sulphur fumarole. A circuit of the rim can be done fairly easily in about 30 minutes or so.
The highest two tops both offer incredible views of Penanggungan (the ‘little’ mountain that looks so big from Tretes!) and if you are lucky all of the peaks from Lawu in the west to Raung, hiding behind Argopuro in the east. In fine conditions at first light this is one of the finest viewpoints in the whole of Java.
It takes about 6 hours to return from Welirang summit to Tretes for those not continuing on to Arjuno. For those climbing from Welirang to Arjuno, you can ‘bag’ the two Kembar peaks en-route (the more northerly Kembar Satu – Kembar 1 – 3,037m and the more southerly Kembar Dua – Kembar 2 – 3,113m) but be warned this is the area which it is easiest to become lost in.
For those climbing Arjuno from Tretes (but missing out Welirang and just skirting the Kembars) then notable landmarks include Lalijiwo Plateau (Lembah Kijang) at 2,530m and with a water source and Batu Gede (2,790m). You generally need to spend at least one night camping in this area in order to bag Arjuno unless you start very early.
Sumber Brantas route
The Sumber Brantas/Cangar route is growing in popularity as at around 1,700m it’s by far the highest starting point. This route is especially useful for anyone wishing to quickly climb either Welirang or Arjuno as it starts so high up and leads to a pass between the Kembars. At the top of the pass, hikers can then choose to turn left (north) towards Welirang or right (south) towards Arjuno. Note that one road in the area ends as high as 1,800m beyond Pura Luhur Giri Arjuno – a Hindu temple – but this is not an official starting point.
Sumber Brantas is 11km beyond Selekta and the hike begins either at the official village trailhead (1,655m) or further on at two cement pillars (1,750m) just before the road begins to descend 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 1,950m the trail enters forest and leads via Pos 1 (2,056m), Pos 2 (2,357m) and Pos 3 (2,570m). Pos 2 – which is marked with a large boulder – makes a reasonable camp spot for anyone who has started late in the day, and the Kembars are clearly visible in good weather.
Pos 3 is actually a better camping area and it is here you can take a left towards Welirang or right towards Arjuno. Assuming you are heading to Arjuno, a little way beyond Pos 3 you will encounter some hot steam emerging from beneath boulders in the middle of the pine woodland (2,620m). The forest ends at 2,875m and the truly great views begin. Soon the trail reaches the top of the pass (2,911m) between the Kembars. This is an excellent and popular place to camp and is known as Lembah Lengkean.
The first peak to the south is Kembar Dua (Kembar 2 – the southern and slightly higher one at 3,113m) 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, it is not easy to reach Arjuno directly as it is very steep and there are dangerous cliff areas. You need to skirt round the eastern foot of Kembar 2 in order to take the safest and most well-trodden route to Arjuno.
It’s a long haul up the slopes of Arjuno but the views are incredible – Gunung Butak to the right, Gunung Penanggungan to the left and Welirang behind (north). There are plenty of places to camp all over Arjuno 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 Arjuno from this direction is crowned with a regional boundary marker (3,315m). The trail then descends slightly before heading up to a wider summit area. This ‘western summit’ is a very similar height to the final top a bit further along – which most people consider the true summit – and is probably even a metre or two higher.
From this top Semeru is visible right in front of you. The final top a little further east is a very narrow, impressive and boulder-strewn peak and there are the usual signs to inform you that you have reached the top of Arjuno (3,339m) although the previous top may well be the actual highest point. This narrow eastern peak is known as ‘Ogal Agil’ to local hikers.
Lawang and Purwosari routes
If not returning the same way, there are routes down to Lawang and Purwosari in the south-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 via some impressive ancient Hindu monuments) or a right turn for Lawang.
The Pursowari trail descends via Pos 7 Jawa Dipa (2,350m), Pos 6 Candi Sepilar (1,946m), Pos 5 Makhutoromo (1,870m), Pos 4 Eyang Semar (1,763m), Pos 3 Eyang Sakri (1,462m), Pos 2 Tampuono (1,415m) and Pos 1 Guo Onto Boego (1,096m) before finally reaching the trailhead at around 900m in Tambaksari. Pos 2 and 5 have water available and Pos 5 is the best spot for camping halfway up or down.
The Lawang trail is sometimes a little overgrown but if you keep the huge mountain range of Semeru infront of you it is difficult to get truly lost. Notable landmarks are Pos 4 Gombes (2,655m), Pos 3 Mahapena (2,180m) followed by a savannah area, Pos 2 Lincing (1,610m) which has an actual hut before the trail leads down through the large tea plantation (Pos 1, 1,000m) at Wonosari. You finally reach a road at 925m and the trailhead is at around 855m. Pos 4 is the best one for camping but water is difficult on this trail.
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.
There is also an infrequently used trail in from the north at Claket (975m). This leads via the popular Gunung Pundak (1,547m) and continues all the way to the northern rim of Welirang. Access remains unclear and latest reports are that this is pretty overgrown. A trail for experienced hikers that have already explored all the other routes, perhaps!
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (updated May 2020)
For a high quality PDF version of this and other trail maps, please download from our Trail Maps page.
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- Name and location: Pak Budi, Surabaya, East Java.
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- Review from previous client: “Budi was a brilliant guide for our September 2023 trek up Gunung X and I would definitely recommend him to other tourists“, John, USA.
- Getting there: Lots of transport options from Surabaya and Malang – taxis, shared cars, buses, ojeks, angkots.
- Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Gunung Arjuno information pack can be downloaded here.
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- Permits: It used to be easy to arrange at the more popular starting points such as Tretes simply by taking a photocopy of your passport photo page or your ID card. In 2022, this has all changed, and not for the better. You must book online several days before your visit at the Tahura Raden Soerjo site where locals pay Rp11,000 but foreigners (regardless of if you live locally!) pay Rp200,000. At present, foreigners are not allowed in at all, due to Covid rules. The link between being a foreign citizen and spreading Covid is not clear but it creates a very poor impression of the local authorities who make such blatantly xenophobic rules.
- Water sources: Depends on the route but definitely wise not to rely on sources in what is a very large and wild area – take plenty of bottled water with you. The Tretes route up to the sulphur collectors’ huts has a couple of reliable year-round water sources detailed above as does Lembah Kidang. Pos 2 and Pos 5 on the Purwosari trail also have water sources.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
Origins and Meaning
Arjuno is the Javanese pronunciation of Arjuna. Arjuna is the middle (third) of the five Pandawa brothers who are heroes of the Indian Mahabharata epic and the plays of the wayang purwa, the classical Javanese shadow theatre. Arjuna is renowned as the handsome, invincible warrior of the shadow play, so perhaps the mountain is named “Arjuno” because it is as beautiful and impressive as the shadow theatre character. (George Quinn, 2011)
Gunung Welirang means ‘Sulphur Mountain’ – for obvious reasons.