- Elevation: 3,436 m (11,273 ft)
- Prominence: 3,292 m
- Ribu category: Sangat Tinggi
- Province: Jawa Tengah (Central Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none.
- Eruptions: 1772, 1825, 1835, 1847, 1849, 1860, 1875, 1885, 1890, 1904, 1923, 1926-30, 1932-33, 1937, 1939-40, 1944, 1948, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1957-58, 1960-61, 1966-67, 1969, 1973-74, 1988, 1999-2000, 2009, 2014
Gunung Slamet is the highest peak in Central Java and second highest in Java island. Upon seeing Slamet during his first exploration of the world, Sir Francis Drake immediately directed his boat to dock in Cilacap on Java’s south coast. It is an immense mountain and the vast lava field summit is one of the most isolated places you can be in Java. It is also one of the best places to see both the north and south coasts.
Slamet is one of Java’s more active volcanoes and there is almost always lots of gas around at the crater. It can also get very windy on the slopes so choose your camping spot wisely and whatever you do, do not even think about camping at the summit area because of the dangerously large amount of gases. Those wishing to reach the true summit are advised to hike up from one of the routes in from the east such as Bambangan, Dipajaya or Cemara Sakti because it will bring you out at the higher edge of the crater.
There are many, many hiking routes and they are all long and it is hard to estimate exactly how long each one takes as it will vary greatly from person to person. Suffice to say that you will need at least one night on the mountain unless you climb at night which is not normally recommended. Note that the trails can be closed at short notice due to refurbishment work, volcanic activity, bad weather, forest fires, or somebody recently lost or injured.
The most enjoyable thing to do is to ascend one way and descend another way. However, please bear in mind that guides from one side of the mountain will be much less familiar with other routes and you will also have to plan this in advance with the basecamps and almost certainly pay for two tickets. Also notes that some parts of the crater rim are dangerous to traverse so not all routes can be combined safely.
Baturraden routes (SOUTH):
Two routes (old and new) from the south lead up from the mountain resort of Baturraden (just 680m above sea level) near Purwokerto. Baturraden is perhaps the easiest trailhead to arrange public transport to and from due to its close proximity to the small city of Purwokerto, so it’s a shame that given the low starting point it is a very tough trek up (10-12 hours for the ascent). It’s perhaps better to descend this way and ascend via another trail with a higher trailhead. The older trail has been closed many times in the past due to too many hikers becoming lost and is currently much less popular, overgrown, and unofficial.
Old path (jalur lama), slightly further west: The key points on this trail are Pos 1 (1,050m), Bayangan 1 (1,230m), Bayangan 2 (1,465m), Pos 2 (1,508m), Bayangan 3 (1,693m), Pos 3 (1,915m), Bayangan 4 (2,046m), Camp Tentara (2,261m), Pos 4 (2,527m) and Pos 5 (2,885m) where the trail meets the Kaliwadas trail and continues via a minor top (2,915m) up to Plataran (2,908m) and Plawangan (2,973m) which is a great camp area on the west side of the volcano. In 2021, the higher section between Pos 5 and Plawangan was very overgrown, and there are no reports of anyone having hiked along this route since 2018! If combining with, say, the Sawangan route, watch out for the many ravines which cannot be crossed easily at the treeline except halfway up to the summit itself at around 3,100m! In 2021, a white plastic pole (3,116m) marks the point at which the trails can be crossed – any lower and it may be impossible. There is also a cement pillar (3,036m) on the rocky slopes which is an important landmark to bear in mind.
New official path (jalur baru) opened in 2019 by Radenpala (the local basecamp and hiking club), slightly further east and apparently slightly easier: It leads via Gapura Pendakian (900m), Pos 1 Gowokan (1,238m), Pos 2 Jengklik (1,845m), Pos 3 Cemara (2,290m), Pos 4 Sanghyang Rangkah (2,682m), Pos 5 Sanghyang Jampang (2,950m) and Pelawangan. Raden Pala is the basecamp and place to find local guides, but bear in mind the inflated price for foreigners. The ticket does, however, include entry to the botanical gardens (‘kebun raya’).
Guci route (NORTH-WEST):
There are two popular routes from from the north-west at the popular weekend retreat of Guci where there is decent accommodation and hot springs. Each route is connected to a different basecamp. Both trails start at around 1,250m and are very accessible from Tegal and the north coast. There are plenty of buses running between Guci and Tegal but remember to agree on a fare before you board or else you may well be expected to pay substantially more than the going rate – especially if you are foreign-looking. A taxi from Tegal railway station should take just over one hour.
Guci Kompak / Gupala basecamp route: From the bend in the road just above Guci market, the trail leads up through woodland and dense foliage. It is well-marked with Pos markers nailed to trees and also red and orange ribbons tied to small branches on the higher slopes. However, initially the narrow trail has a broken asphalt surface. At approximately 1,399m the trail branches – take the left. The trail branches yet again at 1,540m. Once again, take a left to find Pos 1 Pinus (1,550m). The trails leads up to Pos 2 Cemara (1,850m), Pos 3 Pasang (2,129m) and Pos 4 Kematus (2,578m). There are small flat areas suitable for camping at most of the Pos. Near Pos 4 there is a good camping area on the left beyond which is a small trail leading down to a nearby water source – don’t rely on finding water here though. The first building of any description is a small shelter called Pondok Edelweiss at 2,675m which is soon followed by Pos 5 Cantigi (2,852m).
Not long after this you will reach the treeline and start ascending very steeply up bare rock, slippery scree and old lava flows to the crater area. Once at the top, you still have to negotiate the complex crater areas to find the summit ridge itself which lies 1km further east. In bad weather this can be very difficult indeed, especially as there are often sulphur clouds at this side of the peak. That is why experienced guides are absolutely essential for this mountain.
Guci Permadi route: The route crosses several streams (at 1,453m, 1,501m and 1,559m) before reaching Pos 1 Blakbak (1,696m), Pos 2 Rimpakan (2,057m), Pos 3 Selo Petak (2,295m), Pos 4 Ranu Amreta (2,448m) after which there are a couple of possible camp spots before reaching the treeline at around 2,792m where there are lots of cantigi bushes. Pos 5 Watu Ireng (2,905m) means ‘black rock’ in Javanese, and aptly describes the area! To reach the crater rim from this side requires the use of a rope (3,265m) near the very top on the steepest section. Reaching the highest point of the rim on the east side is not recommended from here as it is so dangerous!
The route meets the Sawangan trail at Pos 4, but at the time of writing there is a new Kaliwadas trail in preparation and it remains unclear exactly where that will go or which other trails it will meet with.
Bambangan route (EAST):
Probably the best route for the summit of Slamet starts from the east of the mountain at Bambangan (at roughly 1,510m). It can be reached by public transport from Purwokerto in 90 minutes. At the end of the road, there is a small registration building on the left where you register and pay a small fee. If you haven’t already made arrangements, guides should be easily arranged here. The trail leads up through vegetable plantation and pine woodland. Once out of the farmland the trail is clear and well-defined but the numbering of posts (Pos) is rather unusual and in previous years many of them did not have a visible number. After about 90 minutes there is a newly-built hut which is Pos 1 Pondok Gembirung (1,947m) and would be a great place to stay if making a late start.
Further on is a small stone border pillar (2,159m), followed by Pos 2 Pondok Walang (2,265m) and Pos 3 Pondok Cemara (2,511m). After about 4 hours of hiking from the trailhead you should have reached the signposted Pos 4 Samaranthu (2,686m). Another hour up the trail is a red hut. This is Pos 5 Samyang Rangkah (2,821m) and is an excellent place to shelter or camp because there is a small stream just two minutes down to the left where you can usually find water in the gully. There are plenty of places to set up tents and in good weather there are some nice views to the east.
Behind the red hut the trail continues to lead up the mountain and it is less than an hour via Pos 6 Samyang Katebonan (2,908m) to a similar shelter building – painted black. This is known as Pos 7 Samyang Kendil (3,057m) and lies just below the treeline. In good weather, this is the first place where you can really begin to admire the views. The small Serayu Mountains and the south coast of Java are often visible from here.
There are many flat areas where you can pitch a tent and if you are the first to reach Pos 7 you could even pitch it inside the shelter building for added protection from any wind and rain. It can take anything from 6 to 8 hours to reach this shelter. It is by far the best place to camp if you want to climb to the summit for dawn because the summit lies at this side of the mountain.
It is about two hours up steep, loose rock to the crater lip and summit ridge. The trail passes Pos 8 Samyang Jampang (3,090m) and Pos 9 Palawangan (3,170m). Note that this Palawangan on the north-east side of the crater is very different to the similarly-named Plawangan on the south-west side of the crater beyond where the (old) Baturraden and (old) Kaliwadas trails meet. Gloves and a torch you can attach to your head would be very useful here so that you can use both hands.
The last huge explosion occurred here in July 1988 and there are frequent fatalities usually due to the toxic gases. The summit ridge itself is usually reasonably safe but it is not a good idea to linger too long near the complex crater area and active fumaroles which are about 1km further west near a lesser peak known locally as Puncak Soerono /Surono. This spot is the southern edge of the rim where the new Baturraden trail emerges on the top and there is one of many monuments on the rim here.
Most sources states that Slamet is 3,428 metres high, but according to the Bakosurtanal map, the true highest point at the eastern side (Bambangan, Gunung Malang trails etc.) is 3,436 metres. The inner rim on the eastern side is given as 3,426m. The northern and western sections of crater rim are under 3,400 metres.
At the true top is an old cement pillar – presumably a triangulation pillar – and a new triangular monument dedicated to the students who lost their lives up here more recently. Because of Slamet’s isolation, there are few nearby mountains to admire but in good weather Gunung Ciremai should be visible to the north-west and the huge twins of Sumbing and Sindoro should be seen in the distance to the east. To descend, return the same way, or if you have experienced guides and wish to descend via an alternative route continue beyond the crater area and make sure you are on the correct, well-defined path down to your chosen destination.
Note the very similar Dipajaya (Clekatakan) route starts just one kilometre north of Bambangan and actually meets the Bambangan trail just after Pos 2 on the Bambangan trail.
Sawangan and Kaliwadas routes (WEST):
There are several newer routes still growing in popularity from the west side at Kaliwadas (1,750m) and Sawangan (1,800m), best accessed from Bumiayu where there is a train station.
The original, old Kaliwadas route led via Tuk Suci (1,840m), Pondok Growong (1,960m), Taman Wlingi (1,950m), Pos 4 Igir Manis (2,615m) and Pos 5 Igir Tjowek (2,755m) and meets the old Baturraden trail at Plawangan (2,973m) which was the preferred camping spot.
The newer Sawangan route is further north as it meets the Guci Permadi route at Pos 4. The Sawangan trail leads from Bosapala basecamp (1,800m) via Pos 1 Tanggeman (2,197m), Pos 2 Ikhingan (2,374m), Pos 3 Bayangan (2,384m), Pos 3 Genting (2,423m), before crossing a river and meeting Pos 4 Ranu Amreta (2,448m) of the Guci Permadi route. Farm ojeks can actually be taken as far as 2,155m but these are quite extreme, muddy tracks and only save you 30 minutes or so in total.
The Bosapala basecamp for the Sawangan route is a very friendly little spot, but despite the high starting elevation, do note that there are several ups and downs on the trail, so it is not an easier trek to the crater than the alternatives that start on the eastern side.
The new Kaliwadas route – the newest of all – is not finished at the time of writing (March 2021) and it is not clear what makes it different.
Some internet sources talk of a trail up from the Kaligua tea plantations in a large area to the south of Kaliwadas. However, there is very little information on this so any trail is likely to be overgrown and time-consuming. Indeed, in 2020, it appears to no longer exist according to local sources. Nevertheless, the area looks quite beautiful and there is a viewpoint to Gunung Slamet seen over the tea plantations known as Puncak Sakub (2,050m).
Jurangmangu / Dukuh Liwung route (NORTH):
One of the least-known of all the routes on Slamet, and allegedly the most haunted (!), this trail leads in from the north at 1,150m and passes Pos 1 Pondok Pinus, Pos 2 Kedung Warak, Pos 3 Sampyang Pasang, Pos 4 Sampyang Gringging, Pos 5 Sampyang Gembirung, Pos 6 Sampyang Kematus, Pos 7 Sampyang Rangkah, Pos 8 Sampyang Gorang, Pos 9 Pondok Goa before finally reaching Pelawangan near the summit.
Cemara Sakti, Batursari route (NORTH-EAST):
This trailhead is at an elevation of around 1,500m. The route passes via several Pos namely Tlaga, Gringging, Gembirung, Sampyang Pasang, Dergel and Sampyang Rangkah before reaching a junction with the always-popular Bambangan trail.
Penakir route (NORTH-EAST):
Very close to Cemara Sakti, this route is perhaps the least well-known of all. It starts in the north-east at an elevation of 1,342m and leads via Pos 1 Curug Saleh (1,680m), Pos 2 Lung Ciut 2,011m), Pos 3 Gringging (2,369m), Pos 4 Nyamplung (2,529m), Pos 5 Dregel (2,815m), Pos 6 Dampyak (2,931m), Pos 7 Gembong (3,175m) before meeting the Bambangan route at the true summit of the mountain which is on the east side. Water is available near Pos 1 during the rainy season only.
Gunung Malang route (EAST):
Just south of the popular Bambangan route, this newer trail leads via Pos 1 Wadas Gantung, Pos 2 Pondok Syahang, Pos 3 Pondok Pasang, Mata Air / water source, Pos 4 Pondok Ihing, Pos 5 Puncak Gunung Malang (2,815m), Pos 6 Pondok Tanganan and Pos 7 Plawangan.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (last updated March 2021)
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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- Getting there: From Jakarta, take a bus to Purwokerto from Lebak Bulus, or a train (more expensive but faster) from Gambir or Pasar Senen station to Tegal (for Guci), Purwokerto (for Baturraden, Gunung Malang and Bambangan) or Bumiayu (for Sawangan and Kaliwadas).
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- Permits: Available at all the basecamps. Take a photocopy of your passport photo page and sign any guestbooks if requested to do so. Rp15,000 per hiker at Kaliwadas, Rp25,000 per hiker in Cemara Sakti, Rp50,000 per hiker or Rp150,000 for foreigners at Baturraden (in 2020).
- Water sources: Water usually available just before Pos 1 and just after Pos 2 on the old Baturraden route, Pos 4 on the Guci Permadi and Sawangan routes, at Camp Tentara on the old Baturraden route, Pos 5 Samyang Rangkah (2,821m) on the Bambangan route and sometimes Pos 4 Kematus (2,578m) on the Guci Kompak route.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
Origins and Meaning
Mount Safety. Slamet is the Javanese variant of the Malay-Indonesian word selamat meaning “rescued from danger”, “having avoided danger”. In the region around Gunung Slamet local tradition records that in pre-Islamic times the mountain was called Gunung Gora. In Javanese gora is a slightly archaic word meaning “horrible, scary, intimidating”. It is very likely that when the people of the region converted to Islam (probably some time in the 1500s) the forbidding name of the mountain inherited from Hindu-Buddhist / pagan times was changed to the more reassuring Islamic name of Gunung Slamet. See also Gunung Sawal. (George Quinn, 2011)