Hiking Mt. Merapi from Yogyakarta
Indonesia’s most active volcano, 9,610-foot-high (2,930-meter-high) Mt. Merapi is considered sacred by the people of the region. Yet, when conditions permit, it makes for a dramatic climb, one usually conducted by night to enable hikers to see sunrise from the crater rim—and avoid the dangerous gases that rise later in the day. Here’s what you should know about hiking Mt. Merapi.
- On a clear moonlit night, the views of the surrounding volcanoes are spectacular as you scale the cone.
- Sunrise from Mt. Merapi can offer sweeping views across the island of Java.
- Circling the crater, complete with puffs of steam and gases, makes it clear how very active the volcano is.
- The physical challenge of scaling this impressive peak offers rich rewards.
How to Prepare
As the climb is conducted in the dark and conditions on Mt. Merapi can vary, it’s wise to travel with an experienced local guide. The last section of the climb is very steep and leads over volcanic ash and rock, so it’s well worth wearing hiking boots. Temperatures at the summit can drop to freezing (with windchill), so bring layers and a waterproof jacket, as well as all the water you need for your trek and sunscreen.
When to Go
The most popular time for hiking Mt. Merapi is during Yogyakarta’s dry season, roughly July to September. However, people can and do climb outside those times, while rain may still fall during the dry season.
Things to Know
The summit trek sets out from the village of Selo, usually at around 1am or 2am. Some tours from Yogyakarta include accommodation in Selo to allow you to rest before you climb, while others set out as soon as they arrive.
Gentler day hikes are possible on the lower slopes of Mt. Merapi, but these do not reach the crater.
To experience Mt. Merapi without the physical strain of hiking, try a 4WD lava tour around the Kaliurang side of the volcano.
Volcanologists monitor Mt. Merapi closely, but eruptions can still happen unexpectedly.