Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Mt Pulag Hike: What To Bring, Do, See, And Expect (Guide)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Bobby Bertram



Welcome to the exhilarating world of adventure as we embark on a journey to the majestic Mt. Pulag! Nestled in the Cordillera Mountains of the Philippines, Mt. Pulag stands proud as the third highest peak in the country, offering intrepid travelers an unforgettable hiking experience. With its breathtaking landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and mesmerizing sunrises, Mt. Pulag has become a magnet for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.


Ascending Mt. Pulag is not only a test of physical endurance, but also a spiritual and emotional expedition. The mountain is considered sacred by the indigenous people of the region, and hiking to its summit is believed to bring good fortune and blessings.


But before we embark on this adventure, it’s important to be well-prepared. From the essential items you need to bring to the logistics involved in reaching the mountain, this guide will equip you with all the information you need to make your Mt. Pulag hike a safe and memorable experience.


So buckle up your hiking boots, pack your bags, and get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Mt. Pulag. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner craving a taste of the wild, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and tips to ensure your journey to the summit of Mt. Pulag is truly extraordinary.


Essential Items to Bring

When embarking on a Mt. Pulag hike, it is crucial to pack wisely to ensure a comfortable and safe journey. Here are some essential items you should bring:

  1. Layered Clothing: Mt. Pulag’s temperature can drop significantly, especially during the early hours of the morning. Be sure to bring warm and lightweight clothing that can be layered. A good set of thermal base layers, fleece jackets, and waterproof outer shells are highly recommended.
  2. Hiking Boots: Invest in a good pair of hiking boots that provide ankle support and traction. The terrain in Mt. Pulag can be rugged, so having sturdy and comfortable footwear is essential.
  3. Sleeping Bag: As you overnight at Mt. Pulag, a warm and durable sleeping bag is necessary to keep you cozy throughout the night. Look for a sleeping bag with a temperature rating suitable for cold weather.
  4. Trekking Poles: Trekking poles provide stability and reduce strain on your joints during the hike. They are particularly useful during steep ascents and descents.
  5. Headlamp or Flashlight: Since you’ll be starting the hike before dawn to catch the sunrise, a reliable headlamp or flashlight is essential for visibility on the trail.
  6. Sun Protection: The sun can be intense at high altitudes, so don’t forget to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
  7. Enough Food and Water: Stay energized and hydrated by packing enough snacks, energy bars, and water for the duration of the hike. Keep in mind that there are no food services available at the campsite.
  8. First Aid Kit: It’s always important to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Bring a basic first aid kit that includes band-aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.
  9. Plastic Bags: Carrying plastic bags is essential for keeping your belongings dry and organized, especially if it rains during the hike. They can also serve as garbage bags to ensure you leave no trace on the mountain.
  10. Camera and Extra Batteries: Capture the awe-inspiring beauty of Mt. Pulag by bringing a camera with extra batteries. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the incredible photo opportunities!

Remember to pack light and only bring what is necessary. Every extra ounce can make a difference during the hike, so prioritize items that will enhance your comfort and safety on the mountain.


Preparations Before the Hike

Before embarking on your Mt. Pulag hike, it’s important to make the necessary preparations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable adventure. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Physical Fitness: Mt. Pulag is a challenging hike that requires a moderate level of physical fitness. It’s advisable to engage in regular exercise and cardiovascular activities to prepare your body for the demands of the hike. Additionally, consult with a healthcare professional to ensure you are fit to climb.
  2. Research and Planning: Familiarize yourself with the Mt. Pulag trail, weather conditions, and camping guidelines. Research the best time to visit and check for any necessary permits or reservations required. The more prepared you are, the better equipped you will be to handle the challenges of the hike.
  3. Acclimate to the Altitude: Mt. Pulag stands at an elevation of over 9,600 feet (2,926 meters), and altitude sickness can be a concern. It is recommended to spend a day or two in the nearby town of Kabayan or Baguio City to acclimate to the altitude before beginning your hike.
  4. Pack Wisely: As mentioned earlier, ensure you have all the essential items needed for the hike. Make a checklist and double-check that you have everything packed before you start your journey. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
  5. Inform Others: Before setting off on your hike, inform someone you trust about your plans. Share your itinerary, estimated time of return, and emergency contact numbers. In case of unforeseen circumstances, it’s important to have someone who knows your whereabouts.
  6. Check Weather Conditions: Mt. Pulag’s weather can be unpredictable, with sudden changes in temperature and the possibility of heavy rainfall. Stay updated on the weather conditions before your hike and be prepared for any changes by packing appropriate clothing and gear.
  7. Mental Preparedness: Hiking Mt. Pulag can be physically and mentally challenging. Prepare yourself mentally for the demanding terrain, long hikes, and potential discomfort. Stay positive and motivated throughout the journey, focusing on the rewarding experiences that await you at the summit.
  8. Respect the Environment: Mt. Pulag is a protected area known for its rich biodiversity. As responsible hikers, it is our duty to respect and preserve the environment. Follow the Leave No Trace principles, practice proper waste management, and avoid damaging or disturbing the flora and fauna.

By making these preparations before your Mt. Pulag hike, you will be better equipped to handle the challenges and fully enjoy the beauty and serenity of the mountain.


How to Get to Mt. Pulag

Reaching Mt. Pulag involves a few steps and planning, but the journey to this stunning mountain is definitely worth it. Here are the main transportation options to get to Mt. Pulag:

  1. From Manila: If you’re traveling from Manila, the fastest way to reach Mt. Pulag is by taking an overnight bus to Baguio City. Several bus companies offer regular trips from Manila to Baguio. The journey takes approximately 4-6 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
  2. From Baguio City: Once you arrive in Baguio City, you have several options to continue your journey to Mt. Pulag. The most convenient way is to hire a private vehicle or join a guided tour that provides transportation. This option allows for a more relaxed and hassle-free experience.
  3. Public Transportation: If you prefer to use public transportation, you can take a jeepney or a bus from Baguio City to the town of Kabayan, which is the jump-off point for the Mt. Pulag hike. The travel time is approximately 3-4 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic.
  4. Arranging a Guide: It is highly recommended to hire a local guide who is familiar with the trails and regulations of Mt. Pulag. Guides can be arranged through the Kabayan Tourism Office or through tour operators in Baguio City. They will ensure your safety and provide valuable information about the mountain.
  5. Permits and Registration: Before starting your hike, you’ll need to secure a permit from the Kabayan Tourism Office. This can be done in advance or on the day of your hike. The office also requires visitors to undergo a brief orientation and registration process to ensure responsible hiking practices.

It’s important to note that road conditions and transportation options may vary, so it’s advisable to check for the most up-to-date information and make the necessary arrangements before your trip. Being well-prepared with transportation logistics will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Mt. Pulag without any worries.


The Hike to Mt. Pulag Summit

The hike to the summit of Mt. Pulag is a rewarding and challenging experience that requires endurance, perseverance, and a love for the great outdoors. Here’s what you can expect during the hike:


The primary trail to the summit is called the Ambangeg Trail, which offers a relatively easier ascent compared to other trails. The hike usually takes around 4-5 hours, with a distance of approximately 9 kilometers. The trail is well-maintained, marked with signs, and features gradual slopes, making it accessible to both experienced hikers and beginners.


As you ascend, prepare to be captivated by the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. The trail takes you through diverse landscapes, from mossy forests with towering trees to picturesque meadows filled with wildflowers. Be sure to take the time to appreciate the natural beauty and snap some memorable photos along the way.


During the hike, it’s important to pace yourself and listen to your body. Take regular breaks to rest, hydrate, and refuel with snacks. The higher you ascend, the thinner the air gets, and it’s common to experience shortness of breath and fatigue. Don’t rush and allow yourself to acclimate to the high altitude.


As you approach the summit, you’ll be thrilled to know that the final stretch offers awe-inspiring views. The peak itself provides a panoramic vista of rolling mountains, verdant valleys, and the play of light and shadows across the landscape. It’s a moment you’ll remember for a lifetime.


Once at the summit, immerse yourself in the tranquility and serenity of the surroundings. Enjoy the cool mountain breeze and take in the expansive view. If you are fortunate, you may witness the famous “Sea of Clouds” phenomenon, where the clouds appear like a vast ocean below you. And of course, the crown jewel of the Mt. Pulag experience awaits you – the magnificent sunrise.


To fully embrace the sunrise experience, it is recommended to spend the night at the summit campsite. This allows you to witness the magical transformation of the sky as the sun begins to rise. The ever-changing hues of orange and pink, coupled with the panoramic landscape, create a spectacle that is beyond words.


Remember to be respectful of the environment and follow the guidelines set by the park authorities. Take your time and savor every moment of the hike to the summit of Mt. Pulag, for it is a journey that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.


Camping at Mt. Pulag

Camping at Mt. Pulag is an unforgettable experience that allows you to fully immerse yourself in nature and witness the stunning beauty of the mountain. Here’s what you need to know about camping at Mt. Pulag:


There are designated campsites near the summit where hikers can set up their tents. The most popular campsite is located at the saddle camp, which is situated between the summits of Mt. Pulag and Mt. Ayos. This campsite offers a picturesque view of the surrounding mountains and is a great spot to enjoy the beautiful sunrise.


Prior to the hike, make sure you have a good quality tent that can withstand the cold temperatures and windy conditions. It’s also essential to have a warm and durable sleeping bag to keep you cozy throughout the night. A sleeping pad or mat can provide extra insulation and comfort.


When camping at Mt. Pulag, it’s important to abide by the leave-no-trace principles. This means that you should leave the campsite as you found it, without leaving any trace of your presence. Respect the environment by properly disposing of your waste and avoiding any damage to the natural surroundings.


Additionally, campfires are not allowed at Mt. Pulag, as they pose a threat to the fragile ecology of the mountain. Bring a portable stove or cookset to prepare your meals. Be sure to pack enough food and water to sustain you throughout your stay at the campsite, as there are no food services available in the area.


The evening at the campsite offers a unique experience of stargazing and connecting with nature. The clear, unpolluted skies of Mt. Pulag provide a remarkable opportunity to witness a dazzling display of stars. Grab your blanket, lie down, and marvel at the countless constellations twinkling above you.


As the early morning hours approach, be prepared to witness one of the most breathtaking moments of your Mt. Pulag adventure – the sunrise. Wrap yourself in warm layers, grab your camera, and find a comfortable spot to witness the magical transformation of the sky as the sun begins to rise. The gradual illumination of the landscape and the emergence of the famous “Sea of Clouds” create a scene that is truly awe-inspiring.


Camping at Mt. Pulag offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature, appreciate the beauty of the mountain, and create lasting memories. It’s a chance to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the natural world around you. So, pitch your tent, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and let the tranquility of the surroundings envelop you.


Weather Conditions and Climate

The weather conditions at Mt. Pulag can be unpredictable and ever-changing, so it’s important to be prepared for various scenarios. Here’s what you need to know about the weather and climate at Mt. Pulag:


Due to its high elevation, Mt. Pulag experiences cooler temperatures compared to the surrounding lowlands. The temperature can drop significantly, especially during the early hours of the morning and at night. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach freezing levels, so be sure to pack warm clothing and gear.


The climate at Mt. Pulag is classified as a temperate rainforest climate. The mountain is known for its high rainfall throughout the year, with October being the wettest month. It’s advisable to check the weather forecast before your hike and be prepared for rain. Pack waterproof clothing and gear to stay dry during rainy conditions.


Fog and mist are also common occurrences at Mt. Pulag, especially in the mossy forest areas. This can create challenging visibility conditions during the hike. It’s important to exercise caution and have a headlamp or flashlight handy to navigate the trail safely.


It’s recommended to dress in layers to accommodate the fluctuating temperatures. Wear a moisture-wicking base layer to keep you dry from sweat, a warm insulating layer like a fleece or down jacket, and a waterproof outer layer to protect against rain and wind.


Proper footwear is also essential in wet and muddy conditions. Opt for sturdy and waterproof hiking boots that provide traction and ankle support. This will ensure stability and reduce the risk of slips and falls on the slippery terrain.


Keep in mind that weather conditions can change rapidly at high altitudes, so it’s crucial to be prepared and adaptable. Always prioritize safety and listen to the advice of local guides and authorities regarding any weather-related concerns.


Remember, experiencing different weather conditions can add to the unique charm of your Mt. Pulag adventure. So, embrace the elements, be prepared for whatever nature has in store, and relish the beauty of the mountain in all its weathered glory.


Flora and Fauna at Mt. Pulag

Exploring Mt. Pulag is not just an opportunity to immerse yourself in stunning landscapes, but also a chance to encounter a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Here’s a glimpse into the remarkable biodiversity that can be found at Mt. Pulag:




As you hike through the various trails of Mt. Pulag, you’ll be awestruck by the incredible range of plant life that thrives in this mountainous region. The lower slopes are adorned with lush forests featuring towering pine trees, mossy trees, and a variety of ferns. Ferns, in particular, are abundant in the mossy forest areas, adding an otherworldly and enchanting feel to the surroundings.


As you ascend higher, the vegetation transitions into grasslands and meadows. These open areas offer breathtaking views and are adorned with remarkable plant species, including dwarf bamboo and colorful wildflowers. During the blooming season, these wildflowers paint the landscape with vibrant hues of purple, yellow, and pink, creating a mesmerizing sight.




Mt. Pulag is not only a haven for plant life but also a sanctuary for a wide variety of animal species. The dense forests are home to several bird species, including the Luzon water redstart, mountain shrike, and white-browed shortwing. If you’re lucky, you might spot some of these beautiful avian creatures darting among the trees.


Mammals such as the Philippine deer, cloud rat, and wild boar can also be found in the mountain’s vicinity. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera at the ready for any glimpses of these elusive creatures as you traverse the trails.


One of the highlights of the fauna at Mt. Pulag is the presence of the Luzon pygmy fruit bat. These fascinating bats, known for their diminutive size, play a vital role in pollination and seed dispersal throughout the forest. Witnessing these nocturnal creatures in their natural habitat is a truly unique experience.


It’s important to remember that Mt. Pulag is a protected area, and disturbing or capturing any flora or fauna is strictly prohibited. As responsible visitors, we should admire and appreciate the beauty of the natural surroundings without causing any harm or disruption to the delicate ecosystem.


So, as you embark on your journey through Mt. Pulag, take a moment to appreciate the diverse flora and fauna that call this mountain home. They are integral to the fragile balance of nature and add another dimension of wonder to your adventure.


The Sunrise Experience

One of the most captivating and awe-inspiring moments at Mt. Pulag is the sunrise experience. As the first rays of light break through the horizon and illuminate the sky, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking display of colors and a profound sense of wonder. Here’s what you can expect during the sunrise at Mt. Pulag:


To fully experience the beauty of the sunrise, it’s recommended to spend the night at the summit campsite. As the early morning hours approach, wrap yourself in warm layers and find a comfortable spot to witness the magic unfold.


As the sky transforms from dark hues to shades of orange, pink, and purple, the landscape of Mt. Pulag is enveloped in a soft, ethereal glow. The play of light and shadow creates a mesmerizing spectacle, turning the surrounding mountains, valleys, and meadows into a picturesque panorama.


During certain weather conditions, Mt. Pulag’s summit can become blanketed by a surreal phenomenon known as the “Sea of Clouds.” As the sun rises above the clouds, it creates an otherworldly scene where you feel as if you’re floating above the world. This ethereal sight is nothing short of magical and adds a sense of tranquility and wonder to the entire experience.


Capturing the beauty of the sunrise at Mt. Pulag is a photographer’s dream. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur enthusiast, be prepared to capture awe-inspiring moments with your camera. Experiment with different compositions and settings to immortalize the breathtaking colors and the sense of serenity that fills the air.


However, it’s important to remember that while capturing the perfect shot is tempting, take a moment to simply be present and absorb the magnificence of the sunrise. Allow yourself to fully embrace the experience, breathe in the cool mountain air, and be captivated by the natural spectacle unfolding before your eyes.


The sunrise at Mt. Pulag is a reminder of the beauty and grandeur of nature. It’s a moment that evokes a sense of peace, awe, and appreciation for the wonders of our planet. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a first-time hiker, witnessing the sunrise at Mt. Pulag will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on your soul.


Photography Tips

Mount Pulag offers a visual feast for photographers, with its stunning landscapes and captivating sunrise. To capture the beauty of this majestic mountain, here are some photography tips to keep in mind:

  1. Bring the Right Gear: Ensure you have the essential photography equipment, including a DSLR camera or a high-quality smartphone with a good camera. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries, memory cards, and a sturdy tripod for stable shots.
  2. Research and Plan: Familiarize yourself with the location and the best vantage points for photography. Research the sunrise time and weather conditions to maximize your chances of capturing the perfect shot.
  3. Find Unique Perspectives: Look for interesting angles and perspectives that showcase the grandeur of Mt. Pulag. Experiment with different compositions, such as capturing the mountain framed by trees or using leading lines to draw the viewer’s eye into the image.
  4. Use Wide-Angle Lens: Wide-angle lenses are great for capturing expansive landscapes. They allow you to capture more of the scene and emphasize the vastness of Mt. Pulag. Utilize the foreground to add depth and interest to your photographs.
  5. Focus on Details: While wide-angle shots are great, don’t forget to zoom in and capture the intricate details of Mt. Pulag. Explore the patterns in the mossy forest, capture the delicate wildflowers, or zoom in on the textures of rocks and trees.
  6. Experiment with Exposure: During sunrise, the lighting can change rapidly, so be prepared to adjust your exposure settings. Bracketing your shots can help capture the dynamic range of the scene and ensure you get the best possible exposure.
  7. Capture the Sunrise: The sunrise at Mt. Pulag is a magical moment. Be ready with your camera at least 30 minutes before the scheduled sunrise time to capture the changing colors in the sky. Experiment with different shutter speeds to capture the movement of the clouds or the silhouette of hikers.
  8. Play with Light and Shadows: Utilize the interplay of light and shadows to create dramatic photographs. Capture the play of light filtering through the trees or the long shadows cast by the mountain during golden hour.
  9. Include People for Scale: Adding human elements to your photographs can help convey the vastness and scale of Mt. Pulag. Include fellow hikers in your shots to provide a sense of perspective and to add a narrative element to your photographs.
  10. Respect the Surroundings: Practice responsible photography by respecting the environment and the local guidelines. Avoid trampling delicate vegetation and remember to follow the “Leave No Trace” principles. Leave the location as pristine as you found it.

Remember, while capturing breathtaking photographs is important, don’t forget to take some time to put the camera down and enjoy the incredible beauty of Mt. Pulag with your own eyes. Immerse yourself in the experience and embrace the magic of this majestic mountain.


Safety Tips and Guidelines

While hiking Mt. Pulag is an incredible adventure, it’s essential to prioritize safety and follow certain guidelines to ensure a smooth and secure journey. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Physical Fitness and Preparation: Engage in regular exercise and fitness activities to build up your stamina and endurance. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the challenges of the hike.
  2. Acclimatization: Allow yourself time to acclimate to the high altitude by spending a day or two in the nearby towns of Kabayan or Baguio City before beginning the hike. This will reduce the risk of altitude-related illnesses.
  3. Weather Awareness: Check the weather conditions before your hike and be prepared for sudden changes. Bring appropriate clothing and gear to protect yourself from rain, cold temperatures, and strong winds.
  4. Follow the Trails: Stick to designated trails and avoid straying off the path. There are specific trails at Mt. Pulag that have been carefully marked and maintained for safety reasons.
  5. Use a Local Guide: Hiring a local guide is highly recommended for your safety. They are familiar with the terrain, weather conditions, and can provide valuable information. They will also ensure you follow the park’s guidelines and keep you safe on the trails.
  6. Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during the hike. Pack enough snacks and energy-rich food to fuel your body throughout the journey.
  7. Leaving No Trace: Respect the environment and preserve the natural beauty of Mt. Pulag by practicing the Leave No Trace principles. Carry out your trash and protect the flora and fauna.
  8. Emergency Contact: Inform someone you trust about your hiking plans, including your itinerary and estimated time of return. Make sure to also carry emergency contact numbers and know the locations of the nearest medical centers or hospitals.
  9. Basic First Aid: Carry a basic first aid kit equipped with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medication.
  10. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any signs of fatigue, altitude sickness, or discomfort. If you’re feeling unwell, it’s better to rest and descend rather than push through and risk further complications.
  11. Respect Local Customs: Mt. Pulag is considered a sacred place by the indigenous people. Respect their culture, traditions, and be mindful of their practices during your visit.

Remember, your safety should always be the top priority during your Mt. Pulag hike. By adhering to these safety tips and guidelines, you can fully enjoy the experience while ensuring a secure and memorable adventure.



Embarking on a journey to Mt. Pulag is an experience like no other. This majestic mountain offers a challenging yet rewarding adventure amidst breathtaking landscapes and serene wilderness. From the hike to the summit to the camping experience and the enchanting sunrise, Mt. Pulag provides an opportunity to disconnect from the chaos of everyday life and reconnect with the beauty of nature.


As you prepare for your Mt. Pulag hike, remember to pack wisely, research and plan thoroughly, and be physically and mentally prepared for the challenges ahead. Bring the essential items, follow safety guidelines, respect the environment, and hire a local guide to ensure a safe and responsible hike.


Throughout the journey, take the time to truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. Marvel at the diverse flora and fauna, capture breathtaking photographs, and let the sunrise at Mt. Pulag leave you in awe of the natural wonders of the world.


More than just a physical adventure, hiking Mt. Pulag is an opportunity for self-reflection, exploration, and connection with the spiritual realm. The mountain is considered sacred by the indigenous people, and it’s important to pay our respects and appreciate the cultural significance of this majestic place.


Whether you conquer the summit or simply revel in the beauty of the lower trails, the memories and experiences gained from your Mt. Pulag adventure will stay with you forever. The challenges faced, the friendships forged, and the moments of serenity amidst the wilderness will become cherished stories to share with others.


So, gather your gear, embrace the spirit of adventure, and embark on a remarkable journey to Mt. Pulag. Allow this magnificent mountain to captivate your senses, awaken your spirit, and leave you with a profound appreciation for the wonders of nature.