Mt. Ugo

Wyatt at Mt. Ugo summit

Mount Ugo is located in the Cordilleras region. Although not one of the highest points in the country, the view on the summit is still comparable to Mount Pulag and other nearby mountains. With hospitable villagers deep within the forests, climbers may get a feel of their daily environment as they visit these natives, the Ibaloi group in particular.

The discovery of Mount Ugo was after a plane crashed in the mountains. Everyone on the flight died. Following the rescue operations, mountaineers and local officials were able to pave new trails, which would eventually become a popular hiking destination. This was not the first time a plane was rumored to have crash-landed on these slopes. Another accident occurred in the 1960s. These tragic incidents proceeded to surround the mountains with creepy ghost tales. Even the name “Ugo” itself has an unnerving origin. It comes from the word “Ugoan”, which means, “to cut the neck”.

Nevertheless, hundreds of hikers brave the trails up this mountain. With many guides and established routes, adventure seekers should definitely give this one a try. Be reminded that temperature may drop at times, but rarely to the extremes. With that, have fun exploring these paths!

Elevation: 2,150 m above sea level

Kayapa Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Days needed to complete hike: 1 to 2 days

Average hike duration to reach summit (From jump-off point): 4 to 5 hours

Major jump-off point: Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya

The Kayapa trail begins in Nueva Vizcaya. It is an open trail surrounded by pine trees. Beautiful forests and rocky terrains flank your sides. It leads to Indupit and Domolpos village where you may eat and rest for a while. After a few more hours of trekking in the forests, you will reach the summit. You will then be greeted with a beautiful view of nearby mountain peaks. A few of these would be Mount Pulag and Mount Tabayoc.

Wyatt Maktrav in Mt. Ugo
Wyatt Maktrav in Mt. Ugo

Itogon Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Days needed to complete hike: 1 to 2 days

Average hike duration to reach summit (From jump-off point): 4 to 6 hours

Major jump-off point: Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet

Itogon trail, on the other hand, begins in Benguet. With a trail very similar to Kayapa’s, this trail is also enjoyable and moderately challenging. Expect steeper slopes and vast rolling terrains. You will pass by Lusod Village and the “Old Sawmill”, as they call it. The summit is already within the borders of Itogon, Benguet. This is a great place to do mountain viewing once you reach your destination.

Kayapa – Itogon Traverse Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Days needed to complete hike: 2 to 3 days

Average hike duration to reach summit (From jump-off point): 4 to 6 hours

Starting point: Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya

Ending point: Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet

This traverse hike lets hiker experience both major trails of Mount Ugo. Most climbers opt to go on this track and travel from Nueva Vizcaya to Benguet. The starting points are reversible, so you may choose which set-up is more convenient. Both trails are moderate climbs with spectacular views. It requires 2 to 3 days with adequate campsites for overnight stays.

However, it is important to note that DENR has discouraged hikers to use the Tawangan trail. This is due to security concerns. It is still best to contact the center to ensure the safety of your trip.

Mt. Ugo – Mt. Pulag Traverse Trail

Difficulty: Very Hard

Days needed to complete hike: 4 to 7 days

Average hike duration to reach summit (From jump-off point): 37 to 50 hours

Starting point: Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet

Ending point: Babadak Ranger Stn, Bokod, Benguet

Unlike the first three options, this traverse trail is very challenging and should only be braved by experienced hikers. This trail starts off with the Kayapa – Itogon traverse trail. Following the same route, hikers can expect a leisure start. After which, you proceed to Pangawan village, a relatively flat trail compared to the former ones. As you continue on to Banao village, the real challenge begins. With steep rocky roads, the trails take you to several landmarks such as Buwaca lake and waterfalls. Proceed to the trail up Mount Ambasa and you will reach your next stop.

After a few more villages residing in between the two major mountains, you will reach Camp 2 of Mount Pulag. You will observe that you start to enter mossy forests and foggy pine environments. For more information regarding Mount Pulag’s trail, check out this article.

Wyatt Maktrav in Mt. Ugo
Wyatt Maktrav in Mt. Ugo

How to Get There

It’s important to plan your trip in advance to make sure you know exactly what to do and where to go on the day itself. Here are some ways to get to your destination:

Kapayapa Trail

(Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya – Kayapa Police Center – Jump-off point)

Mount Ugo is located in Nueva Vizcaya. Manila hikers may use public transport to get to the province by riding an Isabela bound bus. Hop off when you reach Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya.

From there, ride a chartered jeepney to get to Kayapa town proper. Make sure you make necessary arrangements or at least have an idea where to get a jeepney! Proceed to the local police station to secure permits and guides.

After final arrangements, continue on to the jump-off point and you’re set to begin your adventure!

Itogon Trail

(Baguio – Local Barangay Hall – Jump-off point)

Unlike the Kapayapa trail, Itogon trail is a bit nearer in Baguio City. From the city, take a chartered jeepney to the local barangay hall of Itogon, Benguet. This is where you receive necessary permits and reminders.

From the barangay hall, the jeepney will then take you to the Itogon Bridge, where you finally start your trek. However, you may also opt to be dropped off at Lusod village’s waiting shed. Road conditions have improved, allowing vehicles to reach this point.​

Wyatt Maktrav in Mt. Ugo
Wyatt Maktrav in Mt. Ugo

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