I received an email form one of our readers regarding other trails in Kinabalu Park. Swen Vetters wrote:
We (3 adults and 1 child) would be interested to visit the Mt Kinabalu Park just for some trails around the headquarter and maybe a transport to the end of the road just to some view points, but not climbing to the peak.
Are there trails around the headquarter to lookout points ? Is there a possibility to drive just until the end of the road, where the climbing usually starts ? What are the fees to pay for the before mentioned ?
Thanks in advance for your kind feedback
Best regards and have a nice day
In fact, there are other trails in Kinabalu Park Headquarters for those who would like to explore. All of the trails are situated inside the park and they will not leads you to the Summit Trail which is the main trail to Low’s Peak.
The forest around the Kinabalu Park Headquarters is always beautiful, whether it is lit by the first rays of the sun over the eastern ridge, shadowed by passing clouds at midday or veiled in drifting mists at evening.
A number of walking trails have been developed around the Park HQ ranging in length from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours. These trails are marked on the trail maps (below) available at Park HQ. Remember that times given are approximate and vary greatly depending on how fit you are and how often you stop.
The trails around the headquarters can be divided into two basic groups – Ridgetop Trails and Streamside Trails.
Kiau View Trail (estimated time: 90 minutes one way)
This starts by the entrance arch into the Kinabalu Park and comes out just after the 1.5km (1 mile) mark on the Power Station road opposite the entrance to the Silau-Silau Trail. A wide undulating ridge trail with several shelters and good views looking down to the west coast, it is excellent for familiarizing yourself with the most typical trees of Kinabalu’s mountain forest.
Pandanus Trail (estimated time: 20 minutes to Kiau View Trail)
This is part of the route for the World Mountain Running Trophy Race that took place at the Kinabalu Park in September 1999. It starts just opposite the entrance to the car park at the Administration Building, zigzagging up the side of the ridge to reach the Kiau View Trail at the ridge crest.
Bukit Ular Hillside Trail (estimated time: 30 minutes)
A fairly steep trail that contours around the side of Bukit Ular near the top end of the Power Station road. It starts about two-thirds of the way up the Power Station road coming out just behind the Power Station itself. A steep 30 minutes detour just below the Power Station leads to the top of Bukit Ular with excellent waterfall and mountain views.
Bundu Tuhan View Trail (estimated time: 7 minutes to the ridgetop shelter; 25 minutes to Liwagu Trail)
Starts from the loop road below the staff quarters near the Conservation Center. The trails leads up to a shelter on top of the ridge above the main highway to Ranau which gives good views of Bundu Tuhan village and a panorama of the southern mountains, including Trusmadi (2642m), the second highest peak in Sabah. Then continue down the side of the ridge to the Liwagu Trail.
Bukit Tupai Trail (estimated time: 25 minutes)
A short trail that starts near the Multipurpose Hall, crosses the Silau-Silau stream and trail goes straight up to the ridge crest and the Bukit Tupai shelter. Excellent views of the HQ complex, the tree canopy and in clear weather outstanding views of Mount Kinabalu. At the ridge crest it joins the Mempening and Bukit Burong trails.
Bukit Burong Trail (estimated time: 10 minutes to Silau-Silau, 25 minutes to Bukit Burong)
Starts from the road, first crossing the Silau-Silau stream and trail, then going gradually up the ridge side to the Bukit Burong shelter at the top. The trail connects to the Mempening Trail via the Bukit Tupai shelter. They are favorites with visitors because of the variety and convenience, combining hill forest, cool stream valley and dry ridge tops. Bukit Burong shelter gives five panoramas of Kinabalu, the lower Liwagu valley and the HQ area.
Mempening Trail (estimated time: 30 minutes from road to Silau-Silau)
Another ridgetop trail starting about half way up the Power Station road and leading down the ridge through dense oak-chestnut forest to Bukit Tupai and the Silau-Silau stream. Good views of the Park HQ complex and the Liwagu valley.
Silau-Silau Trail (estimated time: 50 minutes from Power Station road to Liwagu River)
This follows the cool and mossy Silau-Silau stream for nearly all its course from its source below the Kiau Gap right down to the junction with the Liwagu river near the overhanging rock of the Liwagu Cave. Many visitors enjoy walking this trail in conjunction with another one such as Bukit Burong or Kiau View. A detour joining the Bukit Tupai Trail is made in one area to avoid the Mountain GArden. Short cuts back to the road can be taken near the twin-bed cabins and where the path joins the Bukit Tupai and Bukit Burong trails.
Liwagu River Trail (estimated time: 3 hours from Power Station down to Silau-Silau junction)
The Liwagu Trail starts near the Kinabalu Basam restaurant at Park HQ and leads down to the Silau-Silau stream but does not cross it until the junction with the Liwagu river. From here the trail follows the Liwagu river upwards, sometimes almost along the river bank, at one time on a high bluff, until it joins the Power Station road near the Timpohon Gate. This is a varied trail with ridge forest, cool stream valley, feathery rattan palms and the deep green gorge of the Liwagu itself. The trail is steep and narrow in places but there are several plants not found on other trails.
The best way to walk it is to get a lift to the Power Station and then follow the Liwagu Trail down. Because of its length the trail is not much used and visitors should check to see if there have been any tree falls or landslides recently.
Image courtesy of MySabah.com
References: Globetrotter Visitor’s Guide Kinabalu Park (Globetrotter Visitor’s Guides), by Anthea Phillipps