Kuala Lumpur is a great city in a great country, I’ve spent not one but two good chunks of time here that could not have been more different.
The first was when the Covid pandemic kicked off in 2020 and I was stuck 12 storeys up in an apartment block for a month/eternity waiting for a flight and looking down at the eery empty streets dreaming of going for a walk. Any walk.
The second time was a month in early 2023, this time travelling with my girlfriend. We arrived in KL for a week and again ended up staying for a month. This time out of choice thankfully.
I’d heard rumours amid all the tower blocks and shopping malls KL had some amazing hiking trails. Hidden pockets of hilly jungle tucked away behind condominiums and between highways.
I was not disappointed. I’d heard right. Kuala Lumpur is full of multiple trails some of which will make you think you’re on a full-blown jungle adventure when in fact you’re only 10 mins from a 7-Eleven.
If you’re on this page you likely share my love of hiking, so join me now as I share a quick rundown of the Kuala Lumpur hiking trails I’ve tackled so far – and two or three that are on my to-hike list for my next visit to this amazing city.
Sitting on 66 acres of lush jungle, 350m high Taman Tugu hill is directly north of Perdana Botanical Gardens and can be easily accessed by Bank Negara and Masjid Jamek stations. So super easy to get to.
The hike I did was a pretty gentle 2 hours, a 5km loop with about 100m of elevation. But in that time you will get dollops of jungle and you will get great views of the city.
It still blows my mind that this hill had a previous life as a colonial hill station and then as a landfill site, it felt so authentically jungle. Thousands of trees from “endangered” indigenous species now call this hill home thanks to the good work of the Forest Research Institute Malaysia. Well done guys!
Taman Tugu was my first taste of KL Hiking and, well, you always remember your first don’t you?! I was so taken with my Taman Tugu experience that I stuck around in KL for another two weeks to hike every other trail I could find.
Bukit Kiara is one of KL’s most popular mini jungle hikes, well-known to locals and visitors alike. It’s not the highest at just 258m but there’s a maze of trails to make up for its diminutive height.
Located in an island of green between the mall-filled neighbourhoods of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), Bukit Damansara and Mont Kiara. The hill has got a little something for everything.
There are concrete paths for joggers and pushchair pushers, and there’s a maze of muddy jungle trails and steep inclines popular with mountain bikers, trail runners and us hiker folk. And there are jungle gyms galore for those who like to climb a sweaty hill before getting even sweatier lifting weights.
Bukit Kiara was my second KL hike and my first introduction to the love and affection local community groups have for their green spaces. Every corner of Bukit Kiara seems to have been given an affectionate name and decorated with homemade signs. Keep an eye out for Angkor Wat Rock, The Bamboo Tunnel, The Serenity Tree and Starbucks Corner.
Sat on the border between Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur proper, Bukit Gasing Forest Park is 100 acres of secondary forest crisscrossed by trails and an all-around lovely place to get lost for a few hours.
Bukit Gasing Hill is only 160 metres high so don’t come expecting challenging trails or stunning city views but do come for a relaxing hike on forest trails. Leave your cares behind and get lost in the sights and sounds of the natural world.
Bukit Gasing’s star attraction apart from copious amounts of greenery is its world-famous (in Kuala Lumpur at least) suspension bridge. A very miniature version of the bridge Indiana Jones had to fight his way across in The Temple of Doom.
Don’t come all the way across town just for the bridge – come for the hike – but definitely don’t leave without running across it like a loon!
A strong contender for my favourite KL hike, Bukit Saga Hill is located in the Cheras District of Kuala Lumpur. It’s part of Sungai Puteh Forest Reserve which includes Apek Hill.
The hike involves a very steep climb to the peak of 410 meters with a fun jungle gym chill-out area built by caring locals. So far so normal for hiking trails in KL. But the real joy of Saga Hill comes in the out-and-back scramble that starts at the peak and delves deeper into the jungle to find the Bukit Saga Waterfall.
This feels like real jungle exploration time. The trail is an up-and-down scramble over roots and rocks, you will get sweaty and you will have fun. Then as your reward, the falls are a beautiful splishy splashy way to cool down.
This is definitely one of the best hiking trails in town and it has the potential to be even more fun if you combine it with a longer hike by joining an Apek Hill trail, the neighbouring peak.
Bukit Sri Bintang is a tiny island of a hilly jungle located between Kepong and Desa Park City. It’s not the most challenging hiking trail in town, nor is it the most jungle-filled.
This definitely isn’t a protected forest; it seems more of a forgotten bit of land that’s proved too awkward a shape to build on, yet. But if you want a quick burst of green space with a few trails that end with a legit scenic view of the city skyline then this will tick that box.
You can hit up both mini peaks – imaginatively named Sri Bintang Peak 1 and Peak 2 – and take in the sunset and be back in the concrete jungle in about an hour.
My big tip for this one is to come for the sunset, the lack of excitement of the hike itself is definitely compensated by the golden hour views of the Mont Kiara Landscape and the Kuala Lumpur skyline.
Welcome to Ketumbar Hill, another of Kuala Lumpur’s most popular hiking trails. And it’s easy to see why.
Ketumbar used to be part of the Sungai Puteh Forest Reserve with Bukit Saga and Apek Hill until a new highway severed the connection making it another floating island of green.
Troops of cheerful monkeys, packs of roaming wild boar, gorgeous views of the city and a hilltop chillout area with a pop-up cafe serving a range of caffeinated drinks (salted caramel latte anyone?). What’s not to like?
Ketumbar is located in the Cheras District of town, it’s a bit of a pain to get to by public transport but an easy Grab ride and it’s definitely worth the trip. There are two trails, a steep one and a slightly less steep one. Actually, there are loads of trails but the main trail is a loop, you can go up one way and back the other.
I think of Ketumbar as a great all-rounder. The views aren’t as good as Taman Tugu. It’s not as wild as say Sungai Pisang. It’s not as tall as others like Bukit Saga and it doesn’t have as many “attractions’ as Bukit Kiara. But it has enough of everything to leave any hiker satisfied.
A pocket rocket of a hike. If you are looking for maximum views with minimum physical effort then Bukit Guling Ayam will do the trick.
The hike itself only really gets interesting at the top, where the craggy karst limestone and sweeping vista makes you think you’re on the top of a mountain rather than just 160 metres up.
The only downside is getting here, or rather away. You will either need your own car or to book a taxi to collect you, as the trailhead is located at the back of a Mcdonald’s drive-thru car park on the side of Karak Federal Highway.
Sungai Long hill is located just east of Bandar Baru Sungai Long in Selangor, where the city gives way to the real jungle. I had high hopes for this hiking trail to be super wild but it turned out to be super lame. Definitely my least favourite KL hike.
Now, there is a chance I simply got my timings wrong. Actually, I know I got my timings wrong. I include it on this rundown as I reckon Sungai Long Hill is probably a very pretty walk (not hike) at sunrise and sunset. Just don’t do what I did and turn up in the middle of the day. Scorchio!
But for me, this wasn’t a hiking trail. It was a walk on a poured concrete road that provided little shade. The main highlight of which was the opportunity to jump out of the way of giant rumbling trucks on their way to a quarry presumably.
I’d say the trek to Sungai Pisang Waterfall was my favourite day in Kuala Lumpur, the only reason I hesitate in declaring this my number 1 is that the route is so gentle that I’d call it a walk in the woods rather than a hike.
Despite it not being much of a challenge it is however a great adventure. Instead of walking on trails, you spend most of the hike walking through the river itself as you trace it back to its source at the thundering Sungai Pisang Waterfall.
Along the way you will pass through tunnels, shimmy across fallen trees, hopscotch over rocks, complete multiple river crossings and tiptoe between giant tree roots. This was the most “lost in the untouched jungle” I felt and I loved it.
Note, the trailhead is away in the sticks up the Old Gombak Road in the hills behind the Batu Caves. So unless you have your own car be sure to organise a return taxi in advance as Grab might let you down this far from town as it did for us.
It’s always nice to be left wanting more, and I departed KL with heavy legs and a heavy heart. There were so many other hiking trails I wanted to try.
I’d heard good things about Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve to the west, Broga Hill just out of town and Bukit Kutu in Kuala Kubu Bharu to name a few but the ones I really really want to do next time are:
Now that’s a peak. Photo Credit: Pooventhan Supramaniam
Bukit Tabor also known as the Dragon’s Back, also known as the Crystal Ridge, also known as Klang Gates Quartz Ridge. Any hike with as many names as this place must be a little bit special.
As an outsider to town, a newcomer to the hiking trails of KL I knew nothing about Bukit Tabur until I saw the huge boulders that make up its peak from the top of Bukit Guling Ayam. I thought “Me want’s me some of that”. But by then my flight was already booked and my days expired.
Bukit Tabur is said to be part of the longest quartz ridge not just in Malaysia but in the world. The entire ridge is made up of unusual terrain with stunning views. It’s also home to the elusive Serow goat, a goat that looks more like a deer than any goat I’ve seen. Not that I’m a goat expert.
Now, that’s a proper hike: Photo credit: Peripitus
I know Mount Kinabulu is not in Kuala Lumpur but I’m writing it here as a reminder to myself that the next time I’m in Malaysia I’m definitely gonna pop over to Sabah and climb this bad boy. It just looks so badass.
Sure at 4,095 metres it’s the tallest mountain in Malaysia and some would say slightly steep. But it doesn’t require any special equipment so I’m classing that as a hike.
Just to cover my back. I’ll add I didn’t include Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, also known as KL Forest Eco Park, also known as one of the oldest forest reserves in the country. But I’m not sure it counts as a hike, it looked to me to be a stroll on a canopy walk.
Sure it’s a nice way to glimpse some jungle but more of a tourist attraction than somewhere to actually get your exercise on. So not one to add to a list of the best hiking trails in Kuala Lumpur.
Now, I could be wrong about this. I could be wrong about everything. If I am, tell me below. In fact, if you have other hot tips for hikes I haven’t mentioned the chances are I’ve never heard of them so please tell me below and I’ll add them to my list next time I make it to Kuala Lumpur.
Until then you brave trail warriors, look out for thorns, mind those hidden tree stumps and be good to one another out there.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the Hike Hero difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.