Cameron Highlands Hiking Guide – Malaysia

Trail 6, Cameron Highlands

Along with its tea plantations and strawberry farms, the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia is best known for its excellent hiking opportunities. The cooler climate and beautiful natural landscapes outside the towns make this area perfect for adventurous travellers seeking outdoor pursuits. 

There are a variety of hikes in the Cameron Highlands, from scaling peaks, to forest hikes and tea plantation walks, and with something to suit all fitness levels, everyone can get out into nature.

Discovering the hiking trails was the best part of my trip to this part of Malaysia. To help you plan your own visit, read on to learn more about hiking in the Cameron Highlands, including trail durations, difficulty and my pick of the best!

Cameron Highlands Map & Resources

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An Introduction to the Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands is named after the English surveyor William Cameron who was the first European to discover the area in 1885. It was developed as a hill station in the 1920s and during colonial times, the area was a haven for the British who were stationed in Malaya.

They used it as a place to escape the tropical heat of the lowlands. The British influence can be easily seen here, with a faux-Tudor-style pub, golf course, and, of course, lots of tea and strawberries! 

The area is crisscrossed with 14 trails, which were established in the 1960s by the military for patrolling the region. These days the routes are used as hiking trails, and the best part is that most of the trails can be hiked without a guide and are absolutely free. Great news for budget travellers!  

Top Tip!

Download the app All the trails are clearly marked here (including New Trail 1 and 14). It’s free and can be used offline. 
BOH tea plantation
The Cameron Highlands is a hiking paradise!

14 Trails in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Trail 1: Brinchang Town to Mossy Forest – Top Hike!

  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 3.5km
  • Difficulty level: Difficult

Trail 1 once led to Mount Brinchang but this route has been permanently closed. However, there is a New Trail 1 which starts close to the original trailhead just north of Brinchang Town and leads to the entrance of the Mossy Forest, passing the peak but not leading to the summit. Please note, you need a guide and permit to enter the Mossy Forest. 

There are yellow trail markers attached to trees so the path should be easy enough to follow, but be aware that some can easily become hidden in the overgrowth so keep your eyes peeled at all times. Make sure you follow the yellow markers and not the river, which is a common mistake.

New Trail 1 features some steep sections and ropes are provided to help with ascending and descending. The latter part of the trail can get very muddy at times. Although Mount Brinchang is no longer part of the route, it does reach the summit of Puncak Brinchang Barat towards the end of the trail, offering views across the surrounding hills.

Trail 2: Sam Poh Temple (Brinchang) to Trail 3

  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Distance: 2.7km
  • Difficulty level: Difficult

The short but tough Trail 2 begins at Sam Poh Temple, which is worth a visit, and includes lots of ascents and descents over rough terrain. The path leads through a forest and there are no views out over the landscape. This trail requires a decent level of fitness and you’ll need to use all four limbs to scramble up and over certain sections.

Trail 3: Arcadia to Mount Berembun

  • Duration: 2-3 hours hours
  • Distance: 5.5km
  • Difficulty level: Moderate to difficult

The trailhead for Trail 3 can be found behind Arcadia Cottage, near the golf course, a 10-minute walk south of Brinchang. The jungle walk leads to Mount Berembun which sits at an altitude of 1,840m above sea level. 

Parts of the trail, particularly near the end, are very steep. The summit of Mount Berembun offers nice views but the clouds start to roll in in the afternoon so it’s best tackled early in the day.

Trail 3 intersects with Trail 2 around a third of the way along the route; taking this would lead you to Sam Poh temple and make a convenient loop back to Brinchang. Alternatively, you can pick up Trail 7 or 8 from the summit to descend via a different route.

At the time of writing, Trail 3 is temporarily closed so check with your hostel or a local guide before heading out.

Trail 4: Forestry Department (Tanah Rata) to Parit Waterfall

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Distance: 1.8km
  • Difficulty level: Easy 
Parit waterfall cameron highlands
Parit Waterfall is a popular attraction in the Cameron Highlands.

The easiest trail of all, this is a straightforward walk to Parit Waterfall. Most of the route is paved, making it very accessible. The relatively easy route and accessibility means that this is a popular walk so expect it to be busy. The falls are small and pretty but not spectacular.

Trail 5: MARDI (Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Tanah Rata) to Trail 3 

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Distance: 1.6km
  • Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Trail 5 starts around 2 km outside of Tanah Rata and is best used as a connection to Trail 3. Where the trails intersect, you can either head left and onto Sam Poh temple (via connection to Trail 2) or right to the peak of Mount Berembun. Trail 5 itself is a pleasant forest walk. Keep an eye out for the flora found in the Highlands, including pitcher plants and orchids.

Trail 6: Bharat Tea Plantation to Mount Jasar – Top Hike!

  • Duration: 1.5-2.5 hours
  • Distance: 4.5km
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
Trail 6 - Bharat tea plantation 2
The Bharat Tea Plantation.

One of the best hikes in the Cameron Highlands, Trail 6 takes in stunning views over the hills, Orang Asli villages, and a walk through a tea plantation. It’s best walked from Mount Jasar down to the tea plantation in combination with the first half of Trail 10 which starts in Tanah Rata.

There are some steep and tricky sections down from the peak that require using hands and feet but around halfway, the trail joins a small road after which it becomes much easier. At this point, you’ll see locals working in the plantations and pass Orang Asli villages.

You’ll then turn off the road into the plantation itself and walk amongst the emerald green tea bushes. The trail ends at Cameron Valley Tea House 1 – a perfect place for a well-earned cup of tea.  

To get back to Tanah Rata it’s best to hitchhike from outside the tea house as the road back is busy and not pedestrian friendly.

Orang Asli village
An Orang Asli village.

Trail 7: MARDI (Tanah Rata) to Mount Berembun 

  • Duration: 1.5-2 hours
  • Distance: 3.7km
  • Difficulty level: Difficult

This trail leads through forest and parts can become very overgrown. Most of the way is on an incline and parts, especially the ascent up Mount Berembun, are extremely steep and should be approached with caution. 

At the peak, the trail merges with Trails 3 and 8, meaning you can take an alternative route down the mountain. The recommended option is Trail 3 as it’s easier to navigate and more scenic.

Trail 8: Robinson Waterfall to (Tanah Rata) Mount Berembun  

  • Duration: 1.5-2.5 hours
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Difficulty level: Very Difficult

You can find Trail 8 by walking a short distance along Trail 9 from Robinson Falls. You’ll pass a viewpoint around half a kilometre into the hike with a nice vista of the hills beyond. 

Be warned that his route is a hard slog uphill with tough terrain and a relentless incline. Hiking poles would be very useful if you have them. There are also leeches present on this trail so wear long trousers and tuck them into your socks.

Trail 9: MARDI (Tanah Rata) to Habu Village

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Distance: 2.6km
  • Difficulty level: Moderate

Trail 9 is an easy-to-follow trail but has some steep descents. It’s a scenic route that passes Robinsons Falls and offers views of tea plantations and fruit fields. The trail ends at the hydroelectric station to the north of Habu Village. There have been reports of robberies on this trail so check with your hostel for the latest information before heading out.

There is also a Trail 9A which intersects with Trail 9 around the midpoint. It is not recommended to attempt to hike 9A as it is very overgrown and difficult to navigate. This is even noted on the app.

Trail 10: Tanah Rata to Golden Hills Via Mount Jasar – Top Hike!

  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Distance: 4.3km
  • Difficulty level: Moderate to Difficult

One of the most popular hikes in the Highlands, Trail 10 offers superb views of the rolling hills, especially from the peak of Mount Jasar. It features a few tough climbs, including the use of ropes. Most people choose to hike the first half of the trail, up to Mount Jasar, and from there pick up Trail 6, which leads down to the Bharat Tea Plantation. 

Trail 10 view
Views from Trail 10, Cameron Highlands.

The original trailhead is closed due to construction so you’ll need to access it via a side entry, slightly further north, which is clearly marked on

Trail 11: Tanah Rata to Trails 10 & 12 

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Distance: approx. 1km
  • Difficulty level: Easy

Trail 11 is a wide dirt track that’s easy to follow and relatively flat. There’s not much to see along the way as it’s mainly used as a power line maintenance track. It’s only really worth hiking as a means to reach the northern start of Trail 10.

Trails 12, 13 & 14

Trail 12 was a short walk from the weather station to meet with Trail 10, but it no longer exists due to property development in the area.

Older maps mark Trails 13 and 14 which connected, with Trail 13, leading south from Tanah Rata along a stream to the trailhead of Trail 14, which then led up to Mount Mentigi before exiting on the Tanah Rata Road. Sadly, both of these have also now vanished owing to development. Neither is visible on either.

Trail 6 descent
Some trails sadly no longer exist.

New Trail 14: Mossy Forest to Mount Irau 

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Distance: 4.3km
  • Difficulty level: Difficult

There is a New Trail 14 that runs through the Mossy Forest (starting near where New Trail 1 ends) all the way up to Mount Irau. A guide is required for this trek as visitors aren’t permitted into the Mossy Forest without one. 

The Mossy Forest itself is a magical landscape where the trees drip with soft, emerald moss and the peak of Mount Irau offers views across the Highlands.

Hiking in Cameron Highlands FAQs

What’s the best time of year to go hiking in the Cameron Highlands?

February to April are the best months to hike. The temperatures are comfortable at this time of year and it’s the quieter time of the dry season. Weekdays are also better as weekends become busy with local tourists.

How safe is hiking in the Cameron Highlands?

The Cameron Highlands are generally very safe for hiking as long as you take sensible precautions. Make sure you have a map and let your hostel know where you are heading. Some robberies have been reported on Trail 9 but this information seems dated so check with your hostel for the latest and avoid this trail if you’re unsure or alone.

What to wear hiking in the Cameron Highlands?

The altitude of the Cameron Highlands means it’s cooler up here than in the rest of Malaysia. A lightweight rain jacket will come in handy for the chilly mornings and as protection from afternoon rain showers. As the sun rises and as you work up a sweat, it can start to feel very warm so lightweight, quick-dry clothes are best. Long sleeves and trousers are recommended for avoiding scratches from the undergrowth and keeping out the leeches on some of the muddier trails. Shoes with good grip are essential – hiking boots are best but sneakers will do the job too.

What is the easiest trail in the Cameron Highlands?

Trail 4 is the easiest hike as it’s easily accessible and paved. However, if you’re looking for a relatively easy forest hike, Trail 5 is a good option.

Do I need a guide to hike in the Cameron Highlands?

You don’t need a guide to complete any of the hikes, apart from New Trail 14 as it passes through the Mossy Forest. All the trails are clearly marked on which can be downloaded for free and used offline. All Trails also offers information about most of the routes. Some people prefer to hire guides though for ease, so if you’re not confident in map reading or would just prefer to follow a local without fear of taking a wrong turn, then this is a good option. Check with your hostel for reputable local guides.

With so many hikes in the Cameron Highlands to choose from, you’ll find trails suitable for all abilities and interests. Whether you want to climb to the top of a peak, immerse yourself in lush forest or enjoy panoramas of the rolling hills cloaked in tea bushes, you’ll find a hike to suit you in the Cameron Highlands.

Tea and scones never taste better than when they have been hard-earned after a good hike! So, grab your map and head for the hills!

Lisa Barham author pic
Lisa Barham

Having always dreamt of travelling the world, Lisa finally decided to follow that dream in her mid-thirties when she left her nine-to-five in London for life on the road. After trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal and learning to surf in Sri Lanka, she headed for wondrous Southeast Asia, where she can currently be found solo backpacking, navigating through life and unfamiliar streets.

Follow her on: Instagram

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