BENGUET | Camp John Hay’s Eco Trail in Baguio City | Lakad Pilipinas

Camp John Hay's Nature Trail

I’ve been looking for a walking trail in Baguio City for the longest time. One would expect that this wouldn’t really be a problem since the city is surrounded by pine-laden hills and all, but you’d be surprised that there are hardly any trekking grounds in the area at all.

So before heading to Baguio this time around, I Googled high and low for trekking grounds and at last stumbled upon a blog post regarding a  trail run held at Camp John Hay. Where exactly at the camp this was, I’m not so sure, John Hay is not exactly small and the post did not include a map of the run.


One of the Many Bridges along Baguio's Eco TrailCamp John Hay's Pine ForestWith hardly any clue, we took a cab and boarded down in front of Le Monet Hotel, near where the horse riding grounds are located. This was where my Google Mapping led me as there seemed to be some sort of trail-like road in the vicinity. And triumphant we were! I was not mistaken at all; Camp John Hay’s Eco Trail is indeed in the neighborhood, albeit on the opposite of where I thought it would be, hehe.

The trek starts near the entrance to the new Butterfly Sanctuary. From a gravel path, it eventually progresses into an orange-colored dirt pass surrounded by a forest of pine trees. The track winds up and down, it’s pretty hilly but is really quite manageable even to those not used to these kinds of activities.

I can almost see what Baguio must have been like before urban development ate most of its wooded areas; unpaved hilly roads crossed by small brooks and totally blanketed by towering pine trees. The only thing you’ll hear besides birds chirping (or cawing in the case of crows) are the whispers of pine trees as their leaves brush against the wind.

Our scenic trek goes on for about half an hour; passing through dried streams, wooden bridges, ramped earths, and finally to a narrow gravel path overgrown with grasses. We were unsure if the trail ends this way and if we should now turn back. I tried to see where the path leads to but was unable to; both sides were fenced with a wall of bushy thickets and it wounds left and right. Debating if we should push through, we heard voices on the other side of the hedge, golf players.

It turned out we were parallel to the sprawling golf grounds of Camp John Hay. I found a small passage that led to the pruned landscape of the golf area and asked the guys playing about the trail, just head straight on they said. Alrighty then, we held our course and moved straight forward.
Baguio's Eco-Trail Map.  Click to view on Google Maps

The trail eventually opened up again and led down to a steep rolling hill. It looked like we’re now nearing the end of our journey as we can already see the snaking concrete highway of Loakan Road.

A plunge into the ravinelike drop and a few more steps and we were back on hard concrete.

It took us an hour and a half to traverse the trail, incessantly stopping throughout the trek to take photos of everything. We didn’t have any water with us and we were quite thirsty after walking through the forest, our mind was tuned to only one thing, cold Frappucinos at Starbucks Camp John Hay. It was however a long way back inside the camp and upon retrospect, we apparently should have started on the old John Hay gate side of the trail and exited inside the camp’s Filling Station.

I’ve never seen this side of Camp John Hay before and it was indeed a Baguio experience like no other. It’s been years since I’ve discovered something new in the city, not that I don’t like its familiar sights, I do too, but its always nice to walk down a new path and experience Baguio in a new way.

ADDENDUM:
Added the map for the Eco Trail which is actually a combination of the Blue and White Trails, two of the three trails in Camp John Hay. The third one, the Yellow Trail, can be found on the Historical Corridor of John Hay.
 
Special thanks to DGF of Explored! for the heads up regarding the names of the trails which prompted me to do more research on them and eventually led to the map posted above.

Baguio's Pine Forest Camp John Hay's Eco TrailBaguio's Towering Pine Trees Crossing a Dried Brook at Baguio's Eco Trail

  Camp John Hay Eco Trail
  Address: Camp John Hay, Baguio City
  Entrance Fee: Free
  Website: http://www.campjohnhay.com.ph | http://www.jhmc.com.ph

Baguio 2011 Series


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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Thursday, June 9, 2011

13 comments:

  1. There used to be 'colored' trails like yellow, green, and red (which I think, was the hardest and longest). Yellow was the easiest. It was off limits when I was there since it was being used by the US military (I think). I haven't tried that yet. Buti ka pa. Hehe.

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  2. Looking at the map, the red trail, I think, starts where the Manor is now. I think this was the yellow trail noon. Did you end up at the commissary or at the old main gate?

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  3. I have to try this the next time I'm in Baguio! I'm a sucker for hikes/trails/long walks :)

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  4. ano po ung mga lens na ginagmit nyo sa shots nyu? thanks!
    ang gaganda kasi..

    ni post-processed nyu pa po ba?

    thanks!!

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  5. Gusto kong i try ito...

    Mga ilang oras kayong nag ikot?..

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  6. love it here! ang ganda!

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  7. Ding
    Thanks for the trail names, I searched further and found that there are indeed colored trails in John Hay, the Yellow, White and Blue trails.
    Posted the map above, we started from the FIlling Station and ended up at the Old John Hay Gate. =)

    Jonna
    You'd surely enjoy this! I'm not sure lang how muddy the trail gets during the rainy season.

    Elle
    I usually use my Tokina 11-16mm lens, thanks! But the best lens you have is actually the one mounted at your camera at that moment, learn its abilities and limitations and you'll get beautiful photos from it every time.

    Yup, everything's post processed po, our cameras are not as good as our eyes. =)

    Tripper10
    It took us an hour and a half to traverse the trail, pero mabagal kami maglakad, ninamnam namin eh hehe. I think it can be crossed in 30 to 45minutes.

    Lestat
    Me too! =P

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  8. Thanks for the "colors". Been ages. LOL! So nakadaan na pala ako sa white trail a long time ago. what we did, was pass through the middle of the golf club before we reach the commissary, and end up near the "old swimming pool at the back of commisary. Actually off limits na sya noon when the Americans were still there and we just pretended we got lost. haha. And the space between the blue and white trail, is where the fire station was. Doon ang study group place namin kasi quiet. But we didn't know there was a trail. The place was covered with thick bushes and not like the clean one you have passed through. Parang jungle noon.

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  9. kuya max, humalik ka ba sa lupa nung unang punta mo sa camp john hay? hehehehe yun ang natatandaan kong pamahiin nuong araw jan e...

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  10. Salamat Christian... Siguro mas babagalan namin para marami kaming mapagkwentuhan... :)

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  11. Ding
    Wow sa Baguio ka nag-aral!? Kaingget haha

    Aldous
    Haha hindi eh, ganun ba yun?

    Tripper10
    Tama, namnamin ang trail! hehe

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  12. oo kuya max pero nuong mga 80's lang sinusunod tapos pagdating ng 90's dina... hehehehhehehe... yun yung mga ginugulungan ng magsing-irog sa mga lumang pelikula e, si dolphy madalas gumulong dun.... hehehehhe

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  13. Hwag lang sana kaming maligaw... Thanks Christian...
    Dami kung nakuhang pweding puntahan sa Baguio... :)

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