Hiking in the Philippines: 5 El Nido Hiking Trails

The Philippines is a stunning archipelago known for its breathtaking natural landscapes, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife. Beyond the picturesque coastlines, the country also boasts an impressive network of hiking trails that offer adventurous travelers a chance to explore the great outdoors. One of the most popular hiking destinations in the Philippines is the stunning region of El Nido, located on the island of Palawan.

So, instead of searching for popular “hiking trails near me” on search engines, you can start with this article.

Hiking in El Nido, Palawan

El Nido is a small coastal town that has gained international fame for its crystal-clear waters, dramatic limestone cliffs, and lush tropical forests. The region is a prime destination for hikers, offering a variety of trails that cater to different skill levels and interests. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a nature enthusiast, the hiking trails in El Nido are sure to leave you awestruck and inspired.

El Nido Hiking Trail #1: Taraw Cliff

One of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in El Nido is the Taraw Cliff trail. This strenuous trek takes hikers up a steep, rocky incline to the top of a towering limestone cliff, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding islands and turquoise waters. The hike is not for the faint of heart, as it involves some technical climbing and scrambling over rugged terrain. However, the sense of accomplishment and the stunning vistas make the effort well worth it.

  1. Difficulty Level: Challenging
  2. Estimated Duration: 2-3 hours (round trip)
  3. Highlights: Stunning panoramic views, challenging rock scrambling, and a sense of adventure.

El Nido Hiking Trail #2: Lio Falls

For a more relaxed and scenic hike, the Lio Falls trail is an excellent choice. This moderate trek takes hikers through lush, tropical foliage and past a series of cascading waterfalls, culminating in a refreshing swimming hole at the base of the main waterfall. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to navigate, making it a great option for families or those looking for a more leisurely outdoor experience.

  1. Difficulty Level: Moderate
  2. Estimated Duration: 1-2 hours (round trip)
  3. Highlights: Picturesque waterfalls, swimming opportunities, and a peaceful, natural setting.

El Nido Hiking Trail #3: Nacpan Beach

The Nacpan Beach hike is a popular choice for those seeking a combination of stunning coastal views and a peaceful, secluded beach experience. The trail winds through a lush, forested area before opening up to the breathtaking Nacpan Beach, a long stretch of pristine white sand and turquoise waters. Hikers can enjoy a refreshing swim, relax on the beach, and take in the stunning natural scenery.

  1. Difficulty Level: Easy
  2. Estimated Duration: 1-2 hours (round trip)
  3. Highlights: Stunning coastal views, a beautiful and uncrowded beach, and a chance to relax in a serene natural setting.

El Nido Hiking Trail #4: Nagkalit-kalit Falls

The Nagkalit-kalit Falls hike is a must-do for nature lovers and waterfall enthusiasts. This moderate trek takes hikers through a lush, jungle-like environment, culminating in a series of cascading waterfalls and natural pools. Visitors can cool off in the refreshing waters and explore the surrounding rock formations and caves.

  1. Difficulty Level: Moderate
  2. Estimated Duration: 1-2 hours (round trip)
  3. Highlights: Stunning waterfalls, natural pools, and a serene, jungle-like setting.

El Nido Hiking Trail #5: Makinit Hot Springs

For a more relaxing and rejuvenating hiking experience, the Makinit Hot Springs trail is a great option. This easy hike leads to a natural hot spring, where visitors can soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters and enjoy the peaceful, secluded setting. The trail is relatively flat and well-marked, making it accessible for hikers of all skill levels.

  1. Difficulty Level: Easy
  2. Estimated Duration: 1 hour (round trip)
  3. Highlights: Natural hot springs, a peaceful and serene setting, and a chance to relax and unwind.

Essential Hiking Tips for El Nido

Hiking in El Nido can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s important to be prepared and follow some essential safety guidelines. Here are some hiking tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear appropriate footwear: Invest in a good pair of hiking boots or shoes with ample traction and support to navigate the often-rugged terrain.
  2. Pack plenty of water and snacks: Hiking can be physically demanding, so make sure to stay hydrated and fueled throughout your adventure.
  3. Bring sun protection: The tropical climate in El Nido can be intense, so pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  4. Check the weather: Be aware of the local weather conditions and plan your hikes accordingly, as sudden rain showers or storms can make the trails more challenging.
  5. Hire a guide: Consider hiring a local guide, especially for more challenging hikes, to ensure your safety and enhance your overall experience.

Must-Have Hiking Gear for El Nido

To make the most of your hiking adventures in El Nido, consider packing the following essential hiking gears:

  • Sturdy hiking boots or shoes
  • Lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing
  • Backpack with a hip belt for comfort
  • Water bottle or hydration system
  • Snacks and energy bars
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses)
  • First-aid kit
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Portable charger for your devices
  • Insect repellent

Ready to embark on an unforgettable hiking adventure in El Nido, Palawan?


El Nido’s stunning natural landscapes and diverse hiking trails make it a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts in the Philippines. Whether you’re seeking a challenging trek, a scenic waterfall hike, or a relaxing hot spring experience, the region has something to offer hikers of all skill levels. By following the essential tips and packing the right gear, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience in this breathtaking corner of the Philippines.

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