Mount Kenya Climbing Routes

Mount Kenya Routes: Mount Kenya has 3 major routes of Sirimon, Chogoria & Naromoru route, & minor Burguret, Timau, Kamueti, Ithanguni, Meru routes.

Climbing Mount Kenya Through the Scenic Chogoria Route

The sirimone route, Chogoria route and Naromoru routes are the major routes frequently used by almost 90% of Mount Kenya trekkers/climbers/mountaineers summiting the Peaks, though most treks conducted to Lenana Peak or the technical Batian and Nelion, take a combination of 2 out of the 3 routes such as Sirimon-Chogoria, Sirimon-Naromoru, Sirimon-Naromoru or vice verser.

Mount Kenya National Park has three main peaks; the two highest Batian and Nelion which are technical to climb and are rarely climbed as compared to Point Lenana– the 3rd peak which is the major highlight to climb/trek/hike all year round. While the rest of the peaks on the mountain Kenya ranges are purposely meant for interesting rock climbs.

climbing Batian & Nelion Peaks Of Mount Kenya

Highlight Of Mount Kenya Climbing Routes

Name                      Starting From                         Distance                Start Altitude

Sirimon                    North-North-West                      25km                       2650m

Naro Moru               West                                          20km                       2400m

Chogoria                 East                                           20+10km                 2850m/1700m

Burguret                  West-North-West                        25km                       1500m

Timau                      North                                         35km                        3300m

Kamweti                  South                                         25km                        3000m

Although climbing Mount Kenya is technical, it can still be accomplished in 3 days, although it is always advised to increase add days to allow for proper acclimatization.

Along these three major routes, are built huts for overnight rest for all trekkers, but camping enthusiasts can camp under their own tents.

Furthermore, Mount Kenya has additional peaks including Burguret on the West, Timau on the North, Meru on the North East, Ithanguni on the East, and Kamweti to the South.

These routes are have no huts, no tracks to follow which makes it hard to find a better route through, no official park gates, and requires many rangers to protect the group from wild animals.

Trekking Mount Kenya Via Sirimon Route

The Sirimon route is the route to ascend Mount Kenya on a 3, 4, 5 day climb. The route has only two huts of Old Moses camp and Shipton.

On a 3 days hike,  you will spend  a night in each camp, While a 4 days Mount Kenya hike via Sirimon offers 1 night at Old Moses, 2 nights at Shipton, while the 5 days Mount Kenya hike takes on 2 nights at Old Moses as well as Shipton’s hut.

Most trekkers on the summiting day to Mount Kenya prefer to reach Lenana Peak before 0700hrs because so as to enjoy the perfect picturesque of the sun rising

Shiptons Camp gets you nearby and personal with all the Mount Kenya as well as the final summit night. Therefore, for a more adventurous hike, it is better to use the Naro Moru route for descending.

Trekking Via Naromoru route of Climbing Mount Kenya

The Naro Moru Route approaches Mount Kenya from the Western side through the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Gate, which is the headquarters of Mount Kenya National Park. their main headquarters for the mountain.

The Naromoru route back then was the shortest and most famous route to Mount Kenya peak of Lenana, with huts/camps at Met Station (3050m) and MacKinders (4200m) for overnight rest, after the day’s hike. Today, the sirimon route has over taken that popularity, due to scenic beauty and distance it offers to the peak.  Both camps are spacious enough for all trekkers, although there is also enough space for camping enthusiasts.

Climbing Mount Kenya starts in 3 days, starts from Nairobi by road in a customized 4WD jeep, followed by registration at the gate. The path then proceeds through the forest and bamboo arriving at Met station for an overnight.

Day 2 takes follows the track through more bamboo and forest before exiting to join the alpine heath to Teleki Valley and finally MacKinders camp. On the other hand, another approach to Lenana through the south would take you to another hut known as the Austrian Hut at 4790m.

Due to the dense forest along this route as well as the bamboo zone., chances are high, that the trekkers are most likely to encounter with animals like the bushbuck, Colobus monkeys, Sykes Monkey and sometimes Buffalo and Elephants. The hygenia forest is also in best condition with many flowers and other plants, while. The giant heathers above the forest were heavily damaged by a fire in 2013 but the alpine moorland has plenty of Giant Lobelia as well as MacKinders Gladiolus higher up. Whilst the Teleki Valley comprises of numerous classic Tree and Cabbage Groundsels as well as Lobelia Telekii and Deckenii. On the approach to or at Mackinder’s you are almost guaranteed to see Rock Hyrax.

Day 3  is usually the summiting day followed by a descent down to the Park gate to exit and return to Nairobi by road.

Climbing Mount Kenya through Chogoria Route

The chogoria route approaches Mount Kenya from the East, at the National Forest Reserve gate adjacent to the village of Chogoria. Like the Sirimon route, the Chogoria route out of the Mount Kenya climbing route is also famed for its attractive nature to Mount Kenya. However, it has no nearby camp, as it is quite longer unless you use 4×4’s to reduce to reduce the distance but driving through the forest up to as far as the Meru Bandas (3000m). The next step is following a 4×4 path further up to a junction, where you can either on the left for a more direct route, or right to pass Mugi Hill and Lake Ellis.

Both join near the head of an impressive amphitheater of cliffs known as The Temple, beneath which we find Lake Michaelson while at the West end, a large notch where the Nithi River enters. Just above the junction (4300m), is an old rickety hut where the porters usually sleep, but clients have to camp. The path then ascends  further up to Simba Tarn, at a junction where it divides either to the North or South for Shipton’s or Austrian huts respectively.


Access is good to the mountain, there is a good road from Nairobi and the journey is about four hours. Most people use Naro Moru as their base on the west side, and Chogoria town or Embu as their base on the east side.

Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano with just one central vent. The main peaks are pretty much in the middle with ridges and valleys that radiate out from the summits like the spokes of a wheel. The routes follow the valleys up to the massif and the trekker then ascends scree and rock to the glaciated summit of Lenana, seen below on the right hand side.

The two main peaks are the remains of the volcanic magma that solidified in the main vent and there is a roughly circular path that goes round them which is the Summit Circuit route. Point Lenana is a smaller sub peak to one side of the main peaks.

Burguret Route

Like the Naromoru route, the Burguret also approaches Mount Kenya from the West.  The route has no defined path, because it is occasionally used, neither does are huts found hear.

Further, the route does does not have the KWS park gate, which then requires early preparation and booking prior to the date when the trek has to begin, so that the trekkers can register and acquire the Mount Kenya.

It is always a hectic work, that guides have to always create a route  in the lower section through the bamboo forest , each times they are to use this route. Meaning that the actual precise route taken will vary time after time upto the moorlands, where the first camp of Kampi Ya Machengeni (3000m) will be found.

The next stage is a bit relieving as  to find a route, because the ground is more open. A route will easily be made upto to the next usual camp at the rocky outcrops of Highland Castle, 3700m.

The route there then ascends up thinning flora along the ridge to Hut Tarn where it meets the summit loop. Climbing to Point Lenana from this point can be made from either the North or South, though MacKinders Hut or Austrian Hut are the closest.

In a nutshell, the Burguret route is frequently used due to its added difficulties of finding the route and inadequate facilities, as well its length which is too long. Despite the challenges, Some trekkers like Felice Benuzzi, Giovanni Balletto and Vincenzo Barsotti made their remarkable climb of the mountain when they escaped from the British PoW Camp in Nanyuki in 1943. The story until today is recorded in Benuzzi’s fantastic account- ‘No Picnic on Mount Kenya’.

Timau Route

Timau Route approaches Mount Kenya from the North close to  the village of Timau, and follows a route meandering through the gentler northern slopes until it steepens around 4200m. The route then abruptly drops into and across the Hinde Valley and the Nithi North river before ascending high Hall Tarns to connect to the Chogoria Route. It is still  not very clear  whether climbing via this route, can be recommended, unless after prior advice from the KWS Rangers regarding current conditions.

Kamweti Route

Kamweti Route approaches Mount Kenya from the south by driving steeply from the village of Kutus to the Forest Castle Lodge located in the forest zone. From here, you can either trek from the  lodge or drive for more 6km to the Kamweti Forest Station at around 2600m. Thereafter you can start seeking for a track that you will follow for approximately 6km through the bamboo and giant heather before exiting out onto a ridge and along the top of the Kiringa river where it flows out of a large bowl in the mountainside. Then the 10km sees the heath thin out as the trail reaches a feature known as The Scoop, at the end of a long ridge leading to the peaks. After then follow the ridge to Austrian Hut via Tilman Peak or to traverse West round to MacKinders Hut via lake Hohnel.