Bale Mountains Overview

Bale Mountains National Park, located in southeastern Ethiopia, is a pristine wilderness area renowned for its diverse ecosystems, stunning landscapes, and unique wildlife. Encompassing an expansive area of approximately 2,200 square miles (5,700 square kilometers), the park is nestled within the rugged highlands of the Ethiopian Plateau. Situated within the larger Bale Mountains Range, it is Ethiopia’s second-largest national park and represents one of the country’s most important protected areas.

The park’s diverse habitats range from Afro-alpine moorlands to lush montane forests, deep river valleys, and vast grasslands, creating a mosaic of landscapes that support an astonishing array of plant and animal species. At higher elevations, the iconic Sanetti Plateau, often referred to as the “Roof of Africa,” showcases vast expanses of rolling grasslands interspersed with unique alpine flora, including the otherworldly giant lobelias and Ethiopian roses. This starkly beautiful landscape is punctuated by volcanic plugs and rock formations, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Bale Mountains National Park is renowned for its rich biodiversity, harboring numerous endemic and endangered species found nowhere else on Earth. The park is a sanctuary for the endangered Ethiopian wolf, the rarest canid in the world and Africa’s most threatened carnivore species. Other notable inhabitants include the majestic mountain nyala, the iconic Ethiopian mountain ibex, and the elusive Bale monkey. Birdwatchers flock to the park to spot a plethora of avian species, including the endangered wattled crane and the stunning Ethiopian endemic bird species such as the blue-winged goose and the Rouget’s rail.

In addition to its remarkable wildlife, Bale Mountains National Park offers a wealth of recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can embark on guided treks and hikes to explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, marvel at its stunning scenery, and encounter its unique wildlife. The park also offers opportunities for camping, birdwatching, and cultural experiences, providing visitors with a truly immersive wilderness experience in one of Africa’s most captivating landscapes.

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Park Map
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Bale Mountains National Park Highlights


Bale Mountains National Park is a biodiversity hotspot, especially celebrated for its unique assemblage of endemic species across vast Afro-alpine landscapes.

Ethiopian Wolf
Africa’s most endangered carnivore, the Ethiopian Wolf is slender and fox-like, specializing in hunting rodents in the high-altitude grasslands.

Mountain Nyala
An elegant antelope with spiral horns, the Mountain Nyala is almost exclusively found here, blending into the montane forests and grasslands.

Menelik’s Bushbuck
Darker and smaller than its relatives, Menelik’s Bushbuck is a shy creature, adept at navigating the dense underbrush of the park’s forests.

Bale Monkey
Unique to the southern Ethiopian highlands, the Bale Monkey thrives in bamboo forests, feeding predominantly on young bamboo shoots and leaves.

Giant Molerat
Found only in the Bale Mountains, this burrowing rodent is a key food source for the Ethiopian wolf, showcasing the park’s interconnected ecosystem.

African Wild Dog
Though increasingly rare, the African Wild Dog is a highly social and effective predator, roaming the park’s landscapes in search of prey.

Abyssinian Catbird
Mimicking the sound of a cat’s meow, the Abyssinian Catbird is known for its melodious duets, adding a soundtrack to the highland forests.

Blue-winged Goose
An endemic bird species, the Blue-winged Goose prefers the wetlands and alpine lakes, often seen in pairs or small flocks.

Spot-breasted Lapwing
Vibrant and vocal, the Spot-breasted Lapwing is found in the Afro-alpine meadows, its distinctive appearance a delight for birdwatchers.

Ethiopian Highland Hare
Adapted to cold climates, this hare’s brown fur blends into the Afro-alpine vegetation, illustrating the park’s unique adaptation strategies.

Bale Mountains National Park Pictures

Engaging Bale Mountains National Park

Explore the diverse landscapes of Bale Mountains National Park through its network of hiking trails. Choose from easy walks to challenging treks, each offering breathtaking views of alpine meadows, rugged peaks, and pristine lakes. Encounter unique wildlife such as Ethiopian wolves and mountain nyala as you immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the park.

Bale Mountains National Park Trails

Sanetti Plateau Loop Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 8 miles (12.9 km) with an elevation gain of 656 feet (200 meters)

Description: The Sanetti Plateau Loop Trail offers hikers a captivating journey through the surreal landscapes of the Sanetti Plateau, the highest plateau in Africa.

Trek across expansive grasslands dotted with giant lobelias and striking rock formations. Encounter unique wildlife such as the endangered Ethiopian wolf and mountain nyala while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

This moderate hike promises an unforgettable adventure amidst Bale Mountains National Park’s pristine wilderness.

Harenna Forest Trail

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 10 miles (16 km) with an elevation gain of 1,312 feet (400 meters)

Description: The Harenna Forest Trail leads hikers through the lush montane forests of the Harenna Escarpment, offering a rich biodiversity and stunning natural beauty.

Trek along winding paths beneath towering trees and dense undergrowth, listening to the sounds of birds and primates echoing through the forest canopy.

Keep an eye out for endemic species such as the Bale monkey and vibrant birdlife while immersing yourself in the serene ambiance of the ancient forest.

Tullu Deemtu Summit Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 12 miles (19.3 km) with an elevation gain of 3,937 feet (1,200 meters)

Description: The Tullu Deemtu Summit Trail is a challenging ascent to the second-highest peak in Ethiopia, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Ascend steep slopes and rocky terrain, passing through alpine meadows and rugged cliffs. Encounter unique flora and fauna adapted to the high-altitude environment while enjoying the thrill of reaching the summit.

This difficult hike promises a rewarding mountaineering experience in Bale Mountains National Park.

Web Valley Circuit Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 miles (9.7 km) with an elevation gain of 984 feet (300 meters)

Description: The Web Valley Circuit Trail offers hikers a scenic loop through the picturesque Web Valley, surrounded by lush vegetation and cascading waterfalls.

Trek along meandering paths, crossing crystal-clear streams and passing by traditional villages nestled amidst the verdant hillsides.

Enjoy encounters with local communities and learn about their traditional way of life while immersing yourself in the tranquility of the valley’s natural beauty.

Chelba Forest Loop Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5 miles (8 km) with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Chelba Forest Loop Trail provides a gentle hike through the enchanting Chelba Forest, renowned for its diverse flora and fauna.

Wander amidst towering trees and lush undergrowth, listening to the melodious songs of birds and the rustling of leaves in the breeze.

Keep an eye out for endemic plant species and colorful butterflies while enjoying the serene ambiance of the ancient forest. This easy to moderate hike offers a delightful exploration of Bale Mountains National Park’s natural wonders.


1. What is Bale Mountains National Park known for?

Bale Mountains National Park, located in southeastern Ethiopia, is renowned for its stunning alpine landscapes, diverse wildlife, and unique Afroalpine ecosystems. One of the park’s main attractions is its high-altitude plateau, which is dotted with picturesque lakes, lush meadows, and dramatic rock formations.

Bale Mountains National Park is home to a variety of endemic and rare species, including the Ethiopian wolf, the mountain nyala, and the Bale monkey. The park is also a haven for birdwatchers, with over 280 bird species recorded within its boundaries, including the elusive and endangered wattled crane.

Visitors to Bale Mountains National Park can explore its scenic hiking trails, spot wildlife in its natural habitat, and experience the beauty and biodiversity of Ethiopia’s highlands.

Related National Parks

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  • Bale Mountains, Bale Mountains National Park Site,, retrieved March 2024.
  • Britannica, National Park,, retrieved March 2024.
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  • The Adventurist, Visiting the Bale Mountains National Park,, retrieved March 2024.
  • UNESCO, Bale Mountains National Park,, retrieved March 2024.
  • Wikipedia, Ethiopian Wolf,, retrieved March 2024.