Mount Longonot Overview

Mount Longonot National Park is a captivating and unique conservation area located in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, about 90 kilometers northwest of Nairobi. Established to protect Mount Longonot, a striking stratovolcano that last erupted in the early 20th century, the park covers an area of approximately 52 square kilometers (20 square miles). The name “Longonot” is derived from the Maasai word “Oloonong’ot,” meaning “mountains of many spurs” or “steep ridges,” a fitting description of the volcano’s rugged outline.

The central feature of Mount Longonot National Park is the massive caldera of Mount Longonot itself, which spans about 2 kilometers in diameter, with its steep sides offering a challenging yet rewarding hike to those who venture to its summit. The peak stands at 2,776 meters (9,108 feet) above sea level, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Great Rift Valley and the surrounding landscape, including Lake Naivasha, from its top.

The park’s geography is characterized by the montane forest that lines the base of the mountain, transitioning to shrubs and grasslands as the elevation increases. This diverse habitat supports a variety of wildlife, including giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, and monkeys, along with numerous bird species, making it an ideal spot for wildlife watching, birding, and photography.

Mount Longonot National Park offers a range of outdoor activities, with the hike to the crater rim being the most popular. This trek allows adventurers to explore the crater’s circumference, offering stunning vistas and a glimpse into the volcanic forces that shaped this remarkable landscape. Additionally, the park provides opportunities for picnicking, mountain biking, and forest walks, making it a perfect day-trip destination for nature lovers, hikers, and those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

With its unique volcanic features, diverse ecosystems, and proximity to Nairobi, Mount Longonot National Park stands as a testament to Kenya’s natural beauty and geological diversity, offering visitors a memorable experience of adventure and exploration in one of Africa’s most scenic regions.

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Park Map
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Mount Longonot National Park Pictures

Mount Longonot National Park Trails

Summit Circuit Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5.3 miles (8.5 km) with an elevation gain of 2,300 feet (700 meters)

Description: The Summit Circuit Trail offers a challenging hike to the summit of Mount Longonot, an extinct volcano in the Great Rift Valley.

Hikers will ascend steep slopes and rocky terrain, passing through dense forests and volcanic craters along the way.

Enjoy panoramic views of the Rift Valley and nearby Lake Naivasha from the summit, making this trail a thrilling adventure for experienced hikers.

Crater Rim Trail

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4.3 miles (7 km) with an elevation gain of 1,800 feet (550 meters)

Description: The Crater Rim Trail takes hikers on a scenic journey along the rim of Mount Longonot’s crater, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Trek through rugged terrain and sparse vegetation, encountering unique flora and fauna adapted to the volcanic environment.

Keep an eye out for wildlife such as buffaloes and zebras while enjoying the serene ambiance of the crater rim.

Forest Loop Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3.1 miles (5 km) with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Forest Loop Trail offers a leisurely walk through the lush forests surrounding Mount Longonot, providing opportunities to observe diverse plant and bird species.

Hikers will traverse gentle slopes and shaded pathways, enjoying the tranquil beauty of the forest canopy.

Listen to the sounds of birdsong and rustling leaves while immersing yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the natural surroundings.

Western Ridge Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2.5 miles (4 km) with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet (300 meters)

Description: The Western Ridge Trail leads hikers along the western ridge of Mount Longonot, offering stunning views of the Rift Valley and surrounding landscapes.

Trek through open grasslands and rocky outcrops, encountering wildlife such as baboons and antelopes along the way.

Enjoy the cool breeze and panoramic vistas from the ridge’s edge while exploring the diverse ecosystems of Mount Longonot National Park.

Gorge Descent Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3.7 miles (6 km) with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet (500 meters)

Description: The Gorge Descent Trail provides a thrilling hike down into the depths of Mount Longonot’s crater, offering a unique perspective of the volcanic landscape.

Hikers will descend steep slopes and rocky pathways, navigating through rugged terrain and ancient lava flows.

Enjoy the dramatic scenery and sense of adventure as you explore the hidden corners of the crater floor, making this trail a memorable experience for adventurous hikers.

  • All Trails, Mount Longonot,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Go Visit Kenya, Mount Longonot National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Kenya Wildlife Service, Mount Longonot National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Lonely Planet, Longonot National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Siyabona Africa, Mount Longonot National Park,, retrieved March 2023.