Camp Sinai starts you off at a higher altitude with the giant 10 commandments tablet and a view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. It has easy access to the Casile Trails and the picturesque Marikina River.
You can really mix and match trails when you are in the San Mateo, Rizal Area. Camp Sinai is one of them. Camp Sinai is popular for having a large tablet of the 10 Commandments like Mount Sinai in the Bible. It’s a great vantage point for the view of the Sierra Madre Mountain range and the early morning sea of clouds.
The Map and Elevation
The route starts at Camp Sinai and proceeds to a rolling terrain for the next 3 kilometers before entering a brief road stretch heading to the Casile trails with a descent of about 400 meters over the next 4 kilometer stretch. There’s about another 1.5 kilometer to the u-turn slot in Inigan with two river crossings. The route goes back to Casile for the 10th kilometer. The route goes on a 4 kilometer climb the Casile trails with about 400 meters of elevation. The road has a 1 km access point back to Camp Sinai.
Trekking San Mateo, Rizal Trails
The trail started at Camp Sinai. It starts from a higher viewpoint so you’ll immediately appreciate the beauty of the surroundings. You have an excellent view of the mountains even just at the start of the trail.
The first 3 kilometers were on single track trails that had a rolling terrain. The first kilometer had us descend Camp Sinai and enter the single track trails. We started at walking pace since there were several climbs already at this stretch. The trails did shift to a faster pace on the flats and the descents.
The pace of the trail shifted at the second kilometer as the lead pack went on to breeze to the descents and remain steady on the incline. We followed their pace and might as well take advantage of the descending trail. It was also a hot morning so we might as well try to keep moving. The good part about the trail, which I know the trail runners would love is that it’s run-able. The descents can be long and the inclines are tolerable.
There was a small river around the 2 kilometer mark and it was a bit of a scene. After that stretch, we got separated from the lead pack. We were able to catch them after a few minutes at the store where they were having their refreshment around kilometer 3. We also waited for the rest of the pack here.
After the short rest, it was the long stretch of descent that would cover the next 4 kilometers. I joined the lead pack again and after walking the paved area, we started running when the trails resumed. It was time to speed up. It was rough roads with a lot of stones. It also helped that I had a trekking pole, which added some balance on the stony portion of the trails. It was fun to run at this pace on the trail as gravity was on our side.
The roads was also a popular area for cyclist so from time to time, there were cyclists who would pass by on the trails. There were also trail runners preparing for the race next week. Runners would definitely enjoy this stretch and I also suggest that come race day, they should take advantage of this stretch as the second half of the race would really be a long climb.
Even with the fast descent, you had to really stop to appreciate the views around you. You had different vantage points of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. That’s the beauty of trails like this even if you have to bare the heat and fatigue, you have the views to make it worth your while.
We have covered the 4 kilometer descent in such a short time. The road intersected with the New Casile Road. We took the Casile Road before the river to rest. We also took a chance to have fresh buko juice to quench our thirst.
After the rest at the store, we then went to the rivers. The first river crossing was just below the Casile trails and it was followed by about a kilometer stretch of land heading to the Inigan area. It had a mix of rock, stones and sands for its surface. Expect your shoes to get messy from this stretch. It’s run-able if you want but it’s also great to take it slow to appreciate the view from the river.
This spot because it felt like a scene from the Last Samurai movie. You had the clear rivers, You had the rich green surroundings and you had mountain ranges around you. This trail would give you both a view from the top and a view from the bottom and it’s both great.
It’s a picture taking hot spot. There were also deep parts of the river where you could have a good swim, which is a perfect way to cool down on hot days like this.
We then took the way back. It was a relaxing walk back to the Casile area and we had a short snack break at the store near the intersection of Casile Road and New Casile Road. It was also our way to recharge a bit as the next four kilometers would be a really climb on a very hot day.
I started to condition my mind to toughen up on this stretch as it’s 4 kilometers climb on a hot weather. The plan was just to be consistent on the climb and stop if needed. The first kilometer of the climb was the hardest and mentally exhausting part of the climb. I can feel the sweat trickling down my face coming from the hot weather and the effort of the climb. It did help that I had a trekking pole with me.
After the first kilometer, I felt a lot tougher already. Exhausted but a lot more determined on the climb. It was a consistent effort on the climb and after each stretch I had to sip from my hydration bag so I won’t be dehydrated. I had a short water break after 3 kilometers of climbing at the store where the others were resting too. After the short rest, it was just routine getting over the last kilometer of climbing.
We waited for the rest at the store at Pintong Bukawe and after that it was just 1 kilometer road access back to Camp Sinai. We then had lunch at BaseKamp at it was really tasty lunch after a really tough effort at the trail.