Hiking Mount Lamlam in Guam, the Tallest Mountain in the World
Mt Lamlam - The World's Tallest Mountain
I hiked the world's tallest mountain one morning. I had some snacks at the summit and met a cute wild dog on the descent.
No, I am not making this up, nor have I got crazy. Technically speaking, Mt. Lamlam in Guam is the world's highest mountain and, in my opinion, no visit to Guam is complete without taking a trip up! With an easy to find trail and beautiful views, the Mt. Lamlam hike is easy enough to accomplish in a couple of hours.
Lamlam, also written Lam Lam or LamLam, is 1,332 ft above sea level at its highest point, but, since it rises from the Mariana Trench, it is technically the highest mountain on Earth. It isn't the highest mountain above water, but if you dropped Everest in the Mariana Trench, there would be about 6,000 feet of sea water above its peak! Lamlam's rise from the ocean floor marks the world's greatest change in elevation over such a short distance.
What to Bring to Hike Lamlam
The Mt. Lamlam hike is not particularly treacherous or strenuous, but there are a few things you should bring along.
- Water. Lots of water. Lamlam is windy, which means you can get dehydrated even more quickly than on a regular hike.
- Sunscreen. Guam is located at 13 degrees North latitude. This means the sunlight is very direct and you can burn easily, so make sure to wear plenty of high SPF sun block. You can get burned on a cloudy day, so make sure not to skimp on the sunscreen if it's overcast!
- A camera. You won't want to miss the views!
- Pants. If you want to take the more overgrown trail all the way to the summit, wear pants to avoid cutting yourself on the native Guamanian grass.
- Snacks. This isn't really a must, but you may want a quick bite at the summit.
The Guam tourist map is invaluable and has everything on it. Cell phones from the continental US tend not to work on Guam, so having a physical map is important!
Directions to Mount Lamlam
Finding Lamlam is pretty easy, especially by Guam standards. Local Catholics do a Stations of the Cross up the mountain each Easter weekend and bring large crosses to the secondary peak, so most of the trail is well-worn and easy to spot. This annual event is highly anticipated and very popular because 98% of Guam's population is Catholic! Lamlam is located near the village of Agat in the southwestern portion of the island.
To reach Lamlam from the Tumon area, take Route 1 South until you have to veer left onto 2A to avoid entering the Navy base. Continue on 2 towards Agat. Drive through Agat and continue approximately 3 more miles. If you get to Ulmatec, you've gone too far and should turn around. The trailhead is on the land side of the road, but you want to park on the 'right,' if you're arriving from Agat. There are a lot of overlooks on the island, but this particular overlook has a large, distinctive wall. It is the Cetti Bay overlook and also has a trailhead that leads down to the bay, so you may notice signs for it before you see the small, green sign on the left marking Lamlam. Just check out the picture below to see what I mean!
Hiking Mount Lamlam
Across from the parking lot, you will see a small sign for Lamlam. The trail is fairly worn since it is well traveled by local Catholics each spring -you can see the large wooden crosses on the mountain's secondary peak during your entire hike.
Even though the trail is easy to follow, the rainy season downpours create some fierce erosion!
As you hike, you will notice crosses. When I showed her photos, my sister's first response was "Man, how many people have died here!" Don't worry - they're not that kind of cross. They are from the Stations of the Cross conducted by local Catholics.
Part way up the mountain, you will see a shrine to the Virgin Mary. It's pretty cool looking, and obviously used frequently.
A short distance away from this shrine, you can choose to either continue walking to your right, up the worn trail towards the crosses, or bushwhack your way to the mountain's peak. This divergence happens behind cross XI, shown below.
To the Summit
The left hand trail is a bit more like a Guam trail than the 'main' trail. By that I mean it's sort of marked and mostly overgrown. Actually, there are pretty consistent plastic tape markings all the way to the summit.
The trail is very narrow, so I highly recommend wearing pants if you don't want the grass to cut you!
Just keep following the pink tape all the way to the summit. Once you reach the peak, you'll be rewarded with beautiful, 360 degree views of the entire island. My pictures really don't to it justice - it was overcast and trying to rain when I was at the summit and my photos are, consequently, less than poster-worthy.
To the Crosses
If you follow the main path to the right, instead of bushwhacking past cross XI, you will have a much easier time of things and equally pretty views. I walked the left trail and then the right trail for the full experience! The crosses have a commanding view of Cetti Bay.
Mount Lamlam Hike
And there you have it! A complete guide to hiking Mount Lamlam in Guam, USA. If you visit Guam and want to say you've hiked the world's highest mountain, but aren't sure about your hiking skills, you can always take a guided trip with the Boonie Stompers. They offer experienced, professional hikes every Saturday!
Whether you choose to hike alone or with a group, a trip to Mount Lamlam is a must while you're on Guam. If you have any questions about how to locate the trailhead or what to expect, please feel free to leave your question in the comments and I'll do my best to help out!