Trus Madi Forest Reserve, also known as Sabah Forest Management Unit (FMU) 10 (Tambunan) with a total area of 175,897 ha. is located in central Sabah, between longitude 116° 34’ E and 117° 01’ E and latitude 5° 27’N and 5° 52’N. It is surrounded by Ranau, Tambunan and Keningau districts and Sook sub district and is under the management of Tambunan and Keningau Forestry Districts. Mount Trus Madi which lies within the reserve is the main attraction here. The mountain attract serious climbers and adventurers from all over the world. Mount Trus Madi with a height of 8,668 feet (2,642 meters) above sea levels is the second highest mountain in Malaysia and Sabah.
Five different vegetation types can be seen in Trus Madi Forest Reserve i.e. lowland mixed dipterocarp forest, hill mixed dipterocarp forest, lower montane forest, upper montane forest and summit scrub. This forest reserve is full of Sabah endemic plants and wildlife with more than 600 species of plants and more that half of over 682 species of Sabah birds can be found here. However due to heavy logging activities in the past, the forest surrounding Mount Trus Madi was no longer at its best and pristine condition. However, the forest still attract botanist who comes here to study and reseach on the many endemic plants and animals that can only be found here such as the unique pitcher plant, Nepenthes x trusmadiensis which is a hybrid between Nepenthes lowii and Nepenthes macrophylla.
Mount Trus Madi offer avid mountaineers more challenge and adventures on its 4.9 km trail (from the foot to the top) as its thick mud cover terrains are tougher and rougher to climb compare to the more famous and tourist friendly trail of Mount Kinabalu which have proper steps made for climbers. When climbing Mount Trus Madi, climbers need to step on tree roots and fallen trunks while holding on to anything near them and at certain trails climber need to crawl and dodge tree trunks before reaching the top. However, the trail is getting more tourist-friendly due to constant upgrading of the facilities and also the difficult and dangerous trail are now eqquiped with ropes and ladders.
Climbing up Mount Trus Madi will roughly takes about 2 days 1 night and climbers will need to spend at least a night on the mountain. Climbers will start at about 1,607 meters above the sea levels from the Tambunan check point gate. The climb will normally takes about 7-8 hours and climbers will camp overnight for a rest in Gibon cabin (height = 11,155 feet or 3,400 meters) after a 4-5 hour climb on the first day. The climbing up for the next 1,500 meters will continue on the next day at the early hours for another 2 hours before reaching the summit just before sunrise. While cllimbing, do take your time to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the aerial view of Tambunan town and the various kinds of vegetations especially the endemic pitcher plants, orchids and fungi.
Caution: Take note of the warning signs which have been posted along the trail as a warning to climbers of the few dangerous area with steep slopes to prevent serious injury.
Entrance to Tambunan Check Point Gate
Getting There: Mount Trus Madi is about 70 km east of Kota Kinabalu city. The drive to the nearest town i.e. Tambunan from Kota Kinabalu city will take about 1 - 1.5 hours. From here, the journey to Mount Trus Madi Forest Reserve starting point or check point gate will take another 1 hour. Registration and an entry permit is needed here before entering and starting your adventure. Due to the many procedures involve, the best way to climb Mount Trus Madi is to use the service of a tour operator who will help to arrange for a climbing permit, transportation, guide and potter service although to save cost, you can arrange all this on your own. As usual shop around for the best offer.
Notice : Closure of Mount Trus Madi Climbing Trail via Tambunan from Sep'11 to Feb'13
The trail to climb Mount Trus Madi via Tambunan have been temporary closed since September 2011 due to the renovation work currently in progress there. The closure is expected to last until February'2013. Alternative routes are still available for climbers who which to climb Mount Trus Madi during the period using the Apin-Apin route in Keningau or via Sinua route in Sook. The closure of this climbing trail will not affect nearby places of interest, namely the Mirad-Irad River camping grounds, Rafflesia bloom viewing plot, Bukit S Waterfall and surrounding bird watching areas.