Penang Island is blessed with amazing numbers of trails for many decades. Blazed by the local inhabitants of Penang, these trails link up various heritage sites and points of interests all over the island. Starting from Youth Park and Botanical gardens, the trails spread out from the north to central and southern part of the Island, from Air Itam, Batu Ferringhi, to Teluk Bahang and Balik Pulau.
For decades, Penang people have taken to these trails during many of their weekends and public holidays. Some trails are easy and popular for the leisure weekend hikers, while others are rather hilly and less chartered which provide interesting challengers to serious climbers and trail runners.
Yet, for a long time, most of Penang trails have been a mystery for a lot of people in the Northern parts of Peninsula Malaysia, and Malaysia in general. Many Penang people have not been exposed to the many beauties and challenges of these trails.
Until Sep 2018. Ultimate Trails of Penang is conceived with a passion for nature trails. Following the successful inaugural edition on 23rd Sep 2018, where more than 400 participants signed up despite the late opening of registration 3 months prior to the race date. Participants have given the race a rave review. In 2019, with a new 100km distance category with elevation gain of 5500 m added to the original 3 categories of 20km, 40km, and 60km, we managed to attract over 600 participants from more states and more countries. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 3rd edition was only held in Oct 2022, but with 990 runners signed up for the event. Despite changes and diversions made to the original route which reduced the toughness of this race, UToP has been widely recognized as one of the toughest 100km trail race in Malaysia.
In 2023, building on the categories that have been organized so far in the first 3 editions, we will be adding in a 100 miles category as well, which would have a cut off time of 48 hours.
Ultimate Trails of Penang (UTOP) takes place at Penang Municipal Park or Taman Perbandaran Pulau Pinang which is well known as
Penang’s Youth Park.
Course Description :
- All categories 100 miles, 100km, 60km, 40km, 20km & 12km flag-off from Penang’s Youth Park
- UTOP begins from Penang’s Youth Park – Jalan Kebun Bunga – Waterfall Café - Botanical Gardens (Main entrance) - Fork (Left) – Orchid Garden – Bamboo Garden – Trailhead of Mount Olivia
- Mount Olivia Trail – Top of Mount Olivia – Mount Olivia Mountain-Bike-Trail (MTB) - Coronation Trail – Junction Trail 46 (via Mount Olivia - Old Crag Hotel trail) - Station 46 rest area – Station 47 rest area – Cross Jeep Track - Trail to 84 uphill – Fork (Left)
– Trail 84 to Cendana Hill until descent to Station 84 rest area which is Checkpoint #1 Station 84
- From Checkpoint #1 Station 84 shortest distance category 12km will proceed to Finishing Line at Penang’s Youth Park. Other categories enter short downhill trail until reach Hye Keat Estate trail junction (Turn Right uphill – for 20km which will pass Buddhist stupas until merge with the main trail that is slightly above the Middle station. As for 100km, 60km & 40km turn left downhill until bottom hill cross a small bridge Sungai Ayer Puteh and heading to Hill Railway Station Road to enter side trail at Penang Hill Bottom Station which leads to Penang’s Heritage Trail 1890
- 100km, 60km & 40km continue on ‘Heritage Trail since 1890’ until slightly above the Middle Station (where 20km runners will pass and merge on the same ascending trail
- Upon reaching Claremont Station turn right and up to Claremont trail until Viaduct Station & Viaduct West Road 20km, 40km, 60km & 100km : Proceed on Penang Hill By Path G – By Path F and enter By Path A to Penang Hill Summit Road (Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra)
- 20km & 40km will proceed to turn left heading to Checkpoint #9 Tiger Hill trailhead; while 60km & 100km turn right heading towards Dataran Bukit Bendera and pass by The Habitat main entrance - Jeep Track until entrance of Uplands School & Old Crag Hotel main entrance which is Checkpoint #2 Old Crag Hotel Penang Hill
- 60km & 100km will proceed on towards Checkpoint #3 Chin Farm Dam onwards; while 40km & 20km to continue to Checkpoint #9 Tiger Hill trailhead. From here 20km to continue on Moniot 1825 trail descending before entering Moniot Road East trail towards Station 84 for the 2nd time; which is Checkpoint #11 Station 84
- At Checkpoint #4 Tiger Hill trailhead; 60km & 100km later will merge with 40km and continue towards a small stream and cross a small bridge into Tiger Hill ascending trail heading to Checkpoint #5 Kek Lok Si onwards
- 60km & 100km : From Checkpoint #2 Old Crag Hotel the course is heading to behind the main building over the right-side until left turn into trailhead to Rain Gauge 9 - Western Hill East trail
- From Rain Gauge 9, take left into connecting trail to Batu Feringghi and later turn right into another connecting trail which is Batu Feringghi Aqueduct – Bukit Chempedak trail via Rain Gauge 20
- Cross the river at Sungai Batu Feringghi and proceed to Aqueduct Service Road which heads to Batu Feringghi Dam & Reservoir (Checkpoint #3 Chin Farm)
- Cross the river at Batu Feringghi Dam and start ascending to Station 10 of Laksamana Hill trail
- At middle Laksamana Hill Station 10, 100km will split to turn right downhill to Checkpoint #4 Taman Rimba Teluk Bahang. 60km to continue ascend to the peak of Laksamana Hill’s Eagle Point towards next location Checkpoint #9 Tiger Hill trailhead which will also be same trail for 100km after returning on the main trail after Checkpoint #8 Taman Rimba Teluk Bahang
- For 100km, from Checkpoint #4 Taman Rimba Teluk Bahang exit the main entrance and turn right to Jalan Teluk Bahang. Continue on and take 2nd exit at the roundabout to Jalan Teluk Awak fishery village before entering Penang’s National Park.
- 100km will enter main entrance and proceed to Sg. Tukun trail and Pantai Kerachut trail where Checkpoint #5A Pantai Kerachut is located. From here, continue to Teluk Kampi trail and Kem Seraya towards Bukit Batu Hitam peak. Make a U-turn to Kem Seraya to Checkpoint #5B Pantai Kerachut
- Continue reverse on Kerachut trail until reach Taman Negara main entrance and return to next Checkpoint #6 Taman Rimba Teluk Bahang. From here exit the main entrance and turn straight to parking area Teluk Bahang Dam. Take the stairs up to Teluk Bahang Dam and turn left to main entrance of the dam. Turn right to Jalan Teluk Bahang and continue on the road track until next checkpoint which is Checkpoint extra Tropical Fruit Farm
- From there, enter farmer’s trail towards next Checkpoint #7 Kampung Pantai Acheh. Make a U-turn on the same trail towards Checkpoint Extra Tropical Fruit Farm
- Continue on the main road returning to Checkpoint #8 Taman Rimba Teluk Bahang via downhill of Jalan Teluk Bahang
- After Checkpoint #8 Taman Rimba Teluk Bahang, proceed uphill towards Station 10 of Laksamana Hill and merges with 60km will continue ascend to the peak of Laksamana Hill’s Eagle Point towards next location Checkpoint #9 Tiger Hill trailhead which will also be same trail for 60km main trail.
- From Station 10 of Laksamana Hill, 60km & 100km proceed to Laksamana Hill peak and heading to Western Hill East which is the exit of Laksamana Hill trail
- 60km & 100km Turn right on the tarmac road until reach By Path E which is the location of Checkpoint #9 Tiger Hill trailhead
- 40km, 60km & 100km : from Checkpoint #9 Tiger Hill trailhead continue towards a small stream and cross a small bridge into Tiger Hill ascending trail
- Rain Gauge 29 is located at the peak of Tiger Hill. Make right turn to descend until reaching common trail of Tiger Hill – Penang Hill. And turn left heading towards Iron Cross
- From Iron Cross, take the trail facing in front which is Terrapin Trail or also known as Ngoh Hean Jungle trail until tarmac road of Ngoh Hean Hill. Turn left to a cross junction that is known as ‘Hilton Hut’
- Again take the trail facing forward – Penara Hill trail until reaching tarmac road of Bukit Penara service road
- A very slight short downhill to enter Penara Hill trail which will lead to tarmac road of 1200 Steps Temple Path
- Exit Penara Hill nature trail and continue downhill on tarmac road until Checkpoint #10 Kek Lok Si which is located nearby Kuan Yin Statue & Octagonal Pavilion and Kek Lok Si White Pagoda.
- From Checkpoint #5 Kek Lok Si continue to exit the main entrance gate and turn left into Air Itam dam service road until reaching Air Itam Dam towards playground area and proceed to a short trail before veer left to proceed uphill towards Sitavana Vihara & Buddhist Monastery before entering Mon Sejour nature trail
- Mon Sejour Old House Ruins is visible at the end of the trail. From there move forward Upper Tunnel Road until merge into Viaduct Road West where it crosses path with 20km.
- For all categories 20km, 40km, 60km & 100km : Proceed straight to enter short Viaduct Road East before entering Moniot Road East trail until arrive at Station 84 again for the 2nd time; which is the last checkpoint rest area Checkpoint #11 Station 84
- From Checkpoint #11 Station 84 turn into Point 5 trail until reaching the junction to Station 39
- From Station 39 proceed downhill to Station 45 and later to Laman Flora at Youth Park trail heading towards the main field area where the finishing line is located