Fast Times at La Mesa Nature Reserve Bike Trail

La Mesa Nature Reserve has one of the best bike trails I’ve been to within Metro Manila. From single tracks to fire roads, quick turns to fast descents, you’ll experience it all while exploring the beauty of the city’s last forest.

With the dawn of modernization comes the advent of high rise buildings, business parks, complex road networks and shopping malls just about everywhere. Living in the Philippines’ capital region can confine you away from the beauty of nature that our grandparents had enjoyed until half a century ago.

When you look Metro Manila up on Google map today, most of what you’ll be seeing is either white or gray – 80-90% of it is already covered in concrete. But somewhere on its northeast border is a large luscious green spot which seemingly got lost within the grays. This is the La Mesa Nature Reserve and perhaps the only remaining forest within NCR.

La Mesa Nature Reserve, Quezon City

La Mesa watershed is maintained and protected by Bantay Kalikasan, and was very successful over the years of managing it. To sustain expenses for preserving the forest, it was opened to facilitate educational tours, trekking and mountain biking adventures for its visitors. 

That’s right, mountain biking.

La Mesa Nature Reserve has one of the best bike trails I’ve been to within Metro Manila. From single tracks to fire roads, quick turns to fast descents, you’ll experience it all while exploring the beauty of the city’s last forest.

La Mesa Nature Reserve, Quezon City

 

Ride Details

Here is the data I’ve collected during our visit last week to La Mesa Nature Reserve. We weren’t able to finish the entire trail of the watershed but the 30-kilometer trail ride was more than enough to satisfy our craving.

Total Distance : 93 km (30 km inside La Mesa Nature Reserve)
Max Elevation : 129 m
Elevation Gain : 756 m
Moving Time : 6 hr 30 mins

La Mesa Nature Reserve, Quezon City

C-5 -> Katiputnan -> Commonwealth Ave. -> Quirino Hwy and back.

lamesa_trail_elevation

La Mesa Nature Reserve trail starts at km 30 and ends at km 60

 

La Mesa Nature Reserve Park Sights and Scenes

The trail stretches up to 53 kilometers, the longest one I’ve been to so far. And unlike most man-made trails in Metro Manila, where you have to bike multiple laps to satisfy your itch for mountain biking, one lap is usually enough in La Mesa.

La Mesa Nature Reserve, Quezon City

There are several rest stations within the watershed for you to recover. Some of them have a nice view of the lake.

La Mesa Nature Reserve, Quezon City If you love single tracks, you’ll definitely enjoy biking in the watershed. Single track segments in La Mesa goes for 4-5 kilometers.
La Mesa Nature Reserve, Quezon City

There are several portions where the trail gets technical. With moderate downhill, single track and quick turns to avoid some obstacles, it will surely get you pumped up with adrenaline. I have to say, this is the most enjoyable part of my La Mesa Nature Reserve experience.

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not a single track

To give you a better idea on how it is like biking in La Mesa, I’ve prepared a short video from our last week’s ride (better enjoyed at 480p or higher).

Notes / Tips

  • La Mesa Nature reserve is open everyday from 6:30 am to 5 pm.
  • Minimum entrance fee for a group is P1000. If there are more than five of you in your group, it becomes P200 head.
  • Walk-ins are discouraged. You need to make a reservation prior your ride. Contact 09372277700 (Mar Ramirez)
  • Bring extra water / drinks inside. Usually there are mobile stores within the La Mesa’s rest stations, but if there are a lot bikers visiting that day, the drinks gets sold out right away.

Afterthoughts

In the late 20th century, La Mesa watershed had reached critical conditions. Thankfully, Bantay Kalikasan did a great job in reforestation and maintaining this forest. But this effort should not be the responsibility of a single organization alone. If we want La Mesa Nature Reserve to survive for a long time and be enjoyed by our future generations, we must take part in preserving La Mesa. It can be as simple as disposing our trash on their right places. So don’t throw your water bottles or plastic containers just about anywhere along the trail. Keep it first until you see proper disposal.

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