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Hiking to Blue Lake, Bukit Mahkota Cheras

For all I know, the BMC Blue Lake in Bukit Mahkota Cheras may have been a well-known hiking spot since ages ago, but it somehow managed to escape my attention. I had no idea that such a lake existed in Malaysia, much less in my own state. It looks like something that would only exist on a volcano — like the one I saw on Mount Rinjani, Lombok.

But the Covid travel ban which had lasted for many months had sent Selangorians scampering to all corners of the state to discover or rediscover nearby attractions. And I began seeing more and more people posting photos of themselves in front of this incredibly blue lake.

So, at the first chance I got, I gathered a few of my friends on our mutual day off to go on a special lake-hunting mission. 

What is BMC Blue Lake?

The BMC Blue Lake is essentially a quarry, which is a type of open-pit mine for mining rocks and minerals. The rocks are extracted through a blasting process with the help of controlled explosives strategically placed in the holes among the rocks.

Over time, all these blasting operations will cause the quarry to get deeper and naturally fill with water, forming what is called a quarry lake. The color of the lake may appear blue or green due to chemical reactions with the minerals in the area and also due to reflections of the sky and surrounding trees.

Is BMC Blue Lake Open to Public?

As far as I know, there is no signage at the BMC trail head prohibiting us from entering, so I believe the trail itself is open to public.

However, to get to the blue lake, you will have to take a short detour and there is a “No Trespassing” sign at the beginning of this path, followed by a guard hut a few metres uphill. If you arrive at any time after 7.30 a.m., chances are you will meet the guard and get chased away.

During our hike, we met a local guide who claimed to know another (longer) route where you can get to the lake without passing this hut. We didn’t follow him because he still had to wait for his friends. But whichever route you choose to take, technically you’re still trespassing, because the BMC Blue Lake is a private property. There is a fine of RM1,000 per person if caught trespassing.

On top of that, the reason you are not allowed to enter is because it is still an active quarry. The blasting operations are still done every day and if you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, you could get seriously hurt. And not only that — there’s also the risk of falling into the lake, which can be more than 20 metres deep.

So, here’s a little disclaimer before you proceed:

The content of this blog is not intended to encourage anyone to break the law or engage in unethical / immoral / dangerous / irresponsible pursuits. If you still choose to participate in this activity, understand that you’re doing so of your own volition and at your own risk. I shall not be held responsible for any damage, injury, legal action, or any kind of misfortune that befalls you that is directly or indirectly caused by the content of this blog.

How to Get to BMC Blue Lake

If you’re going to a place you’re not familiar with, it makes sense to simply type in the name of the place on Google Maps. However, this is not the case with BMC Blue Lake, as we found out the hard way.

If you Google “BMC Blue Lake”, it will take you to a place where guards will be asking you to turn back even before you get out of your car. And we were pretty early (got there at around 7:10 a.m.).

Instead, Google “The Vantage“, and it will lead you to another trail that starts in a residential area. There’s plenty of parking space available at the trail head.

It is also reportedly the easiest route.

The Vantage parking area.

The Easiest Route to BMC Blue Lake

After being turned away at the first trail head, it took us another 30 minutes to drive to the Vantage in the rush-hour traffic. By the time we got there, it was already close to 8.

The parking area is at a dead-end road, and where this road stops, the hiking trail starts. It’s very easy to find and the trail itself is well-trodden and straight-forward, so there’s very little possibility of getting lost. 

The first part of the trail unfortunately looks like a dumping site with so much rubbish on both sides of the footpath. But as you walk further, it starts to feel more like a proper forest with cleaner air and more trees. Halfway up the hill, you will find a clearing where you can see a view of the LEKAS highway in the distance.

There were many other hikers during our time there despite it being a weekday. About 15 minutes into our hike, some of the hikers on their way down told us that the entrance to the blue lake was already closed and that we should have arrived before 8 a.m.

After a quick discussion, the five of us decided to continue anyway and take it as just another morning workout. Frankly, I was more than a little disappointed because the view at the peak is usually the sole reason I go on any hike at all. Otherwise, I wouldn’t care much for waking up at that ungodly hour just to prance around in a forest. So, I was determined to reattempt the trip as soon as I could.

The only viewpoint we got on the hike.

The opportunity came about a week later, but with just three of us this time. We went again to the Vantage, arriving at 7 a.m. There were fewer cars and we met only two other hikers at the base.

It had been raining heavily the day before, so the trail was a little more slippery and the air more humid than the previous time. Apart from that, everything else remained the same.

By 7:35, we finally made it to the viewpoint overlooking the lake. The lake is greenish blue, as shown in the unedited photo below. Surrounded by terraced rock walls, it looks like a well-hidden aquamarine gemstone.

This is apparently not the peak, as I saw another route going up. But the lake was the entire reason we came, so we decided not to go any further. Besides, we were told to leave before 8. After some pictures, we made our way back down.

Best Time to Visit BMC Blue Lake

Based on my personal experience and most of other people’s accounts, the only time you can possibly see the blue lake is in the morning before 8 a.m.

Maybe it’s also possible to see it in the evening, assuming that the mining activities have stopped by then, but that could mean going down in the dark, which can be dangerous. The trail can also get slippery after rain, so avoid going after heavy rain.

Both times I went were on weekdays, and there had been quite a crowd. I suppose it must be a lot busier on weekends. However, I’m not sure what the guard situation is like during weekends, so if you have experienced it yourself, do share in the comments below.

How Hard Is It to Hike to BMC Blue Lake?

If you’re a fairly athletic person or an experienced hiker, it should take you no more than 15 minutes to get to the blue lake from the Vantage starting point.

For the rest of us slow hikers who enjoy frequent breaks and photo stops, allocate at least 30 minutes. The trail is quite easy with only one or two steep parts. There is a tiny creek to cross, but nothing too technical and you definitely won’t get your feet wet. Be careful of tree roots and thorny bamboos.

The BMC trail.

Easy though it was, the trail seemed to have claimed an impressive number of hiking shoes or shoe parts, as seen along the footpaths. Both of my hiking partners had joined the club of people whose shoes had been a casualty of this trail.

My hiking partners’ shoes, one with the sole about to fall off (left) and the other with the sole completely gone (right).

All in all, I find the BMC trail to be a fun workout and can be a great first hike for beginners, whether or not you make it to the lake.

What to Bring to BMC Blue Lake

  • Food and water. If you’re hiking to BMC Blue Lake, you’re most likely going to do so early in the morning. If you haven’t had your breakfast yet, be sure to bring along some high-energy snacks and enough water for the hike.
  • Good hiking shoes. You’re probably going to do fine with a pair of normal sneakers, but I’d advise against it as some parts of the trail can be slippery and steep.
  • Camera and phone, because the whole point of going there is to take a photo of yourself in front of the blue lake, right?
  • Insect repellent, if you’re prone to getting bitten by mosquitoes.
  • I always recommend bringing a mini first-aid kit, even for short trips or hikes, because accidents can happen anytime, anywhere no matter how short the trip is.
  • Hiking poles are not necessary for this relatively easy hike, but they sure do help, especially if you’re not a seasoned hiker.
  • RM5 per person. Don’t ask me why.

Have you seen a quarry with a blue lake before? Where was it? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor

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