Only 6km due east of the Lokon-Empung volcanoes lies another stratovolcano called Mt Mahawu (1,324m). Mahawu recorded a small eruption in 1789 which created a small, deep crater and sulphur pond at the summit. Fumaroles, hot mud pools and small geysers appeared after a brief burst of activity in 1994, but Mahawu has been relatively quiet every since.
Climbing to the rim of Mahawu’s crater is one of the easiest volcano treks in Indonesia. From the carpark it’s only a few hundred metres to the crater rim along a concrete pathway so the entire return trek can be completed in 1 hour. There are a lot of steps though which may challenge some people. As well as crater views, the vantage point on the rim offers great views across to Mt Lokon and Mt Empung and on a clear day Mt Soputan and Lake Tondano to the south, Mt Klabat to the northeast and Manado Bay. Don’t be tempted to climb down into the steep sided crater; a local tourist tried than in 2013 and didn’t live to tell the tale.
You certainly don’t need a guide for this trek. Like Lokon-Empung, there are plenty of Manado based tour companies offering Mt Mahawu excursions, usually as part of a half or full day trip combining other nearby attractions. Independent travelers should head to Tomolon by public bus then grab and ojek or walk the to the Mt Mahawu entrance point. Anyone of reasonable fitness could complete the Mt Lokon, Mt Empung and Mt Mahawu trifecta comfortably in a single day.