The jumping-off point for the volcano climb is the village of Santa Juliana, near the base of the mountain’s north slope, from where you take a memorable 4WD journey across an eerie, lunar-like landscape involving action-packed river crossings. From here you walk the final two hours to Pinatubo's crater, with its tranquil lake and sandy beach. Swimming in the crater lake was prohibited at time of research, but this be relaxed in the future.
The easily eroded lahar flows have created a stunning landscape around the volcano that is gradually recovering some of its vegetation. The Abacan and Pasig-Potrero Rivers have both cut channels through the sediment, which has led to the formation of towering pinnacles of lahar, hanging valleys and canyons.
Other than the sweaty, steep climb towards the end, it's a largely nontaxing trek, though be prepared: your feet may get wet when navigating small river crossings. Pack plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen.