Kennon Road

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Kennon Road
Kennon Road near Camp 7, Baguio City in 1918
Route information
Length: 41.2 km (25.6 mi)
Existed: 1905 – present
Major junctions
North end: Baguio City
South end: Rosario, La Union

Kennon Road is a roadway in Benguet province in the Philippines connecting the mountain city of Baguio to the lowland town of Rosario in La Union province. The project was begun in 1903 and opened for travel on January 29, 1905. It was originally called the Benguet Road and later renamed in honor of its builder, Col. Lyman Walter Vere Kennon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For travelers coming from Manila or the provinces in the central plains of Luzon, it is the shortest route to Baguio.[1]


Coming from the lowlands, Kennon is one of the three major access roads that lead to the City of Baguio, located at about 5,500 feet (1,700 m) in elevation. The other roads are Marcos Highway (also known as Ben Palispis Highway in Benguet and as the Jose Aspiras Highway in La Union) from Agoo town, and Naguilian Road from Bauang both in La Union province. The upward climb reveals a picturesque view of the mountains, lush vegetation, and pine trees as you get closer to Baguio.

There are small settlements along the road, known as Camps 1 to 8 that were originally established for the original builders of the road, but have been occupied since by local residents. The Bued River flows along a rocky canyon from the lofty heights, and following this course the road was cut above the river bed.

Kennon is a toll road with the lower tollgate located about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) from the junction at Rosario, La Union near Camp 1. The upper toll gate is about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) south of Baguio City near Camp 6, Tuba, Benguet.

The steepest portion of the road between Camp 6 and Camp 7 in Baguio City is commonly known as "Zigzag Road" because of the numerous switchbacks (see Hairpin turn) required. The design of the road switchbacks along that section of the road are similar in construction to the agricultural rice terraces found locally in Benguet and the other mountain provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region.


The construction of the road commenced in 1903 by cutting across the mountains of Benguet with the combined efforts of Filipinos, Americans, Filipino-Chinese and Japanese nationals. It was considered one of the most difficult and expensive civil engineering projects of its day, with expenditures by the newly established colonial government in excess of $2.7 million.[2]

More than 2,300 foreign and local workers worked on the road. Aside from Filipino engineers and construction workers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headed by Col. Lyman Kennon, foreigners from 36 countries were recruited to work on the road; the majority, about 1,500, were Japanese. Hundreds of workers died from malaria while more plunged to their deaths while building the road. After the road was completed, some of the foreign road workers decided to remain in Baguio to live permanently.[1]

The original road was a Macadam Telford-type road which was later improved into an all-weather asphalt roadway. More recently, some portions of Kennon Road have been replaced with concrete pavement.[3]

Road hazards[edit]

Kennon Road is one of the most hazardous roads in the country, especially during the rainy seasons, when most of the road accidents occur. The road is prone to closure due to landslides, particularly during heavy rains or during typhoon conditions. [4]

Although Kennon is the shortest of the three major access roads, travel time is frequently as long as the other two because of poor road conditions. It usually takes an experienced commuter from 45 minutes to an hour to negotiate the 41.2-kilometre (25.6 mi) steep and winding climb by car.

Seasoned locals, race car drivers and motorsports enthusiasts, due to better road conditions, are now completing the drive under 30 to 25 minutes/ [3]


It is said that Kennon Road will build a fully functional cable car from Baguio to La Union and vice versa. It is also said to build a zipline for tree-top adventures.


  1. ^ a b Bankoff, Greg. (2005). These brothers of ours: Poblete's obreros and the road to Baguio 1903–1905. Journal of Social History - Volume 38, Number 4, Summer 2005, pp. 1047-1072 PDF at University of Auckland
  2. ^ "Baguio City Centennial September 1, 1909". Balita Pinoy. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b - Kennon Road
  4. ^ "Rains trigger landslide along Kennon Road in Benguet". GMA News 30 April 2010. Retrieved 28 Nov 2010. 

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