Hong Kong Trail, Hong Kong

Whoever would have thought that in the middle of one of the world’s most densely populated cities lies an oasis in the hills which contrasts nature with the city scrapers?  The Hong Kong  Trail is a 50 kilometre walking route which passes through the five country parks on Hong Kong island.

A great way to ease into multi-day hiking as you are never too far away from civilisation!

Route: The Peak to Tai Long Wan/Big Wave Bay

Distance: 50km

Time: The Hong Kong Trail is split into 8 sections. I took 2 days to do it, but doing it over 3-4 days makes for a comfortable hike.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. A lot of the trail is on very good surface and it is relatively flat. There are some sections that require you to do some steep ascents or descents (Sections 5,6 and 8 are probably the most difficult). I did the hike in July when it was 30+ degrees and 100% humidity- I wouldn’t recommend this. Choose a shoulder season when it is cooler and it will make the walk more enjoyable.  

Special Notes: While this is technically a multi-day hike, you are not allowed to camp on the trail. Access in and out of the trail is quite easy however. At the start of each section so you can catch public transport, hail a cab, or even walk back into town if you’re feeling motivated.

There are waymarks and information boards along the trail. While it can be walked in an east to west direction, the information here is outlining the trail from west to east. In this direction, there signposts numbers from 001 to 100 that mark the trail roughly every 500m.

The track is pretty intuitive, but a rule of thumb is if you don’t see a sign and you come to a point where the track splits, continue in the direction directly in front of you (rather than turning off the track).

Getting There, Getting Away

The Hong Kong Trail is split into 8 sections. Here is how to access the sections by public transport (information taken from hiking.gov.hk) :

Section 1: Peak to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir [7km, 1.5-2 hours]

To get to the starting point on the Peak :

Tram running between Central and the Peak.
NWFB No. 15 running between Exchange Square in Central and the Peak.
NWFB No.15B running between Tin Hau MTR Station in Causeway Bay and the Peak (Sundays and public holidays only).
Mini Bus No.1 running between Lung Wui Rd in Central and the Peak.

For your return journey from Pok Fu Lam Reservoir, walk for about 10 minutes to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road for the following public transport routes :

Section Two of the Hong Kong Trail. Transport routes available are:

NWFB No.4 running between Star Ferry Pier in Central and Wah Fu Estate (South)
NWFB No.43X running between Admiralty MTR Station and Wah Kwai Estate
NWFB No.46X running between Tin Wan and Wanchai Ferry Pier
NWFB No.91 running between Apleichau Estate and Central (Ferry Piers)
NWFB No.94 running between Lei Tung Estate and Central (Ferry Piers)
CityBus No.7 running between Central ferry Pier and Shek Pai Wan
CityBus No.37A running between Chi Fu Fa Yuen and Admiralty
CityBus No.37B running between Chi Fu Fa Yuen and Central ferry Pier
CityBus No.40 running between Wah Fu Estate (North) and Wanchai Ferry Pier
CityBus No.40M running between Wah Fu Estate (North) and Wanchai Ferry Pier
CityBus No.71 running between Wong Chuk Hang and Central (Wing Wo Street)
CityBus No.90B running between South Horizons and Admiralty MTR Station (East)
CityBus No.970 running between Aberdeen and So Uk Estate
CityBus No.973 running between Tsimshatsui (East) and Stanley
Mini Bus No.22 running between Exchange Square in Central and Pok Fu Lam Garden
Mini Bus No.23 running between Kennedy Town and Wah Fu Estate

Section 2: Pok Fu Lam Reservoir to Peel Rise [4.5km, 1-1.5 hours]

Take public transport to Pok Fu Lam Road and get off at Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road. Walk for about 20 minutes along the road to Pok Fu Lam Family Walk. There, turn right for Section Two of the Hong Kong Trail. Transport routes available are:

NWFB No.4 running between Star Ferry Pier in Central and Wah Fu Estate (South)
NWFB No.43X running between Admiralty MTR Station and Wah Kwai Estate
NWFB No.46X running between Tin Wan and Wanchai Ferry Pier
NWFB No.91 running between Apleichau Estate and Central (Ferry Piers)
NWFB No.94 running between Lei Tung Estate and Central (Ferry Piers)
CityBus No.7 running between Central ferry Pier and Shek Pai Wan
CityBus No.37A running between Chi Fu Fa Yuen and Admiralty
CityBus No.37B running between Chi Fu Fa Yuen and Central ferry Pier
CityBus No.40 running between Wah Fu Estate (North) and Wanchai Ferry Pier
CityBus No.40M running between Wah Fu Estate (North) and Wanchai Ferry Pier
CityBus No.71 running between Wong Chuk Hang and Central (Wing Wo Street)
CityBus No.90B running between South Horizons and Admiralty MTR Station (East)
CityBus No.970 running between Aberdeen and So Uk Estate
CityBus No.973 running between Tsimshatsui (East) and Stanley
Mini Bus No.22 running between Exchange Square in Central and Pok Fu Lam Garden
Mini Bus No.23 running between Kennedy Town and Wah Fu Estate

For your return journey from Peel Rise, walk down the road for about 20 minutes to Aberdeen Reservoir Road and then on to Aberdeen Main Road. There are many transport routes along Aberdeen Praya Road :

NWFB No.38 running between Chi Fu Fa Yuen and North Point Ferry Pier
NWFB No.42 running between Wah Fu Estate (South) and North Point Ferry Pier
NWFB No.43X running between Wah Kwai Estate and Admiralty MTR Station
NWFB No.78 running between Wong Chuk Hang and Wah Kwai Estate
NWFB No.91 running between Apleichau Estate and Central (Ferry Piers)
NWFB No.91A running between Apleichau Estate and Wah Fu Estate (South)
NWFB No.94 running between Lei Tung Estate and Central (Ferry Piers)
NWFB No.94A running between Wah Fu Estate (Central) and Lei Tung Estate
NWFB No.970 running between Aberdeen and So Uk Estate
CityBus No.7 running between Central ferry Pier and Shek Pai Wan
CityBus No.37A running between Chi Fu Fa Yuen and Admiralty
CityBus No.41A running between Wah Fu Estate (Central) and North Point Ferry Pier
CityBus No.48 running between Wah Fu Estate (North) and Wong Chuk Hang (Ocean Park)
CityBus No.70 running between Aberdeen and Exchange Square in Central
CityBus No.71 running between Wong Chuk Hang and Central (Wing Wo Street)
CityBus No.72 running between Wah Kwai Estate and Causeway Bay (Moreton Terrace)
CityBus No.73 running between Wah Fu Estate (North) and Stanley Prison
CityBus No.77 running between Tin Wan and Shaukeiwan
CityBus No.90B running between South Horizons and Admiralty MTR Station (East)
CityBus No.95C running between Apleichau and Chi Fu Fa Yuen
CityBus No.107 running between Kowloon Bay and Wah Kwai Estate
CityBus No.170 running between Shatin MTRC Station and Wah Fu Estate (Central)
CityBus No.973 running between Tsimshatsui (East) and Stanley Market
Mini Bus No.51 running between Wah Kwai Estate and Tin Wan
Mini Bus No.51S running between Wah Kwai Estate and Aberdeen
Mini Bus No.58 running between Sai Wan (North Street) and Aberdeen (Wu Nam Street)

Section 3:  Peel Rise to Wan Chai Gap [6.5km, 1-1.75 hours]

Take public transport to Aberdeen Reservoir Road. Walk up Peel Rise by Pui Tak Canossian College for about 30 minutes to the starting point of Hong Kong Trail Section Three. Transport routes available are :

CityBus No. 7 running between Central Ferry Piers and Shek Pai Wan in Aberdeen
CityBus No. 76 running between Shek Pai Wan in Aberdeen and Causeway Bay (Moreton Terrace)
NWFB No. 95 running between Apleichau and Shek Pai Wan in Aberdeen
Mini Bus No. 52 running between Shek Pai Wan in Aberdeen and Chung Hom Kok in Stanley (Ma Hang)

For your return journey, walk down Aberdeen Reservoir Road for about 15 minutes to Wanchai Gap for public transport :

NWFB No. 15 running between Central (Exchange Square) and the Peak
NWFB No. 15B running between Tin Hau MTR Station and the Peak (Sundays and public holidays only)

Section 4: Wan Chai Gap to Wong Nai Chung Gap [7.5km, 1.5-2 hours]

 Take public transport to Wanchai Gap. Walk along Aberdeen Reservoir Road for about 15 minutes to the starting point. Transport routes available are :

NWFB No.15 running between Central (Exchange Square) and the Peak
NWFB No.15B running between Tin Hau MTR Station and the Peak (Sundays and public holidays only)

For your return journey from Wong Nai Chung Gap, choose any of the following transport routes :

CityBus No.6 running between Central (Exchange Square) and Stanley Prison
CityBus No.41A running between Wah Fu Estate (Central) and North Point Ferry Pier
CityBus No.76 running between Shek Pai Wan and Causeway bay (Moreton Terrace)

Section 5: Wong Nai Chung Gap to Mount Parker Rd [4.0km, 1.0-1.5 hours] 
To get to the starting point in Wong Nai Chung Gap, take any of the following public transport routes :

CityBus No.6 running between Central (Exchange Square) and Stanley Prison
CityBus No.41A running between Wah Fu Estate (Central) and North Point Ferry Pier
CityBus No.76 running between Shek Pai Wan and Causeway bay (Moreton Terrace)

For your return journey from Quarry Gap, walk down Mount Parker Road for about 1 hour. Many transport routes are available in Quarry Bay.

Section 6: Mount Parker Rd to Tai Tam Rd [4.5km, 1.0-1.5 hours]

To get to the starting point in Quarry Gap, hike up Mount Parker Road in Quarry Bay. The walk takes about 1 hour 15 minutes.

For your return journey from Tai Tam Road, take the following transport routes :

NWFB No.14 running between Sai Wan Ho (Tai On Street) and Stanley Fort (the Gate)
CityBus No.314 running between Siu Sai Wan (Island Resort) and Stanley (Sundays and public holidays only)
Mini Bus No.16M running between Chai Wan MTR Station and Stanley/Chung Hom Kok (Ma Hang)

Section 7: Tai Tam Rd to To Tei Wan [7.5km, 1.5-2 hours]

To get to the starting point on Tai Tam Road, take the following transport routes :

NWFB No.14 running between Sai Wan Ho (Tai On Street) and Stanley Fort (the Gate)
CityBus No.314 running between Siu Sai Wan (Island Resort) and Stanley (Sundays and public holidays only)
Mini Bus No.16M running between Chai Wan MTR Station and Stanley/Chung Hom Kok (Ma Hang)

For your return journey from Shek O :

NWFB No.9 running between Shaukeiwan and Shek O

Section 8: To Tei Wan to Tai Long Wan [8.5km, 2.5-3 hours]

Transport Access:
To get to the starting point on Shek O Road, take the following transport route :

NWFB No.9 running between Shaukeiwan and Shek O

For your return journey from Big Wave Bay, take minibus or walk south along Big Wave Road for 15 minutes to Shek O Raod and get No. 9 buses from Shek O to the urban areas.

(I will be describing the walk as I completed it- therefore I only accessed the trail from the Peak, Mount Parker Road and Tai Long Wan)

HK Trail Lightroom (44 of 14).jpg

Section 1: Peak to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir [7km, 1.5-2hours]

Section One begins at the Peak Tram Station on Lugard Road. The beginning section is mostly a paved and flat road which circles Victoria Peak (the highest point in Hong Kong) . A lot of this section is covered with tree canopy ( a result of the humidity and misty environment) and you can see glimpses of Victoria Harbour and Kowloon Bay along the way.

Beyond Harlech Road, the going gets moderately difficult, as the hiker has to negotiate steps, cement hill paths and dirt roads. Further up to the Lung Fu Shan lookout, the spectacular landscape of western Hong Kong Island unfolds before you. After feasting yourself on so much beautiful landscape, follow a flight of steps down a steep slope. Soon, Pok Fu Lam Reservoir welcomes you with its emerald water. On the left, you find the Pok Fu Lam Family Walk that runs parallel with the lake. This level plantation path is a pleasure to explore. At Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road, this section comes to an end.

Section 2: Pok Fu Lam Reservoir to Peel Rise [4.5km, 1-1.5 hours]

The entire Section Two lies within the plantations of Pok Fu Lam Country Park and begins at Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road where you follow the cement  road and pass the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir .

Continuing on, at a fork of the path, two signs indicate whether there is a through road for horses up ahead.

At the end of this hacking trail you ascend a flight of stairs and reach a shelter with a view of  Tin Wan, Aberdeen, Apleichau and Lamma Island. Continuing along you will pass a flight of steeper steps, and the trail-heads via a cement road alongside the catchwater. Soon after, you arrive at Peel Rise, the end of  Section Two.

Section 3:  Peel Rise to Wan Chai Gap [6.5km, 1-1.75 hours]

This section leads from Peel Rise to Wanchai Gap via Aberdeen Reservoir Road. This section is of moderate difficulty and stars at Peel Rise where a wide paved road leads uphill for about half an hour. Soon you see the downstream section of Keung Fa Kan and then cross a bridge into an open space with a foot reflexology path.

The trail then traverses streams and bridges, all marked by “Flash Flood warning signs and then opens up to a view of Aberdeen Lower Reservoir and Aberdeen Upper Reservoir come into view, and the sea horse logo and cable cars of Ocean Park. When you get to marker 36 (where there is a fork in the route), choose the direction to Wanchai Gap- the end of this section.

Section 4: Wan Chai Gap to Wong Nai Chung Gap [7.5km, 1.5-2 hours]

This begins at Lady Clementi’s Ride and is mostly paved, and generally flat road.

The trail takes you deep into the dense forests of Wanchai Gap, crossing a series of old English bridges. Many native evergreen trees here are featured with information plates.

Walking on, you soon arrive at Middle Gap road. This is a wide vehicular road that meanders its way up Mount Cameron. Up on the peak, the sweeping panorama of Wong Chuk Hang. At Black’s Link, the route follows the vehicular road down to Wong Nai Chung Road, and eventually comes to an end at the junction of Wong Nai Chung Gap Road and Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Road.

Section 5: Wong Nai Chung Gap to Mount Parker Rd [4.0km, 1.0-1.5 hours]

Section Five begins at the junction of Wong Nai Chung Gap Road and Tai Tam Reservoir Road (there is a petrol station here). Follow the footpath long the roadside uphill. Halfway up, Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park, the first water park in Hong Kong, will be on your right side.  At the top of the road, you will find signs just opposite Parkview for the Hong Kong Trail as well as The Wilson Trail (another multi-day hike in Hong Kong).

Hiking up  many stairs, you soon arrive at the 433 m summit of Jardine’s Lookout. This is a geographical central high-point of Hong Kong Island presents a 180-degree panorama of Victoria Harbour.

After the summit you will start a challenging descent via stairs. You then head back upwards by the quarry towards the summit of Mount Butler.

Follow the direction sign for Boa Vista. More flights of staris will take you down to  Quarry Gap, where is the end of Hong Kong Trail Section Five. This large open space has many countryside facilities: a picnic and barbecue area, a rain shelter, toilets and a children’s playground.

I stopped the first day here and walked down the hill for about an hour to Quarry Bay MTR station.

 Section 6: Mount Parker Rd to Tai Tam Rd [4.5km, 1.0-1.5 hours]

The next day I was dropped off at the start of Mount Parker Road where I climbed back to where I left off the previous day. From here, the trail travels downhill from Quarry Gap.

Most of the path is restricted vehicle access and largely covered by tree canopies which made for a cooler and much more comfortable morning than the previous day.

Walking uphill along the Mount Parker Road catchment route, you soon arrive at Tai Tam Reservoir- which is made up of  four sections. Beyond the main dam, the trail meets Tai Tam Reservoir Road. Continuing on, you come to the No. 6 and No. 7 Tai Tam Barbecue Areas where a red brick building offers shelter in case of rain. Up ahead, the trail follows a road and turns right into a forest path near Tai Tam Intermediate Reservoir. Carry on for another 20 minutes and you arrive at Tai Tam Road, the end of section six.

Section 7: Tai Tam Rd to To Tei Wan [7.5km, 1.5-2 hours]

This section begins at Tai Tam Road. It is a fairly easy and flat hike that  follows the paths alongside the water catchment orbits.

Your hike starts at the section of Tai Tam Road on the north bank of Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir. A flight of steps leads down from the main road to the Tai Tam East catchment.

As you continue along the catchment, the view opens up to a bay with some village houses.

Follow the direction post for the Hong Kong Trail at the trail forks. The next section takes you down to a beach where the Catamaran Club and Canoe Club hold their activities: To Tei Wan. You can get some snacks at the village store. From here, the last section get a bit harder as you will ascend a series of stairs to the end point at Shek O Road.

Section 8: To Tei Wan to Tai Long Wan [8.5km, 2.5-3 hours]

This last section of the trail is the longest and probably the most section. Many people exclusively hike this section- otherwise known at “The Dragon’s Back.”

Beginning at Shek O Road, the hike start by heading up hill. You will head towards the ridgeline (passing a rain shelter on the way up) and you will be greeted with a 360 degree view of the Shek O Wan area.

As you continue along the ridge you will move from the exposed area to more shelter forest until heading from a dirt path onto a road- there is a rain shelter not far away.  Continuing along , you arrive at the grassy area of Pottinger Gap where you are close to the end. Follow the stone steps and forest walks to Big Wave Bay and the end of the Hong Kong Trail- marked by the 100 marker post.

For more information visit:

hiking.gov.hk/eng/longtrail/hktrail/hktrail.htm

 

 

 

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