Put on your boots, pack your backpack and set off to explore Hong Kong’s hiking trails. We’ve selected the best ones for you!
Hong Kong is a territory of no fewer than 260 islands, most of which are uninhabited. The entire archipelago offers an incredible variety of landscapes: beaches, forests, mountains and valleys… Hong Kong also has 24 nature parks covering 40% of its total surface area. Why not explore them on a hiking tour of Hong Kong?
A real hiking culture has developed here. What’s more, the paths that criss-cross Hong Kong’s natural areas are perfectly marked and maintained. What makes Hong Kong so special? Only a few kilometers separate the modern urban cities from the surrounding nature. You’ll have the pleasure of observing unique flora and fauna as you stroll along. Good news: the destination has reopened with the lifting of travel restrictions linked to Covid-19*.
Dragon’s back in Shek O Country Park
- ⏱ Average time: 4h
- 📏 Distance: 8.5 km
- 🎚️ Difficulty: moderate
- 💙 We like: the view from the Shek O observation spot
The “back of the dragon” is the final leg of the mythical “Hong Kong Trail”, particularly popular with tourists. The adventure starts from Shek O Road, along a shady path that gradually opens up. You slowly ascend through the forest to the observation point on the Shek O peninsula, overlooking the beach of the same name and offering a breathtaking panorama of the two islands off the Shek O peninsula.
From the observation platform, continue along the trail to a hilly ridge: the famous “dragon’s back”. A second vantage point overlooks Tai Tam Bay to the west of the Shek O peninsula. On a clear day, the view extends as far as Lamma Island, south-west of Hong Kong Island. Once over the ridge, you’ll come to Pottinger Gap and its view of the urban skyscrapers of Chai Wan. Spectacle guaranteed!
A steep descent marks the end of the itinerary for this hike in Hong Kong. Watch your ankles, and beware of slipping in wet weather: the path is particularly uneven. In fine weather, however, you’ll enjoy the shade of the path. Once you’ve left the path and passed the village houses, you’ll reach Big Wave Bay Beach. This beach, popular with surfers (hence its name), is one of the most beautiful in the archipelago!
The Victoria Peak loop at Pok Fu Lam Country Park
- ⏱ Average time: 2h30
- 📏 Distance: 6 km
- 🎚️ Difficulty: easy
- 💙 We like: alternating environments crossed
This Hong Kong hike is a relatively easy 6-kilometer route starting from Pok Fu Lam. Its appeal lies in its combination of urban and natural sections. The walk begins at the busy road linking the west and south of Hong Kong. It passes through one of the world’s most exclusive residential areas. The route then passes along bucolic footpaths that are seldom used.
It all begins at the Pok Fu Lam reservoir. Your escapade continues along Lugard Road, whose belvedere offers a breathtaking view of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers.
You can also take a detour to reach Pinewood Battery, the city’s tallest coastal defense battery. The site was severely damaged during the Second World War. Today, it is a landmark in the Lung Fu Shan Nature Park. The park is also home to many of Hong Kong’s other war relics.
Take a few more steps to High West, which lies between Victoria Bay and Mount Davis, and is one of Hong Kong’s most famous sunset spots!
Your hike ends at the Peak Tower, an iconic Hong Kong landmark. Victoria Peak is also the highest point on Hong Kong Island. It’s home to a wealth of stores, restaurants and leisure facilities. The icing on the cake is an observation point offering a 360° view.
Sunset Peak on Lantau Island
- ⏱ Average time: 4h30
- 📏 Distance: 9 km
- 🎚️ Difficulty: difficult
- 💙 We like: the variety of panoramic spots
Sunset Peak? This is Hong Kong’s third-highest mountain, on Lantau Island. To reach it, start by taking the Lantau Trail. The first two-kilometre climb is pretty tough. Good news: you’ll be making good progress in the shade! The climb ends with a clear path through shrubs and grasses, and you’ve reached Sunset Peak. The reward? A breathtaking panoramic view of the local bays and beaches.
Continue along the summit ridge, remembering to stop at Lantau Mountain Camp and its old mountain huts. You’ll soon reach the side of Hong Kong’s ninth-highest peak, Yi Tung Shan. Then cross Nam Shan and its picnic area to the Luk Tei Tong tower. This 20th-century relic was a watchtower built to protect against the onslaught of privateers. Yes, Hong Kong was once a hotbed of piracy!
Our tour of Hong Kong ends at Mui Wo, a village that was once a favorite haunt of pirates. The nearby Silver Mine Bay Beach owes its name to the silver mine that employed most of the villagers. The mine was attacked many times during its history. Today, however, it’s safe to approach!
Sections 1&2 of the MacLehose trail
- ⏱ Average time: 6 h
- 📏 Distance: 16 km
- 🎚️ Difficulty: difficult
- 💙 We like: the beauty of Ham Tin Wan beach
The first two sections of the famous MacLehose Trail, a 100-kilometer walking route, are made up of alternating hills and beaches. It all begins at the East Dam of High Island Lake. The High Island Geo Trail runs alongside spectacular hexagonal rock columns. These were formed over 140 million years ago. Next, you’ll reach Biu Tsim Kok, a promontory overlooking the white-sand beach of Long Ke Wan.
This secluded bay with its turquoise waters is dominated by superb cliffs. Make the most of the view, as a tough climb awaits you. Once at the top, look out over the Sai Kung Nature Park. Head towards Sai Wan, then reach Ham Tin Wan beach. This is often considered Hong Kong’s most beautiful beach. Often deserted – since it’s only accessible on foot – it’s a veritable little paradise on earth.
From here, you have several options for completing the hike. After enjoying the sublime Ham Tin Wan beach, you can take a boat to the port of Sai Kung (reservations are required on arrival).
If you’d like to continue walking for a while, retrace your steps back up to the Sai Wan Pavilion. This 45-minute walk will take you back to the road, where you can order a cab and return to the city.
For those of you who wish to continue the walk, your itinerary continues to Pak Tam Au, the end of section 2 of the MacLehose Trail. According to legend, this small village has a history dating back to the second half of the 17th century. Populated by farmers and cattle breeders, it is now home to a campsite. Why not stop here for a rest at the end of your hike in Hong Kong?
Section 3 of the MacLeHose trail, from Pak Tam Au to Kei Ling Ha
- ⏱ Average time: 4 h 30
- 📏 Distance: 10.2 km
- 🎚️ Difficulty: difficult
- 💙 We like: the variety of landscapes crossed… and the physical challenge
This Hong Kong hike continues the previous itinerary. From the village of Pak Tam Au, continue to the village of Cheung Sheung. You’ll pass two wooded hills: Ngam Tau Shan and Ngau Yee Shek Shan. The path then becomes much more open and rocky. Although recent stone steps relieve the effort in some places, this section proves to be rather physical. The village of Cheung Sheung is in sight! Here you can quench your thirst and enjoy some comforting snacks.
It’s also a campsite with all the necessary amenities. Next, you’ll head for Lui Ta Shek Shan and Wa Mei Shan. This section is particularly steep and quite demanding on the muscles. Then stone steps take you to the Kai Kung Shan viewpoint. The view opens out onto sumptuous green hills typical of Hong Kong’s natural environment. You’ll catch a glimpse of the Sai Kung peninsula.
Next, the path descends gently down a long flight of steps. The mountain in front of you is called Lui Ta Shek. You won’t climb it, preferring to fork right along the trail towards Kai Kung Shan. A difficult climb awaits you: you’ll have to make up the negative difference in altitude you’ve already descended. The trail gradually widens until you reach the Kai Kung Shan peak, the end of your tour. Not a bad walk, eh?
Bride’s Pool loop, Huanling and Baxianling
- ⏱ Average time: 4 h 34
- 📏 Distance: 12.7 km
- 🎚️ Difficulty: difficult
- 💙 We like: the grandiose spots along the way
This itinerary, considered difficult, can however be shortened. It will take you to Bride’s Pool, a waterfall surrounded by lush forest. It lies in the heart of Plover Cove Country Park, in the north-east of the New Territories. It is without doubt one of Hong Kong’s most spectacular water falls. The path leading to it also passes the Mirror Pool waterfall and Bride’s Pool Stone Bridge.
These natural wonders are clearly worth a visit. Overall, the Bride’s Pool Nature Trail follows a winding path through the heart of the jungle. You’ll have the opportunity to meet a rich and unspoilt fauna. Enjoy the sounds of birdsong as you make your way along the trail. The Bride’s Pool Stone Bridge spot, a bridge built in 1906 to link the villages of Wu Kau Tang and Chung Mei, is a highlight of the trail. It’s sure to make a great Instagram story!
Not far away, Bride’s Pool awaits you. This waterfall is characterized by its astonishing wedding dress shape. Legend has it that the pool is named after an unfortunate bride who died… after servants dropped her in the water. Here, too, you can observe a variety of dragonflies and butterflies. What’s more, an observation deck overlooks this spectacular site.
The Mirror Pool waterfall is 35 metres higher than the previous one. It owes its name to the giant mirror formed by the rippling water on the rock face. Finally, the Tai Mei Tuk recreation area is just a few minutes’ drive from the start and finish of this lovely loop. Find out more about this hike.
So, which hike in Hong Kong will you choose during your stay in this sublime archipelago?