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Under the facade of metropolitan skyscrapers and concrete jungles lies a different Hong Kong with lush mountain ranges and forests. In fact, the countryside makes up three-quarters of Hong Kong's land. With the city’s highly developed transportation system, it’s easy to explore these amazing wonders of nature. Here are 10 beginner hiking routes suitable for family outings and romantic dates.
New Territories East
New Territories West
Hong Kong Island
Other hiking information
Situated in the Pat Sin Leng Country Park, this popular hiking trail passes through the wooded Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve and Sha Lo Tung, which is home to rare species of dragonflies and damselflies. The trail ends at Lau Shui Heung Reservoir. Also known as ‘Mirror of the Sky’, the water of the reservoir perfectly reflects the lush woods and skies above on a clear day.
Difficulty: Intermediate | Distance: approx. 7 km | Duration: approx. 3 hours
Route: Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve → Sha Lo Tung → Hok Tau Reservoir → Lau Shui Heung Reservoir
Transportation: take minibus 20P from MTR Tai Po Market Station Exit A and get off at Fung Yuen Tsuen
The Bride’s Pool Nature Trail encompasses the breathtaking Bride’s Pool and Mirror Pool and is an ideal family outing. Take photos of the charming stone bridge connecting the villages of Wu Kau Tang and Chung Mei, and of the majestic Mirror Pool with its plummeting torrents.
The Lung Ha Wan Country Trail begins at the Lung Ha Wan Rock Carving, a historic monument with enigmatic, geometric designs that resemble animals and birds. The carving is believed to date from at least 3,000 years ago. Continue on the trail until you reach Tai Leng Tung — if you arrive at the right time, you might be able to witness the majestic sunset over High Junk Peak. The trail ends at the Tai Hang Tun Kite Flying Area, which is a fantastic place to gaze at the stars when night falls.
Located on High Island, the Geo Trail forms part of the MacLehose Trail, Hong Kong’s first long-distance hiking trail, which spans 100 kilometres from Sai Kung to Tuen Mun. Follow the trail to reach the peak of Biu Tsim Kok, where you’ll get a panoramic view of the idyllic Long Ke Wan. The Geo Trail also features hexagonal columnar jointings of volcanic tuff, sea caves, and sea stacks formed over the last few centuries. Sections 1, 2, and 4 of the MacLehose Trail are more challenging, but offer spectacular views of the coast.
A favourite hiking route for family outings, Shing Mun Reservoir offers incredible views and low levels of difficulty. Whether you take the War Relics Trail to gain a deeper understanding of Hong Kong’s history during the Second World War, or stroll along the reservoir lanes to reach the picture-perfect oasis of paperbark trees, you’ll find yourself fully relaxed surrounded by the lush greenery and birdsong.
Standing at an altitude of 957 metres above sea level, Tai Mo Shan is the perfect place to watch the sunset and, if conditions allow, a sea of clouds. The mountain takes on different colours through the four seasons: cherry blossoms and wild lilies bloom in spring and summer, whereas golden miscanthus thrive in autumn and winter. Although Tai Mo Shan’s summit is currently closed to the public, there are still a lot of places to camp and watch the sunset.
In autumn and winter, the exuberant red foliage of Sweet Gum Woods welcomes visitors to Tai Lam Country Park. What used to be a mountain lane connecting villages now leads visitors from Tai Tong, the park’s entrance, to the Reservoir Islands Viewpoint, which provides the best view of Thousand Island Lake. The dozens of small ‘islands’ in the reservoir were in fact hills before being flooded by catchwater when the reservoir was built.
Ngong Ping is a beautiful plateau on Lantau Peak with Buddhist establishments including Po Lin Monastery, the Tian Tan Buddha and Wisdom Path. As you hike through Shek Pik Reservoir, you’ll find spiral squares and circle-like rock carvings estimated to have existed for three millennia. You’ll also see the Hong Kong International Airport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, among other amazing panoramic views.
Read more: Ngong Ping: a spiritual hike
Deemed one of the best hikes in Hong Kong by Lonely Planet, Dragon’s Back got its name from its undulating ridge that resembles a dragon’s backbone. The ridge slopes steeply down to sea level, revealing stunning views of the ocean and nearby isles. The trail ends at Big Wave Bay Beach, which makes a great spot for sunbathing and taking a dip in the cooling sea in the summer.
The route starts off with a gentle hike from Pok Fu Lam Country Park and passes through Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. It won’t be long before you reach The Peak, where modern architecture meets historical sites. Against the lush greenery of the Lugard Road loop, Hong Kong’s urban skyline stands out magnificently. If you want to see the sunset, hike up to High West.
Read more: Pok Fu Lam to the Peak: taking it to the top
You should always be well-prepared for hikes regardless of the difficulty of the trail, and remember the five ‘Don’ts’ when hiking: don’t hike alone, don’t take shortcuts, don’t litter, don’t damage the environment, and don’t start fires randomly. Find more tips on hiking here.
In case of an emergency, dial 112 or 999 or use the nearest emergency phone. Provide the operator with the nearest distance post number (e.g., M001).
If you are looking for something a bit more challenging, we recommend the following trails: