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Sunset Peak
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Hangraffiti

The best Hong Kong hiking trails

Head for the hills and explore the city one hike at a time

Written by
Kenneth Choi
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Hong Kong is known for many things; its rich cultural heritage, dynamic culinary scene, architectural mix of old and new, and of course, that iconic skyline. But that’s not all, as our concrete jungle is also wrapped in lush verdant hills with magnificent islands and dramatic rock formations surrounding us, and the best way to take in the city in all its mountainous glory is, yes that’s right, a hike. So, whether you’re a hiking novice, leading the charge, or simply want to check off some of Hong Kong’s must-hikes, we've outlined 11 of our favourites with tips and directions to help you on your way. 

RECOMMENDED: Prefer things at a different pace? Check out our favourite outdoor spots to run or jog or go for a leisurely stroll in one of Hong Kong’s best parks instead.

Best Hong Kong hiking trails

  • Things to do
  • Shek O

Best for: Beginners

As one of the best urban hiking trails, Dragon’s Back is popular for good reason. It’s easily accessible and offers an impressive view of the Southern Island and coastline. The hike also ends at Big Wave Bay, so you can take a dip in the sea or have a relaxing meal at any of the beach-front restaurants. Start your hike at To Tei Wan on Shek O Road and follow the Hong Kong Trail to Shek O Peninsula Viewpoint. After that, continue to walk up until you reach an exposed platform on Shek O Peak where it opens up for a spectacular view of the coastline. Then, continue uphill to the Dragon’s Back view compass to look back at Tai Tam Bay and sometimes even Lamma Island on a sunny day. When you’re ready, you can start your descent and follow the signage to Hong Kong’s surfer paradise, Big Wave Bay. 

Distance: 8.5km

Duration: 3 hours

Difficulty: 2.5 out of 5

Top tip: Be aware that most of the trail has no shade, so make sure you bring enough water and sunscreen for the hike.

How to get there: Take the 9 bus or red minibus from Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus to To Tei Wan on Shek O Road. At Big Wave Bay, you can take the same bus or red minibus back to Shau Kei Wan.

  • Attractions
  • Lamma Island

Best for: A leisurely day on an island

Lamma Island is the third largest island in Hong Kong and only a 30-minute ferry ride away from Central. It’s loved for its laid back vibes and the many eateries which range from traditional Chinese seafood restaurants to modern cafes and bars. Take the ferry from Central Pier 4 and you’ll arrive at Yung Shue Wan. From here, you can take some time to wander around the village. Once you pass the village, look out for signage to Sok Kwu Wan and follow the signs to the Wind Power Station, Hong Kong’s first windmill. You can even make a stop to visit the exhibition centre and learn its history. Continue the hike and you’ll arrive at Hung Shing Ye Beach, where you will find family-run stores, a designated barbecue area, as well as toilets and bathing facilities if you wish to take a dip. Leave the beach and keep going uphill until you reach a pavilion which marks the highest point of this hike. Keep walking and you will eventually reach Sok Kwu Wan, where there are a few seaview restaurants to enjoy. 

Distance: 7 km

Duration: 2 hours

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Top tip: You can start the hike either from Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan. Make sure to check the ferry schedule for the way back to allow for sufficient time on the island. 

How to get there: Ferries are available from Central Pier 4 to both Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan.

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  • Things to do
  • The Peak

Best for: Those who are new to Hong Kong 

A must-see spot in Hong Kong, The Peak is very popular thanks to its epic views of Victoria Harbour and the city itself. The easiest way to explore The Peak – other than visiting the lookout – is to take an easy-going hour-long walk around the Peak. The Harlech Road and Lugard Road Circular Walk begin next to Peak Tower, and it offers a 360-degree view of the city. The walk is flat and accessible by baby strollers too. You may also want to visit in the evening to view Hong Kong’s iconic skyline at night. If your schedule allows, pay a visit to Victoria Peak Garden which is a mere 10-minute walk from Peak Tower. This was the former residence of the Governor of Hong Kong which has since been demolished, but the park remains as an attraction at the Peak. 

Distance: 3.5 km

Duration: 1 hour

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Top tip: The circular walk is family and pet-friendly. But be aware that it is a popular hike and can get crowded during weekends.

How to get there: Take the tram from the lower Peak Tram terminus on Garden Road, or take the 15 bus from Exchange Square bus terminus and alight at The Peak. 

  • Things to do
  • Tai Tam

Best for: A hike on Hong Kong Island in under 3 hours

Loved by exercise enthusiasts, the Violet Hill and Twin Peak hike is located in the southern part of Hong Kong Island. Start slowly on Violet Hill and then get ready for the two famous mountain peaks, which have over a thousand steps, to enjoy sweeping views of Stanley. Following Wilson Trail, the path consists of dirt roads and steep stairs. The stairs may seem endless, but the rewarding view of Central, Tai Tam reservoir, Southern Island, and even Ocean Park, on the way makes it worth the sweat. When you’re finished with the hike, take a bus to Stanley and recharge with some well-deserved grub along the waterfront. 

Distance: 5.5km

Duration: 3 hours

Difficulty: 3 out of 5

Top tip: Be prepared for stairs, ensure you have enough water, and take breaks in between. From November to January you’ll also be able to see white Gordonia flowers on the hills.

How to get there: Take bus 6 or 66 from Exchange Square to Wong Nai Chung Gap Road. Walk up Tai Tam Reservoir Road, the trail entrance is on the right-hand side after the lake. At the trail’s end take bus 6, 6A, 260 or a taxi to Stanley.

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  • Things to do
  • Lantau Island

Best for: Sunset views 

Climb up to Hong Kong’s third-highest peak for the best natural evening view our city has to offer – one to add to your Hong Kong bucket list. Start this ambitious hike at Pak Kung Au, which leads you up the grassy Lantau Trail to a panoramic view from the aptly named Sunset Peak. As you ascend the highlands, enjoy the Lantau coastline, Pui O and explore the cluster of stone shacks (Lan Tau Ying) on the way. The romantic view at the summit will make the arduous climb more than worth it. From mid-October to early November, it’s silver grass season which results in a sea of silver grass that shines under the golden sunset hours. For those looking to catch the sunset, ensure you bring along sufficient lighting tools as it gets dark very quickly. It’s recommended to start the hike at (the latest) 3pm to ensure you have enough time to go back. 

Distance: 7 km

Duration: 3.5 hours

Difficulty: 4 out of 5

Top tip: The ascent from starting point to the top is approximately 529m, so make sure you hike according to your physical ability and take breaks in between. If you’re looking to catch the sunset, bring headlights and allow enough time to walk back. It gets really busy during the silver grass season so expect crowds, and make sure you stay safe when taking photos. 

How to get there: Take bus 11, 23, or 3M from Tung Chung Station Bus Terminus to Pak Kung Au. From the endpoint take bus 3M to Tung Chung Station or to Mui Wo Bus Terminal.

  • Things to do
  • Yau Tong

Best for: Heritage

Devil’s Peak is situated next to the famous seafood market and fishing village Lei Yue Mun and gets its somewhat sinister name from the local pirate occupants during the Ming Dynasty and the British Army in the 20th century that used it as an important nautical passage to Victoria Harbour. The remains of a redoubt and batteries are still visible at Devil’s Peak. It’s worth taking a walk past the village to check out the Old Lei Yue Mun Quarry, an old stone carving site in the 80s. The lighthouse, abandoned stone houses, and beautiful feather reed grass makes it a popular Instagram and photography spot. From there, follow Wilson Trail to go up to Gough Battery, where you can see the gun pits, barracks, and a few historical buildings. From there, continue on Wilson Trail and you’ll arrive at Devil's Peak Redoubt. Here, you’ll be able to wander around the trenches and enjoy the 270-degree view of Victoria Harbour. Aim to get here around sunset to get the perfect shot. 

Distance: 3.5 km

Duration: 1.5 hours

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Top tip: Be careful when wandering around the gun pits and trenches, as there isn’t much protection around the sites. 

How to get there: Take the 24S minibus from Yau Tong MTR Station and get off at Lei Yue Mun sporting centre, or walk 15 minutes along Ko Chiu Road to get to Lei Yue Mun.  At the end of your hike, descend along the road and walk towards Lei Yue Mun Estate housing where Yau Tong MTR station is nearby. 

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  • Attractions
  • Beaches
  • Sai Kung

Best for: beaches

This is a great hike that takes you to the beach paradise of Sai Kung. Tai Long Wan consists of a total of four bays, and this beginner’s hike will take you to two of them – Tai Long Sai Wan (or Sai Wan) and Ham Tin Wan. If you’re interested, allow more time to visit the other two bays, Tai Wan and Tung Wan. Take a minibus from Sai Kung city centre and get off at Sai Wan Pavilion, then take the Maclehose Trail section 2 on the right and in 30 minutes, you’ll arrive at Sai Wan, where the walk is mostly flat and downhill. Enjoy the white sand beach and have lunch at one of the beachside restaurants. To get to Ham Tin Wan, follow the Maclehose trail and in an hour or so, you will arrive at the second beach. Both beaches have small restaurants that offer camping tent rentals if you’d like to camp in the designated areas on the beach. You can either hike back the same way, or take a speedboat back to Sai Kung town from Sai Wan or Ham Tin Wan. 

Distance: 4 km

Duration: 1.5 hours

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Top tip: Both Sai Wan and Ham Tin Wan do not have lifeguards stationed at the beach, so please be careful if you go into the water. If you’re planning to take the speedboat back, book your return journey at the restaurant as soon as you arrive at the beach as boats fill up fast. 

How to get there: Take the 29R minibus from Sai Kung Town or grab a taxi and get off at Sai Wan Pavilion. 

  • Attractions
  • Clearwater Bay

Best for: Sharp peaks with a view

One of the three sharpest peaks in Sai Kung, High Junk Peak is the most accessible one and offers a striking view of Clear Water Bay, Tung Long Island and Hong Kong Island. At Ng Fai Tin, take the stairs next to the pavilion and start the hike along High Junk Peak Country Trail. Part of the trail is also a mountain bike trail which is open on weekdays for mountain bikes, so please walk with care to avoid accidents. On the way up, you’ll see the urban landscape of Tseung Kwan O, and the serene coastline of Sheung Sze Wan. At a forked junction, bear left and the peak is around 20 minutes climb away. The path here gets very steep and rocky, and there are points where you may need to scramble up some big rocks. Once you’re at the top, enjoy the panoramic view of Clear Water Bay. Descend on the other side of the peak and walk through Tin Ha Shan. On your way down, you’ll be able to see Po Toi O, a small fishing village, and the Clear Water Bay Golf and Country Club in the distance. 

Distance: 8.5 km

Duration: 3.5  hours

Difficulty: 3 out of 5

Top tip: Get ready for the steep hillside on the last part ascending to the peak. If you don’t wish to climb, skip that part and continue on the country trail. 

How to get there: Take the 91 bus from Diamond Hill Station, or the 103M minibus from Tseung Kwan O Station, or the 16 minibus from Po Lam Station and get off at Ng Fai Tin.  For the endpoint, take minibus 16 to get back to Po Lam Station. 

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  • Attractions
  • Tai Lam

Best for: Instagrammable reservoir view

Often referred to as Thousand Island Lake, Tai Lam Chung Reservoir is the first reservoir built in Hong Kong after WWII. Today, these islands are one of the most scenic, and therefore most Instagrammable, reservoirs in the city. Start your hike in So Kwun Wat Tsuen, a rural village in Tuen Mun, and then take a leisurely walk towards Maclehose Trail Section 10 to the Viewpoint. There is signage along the road, follow that and you will shortly meet the Maclehose trail to continue on. The paved walk is mainly shaded and the incline is moderate. It’s worth spending some time at the viewpoint to take photos, but it can get quite crowded on weekends so be patient while waiting to get that perfect shot. To finish the hike, go the same way back, or continue on Maclehose trail and reach Tai Lam Country Trail, which leads you to Tai Lam Country Park, a popular spot for the sweet gum woods in December. 

Distance: 9 km

Duration: 3 hours

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Top tip: Visit Tai Lam Country Park during December for the famous sweet gum woods. There will, however, be crowds of people so you will need to be patient to get good snaps.

How to get there: Take the 43 or 43S minibus from Tuen Mun Station and get off at So Kwun Wat Tsuen. On the way back, take bus K66 to get back to Yuen Long town or Long Ping Station.

  • Sport and fitness
  • Wong Tai Sin

Best for: A true sense of Hong Kong spirit

Named after its resemblance to a Lion’s head, Lion Rock is considered to be one of Hong Kong’s most iconic hikes. Many Cantopop songs and TV shows have referenced Lion Rock as it is said to embody the spirit of Hong Kong people. At its peak of 495m, hikers will have an unobstructed, 360-degree view of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island (south-facing) and New Territories (north-facing). The hike has a moderate difficulty rating due to its initially steep inclined ascent with many stairs. The terrain has a mix of paved roads, make-shift staircases and natural trails. The ascent has stretches of land where there are fewer tall trees to provide shade, so do remember to pack your sunscreen. After you enjoy the view at the top of the mountain, the descent path has more shade to provide cover from the sun. The hike starts at Temple Hill Fat Jong Temple where you will see Shatin pass road. Follow that road until you reach the Lion Rock Country Park entrance. This hike is very clearly labelled so simply follow the signs to the peak. On your descent, you’re going to want to follow the signs to Lion Rock Park, which is the park located at the base of the mountain, where your hike ends. It’s a relatively short hike, but you’re going to want to take at least 1L of water per person, to ensure you’re properly hydrated throughout the hike. 

Distance: ~6km

Duration: 2-3 hours

Difficulty: 3 out of 5

Top tip: We recommend going on a weekday and early in the morning to avoid the midday sun or late in the afternoon to catch a beautiful sunset view. Since it’s such a popular hiking spot, weekend afternoons tend to have more hikers, especially at the top of the mountain.

How to get there: Go to Wong Tai Sin MTR station and take exit B3, before hopping on the 18M minibus to Temple Hill Fat Jong Temple.

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  • Attractions
  • Shek O

Best for: An easy hike on paved roads and flat land

With points of interest like Thunder Cave and Crab Cave, Cape D’Aguilar has some of the most Instagram worthy spots of any hike in Hong Kong. Taking the No. 9 bus from Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus will take you directly to Cape D’Aguilar Road, which is where your hike begins. Follow the signs leading you towards Cape D’Aguilar Marine Reserve as this is where the main points of interest are located, all within a 5 to 10-minute walk. Thunder cave is the first point of interest you will come across – find what looks like a sunken rock quarry on your left-hand side – before you walk down towards Crab Cave. Thunder cave gets its name from the sounds of the waves reverberating off the narrow cave walls to create an amplified, thunderous clash. You can go inside the cave but you must be very careful as the pebbles can be slippery from seawater. Crab Cave is the best spot for photos as this rock formation looks like a giant crab with its mouth open. You’ll find lots of people lined up here to take that perfect photo where the waves are crashing in the background.

Distance: ~8km

Duration: 3.5 hours

Difficulty: 1.5 out of 5

Top tip: The majority of this hike is on paved roads and flat land, so if you’re looking for more of a workout, try something with more of a steep incline like Lion Rock or Devil’s Peak.

How to get there: Get to Shau Kei Wan MTR station and take exit A3. Go to the bus terminus and hop on bus 9 which takes you to Cape D’Aguilar and Shek O.

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