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Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail
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5 Accessible city hikes on Hong Kong Island

They're a lot closer than you think!

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Hiking seems to be everyone’s go-to outdoor activity in Hong Kong. While our city offers many scenic trails (some even with waterfalls!), and places to just catch a breath of fresh air, the idea of commuting all the way to somewhere rural for a hike – not to mention the journey back home – can be offputting. If you’re anything like us and often find it hard to even crawl out of bed on the weekends, we’ve got just what you need. Here’s a list of accessible city hikes scattered around the hilly side of Hong Kong Island. By Andrea Wong

RECOMMENDED: If you don’t feel like going on a hike, check out these sunset spots in Hong Kong and have a chill evening soaking up great views.

Best accessible city hikes on Hong Kong Island

Mount Butler Road to Red Incense Burner Summit

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People often say “no pain, no gain”, but this hike is definitely minimal pain and maximum gain. The Red Incense Burner Summit is probably the best viewpoint that overlooks both sides of the Victoria Harbour, especially during sunset hour. It’s also easy on your feet and shoes as the majority of this hike is on paved roads – perfect for a family hike on the weekends. Enter the hike via Mount Butler Road, as it merges onto Sir Cecil’s Ride, continue until you see a sign on your left that leads you to the Red Incense Burner Summit. Once you get there, you’ll probably recognise the view as this is a hot spot for capturing Hong Kong’s skyline. What’s best about this hike is that there are many unnamed viewpoints you can safely veer off to and check out the view from different angles on various large boulders!

Distance: 3 km

Directions: Take minibus 24M from Admiralty MTR Station and alight at Mount Butler Block C and D to begin your hike. When you finish the hike, you can either return the way you came or make your way to the Braemar Hill bus terminal, which takes around 5 minutes to reach and is right outside Chinese International School and St Joan of Arc Secondary school.

Wan Chai to Aberdeen Reservoir

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This is the perfect hike for you if you’re up for a spontaneous, last-minute adventure. The hike is well-connected to the heart of Hong Kong Island with a plethora of public transport that can take you to and fro. You can enter the hike through Wan Chai Gap Road, which eventually merges with the Bowen Road Fitness Trail, before continuing on the Wan Chai Green Trail. When you reach the Wan Chai Gap Park, take a moment to catch your breath. Set off again along Mount Cameron Road, and look out for signposts directing you to the Aberdeen Country Park. Once you reach the Aberdeen Upper Reservoir, you’ll see a straight path ahead that goes across the dam, offering you a breathtaking view of the surrounding greenery. This trail is steep but relatively straight forward, just don't forget to take a water bottle with you.

Distance: 6.1 km

Directions: Take exit D to Lee Tung Avenue at the Wan Chai MTR Station, then head to Hopewell Centre. Go up to the 17th floor and exit onto Kennedy Road. Walk left, and you’ll reach Wan Chai Gap Road, where your journey begins.

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Cape D’Aguilar (Hok Tsui)

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This hike will let you bask in the ambience of nature, not so much greenery, but definitely a lot of rocks, caves, and water. If you’re familiar with Dragon’s Back, going to Cape D’Aguilar will be easy for you as they’re along the same bus route. This hike is also mostly paved so it’s more of an adventure walk instead of a full-on hike. Explore the Cape D’Aguilar Marine Reserve, one of the six marine parks and reserves in Hong Kong, and keep an eye out for a hidden (and quite slippery) pathway that leads you to the Instagram-famous ‘Thunder Cave’. Take some pictures and enjoy the serene sounds of waves crashing onto the rocks. There’s also another equally Insta-worthy spot, Crab Cave, named after its arch-shaped structure.

End your pleasant journey by checking out the Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse, a declared monument named after Sir George Charles D’Aguilar, a former Commander of the British Forces in Hong Kong. If you’re looking for a picturesque and relaxing hike, this is the one for you.

Distance: 8 km (round trip)

Directions: Take the A3 exit at Shau Kei Wan MTR Station and take bus no. 9 to Shek O via Cape D’Aguilar. Get off at Cape D’Aguilar Road bus stop and walk along the paved road through Hok Tsui Tsuen that will lead you to the first viewpoint. 

Twin Peaks and Violet Hill

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This hiking route starts from Wilson Trail within Tai Tam Country Park, leading into Deepwater Bay, Repulse Bay, and finally, Stanley. Watch the scenic views of beaches, greenery, mountains, and skyscrapers trickle in and out of sight along the way.

If you’re looking to go the extra mile and challenge yourself, take the difficult route by entering Twin Peaks via Tai Tam Country Trail. Though this option does not require any rock climbing skills, the 1,200 steps up to the top of The Twins is definitely a taxing leg and glutes workout, so we’d only recommend this option if you’re not an absolute beginner and have good stamina, especially under hot weather during the summer.

Distance: 4.8 km

Directions: Take bus 6, 41A, 76, 63, or 66 to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park and alight at the Sinopec gas station. Walk up the short flight of steps that leads up to Tai Tam Reservoir Road, walk uphill and enter Wilson Trail to begin the hike.

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Rhino Rock Trail

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If you’re looking for a short yet fun-packed hike, Rhino Rock Trail ticks all the boxes. You’ll get to enjoy the full hiking experience as there's a decent amount of weaving and bush-shoving before reaching the top (watch out for colourful ribbons left by previous hikers to help you navigate). This trail is also extremely time savvy, as you’re likely to be done within 30 minutes, and maybe 30 more for picture-taking and just enjoying the stunning view. The turquoise-coloured coastline you’ll see after emerging from the bushes will make you feel as though you’re on a tropical island (definitely the kind of escapism we need right now). And of course, the highlight of the whole trail is the surreal rock formation that looks like a rhinoceros! But be careful and don't perform any dangerous stunts just for a photo on Instagram!

Distance: 2 km

Direction: Take bus 14 from Sai Wan Ho MTR Station or bus 6A from Central Exchange Square. Get off at Stanley Bus Fort, which is where the bus stops. Begin your adventure from the gated security entrance with steps leading you up.

More outdoor fun!

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