Hiking is one of Hong Kong’s favourite pastimes, but the second the humidity drops, and the scorching summer temperatures begin to settle, the masses descend on the city’s most popular trails. However, Hong Kong is also host to a number of lesser-known trails that boast their fair share of scenic views. Here are just some of the best alternative routes and hidden hikes to explore.
Nobody likes queuing—especially not when you’re hiking. Unfortunately, that has become part and parcel of hiking Dragon’s Back on a nice day out in Hong Kong. Arguably the city’s most popular hike, the views of Shek O Beach and Big Wave Bay speak for themselves. But if it’s a brisk walk and a beach bar you’re after, there are alternatives. Hiking from Mui Wo to Pui O, the route follows section 12 of the Lantau Trail in reverse. To reach the start of the trail, turn left from the ferry pier and walk along the waterfront for five minutes.
Length: 9 km
Time: 3 hours
How to get there: Take the ferry to Mui Wo from Central Ferry Pier 6
Thanks to its comparatively remote location, you’ll seldom find Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung seriously crowded, but there are times when even Hong Kong’s far-reaching corners are occupied. High Junk Peak is a great alternative that not only offers views overlooking Clearwater Bay, but it’s also easier to reach than its more popular neighbour. Expect peaks and troughs, and a hike suitable for even relatively inexperienced hikers.
Length: 6.5 km
Time: 3.5 hours
How to get there: Take minibus 103 from Hang Hau Station, Exit B1
More of a brisk walk than a hike (you’ll likely have seen people navigate the uphill stroll in jeans and a t-shirt), the Morning Trail is as urban a hike as they come—a short, sharp, steep climb that takes you up to Victoria Peak from Hatton Road in Mid-Levels. However, Peel Rise boasts the same urbanscapes, with additional views of the Lamma Channel and Ap Lei Chau Industrial Estate.
Length: 4.5 km
Time: 1.5 hours
How to get there: Carry on from the Morning Trail at Victoria Peak, or take the 91 minibus from outside 268 Queen’s Road Central
Read more! Check out these five beginner hikes that even couch potatoes can do.
If you’re looking to rack up some serious steps and are willing to venture further afield than Tai Tam for The Twins and Violet Hill, Sunset Peak is a strong alternative for seasoned hikers. Starting from the Nam Shan Barbecue Area (a 45-minute walk from the ferry pier or a quick bus or taxi ride), Section 2 of the Lantau Trail takes you to Pak Kung Au. Steep steps are the name of the game, and a lot of the trail is exposed, so be sure to bring enough water and some Factor 50 with you, as the winter sun can burn particularly strong.
Length: 6.5 km
Time: 2.5–3 hours
How to get there: Take the ferry to Mui Wo from Central Ferry Pier 6. If you board a bus to the Nam Shan Barbecue Site, take the number 1 bus and pay the sectional fare in cash
Lion Rock is a firm fixture on every Hong Kong hiker’s bucket list—and with its stunning views of the city below, it’s clear to see why. But if posing cliff-side and living on the edge isn’t quite your thing, then Tate’s Cairn boasts similar vistas without the droves of people following suit. Taking you from Stage 4 to 5 on the Maclehose Trail, you can either continue the trail on to Suicide Cliff or take the faster route down to Choi Hung.
Length: 5 km
Time: 2 hours
How to get there: From Wong Tai Sin Station Exit E, follow Sha Tin Pass Road until you enter the Lion Rock Country Park