Header images courtesy of @foodieleanneho and @beauty_of_hong_kong (via Instagram)
When the festive season rolls around, it is first and foremost a time for loved ones, so why not let off some of that steam from staying in all the time with some hikes that are suitable for the whole family—pets included? These are trails that generally do not have too much incline or too many stairs, which means even the little ones can toddle along with some supervision—great for a day out with the whole gang and the dog! Here are the best family walks in the western New Territories in Hong Kong.
Sitting in Tai Mo Shan Country Park, which houses Hong Kong’s tallest mountain, the Chuen Lung Family Walk is an easy way to get acquainted with the area without the strenuous hike. Suitable for all ages to tackle, there are some stairs at the start of the trail, so it’s not exactly stroller-friendly but a couple could also carry a pram up this initial section if you so wish. Starting and ending at the Chuen Lung Barbecue Area 1, the walk itself is a loop around the small hill, with a vantage point along the way which affords views of Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi, with the Stonecutters Bridge in the background.
From Chuen Lung Street and Shui On Street in Tsuen Wan, take minibus 80 to Chuen Lung Village. The Route Twisk entrance lies about 15 minutes away on foot, and after your walk, you can revisit the village for some food before making your way back into town; apparently, this village’s best produce is watercress so do order some if it’s in season!
Also tucked away in the Tai Mo Shan Country Park is the Rotary Club Park Nature Trail. Though not officially named a family walk, this is a fairly short walk on an intermediate incline, and the stairs should prove no issues for slightly older children to handle. The lush woodlands here are also the habitat for many different animals and insects, giving children a great chance to get up close and personal with nature. The viewing point overlooks Lamma Island and Tsing Yi, with views extending as far as Victoria Peak and Mount Davis on clear days.
To make your way there, follow the above directions to Chuen Lung Village, then make your way to Chuen Lung Barbecue Area 2; the starting point of the Rotary Club Park Nature Trail will be on the right. Alternatively, take bus 51 from Nina Tower in Tsuen Wan and alight at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park stop.
The last family walk in the area is the Tai Mo Shan Family Walk, located within the Rotary Park and near the aforementioned Rotary Club Park Nature Trail. This walk is largely composed of gravel and stone-paved paths, which don’t lend particularly well to strollers, but it’s a short circular walk which should only take a maximum of 45 minutes to complete. This would be great to do alongside one of the other short walks in the area as well.
One of the tree types that line this family walk is the sweet gum tree, which means that in autumn and early winter you should be able to catch some pretty red and orange fall foliage. The route starts and ends at the Rotary Club Park, and there are public toilets, a refreshment kiosk, and a barbecue area conveniently nearby for families to make a day of the trip. Take bus 51 from Tsuen Wan and alight at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park stop, then walk along Tai Mo Shan Road to reach the trailhead.
Ho Pui is a pleasant little reservoir near Pat Heung that’s a bit of a hidden spot compared to the larger bodies of water in Hong Kong. With rolling mountains in the background and a tiny island in the middle of the water, this makes for a picturesque day out. The family walk takes you around the whole reservoir and is paved the whole way, so it couldn’t be easier to stroll along. There are also little trails branching off from the main walk to explore, one of which leads through a small section of bamboo forest—so if you find yourself missing the bamboo attraction of Arashiyama, you can somewhat feed your travel bug here instead!
From Yuen Long Station, come out of Exit B and hop onto minibus 71 from Tai Hang Street, then simply alight at Ho Pui Terminus. While the hike is pretty kid-friendly, there is an uphill section in the beginning, so should you wish to avoid this because of a stroller, then you can always cab straight to the reservoir. The Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk is marked on the park signs in the red line, while there are also the trails marked in orange and green available to tack on for more of a challenge.
Situated within Tai Lam Country Park, Hong Kong’s second-largest, it may be difficult to imagine that this entire area used to be infertile land and that it is the product of years of afforestation work. This undulating trail overlooks the Yuen Long Plain, which is our largest alluvial plain. Incidentally, the nearby Tai Tong Organic Ecopark is also one of the most popular places in Hong Kong to view autumn red leaves. The sweet gum trees here grow densely together and the leaves fall to create that crisp carpet of red that we all love. The best vantage point is where the nature trail intersects with Tai Tong Shan Road.
The footpath of the Tai Tong Nature Trail also intersects with the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail, an old stone path laid down to facilitate travel for villagers living within these mountains. To get there, take bus K66 from Long Ping West Rail Station and alight at Tai Tong Shan Road, or hop onto a red minibus at Hung Min Court in Yuen Long, getting off at the same stop. The starting point is at a barbecue area about 30 minutes walk uphill.
An acronym standing for “Tsuen Wan into Shek Kong,” the Twisk Nature Trail near the foot of Tai Mo Shan is a circular trail that starts and ends at Tsuen Kam Au. This is a fairly easy walk that only measures about two kilometres in length and is mostly shaded, but nevertheless is not quite accessible for strollers. There is some interesting fauna to look out for in the vicinity, namely the golden silk orb-weaver spiders and the stick insect—though admittedly the former may be shocking for its sheer size, and the latter not the easiest creature to spot in a woods.
Not to be confused with Route Twisk, which is a 7.2-mile hike, start this walk at the Twisk Barbecue Area and Rotary Barbecue Site, winding your way up and intersecting Section 9 of the MacLehose Trail, before joining the Kap Lung Forest Trail for a ways, and looping back down to the beginning. Same as with the other Tai Mo Shan trails, take bus 51 from Tsuen Wan and alight at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park stop to reach the start point.