Header image courtesy of Izf (via Shutterstock)
A quick scroll through the #HongKong hashtag on Instagram will show a dazzling array of what Hong Kong is best known for—its urban jungles, quick beach getaways, hikes that scrape the sky. What Hong Kong is less known for is being the perfect playground for a slow but growing mountain biking community, beckoning international enthusiasts from across the globe to test out their wheels along the undulating trails housed in Hong Kong’s country parks.
By no means an exhaustive list, we have offered a broad round-up of the major country parks and islands housing mountain biking trails, along with a few flagged by locals as fan-favourites. So, put on a helmet and grab a friend—adventure awaits!
With its sprawling hills and untapped potential, it’s no surprise mountain biker enthusiasts have flocked to Lamma Island for biking trips. Lamma’s 15 kilometres of mountain biking trails offer a broad selection for riders of all levels, and plenty of delicious pre- and post-bike refuelling and rehydrating options!
Many of the trails overlap and merge, so plan some wiggle room into your itinerary as you’ll most likely end up exploring quite a bit. Head to Central Ferry Pier 4, where there are plenty of little shops and restaurants for a morning snack. If you’re bringing your own bike, you’ll have to take a freight ferry, so be sure to check the ferry schedule ahead of time.
The Project X trail, which overlooks the channel between mainland Hong Kong and Lamma Island, is also used for official mountain biking competitions. Naturally, it’s a popular site for advanced riders to build new and hone old skills in the off-season, and thus, not a trail for the fainthearted. To reach the trailhead, start from Yung Shu Wan Pier and head towards Tai Peng Village. Take a right when you reach Wong’s Food Store, then a left when you hit a wide cable road. The road will eventually bring you to two trail entrances, both of which will merge into a single track headed north.
If you’re looking for a quick ride with a crash course in picking up new skills, the Snake Trail is a great option. This well-worn trail is a straightforward single-track with plenty of opportunities to train up technical skills as you head towards the Lamma Island Youth Hostel or alternatively, connect back up to Project X.
Simply start from Hung Shing Yeh Beach and after a small climb, head up the second large road you come across. Make a right and follow the road towards the Hong Kong electric wind turbine. The very subtle entrance is to the right of the turbine by the steps of the pagoda. The start of the trail involves technical descents and hard climbs, so anticipate having to walk your bike at tougher sections. When you arrive at a small platform with a fork in the road, the right will take you to the Family Walking Trail, and the left will bring you onto a brutal stretch of uphill climbing to the Youth Hostel.
Sai Kung is better known for its hiking trails and water activities, but over the years, a dedicated mountain biking community has carved a well-established trail with beautiful views and a definite challenge to write home about. Albeit with a lot of tough terrains and a seemingly infinite number of steps, bikers typically love this trail as its combination of fitness, challenge, and views make it the perfect playground.
Pak Tam Chung to Hoi Ha
Pak Tam Chung to Hoi Ha is the main trail in Sai Kung, with its access point via the Pak Tam Chung Country Park Entrance. There are a small cluster of stores and a visitor centre for snacks and direction inquiries. Make a left towards Wong Shek Pier, continuing until you hit a path that veers off the pavement. Keep going and you will hit a dirt path with an upwards climb that eventually brings you to a viewpoint that looks over Yung Shue O Village. There are rock pools for a quick wash and break here before you continue on!
Hoi Ha to Wan Tsai Island
For those hoping to extend their trip, the first trail connects to the path headed into Wan Tsai Island. It’s a straightforward connection that only requires you to continue on the path running through Hoi Ha Village. This section is also a lot easier than the first trail, so bikers have also opted to drive or taxi into Hoi Ha or dismantle their bikes to take minibus 7 from Sai Kung Village to begin their trip from there. The Hoi Ha to Wan Tsai Island trail looks over Hoi Ha Wan and offers a great space to practice tricks and skills.
The hybridity of urban and nature is a distinctive Hong Kong characteristic, and nowhere is that more obvious than Lantau Island. Already well known for the Big Buddha, Sunset Peak hiking trail, and Citygate Outlet Mall, the island is also a crowd-favourite for its rolling mountain bike trails. With most of the trails on the south side, bikers can anticipate a mixture of technical and leisurely paths along the coastline as they meander on and off country park hiking trails.
A popular gathering spot for bikers is by the Friendly Bike Shop, which offers spare parts, minor adjustments, and friendly advice for the adventure ahead. It’s also a shout away from a few grocery stores for refuelling. If you're a new biker, there are also rental options at a decent price and quality.
Mui Wo to Pui O
Although there is the option of the rockier terrain path along South Lantau Road towards Pui O, the coastal path is a fan-favourite because it’s a little more off-road and gives you great views to distract from any exhaustion you may feel. After your stop at the Friendly Bike Shop, head back to the waterfront, with a McDonald’s and the China Bear to make sure you’re on the right path. Follow the road as it makes a U-shape around a small beach, after which there should be a signpost signifying the trailhead. It’s opposite a concrete factory, in case you miss the post! There will be a flight of stairs that brings you to the coastal path that will direct you towards Chi Ma Wan.
Chi Ma Wan trail
The Mui Wo to Pui O trail will end at a dam. After you bike across, go up the short flight of stairs onto the dirt trail, and head down. At the foot of the slope will be a crossroads, at which you will head right. The start of the Chi Ma Wan trail is signposted next to a coloured concrete statue called “Lung Mei.”
This 11-kilometre trail features a lot of tight turns with plenty of roots and rocks, and merges with the hiking trail at certain points. To return, you can retrace your steps along the coastal ride or take the climb along the South Lantau Road that will bring you back towards Mui Wo Village.
Tai Lam Country Park is no stranger to visitors, with thousands treading its well-worn paths in the fall and winter to photograph the red sweet gums, or scrambling up the dusty slopes to take in the Thousand Island Reservoir views. But this country park also houses a handful of mountain bike trails, circling hidden waterfalls, reservoirs, and high apexes to provide the entire mountain biking package. Due to the number of trails offered, riders of all levels can test out their skills!
Tai Lam Chung Reservoir
The most straightforward path to the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir trailhead is via Tai Tong Shan Road, which will kickstart your biking trip with a 20- to 30-minute uphill ride until reaching the park entrance. From there, you can either carry your bike up the flight of steps into the Family BBQ area or bike up the rest of the slope.
From there, follow the hiking trail signposts towards the Tai Lam Reservoir, at which the trailhead will be to the right of the reservoir over a small pedestrian bridge. Once you enter the trail, if you head to the left, the trail will merge with the Tai Tong mountain bike trail, or head right to merge to take the Siu Lam mountain bike trail.
Ho Pui Reservoir
The Ho Pui Reservoir trail is marked as a “black diamond” trail, which makes it as difficult and intimidating as it sounds. Getting there requires accessing the Kap Lung trail, which connects with the Ho Pui trail. With the starting point at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park entrance, take a left when you exit the car park and ride for about 500 metres before making a right turn.
Almost immediately, there’s a small clearing acting as a non-descriptive trailhead for a very aggressive trail that starts with rocky steps before a one-kilometre ride to a road map. Take the trail towards the left which will bring you through a long four-kilometre stretch in the forest and over two streams. You should get a nice view of Yuen Long to your right before arriving at a downhill route indicating the start of a two-kilometre descent to the Ho Pui Reservoir.
There is only one trail in Clearwater Bay, but this definitely is not your training-wheels-and-iced-pineapple bike trail. At a “short” 8.5 kilometres, the High Junk Peak trail involves steep climbs and sharp drops with no officially marked pit stops but will finish off with a phenomenal view of Clearwater Bay and the Pacific Ocean. There are vantage points overlooking island clusters for sunset photos and quick access at the end for a post-bike feast!
Head down Clearwater Bay Road towards Ng Fai Tin where you can park or get dropped off. There should be a pagoda opposite the car park, where the unofficial trail starts by heading down a flight of stairs. Take the dirt path and make a left at the bamboo grove on the path heading slightly uphill. This will bring you to the country park entrance at Sheung Yung Shan, the official trailhead.
The trail meanders along the ridgeline up to High Junk Peak! Although it’s arguably shorter than others and not connected to any extensions, the views definitely make it a worthwhile trip and challenge!