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Take a Hike: How to hike Amah Rock in Lion Rock Country Park

By Beverly Ngai 9 April 2021 | Last Updated 2 October 2021

Header image courtesy of @hansleytravel (via Instagram)

While Lion Rock has long established itself as the undisputed crowning glory of Lion Rock Country Park, hauling yourself up the 495-metre peak is no easy task. Fortunately, Hong Kong nature has blessed us with more than one peculiar rock formation in the area to delight hikers of all levels! 

If you’re looking to discover geological wonders without completely busting your butt, then the other “rock star” of the country park—Amah Rock—might be more to your liking. Famed for resembling a woman carrying a baby on her back, the lofty 15-metre granite stone bears a poignant tale and a natural grandeur that has appealed to generations of avid trekkers. Follow our hiking guide to experience the charm and beauty of the fabled Amah Rock for yourself.

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Photo: @kurtachio (via Instagram)

Overview & fast facts

Legend has it that a fisherman’s wife carried her son to the hilltop every day to look out for the return of her husband, not knowing that he had been lost to the seas. Taking pity on the loyal wife‘s futile efforts, the goddess of the sea turned the mother and son into stone, allowing the whole family to be reunited in spirit. Countless classical Chinese poems have sprung from this moving tale, cementing Amah Rock’s status as a prominent cultural and geological landmark in the New Territories.

Fringing the southern border of Tai Wai, this two-kilometre loop route starts and ends at Hung Mui Kuk Barbecue Area. The hike is short and sweet, but not without its steep moments to make you feel like you earned the grand, sweeping views of Tai Wai and Sha Tin at the summit—and, of course, the opportunity to absorb the splendour of the majestic rock from up-close!

Suitable even for children and beginners, hiking the Amah Rock trail does not require much more than a comfy pair of sneakers and a bottle of water, as the paths are well-defined and shaded for the majority of the way. However, if you’re itching for more action, there’s also an option to combine the hike with an aggressive climb up Lion Rock to enjoy a double whammy of scenic rewards!

Distance: 2 kilometres approx.

Difficulty: Beginner

Total ascent: 198 metres

Total time: 1.5 hours approx.

How to get there

With the trailhead at Hung Mui Kuk Barbecue Area, located right in the backyard of Worldwide Gardens estate, the easiest way of getting to your starting point is to hop on one of the many buses that serve the residential estate, including 81C, 85, 87B, 98B, 85B, and minibus 63S. Alternatively, if you don’t mind an extra 20 minutes of walking, you can also get there by foot from Tai Wai MTR station, following along Hung Mui Kuk Road to the barbecue site.

From Tai Wai:
  1. Take the East Rail line to Tai Wai Station (Exit C).
  2. Cross the footbridge and head towards Sun Chui Estate on Hung Mui Kuk Road.
  3. Take bus 81C to Worldwide Gardens.
  4. Upon alighting, cross the road and continue along Hung Mui Kuk Road.
  5. Crossi underneath the Lion Rock Tunnel Road overpass.
  6. After emerging from the overpass, you’ll see a steep flight of stairs on your right. 
  7. Go up the stairs to Hung Mui Kuk Barbecue Area, the starting point of the hike.

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The hike

As soon as you enter Hung Mui Kuk Barbecue Area, you’ll see that the trail forks into two separate paths—one that traverses the barbecue site to the Hung Mui Kuk Nature Trail, and the other that plunges straight into the dense forest. Both trails eventually connect to Wilson Trail Section 5, which you’ll cross to transition onto the proper Amah Rock trail. If you want to skip the extra kilometre detour, take the latter trail.

Once you’ve reached the concrete road along the catchwater drain, cross the small footbridge and proceed up the steps until you come to a Y-junction. Here, you’ll likely spot some other hikers taking the path to the left to head up the ever-popular Lion Rock, but we’re turning right to make the ascent up Amah Rock.

Trudging forward, the next half an hour is almost all stairs, and pretty steep ones at that. Since the uphill climb is rather short, don’t expect much in the way of scenery punctuating the journey. In any case, the pressure of other hikers tailing closely behind you on the narrow track will keep you motivated and moving forward. If you’re really desperate for a break, there are a couple of rugged boulders at every few turns that allow weary trekkers to stop off to the side and catch their breath.

Photo: Beverly Ngai

The steep twists and turns may get your legs protesting a bit, but before you know it, you will have made it to the top, where Amah Rock stands to greet your arrival. The rock itself can be accessed by two entrances—you can either get on all fours and clamour up a few big boulders from the side path or head around the back and enter through the gate. You’ll find that the feature outcrop is encircled by an entourage of smaller rocks, which you can step onto to pose for some brag-worthy photos and drink in the spectacular views of Sha Tin District.

With the behemoth towering directly above, you won’t be able to make out its resemblance of a mother carrying her baby from here, but if you continue forward on the trail, there is another viewpoint just a couple of minutes ahead that presents Amah Rock in its full magnificence, set against the urban backdrop of Sha Tin and its beautiful hilly surroundings.

After another round of photos, you’ll begin your downhill descent. The terrain here changes considerably from the first leg of the hike, morphing from mostly steep, concrete steps to flatter, dirt tracks. In approximately 10 minutes, you’ll find yourself at an intersection that links to the Lion Rock trail

Those feeling ambitious can continue on to make the arduous ascent up Lion Rock, which will afford you another 40 minutes of hardcore cardio. Otherwise, turn right following the sign pointing to Lion Rock Tunnel Road and you’ll loop your way back to the catchwater drain in roughly half an hour.

From here, all you have to do is retrace your initial steps back out of Hung Mui Kuk Barbecue Area. You can leave by the same bus you came on, or venture into the heart of Tai Wai for some well-deserved street food decadence!

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Beverly Ngai

Junior editor

A wanderer, chronic overthinker, and baking enthusiast, Beverly spent much of her childhood in the United States before moving to Hong Kong at age 11 and making the sparkling city her home. In her natural habitat, she can be found baking up a storm in her kitchen, journalling at a café, or scrolling through OpenRice deciding on her next meal.

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