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5 best hidden hikes & underrated trails in Hong Kong

By Amanda Sheppard 19 December 2018 | Last Updated 24 June 2020

Header image courtesy of Mark Goh (Unsplash)

Originally published by Amanda Sheppard. Last updated by Jen Paolini.

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.

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Photo credit: Lolleroll

If you’ve hiked Dragon’s Back: Mui Wo to Pui O

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: Nine kilometres

Time: Three hours

How to get there: Take the ferry to Mui Wo from Central Ferry Pier 6.

Photo credit: Great Outdoors Adventure

If you’ve hiked Tai Long Wan: High Junk Peak

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. Click here to read our full guide to hiking High Junk Peak.

Length: Six and a half kilometres

Time: Three and a half hours

How to get there: Take minibus 103 from Hang Hau Station (Exit B1).

Photo credit: Tobias Bengtsson

If you’ve hiked the Morning Trail: Peel Rise

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: Four and a half kilometres

Time: One and a half hours

How to get there: Carry on from the Morning Trail at Victoria Peak, or take minibus 91.

Photo credit: Mike Pickles

If you’ve hiked the Twins: Sunset Peak

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 sunscreen with you, as the winter sun can burn particularly strong. Click here to read our full guide to hiking Sunset Peak.

Length: Six and a half kilometres

Time: Three 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 bus 1 and pay the sectional fare in cash.

If you’ve hiked Lion Rock: Tate’s Cairn

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 Four to Five on the Maclehose Trail, you can either continue the trail on to Suicide Cliff or take the faster route down to Choi Hung.

Length: Five kilometres

Time: Two 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.

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Following a brief and bitterly cold stint in Scotland, Amanda returned to Hong Kong—a place she’s called home for over 18 years—to begin her career as a writer. She can often be found getting lost somewhere very familiar, planning her next holiday, and enjoying a cup (or three) of good, strong coffee.