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Take a Hike: How to hike to Devil’s Peak & Gough Battery

By David Yeung 9 September 2020

Header image courtesy of @kenneth_johnson (via Instagram)

With summer ending and the temperatures dropping, there is no other better way to spend time now than going on a short and rejuvenating hike. Devil’s Peak is a simple and convenient hike that is perfect for both family outings and people residing both on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon side.

Although the spectacular views of the eastern side of Victoria Harbour, neighbouring Tseung Kwan O, and the Island Eastern Corridor are breathtaking, the real reason behind what makes Devil’s Peak a unique hike is not the trail itself, but the historical remnants that are scattered along it. Follow our guide to learn more about how to hike to Devil’s Peak.

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Top of Devil’s Peak facing the Eastern Island Corridor. Photo credit: David Yeung

Overview & fast facts

Devil’s Peak is situated in the southeastern end of Kowloon right by Lei Yue Mun, a narrow passageway to Victoria Harbour, sharing the same name as a locale famous for its seafood and seafood restaurants. It got its rather ominous name from its rich history of pirates who used to occupy the area and the surrounding mountainside during the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644).

Not long after, during the twentieth century, the British Army used the same peak for military purposes and fortified it with lookout points and batteries. To this day, there are remnants of the fortifications left behind by both pirates and the British throughout the hike onto Devil’s Peak. Once you reach the summit, a historical redoubt awaits you, where you can take however long you want to explore this aged fort system.

The hike up to Devil’s Peak does not require arduous physical demands, as most of the trail is already paved for a comfortable cruise up to the summit. Not only is the hike simple, but the commute to the trail also is also fairly convenient. Devil’s Peak reaches around 222 metres high, and although that number is not quite that staggering, there the summit still offers a beautiful view of Kowloon, the eastern side of Hong Kong, and also Victoria Harbour.

If you are looking for a short hike while also exploring Hong Kong’s rich history, Devil’s Peak is definitely the hike to consider. After the hike, be sure to also check out neighbouring Lei Yue Mun for some authentic Cantonese-style seafood and other delicacies that are slowly fading away from Hong Kong.

Distance: 3 kilometres approx.

Difficulty: Beginner

Total ascent: 222 metres

Total time: 1 to 2 hours approx.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to the start of the Devil’s Peak hike is by MTR. However, like any hike, there are always countless ways to get to the start of it. We would recommend following the instructions below for the most direct way.

From Central:
  1. Take the Island line to North Point and interchange to Tseung Wan O line for Yau Tong Station (Exit A).
  2. Enter Domain Mall and take the rear exit next to Tai Hing Restaurant onto Ko Chiu Road.
  3. When on Ko Chiu Road, walk towards Lui Yue Mun Estate.
  4. You should be able to see a slope and a sign that says Tseung Kwan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery.
  5. Walk up the hill for approximately 650 metres until you see the entrance of the Wilson Trail.
  6. Walk up to the beginning of the Wilson Trail and make a left.
  7. Follow the sign that directs to Devil’s Peak and follow the hiking trail.

Keep scrolling for the rest of the guide 👇

The hike

Luckily, the Devil’s Peak hike is not as physically demanding as some others out there in Hong Kong, and you will cover approximately three kilometres. Even though this is a relativity short hike, there are still a lot of interesting things to see. Begin on Ko Chiu Road, one of the main roads within the area of Yau Tong.

You will quickly find yourself going up a hill and surrounded by trees and greenery on all sides. Stay on this path for around 10 minutes. When you are walking up the hill, you will soon encounter a flight of stairs towards your left with a sign that says Wilson Trail on it. Go up the flights of stairs and follow a sign that says Devil’s Peak.

Once on the trail, you will quickly notice how peaceful and harmonious the natural surroundings are. Wind clatters and hisses through the leaves on ancient trees while birds chirp away in the backdrop. Thankfully, the trees also curve inward, giving you plenty of shade and a natural breeze as you hike up to the peak. About five minutes into the hike, the trees will start to disappear and you will be greeted with a pleasant view of Yau Tong and parts of Kowloon and Hong Kong. Although the view is pretty, keep making your way up, as this is only the beginning of the hike.

Eventually, the path will curve right and you will come across a signpost. One arrow points off to the Devil’s Peak Fortifications—which is formally called Gough Battery—and the other directs you to Devil’s Peak itself. Gough Battery was built in 1898 and features two gun pits, a couple of buildings, and underground magazines. While almost completely overrun by nature, the site will remind you of ruins somewhat like the famous Angkor Wat of Cambodia. Be sure to take your time exploring this fortification as there are many hidden astonishments you may find.

Photo credit: David Yeung

After exploring Gough Battery, head back onto the same path and continue on your journey to the top of Devil’s Peak. By the time you’ve finished exploring Gough Battery, you will be more than halfway done but you still have a bit to go to get to the top. Eventually, you will come across a narrow flight of stairs, but don’t rush off just yet! Shortly before the stairs, there is a second, smaller fortification called Pottinger Battery. As luck would have it, this one faces towards the east, offering a breathtaking view of the Eastern Island Corridor.

Once you have finished up on Pottinger Battery, tackle the climb up the flights of stairs and congratulations, you have officially made it to the top! Devil’s Peak consists of a redoubt which was built in 1914 and is filled with bunkers, lookout points, and many, many pits. This maze-like construction is filled with beautiful views of the surrounding area and it’s also mesmerising to see how nature blends with a manmade structure.

At a height of just 222 metres, the redoubt offers gorgeous views of Hong Kong. From Devil’s Peak, you can see both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island from different perspectives. From the other side, you are also treated to sweeping panoramas of Tseung Kwan O, Junk Bay, LOHAS Park, and the Eastern Island Corridor. Given the geographic location, it is best to go on this hike towards the late afternoon when the sun sets, as you get to experience a warm, golden light setting—the perfect scene to reflect upon the hundreds of buildings that rise out of this city.

Had your fill of poking around the nooks and crannies of the fortification? Once you are done admiring the beautiful landscape and scenery, simply make your way down the same way you came. After completing the hike, make your way towards Lei Yue Mun to enjoy some delicious and fresh seafood—you’ve definitely deserved it!

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David Yeung

Contributor

Born and raised in Hong Kong, David is a recent high school graduate embarking on a gap year. He was always interested in writing and sharing stories that tend to be unnoticed. When he is not in the office typing away, you may find him taking photographs, running around the city, hiking, swimming in the ocean, or just chilling with a nice book at bay.

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