Header image courtesy of @sharonleungs (Instagram)
With the weather in Hong Kong feeling more like hot and stifling soup than ever, there are very few outdoor activities that offer reprieve aside from straight-up jumping into the pool or ocean every five minutes.
For those who consider their hiking plans dashed, fear not—there is much that nature here has to offer, even during this particularly challenging season. Aside from forested ancient trails and easy-breezy family walks, which will help you get some steps in without burning to a crisp in the sun, we’ve rounded up five reliably shaded hikes in Hong Kong so you can still hit the trails and get a workout in.
As always, be sure to slap on a high-SPF sunscreen and bring more than enough water with you, as a lot of the trails do not offer opportunities for you to refill on the way. Let’s get hiking!
If you’re looking for the ultimate shaded hike, this is it. Nestled in Lam Tsuen Valley, the Ng Tung Chai trail is perfect for when the sun seems to be relentlessly beating down on you.
This dependable route will bring you past several scenic waterfalls, where you can take cooling dips as needed between each uphill section. Trust us, you’ll need it; there is some seriously arduous climbing involved with lots of steep and uneven steps, rocks, and boulders along the way. Luckily, it’s very well shaded throughout.
Aside from the collection of four waterfalls, you’ll be stunned by the raw natural beauty that Hong Kong has to offer. You’ll even pass through a beautiful bamboo-flanked path, which is where we’ll recommend for you to end your hike and turn back, as this is one of the last places where you’ll get some decent shade from the sun.
It might be tempting to hike right after rainfall to see the waterfalls at their most splendid, but we must caution you to restrain yourself, as the rocky climb tends to be slippery and dangerous when wet. Prepare ahead and bring plenty of snacks and water to last the entire trip, as there are no places for you to replenish your stock.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking to Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls.
Razor Hill, a shaded hiking trail that runs between Pik Uk and Tseung Kwan O, is a short and relatively easy hike.
At only three kilometres from start to finish, Razor Hill will take up one to two hours of your time and is the perfect quick workout to start or end your day. To truly finish the hike on a high, head to the Little Hawaii Waterfall for a refreshing dip.
While the shaded hike is easy and family-friendly, some parts of the trail can be challenging, especially the ascent to Razor Hill Peak. Proper hiking shoes with grip are advised for the steep and moss-covered ascent directly before the summit.
Most of this hike is covered by a dense forest, but you should still bring adequate sun protection and a litre or two of water to stay hydrated. If you’ve forgotten to bring liquids, there are shops at both the start and finish.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking to Little Hawaii Waterfall via Razor Hill.
Mount High West is a superb alternative to the Victoria Peak viewpoints, offering sweeping views of western Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island, and even Tai Mo Shan at the summit, as well as historical slices of Hong Kong’s religious and colonial culture at your fingertips.
This trail is arduous and steep, but it pays off in just over an hour—perfect for someone looking for a quick but worthy challenge, with roughly 2,000 steps to tackle. That said, this hike is still family- and pet-friendly, so if you’re looking for a quick workout suitable for the whole gang, with history lessons to boot, this is the one for you.
For the most part, the hike is gentle and well-maintained, but as always, be sure to wear proper footwear. Plan ahead and bring plenty of water, but if you do run out, there are shops at the Peak Galleria and water fountains at the Hatton Road Garden for you to refill your bottle.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking Mount High West via Kennedy Town.
It’s the perfect shaded summer hike to get your exercise in while staying cool: The oft-overlooked Pat Sin Leng Nature Trail in the majestic Plover Cove Country Park, which ends with a visit to the beautiful Bride’s Pool Waterfall.
The Pat Sin Leng Nature Trail is approximately five kilometres long and will take about two hours to complete—and that includes breaks. There is no peak to summit; instead, the trail will take you along peaceful countryside all while offering up views of Plover Cove Reservoir, Tolo Harbour, and even Shenzhen.
Hike along many little streams and rivers and be sure to wear proper footwear with good grip, as the path is not paved. Sun protection is still important despite the trail being shaded, and you’ll be able to stock up on water in Tai Po Market or Tai Mei Tuk.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking to Bride’s Pool Waterfall via Pat Sin Leng.
If the thought of strenuous exercise in these humid climes is totally off-putting and the shaded hikes above make you want to pass out in anticipation, then look no further than the Peak Circle. It’s really more of a shaded walk rather than a hike, but who’s keeping track? Start off at the Peak Tower and continue along the well-paved, flat, and—most importantly—shaded path.
Don’t miss the waterfall you’ll pass at some point, and obviously, there are also the views of Hong Kong’s amazing cityscape to keep your eyeballs entertained on your leisurely stroll. It doubles as exercise, right?
This shaded hike brings you on a full loop right back to the Peak Tower where you started, taking only up to an hour and a half, depending on how often you whip out your phone to ‘gram. How’s that for a zero-effort journey? There’s the matter of getting to the Peak in the first place—and yes, you could hike up—but there’s always bus 15 or the Peak Tram to shuttle you to the top and back.