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#852Basics: 5 hiking trails in Kowloon for solo hikers

By Natalie Fung 7 August 2020

Header image courtesy of Michael Rivera (Unsplash)

With the third wave of Lady Rona hitting Hong Kong harder than ever, we return to putting some (social) distance between us and the rest of the world. Now is high time to learn to enjoy the pleasure of our own company and do something for (and with) ourselves, and what’s better than checking out a few of Hong Kong’s gorgeous trails? Here, we have come up with a list of best hikes for solo hikers in and around Kowloon.

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Lion Rock

Hong Kong is well known for its “lion rock spirit” and as such, the Lion Rock is definitely a must-go for hikers. Starting off from the Lion Rock Park located right next to Lok Fu MTR station, the hiking trail is easily reachable and neatly paved with flights of stairs, particularly at the beginning. Moving on and up, the trail becomes increasingly challenging as the stairs get steeper and steeper. There are even huge boulders along the way, so exercise caution if you are going there alone.

Despite its challenges, the efforts are entirely worthwhile, given the breathtaking view at the summit of the mountain, which is 495 metres in height. Indulge in the beauty of the vista and take loads of photos to reward yourself for a demanding hike! When you get back down from the peak, be sure to look for Amah Rock (望夫石), which famously resembles a woman patiently waiting for her husband.

Difficulty: 4 out of 5

Duration: 2.5 hours

Distance: 5 kilometres approx.

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Garden Hill

Named after the Garden Company whose production bakery is in Sham Shui Po, Garden Hill, located just a few short minutes away, is a quick escape for solo hikers who seek tranquillity and fresh air amidst the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. Beginning from the narrow path near Mei Ho House (美荷樓), you need to climb up flights of stairs before reaching the top of the hill.

While the hill does not seem too towering, the hike itself does require some physical strength, thanks to the high gradient of the stairs. In less than half an hour, you will reach the peak! Pamper yourself in the beauty of Sham Shui Po where everything, be it buildings or vehicles, seem extremely tiny—drastically different from what you normally experience in the district. Don’t forget to come here with a torch if you are watching the sunset as the area can get quite dark; we do not recommend descending in the pitch-black night.

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Duration: 1 hour

Distance: 2 kilometres approx.

Photo credit: @hikingcyn (Instagram)
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Checkerboard Hill

Similar to Lion Rock, this trail begins in Lok Fu, where you must reach Lok Fu Park first and then ascend all along the way until you reach a narrow and slightly bumpy path. In 15 minutes or so, you will arrive at another park, which looks rather run down. Continue walking and you will summit the top, which is only 85 metres in height, though the view across Kowloon is quite breathtaking. Overall, Checkerboard Hill is not that challenging, making it extremely suitable for solo hikers who would like to enjoy a quick getaway—perfect for all novice hikers to check(erboard) it out!

Fun fact: Checkerboard Hill is so named because of its front-facing pattern of red and white squares, put in place as a visual cue for incoming pilots to make a banked turn so they could line up their aircraft for landing at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport. Though no longer in use, the locale is actually an iconic piece of Hong Kong aviation history!

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Duration: 1 hour

Distance: 3 kilometres approx.

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

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Little Hawaii Trail

All right, we’re cheating a little with this one, as it’s technically in southeastern New Territories, but seeing as it’s just a teeny-tiny bit outside of the Kowloon area, we’ll let it slide. Known as one of the easiest hikes in Hong Kong, Little Hawaii Trail features a spectacular waterfall that leaves many a hiker in awe, and there’s a bit of history to the hike as well.

Located near Yau Yue Wan (魷魚灣) in Sai Kung, the Little Hawaii Trail is basically a gentle upward slope, with hikers of all levels and experience able to reach the waterfall in a fast and simple matter of half an hour. Moving on, you will be able to enjoy an unobstructed panorama of Tseung Kwan O, Clear Water Bay, and Sai Kung, which again is impressive, if not breathtaking. Extremely well paved, the trail is easy to tread on and it is unlikely for hikers, be it solo or not, to get lost. For a bit more of a challenge, check out our full guide on how to hike to the Little Hawaii Waterfall via Razor Hill.

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Duration: 1 hour

Distance: 2 kilometres approx.

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Devil’s Peak

Unlike all the above trails, the hike to Devil’s Peak is an intriguing historical journey, which takes hikers back to the time when pirates were rampant in Hong Kong. Starting from Yau Tong MTR station, hikers trek to the Chinese Permanent Cemetery and then all the way ascend to Wilson Trail, where they need to climb even more, although the gradient should be quite low in general. Throughout the trail, hikers will see a handful of monuments, including an old fort and other abandoned historical sites. It will truly be an eye-opening journey for solo hikers who can engage themselves in deep thoughts as they glimpse through the bits and pieces of Hong Kong in the past.

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Duration: 1.5 hours

Distance: 3 kilometres approx.

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Natalie Fung

Contributor

Born and bred in Hong Kong, Natalie is a medical student never bored with her hometown but is always infused with immense energy to explore everything inside out—intriguing spots, scrumptious food, hiking, and running trails, to name but a few. Supposedly burying her head in books or notes to keep up with her studies, she instead often hits the gym, new restaurants, and cool shops. If she is not in town, though, she is definitely out having fun—sometimes on her own—in exotic cities which you have barely even heard of. Follow Natalie on Instagram or take casual English lessons with her on her brand-new YouTube channel, Yinglish.

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