The Hong Kong Trail
D J Clark in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island can broadly be dived in two. To the north, tall apartment buildings, the claustrophobic crush of the shopping districts and glittering office towers. To the south, forest, rivers, reservoirs and sweeping sea views. Unsurprisingly it’s the latter where the Hong Kong trail roams. 50KM of quiet forested paths just over the hill from the thick of the city.
The eight sections of the trail can be tackled in a marathon day, but for most people tackling two sections at a time is ample for a pleasant day out.
Sections 1 & 2 From the Peak down to Aberdeen
The first two sections of the Hong Kong trail are the most varied. Starting as far up the peak as you can get, a small grass lawn offers a sweeping views across three sides of the island. Descending down to Lugard road and looping around affords the best city views anywhere and a chance for refreshments around the galleria. Leaving Lugard road heading along section 1 of the trail you loose the crowds and immerse yourself in the think forests that cover the south side of the island with deep ravines and occasional waterfalls.
Take a taxi to the end of Mount Austin Road and then the right fork to a small grass lawn. From there descend first on the road you came up and then bear left onto a path that takes you down to Victoria Peak gardens. Walk around Governor’s walk until you find Harlech Road fitness trail that will take you down to Lugard road. You can cross over the road onto the Hong Kong trail but I suggest spending an hour to do the luagrd road loop for some of the best city views Hong Kong has to offer. Once you are on the trail (off Hatton Road) just follow the signs until you reach Tin Wan where there is a path to your right that will take you off the trail and down to Aberdeen.
Section 3 & 4 Just over the hill from the city
Hong Kong Island is split in half by a series of ridges. On the north side facing Victoria harbor lies one of the world’s most densely populated cities. On the south just over the hill lies thick forests with muddy paths that you can walk in solitude. There is nowhere where you can feel this parallel world more, than on sections three and four of the Hong Kong trail. Section three is a flat wooded walk that loops along the contours of a steep incline. Section four is more open with stunning views across the south of the island.
Start in Aberdeen along the promenade then make you way through the town to Peel Rise which takes you through a cemetery to the junction of sections two and tree. Continue up the track looking out for a sign for the Hong Kong Trail on your right. Once you find this it’s a straight walk, well signposted up until Wanchai Gap. Section four continues on a similar path but slowly opens up with views across the south of Hong Kong Island. Before you reach Wong Nai Cheng reservoir you cross Repulse Bay Road where there are buses to the City or back to Aberdeen.
Section 5 & 6 Victoria Harbor to the left, South Side to the right
Section 5 of the Hong Kong trail boasts views that would be hard to beat anywhere in the world. It’s a steep climb, first up to Jardine’s lookout and then to Mount Butler but the path is wide open for most of the way with sweeping city panorama’s on your left and mountains and reservoirs to your right. Section six is an easy decent through the lush Tai Tam valley as you weave through the four reservoirs on your way down to Tai Tam road.
Find Tai Tam reservoir road, just past the cricket club on Wong Nai Chung Gap road and head up till you see a big sign for the Hong Kong and Wilson Trails. The two trails run together for the first part as you make your way up to Jardine’s lookout. Bear right where the two trails part and follow the signs up to Mount Butler. From there steps will take you down to a small park. From here on in the trail is not marked. Bear right down a road to Tai Tam reservoir then continue down Tai Tam reservoir road. Look out for a sign on the left (it’s not obvious) that takes you on a small path to Tai Tam road.
Section 7 & 8 Tracing Tai Tam Bay then up and over the Dragon’s Back
The last two sections of the Hong Kong trail are very different. The first, a long flat walk tracing the coastline of Tai Tam bay with sweeping views and a beach at the end to lunch and swim. The next section a tough climb t start, followed by a spectacular ridge walk before descending slowly through woods to Big Wave bay. It’s the longest and toughest of the walks in this series but well worth the effort.
Take a bus or ferry to the north end of Tai Tum Tuk Reservoir Dam then look for the sign to the trail on your right about 100m up the road. Follow the path with the stream on your left and the bay on your right for around 6 KM until you reach a small beach. From there you turn left at the sign post for the Dragon’s back, head up to Shek O road, then across and continue up and along the Dragon’s back. After you finish the ridge it’s a long walk through the woods to a road. Turn left and follow the signs down to Big Wave bay. From the bay go up the hill to your left where you will find transport out.