Escape the crowds at these lesser-known hiking spots

In Hong Kong, your regular 9 to 5 often transforms into an 8 ’til 8, leaving us desk jockeys longing for a breath of fresh air, greenery and, quite frankly, a little piece and quiet. Unfortunately, some of the things that make Hong Kong such a fantastic place to live (quick and easy transport links and affordable taxis) have an undesirable effect on a handful of our popular hiking trails. Queuing to walk up a mountain doesn’t quite scream great outdoors to most. So, we’ve rounded up a few alternatives that will have you walking out of the city, hopefully, out of the way of the crowds and in the direction of that much-needed tranquillity.

View from Jardine’s Lookout

Sir Cecil’s Ride

Though hardly hidden away, this portion of the Wilson Trail seldom gets the attention it deserves. Stretching from Mount Butler Road to the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir, the views from the eastern side of the island are unparalleled and offer an easier path than the short but sharp Early Morning Trail up Victoria Peak. It’s ideal for those looking to view the skyscrapers from afar but less enthused by the steep uphill climb! If you are looking for a lengthier trek, however, you can continue on from Sir Cecil’s Ride towards Mount Butler and Jardine’s Lookout, ending up in Quarry Bay.

Needle hill

Needle Hill

Stage 7 of the Maclehose Trail is not for the faint of heart. Two steep climbs are involved in this trek, up Grassy Hill and Needle Hill, but the uninterrupted views of the city are worth it. You’re also directly underneath the flight path, so that urban feeling is never too far away. Start from Wun Yiu Road and hike up Lead Mine Pass, which leads you to the first of the viewpoints at Grassy Hill. From there, another brisk uphill walk takes you up Needle Hill, where we guarantee you’ll need a moment to stop and stare.


View of Shek Uk Shan in Sai Kung County Park

Pak Tam Chung to Tai Tun

Sometimes, even in a city as interconnected as Hong Kong, you need to get well and truly off the beaten track, and Pak Tam Chung is the perfect place for this. This hike is a tricky one, and we would definitely recommend dusting off the hiking boots and staying wary of the steep slopes. From here, walking into the Sai Kung West Country Park opens up views of the smattering of small islands by the shore, reminiscent of the Andaman archipelagos. This view is unlike any you’d find elsewhere in Hong Kong, but requires proper preparation beforehand.


Ng Tung Chai waterfalls

Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls

This hike is a great alternative to the Tai O infinity pool which, contrary to popular belief, is not open to the public for swimming. Heed our warnings and save yourself the disappointment after a sweaty hike and head to the waterfalls nestled within the Tai Mo Shan country park instead. From Tai Wo Station on the MTR’s light blue line, hop on a bus or in a taxi, and a short walk away you’ll find the entrance to the trail.


By Amanda Sheppard