THE MOST PHOTO WORTHY HIKES IN UNDER 2 HOURS
If you've lived in Hong Kong long enough, say...more than a week, you're bound to hear about the amazing, albeit, unexpected nature and hiking scene in this city. Aside from the leagues of towering skyscrapers, Hong Kong is home to nearly two dozen country parks with countless hiking trails, many of which are less than an hour away by taxi or public transport from Central. Not a seasoned survivalist? Not to worry. While some people are in it for the exercise, others for the fresh air, I'm mostly in it for the views. If you're like me and are looking for moderate exercise with maximal oohs and aahs , I've got a must-hike list for you:
THE PEAK + MOUNT HIGH WEST
Skip the lines at the Peak Tram and take this lesser known trail to the top of Hong Kong instead.
(Google Maps Input "Dynasty Court" to "Mount High West")
1) Begin at the intersection of Old Peak Road and Tregunter Path in Midlevels. Follow Old Peak Road through the park up to the Peak Galleria Mall.
I know I promised you moderate exercise so as you huff and puff your way up Old Peak Road up to the Peak Galleria, know that this 20 minute stretch is where most of your sweating will happen. The path is paved but wooded and peaceful.
2) Continue on Harlech Road along the Harlech Fitness Trail until you see a large park area with a pagoda at the intersection of Harlech Road and Lugard Road.
You get a nice break here for a 15-20 minute stretch of glorious, flat, paved road.
3) Turn into the park towards the pagoda and as you walk past the playground onto Hong Kong Park Trail Section 1. Continue along this trail as it winds up Mount High West.
This part is a bit hard to find but well worth it. The beginning of the trail is past the pagoda and playground on the far left. Luckily, the trail is on Google Maps (screenshot above, inputs are "Dynasty Court" to "Mount High West").
The best views are at sunset! Try to get here before golden hour (4-5PM) for some truly amazing views of the city.
CAPE D'AGUILAR MARINE RESERVE
If steep inclines are not your thing, you're gonna love this one.
(Google Maps Input "Cape D'aguilar Road" to "Bones of Miss Willy")
Its a bit of a rite of passage to do a hike with a hangover in Hong Kong and theres no better trail to bring you back to life than this one. The Cape D'Aguilar Marine Reserve is located on the D'Aguilar Peninsula past Shek O. This beautiful park has beautiful sea caves, endless ocean views and a lighthouse to boot.
1) Take the MTR (Blue, Island Line) to Shau Kei Wan (Exit J). From there, hop on the number 9 bus to Cape D'Aguilar Road.
This is the same route to get to the very popular Dragon's Back hike so you'll likely run into many other hikers. Hang tight for a few more stops after the masses depart.
2) Once you get to Cape D'Aguilar Road, begin your hike by following the road straight across the peninsula until you reach the Bones of Miss Willy, a whale skeleton replica that stands outside the Swire Institute of Marine Science.
This hike is mostly flat and has incredible sea views along the way. When you get to the edge of the peninsula, take some time to explore the caves and even walk up to the lighthouse if you like.
The beautiful caves in the Marine Reserve are what make this place so special. Don't be afraid to climb and explore, just watch out for those waves!
Because this is a fairy secluded spot, remember to pack lunch or snacks for your hike. Unlike other more popular trails and parks, there won't be any food or water vendors so plan ahead.
For those of you who want to get a little dirt under your nails and maybe a rhino under your butt, Rhino Rock is a must-see.
(Google Maps Input: "Stanley Fort" to "Rhino Rock Hiking Trail")
1) Take the MTR (Blue, Island Line) to Sai Wan Ho station. Take Exit A and transfer to the number 14 bus to Stanley Fort.
2) The bus will stop right in front of Stanley Fort with the trail beginning just off to the left of the fence. Follow the path along the fence.
The walking path is marked on Google Maps but cuts through lots of bushes and shrubbery. Although this is not a long hike, its very hands on so get ready to do some climbing and fancy foot work over the dirt and rocks.
I'll leave it to the experts to give you a step by step guide on how to find Rhino Rock here.
These unobstructed views over Stanley are absolutely incredible so get your danger-pants on and get to climbing for the best snapshots.
Although it looks like a death-defying climb, there is actually a landing right beneath Rhino Rock for anyone afraid of heights. The climb can still be tricky so make sure you have a photographer friend at the ready nearby to make the hard work worth it.
JARDINE'S LOOKOUT / MOUNT BUTLER
(Google Maps Input: "Parkview" to "Quarry Bay")
1) Take the 6, 61, 63 or 76 bus to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir or a taxi to Parkview Heights.
2) Walk up the road to begin the hike at Section 2 of the Wilson Trail. Follow the trail past Jardine's Lookout, Mount Buttler and ultimately to Quarry Bay.
The trail has 2 key viewpoints, Jardine's Lookout which offers sweeping views of the Hong Kong skyline and Mount Butler which overlooks the Tai Tam Reservoir. Be sure to make a stop and both to soak it all in!