If you’re someone who enjoys hiking in the great outdoors, Hong Kong might not be the first place that pops into mind. When people think of Hong Kong, the first thing that they think of is a concrete jungle with sky-high skyscrapers, rooftop bars, and a bustling crowd. Most are only familiar with the tourist attractions that are located in the urban realm, but you’ll be surprised to hear that it’s not all that Hong Kong has to offer.
As a matter of fact, much of Hong Kong is actually a wilderness. If you’re only going to stay in Hong Kong for a few days (as most tourists do), you’re probably aiming to make the most of your time. Day hikes are perfect for this! Whether you’re a newbie hiker who enjoys slow and leisurely strolls or an experienced hiker who prefers the more difficult climbs, Hong Kong will definitely have something for you.
We’ve compiled a list of the top five best day hikes in Hong Kong, ranked from the least to most challenging. There’s also a detailed guide on the terrain and duration of the hike.
Victoria Peak Trail
Duration: Less than an hour
Distance covered: Approximately 3km
The Victoria Peak Trail is also known as Mount Austin or The Peak. This is hands-down the easiest hike on the list, so much so that we can even recommend this to the elderly, children, and yes, even your furry travel companions! If we’re going to be perfectly candid, this is actually less of a hike and more of a nature walk. You can simply take a bus or a tram to get to the peak, then do the 3km loop-walk around the paved and relatively flat trail. If you’re in it for the spectacular views and not the leg workout, then we definitely recommend taking on the Peak. From here, you can see the impressive views of Central, Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island, and the surrounding islands.
Duration: 2.5 hours without stops
Distance covered: 8.5km
Dragon’s Back is one of the more accessible hikes among the list: it’s mostly downhill hiking without too many inclines which makes it suitable for amateur hikers and even families. It’s also been hailed as the best urban hike in Asia by Times Magazine due to the amazing coastal view that you get along the ridge. Just a word of caution: while the view is amazing, most of the trail is exposed so we highly recommend bringing plenty of water and sunscreen to avoid heatstroke and sunburn.
This might make you worried, but fear not because the Dragon’s Back ends at Shek-O, a seaside village. This is perfect if you want to cool yourself off after with a swim or just chill by the beach. You can even grab a few drinks at the local seaside bars!
Violet Hill and Twin Peaks
Duration: Approximately 2.5 hours without break
Distance covered: 4.8 km
Also known as the ‘Terrible Twins’, this hike involves climbing and descending two hills: Violet Hills and the Twins. Your jump-off point can either be on Stanley or Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Part. Either way, you’re going to have to brave a gruelling 1,200-step adventure.
It’s definitely one of the more intense hikes, but don’t let this intimidate you! Sure, the hike is an intense leg workout that will probably leave your legs feeling like jelly for days, but the trail is pretty straightforward. Besides, the scenic view that you will see will make everything worth it: you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the entirety of Hong Kong, from the thick woodlands to the sparkling waters and lush jungle.
Mount High West
Duration: 3-4 hours, depending on your jump-off point
Distance covered: 6.2 km with a 494 m peak
Some parts of Mount High West involves incredibly steep hikes, but the trail is mostly paved with stone (although it can be slippery and muddy when it rains, so make sure to wear shoes with a good grip!). There are lots of benches and pavilions where you can rest, so while Mount High West is challenging it’s also beginner-friendly. As long as you’re capable of climbing steep inclines and don’t mind a bit of a leg workout, then we recommend this hike for you.
It’s located just west of the Victoria Peak Trail and offers a panoramic view of Hong Kong: Cyberport and Lamma Island in the South; Kowloon and Tai Mo Shan in the North; and Lantau Island in the West.
Duration: 3-4 hours, depending on the pace
Distance covered: 6.9km with a 540m incline
As you may have guessed, it is called the Lion Rock because the peak is shaped like a lion’s head. This is not for the beginners and the faint-hearted. The incline and staircase are pretty steep in some areas and you may even have to get on all fours to navigate the terrain. Plus, the trail is mostly unpaved dirt which can turn slippery when wet (but it’s safe for the most part, don’t worry!).
However, if you’re up for the challenge and you’re looking to get dirt under your nails, Lion Rock makes up for the demanding hike with a great view of the sunset and city lights over the New Territories and Kowloon.
Final notes: Well, there you have it: the best day hikes that Hong Kong has for you. Sure, the urban tourist attractions are impressive, but it is also worth exploring the other side of Hong Kong if you want to make the most out of your experience.
As with all hikes, remember always to be careful and come prepared. Check the weather reports, stay hydrated, and wear the appropriate clothing. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for help! Beware though, most of these hiking trails can get pretty packed during the weekends and holidays, so if you want to avoid the crowds, you may want to stick to weekday hikes.