Get a move on!
Tired of your little couch potatoes sitting around the house focused on their phones and tablets? Get them outside to explore one of HK’s hikes! This is a great time to check out all the green there is (HK is three-quarters countryside, after all). And with dozens of country parks and hundreds of scenic trails (for all levels), we came up with a short list of favourites to help you get that fam moving! Here is just a sampling of some of HK’s popular family hikes to enjoy with your brood, as well as some books, apps, and events to inspire you to enjoy the great outdoors! So lace up those boots, it’s time to get moving.
This hasn’t been dubbed Asia’s top urban hike for nothing. Its view of the South China Sea, remote islands, and Shek O village is sublime. Winding across the ridges of Shek O Country Park, this lovely hike is manageable for older kids. But, if you’ve got a little one in a backpack, the sections of stairs and steep climbs makes it a tad more strenuous. Be sure to cap off the hike off with some authentic Chinese and Thai food in Shek O village.
The Essentials: Level: Moderate; Distance: 10km; Time: 3 Hours
Starting Point: Shek O Road near To Tei Wen Village
Finishing Point: Tai Long Wan
Take the bus from Central to the entrance of Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road and walk another five minutes to arrive at the start of this pleasant family walk. Be sure to climb the steps at the end of the hike to enjoy a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the reservoir!
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 3.5km Time: Roughly 1 Hour
Starting Point: Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Management Centre
Finishing Point: Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road
Pik Shan Path
You can spot this hidden gem tucked away just above the bustling Sai Ying Pun neighbourhood. Surrounded by a forest of trees, you will find yourself fully immersed within nature. The concrete laden path makes this a fairly easy and comfortable walk, perfect for easing inexperienced young hikers into outdoor activities. If you want a little more challenge, finish at the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir for a 6.5 km hike (complete with amazing views and a few stair climbs).
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 3.5 km; Time: 1 Hour
Starting Point: Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre
Finishing Point: Pok Fu Lam Road Playground
This calm and tranquil walk follows the contours of the Tai Tam Reservoir – the primary source of fresh water supply on Hong Kong Island. Easily accessible by public transport, the family walk is a popular option for a laid-back weekend adventure. For the architecture and history buffs, turn a leisurely walk down the Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail into a fun interactive history lesson with your kids. Covering up to 21 declared monuments, the trail is prone to spark your kids’ interest in learning more about local culture!
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 1.6 km; Time: 1 Hour
Starting Point: Tai Tam Reservoir Road (near Parkview Mansions)
Finishing Point: Tai Tam Reservoir Road (near Tai Tam Upper Reservoir)
Stroll through the bamboo-lined path and enjoy the breathtaking birds-eye view of Tai Mo Shan Country Park. The entrance and exit of the relaxing family walk is connected to a spacious outdoor barbecue ground, which makes the perfect post-hike treat!
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 0.5 km; Time: Approx. 30 minutes
Starting Point: Chuen Lung Barbecue Area
Finishing Point: Chuen Lung Barbecue Area
Located within Sai Kung Country Park, the peaceful and mostly flat family walk offers breathtaking views of lush greeneries and gushing streams. About halfway along the route there is a picnic site that is perfect for a short break and a bite. Take a detour to the Sheung Yiu Folk Museum and check out the stunning remnants of a 19th century Hakka village. Or make your way to an al fresco barbecue site located at the bottom of the hike.
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 1.8 km; Time: 1 Hour
Starting Point: Sheung Yiu
Finishing Point: Tai Mong Tsai Road
Flat, paved, shady in the afternoon, and extremely convenient – in other words, it’s super family-friendly. Add the parking lot and mini playground and it’s a winner. A go-to when a family member is in a pram, it’s also perfect for little ones who want to scoot or bike.
The Essentials: Level: Super, duper easy; Distance: 8 km (for roundtrip); Time: 2 Hours (for roundtrip)
Starting Point: Bowen Road off Magazine Gap Road
Finishing Point: There are a few options – either back where you started if you make the roundtrip, near Stubbs road if you go one-way, or you can head down the hill near the playground/parking lot to Kennedy Road.
The Peak has some super tranquil and mainly shaded, paved scenic walks. The most popular of these is the Peak Circle Walk – a flat 3.5km circular walk along Lugard Road and Harlech Road. It gives you one of the best views of the enchanting Hong Kong skyline. Jump onthe historic Peak Tram and enjoy a bite on the terrace at the Peak Lookout (which has a massive menu with something for everyone) and you’ve got yourself a full day’s itinerary.
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 6 km; Time: 1.5 Hours.
Starting Point: The Peak
Finishing Point: The Peak
Follow the historical trail around Yuen Long to catch a glimpse into Hong Kong’s early rural culture! Featuring 10 conserved sites, the walk begins at the 600-year-old Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda – Hong Kong’s only surviving pagoda and a declared monument. The tower dates back to the Ming dynasty and was constructed to ensure the academic and professional success of the villagers.
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 1.6 km; Time: 40 Minutes
Starting Point: Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda
Finishing Point: Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery
This one could be a fun history lesson and family hike! Talk about found father of the Republic of China, Dr Sun Yat-sen, a highly respected figure in modern Chinese history. The historical trail marks when he overthrew the last emperor of China and brought together post-Imperial China. Covering 15 carefully curated spots dotted over Central and Sheung Wan, including the secret meeting place of the Four Bandits and the place where revolutionary Yeung Ku-wan was assassinated by the Qing government, the trail offers its visitors a rare peek into the past.
The Essentials: Level: Moderate; Distance: 3.3 km; Time: 2 Hours
Starting Point: The University of Hong Kong
Finishing Point: D’Aguilar Street
Lamma is a fantastic location to take a break away from the constant hustle of the city! Meandering through the island’s green interior, the paved trail runs between two buzzing villages. Starting in Yung Shue Wan, you’ll find a handful of little al fresco bars. We also love the choice of seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan, which are perfect for an easy, no-fuss dinner at the end of the hike.
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 3 km; Time: 45 Minutes
Starting Point: Yung Shue Wan
Finishing Point: Sok Kwu Wan
Cheung Chau Family Trail
The meandering trail spans across the entire island and offers amazing views of a beautiful beach, colourful fishing boats along the harbour, and busy market stalls. Highlights of the walk include Cheung Po Tsai – the cave hideout of Hong Kong’s notorious pirate in the 18th century, and the scenic coastal walk Mini Great Wall. Be sure to look for the oddly named rocks along the path, such as Human Head Rock and Zombie Rock!
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 9 km; Time: 3.5 Hours
Starting Point: Cheung Chau Pier
Finishing Point: Cheung Chau Pier
Peng Chau Family Walk
A thriving industrial centre in the 70s and 80s, Peng Chau remains home to abandoned factories and ancient temples that are reminiscent of its more glorious days. The best part of the island walk is surely the 30-minute climb up to Fung Ping Pavilion at the top of Finger Hill. You and your family will love the stunning views of Disneyland, Discovery Bay, and Tsing Ma Bridge from high above!
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 7 km; Time: 3.5 Hours
Starting Point: Peng Chau Ferry Pier
Finishing Point: Peng Chau Ferry Pier
Need a guide?
New at hiking and want someone to show you the way? All you have to do is ask! Local tour company Walk Hong Kong offers special family guided hikes all around Hong Kong. It can also organise something special for your group – be it an urban walk through the markets or an easygoing hike through one of Hong Kong’s country parks. Alternatively, join a guided adventure and eco tour with Wild Hong Kong to discover the many hidden gems of the city.
Get the app!
Download Enjoy Hiking for free on iTunes and Google Play. Created by Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the app showcases various hiking trails in Hong Kong. Search for hikes based on your interests and fitness level, review maps, and navigate in English or Chinese.
Add to your reading list!
For a more comprehensive look into Hong Kong’s hiking routes, check out Pete Spurrier’s paperbacks The Leisurely Hiker’s Guide Hong Kong (US$44.30) and The Serious Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong (US$84.79). These guidebooks are jam-packed with stunning landscape pictures and informative details.
Get your little bookworms excited for hiking with Theadora Whittington’s The Dragon’s Back (US$9.95). This sweet illustrated story chronicles a family hike into the mountains and sends a gentle message of environmental stewardship.
Before you head out the door…
Bring more water than you think you’ll need. Dehydration is serious– even in the cooler months. Whip up a big bag of gorp (the tasty mix of peanuts, raisins, M&Ms, and other yummy things) to give yourself a midday boost and quiet down the little hikers. Don’t forget to wear a hat and apply sunscreen and bug repellent! Lastly, jot down these helpful numbers and tips to make sure you can stay in touch while enjoying some of Hong Kong’s gorgeous parks.
Editor’s note: this article was first published on 2 November, 2011, and was updated on 12 February, 2018 by Kei Wa Lee.
Featured image courtesy of Mark Lehmkuhler via Flickr, Image #1 courtesy of David Ashby via Flicker, mage #2 courtesy of Mark Lehmkuhler via Flickr, image #3 courtesy of Thomas Au via Flickr, image #4 courtesy of Marc van der Chijs via Flickr, image #5 courtesy of Chris Wong via Flickr, image #6 courtesy of Ashim D’Silva via Unsplash.