Lace up those boots, it’s time to get moving.
Tired of your little couch potatoes sitting around the house focused on their phones and tablets? Get them outside to explore one of Hong Kong’s family-friendly 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 shortlist of favourites to help you get the fam moving. Here is a roundup of some of HK’s popular family hikes, as well as book and app recommendations to help you get out and about in the great outdoors!
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 make 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: 8.5km; Time: 4 hours
Starting Point: Shek O Road near to Tei Wan Village
Finishing Point: Tai Long Wan (Big Wave Bay)
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 in nature. The concrete-laden path makes this a fairly easy and comfortable walk, perfect for introducing your kids to hiking. If you want a bit more of a challenge, finish at the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir for a 6.5km hike (complete with amazing views and a few stair climbs).
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 3.5km; Time: 1 hour
Starting Point: Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre (you can catch bus number 13 from Central all the way to the end of the route at Kotewall Road and, from there, it is a short walk to the starting point)
Finishing Point: Pok Fu Lam Road Playground
This calm and tranquil walk follows the contours of the Tai Tam Reservoir – the primary source of freshwater supply on Hong Kong Island. Easily accessible by public transport, this family walk is a popular option for a laid-back weekend adventure. For the architecture and history buffs, take a leisurely walk down the Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail into a fun interactive history lesson with your children. Covering up to 21 declared monuments, the trail is perfect to spark your kids’ interest in learning more about local culture!
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 1.6km; 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: 0.5km; 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-friendly hike 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 alfresco barbecue site located at the bottom of the hike.
The Essentials: Level: Easy; Distance: 1.8km; 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 a mini playground and it’s a winner. A go-to for hiking with a pram, it’s also perfect for little ones who want to scoot or bike.
The Essentials: Level: Super, duper easy; Distance: 4km or 8km for a roundtrip; Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
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 stroller-friendly hike (or take the kids’ scooter or bike – just be mindful of crowds) along Lugard Road and Harlech Road. It gives you one of the best views of the enchanting Hong Kong skyline. Jump on the 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: 6km for a roundtrip; Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
Starting Point: Just past the Peak Lookout Cafe – take the path to the right to start with Hong Kong city views, or to the left to finish with them
Finishing Point: The Peak
Follow the historical trail around Yuen Long to get 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: 1.6km; Time: 40 minutes
Starting Point: Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda (take the MTR to Tin Shui Wai Station, Exit E3; when you arrive at the ground floor, cross Tsui Sing Road and you will see Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda)
Finishing Point: Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery
This one can be a fun history lesson combined with a family hike! It relates to the founding 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 (all while traversing familiar territory).
The Essentials: Level: Moderate; Distance: 3.3km; Time: 2 hours
Starting Point: The University of Hong Kong
Finishing Point: D’Aguilar Street
Lamma is a fantastic location to take the kids hiking and get 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 alfresco 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: 3km; 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. Kids will love stepping into pirate territory at the Cheung Po Tsai Cave – the hideout of Hong Kong’s notorious 18th century pirate, 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: 9km; 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: 7km; Time: 3.5 hours
Starting Point: Peng Chau Ferry Pier
Finishing Point: Peng Chau Ferry Pier
Before you head out the door…
Need a guide?
New to 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 ($571 for a new book, but with used options starting from $24) and The Serious Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong ($633 for a new book, but with used options starting from $200). 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 ($64). This sweet illustrated story chronicles a family hike into the mountains and sends a gentle message of environmental stewardship.
Bring more water than you think you’ll need.
Dehydration is serious– even in the cooler months. Whip up a big bag of trail mix (packed with 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.
Read more: 50 Things To Do With Kids In Hong Kong
Editor’s Note: This post was first published on 2, November 2011 and was most recently updated on 13, January 2020 by Jess Mizzi.
Featured image courtesy of Getty, image 1 courtesy of Fred Rivett via Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, image 3 courtesy of Marc van der Chijs via Flickr, image 4 courtesy of Jess Mizzi, image 5 courtesy of Baycrest via Wikimedia Commons, image 6 courtesy of Chris Wong via Flickr, image 7 courtesy of Ashim D’Silva via Unsplash.