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5 Urban Hiking Trails in Hong Kong

Looking to visit one of the world’s safest destinations, also known as a shoppers’ paradise? If you’re anything like me, I probably have your attention now. Not only can you shop till you drop in Hong Kong, but also visit exciting wellness locations. Enjoy views of the city from tons of peaks, indulge in local street food, and celebrate endless festivals. All are easily accessible when going on an urban hike. Urban hiking through the city is a great way to explore Hong Kong while getting your steps in. Without wasting any more time, here are the top 5 urban hiking trails in Hong Kong.

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1. Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail (龍脊遠足徑)

Hike the Dragon’s Back in South-eastern Hong Kong Island
Image: The Broke Backpacker, 2022

The Dragon’s Back in southeastern Hong Kong Island is known as one of the city’s best urban hikes. The trail provides spectacular views of southern Hong Kong and its shoreline. It takes about four hours to complete 9 kilometres. Also, the difficulty level is moderate. So, prepare yourself for some steep climbs.

Once you’ve set off, you’ll hike for about 20 minutes towards the first viewing point. First, stop at the Shek O Peninsula viewing point at the foot of the hill. Second is the summit of Shek O Peak. Take in perfect panoramic views of the city and the peninsula’s coastline. Here you can catch your breath and relax after your last steep climb. Just kidding! This is a rolling hill, so you’ll have to climb another hill, but I promise this will be the last one.

Finally, begin your descent on an uneven part of the gravel road. However, the end of your hike is the reward. Big Wave Bay Beach will greet you on arrival. Feel free to go for a dip, surf or simply lay on the beach. It’s truly the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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2. Central Green Trail (中央自然徑)

Urban Hike in Central Green Trail in Hong Kong City
Image: Culture Trip, 2022

The Central Green Trail is the epitome of a city hike. This one-way or loop trail follows three different pathways. The longest version of this hike starts at the Peak Tram. Following May Road and the Chatham Path to Barker Road, you’ll only hike for about two hours through the city. In contrast, the shortest route is only 20 minutes in total. Dubbed the “Lunch Time Stroll”, it’s self-evident that you can complete this walk during your lunch break. Start at Tramway Path and walk up Kennedy Road whereafter you turn left to follow St. Joseph’s Path. Due to this being a quick lunchtime walk, it is a loop trail taking you back to the beginning.

The remaining three routes all start at Tramway Path. Depending on when you feel like stopping, the trails range from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. While walking through the city, you can wander off the route to nearby attractions. In fact, Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Zoo, and Hong Kong Botanical Gardens are all nearby. Feel on top of the world after reaching the peak of the Tramway Path with beautiful views. This urban hiking trail is truly the perfect mix between greenery and the city.

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3. Pok Fu Lam Country Park (薄扶林郊野公園)

Hike at Pok Fu Lam Country Park in Hong Kong

Pok Fu Lam Country Park stretches over 270 hectares of Hong Kong Island. It’s also surrounded by Victoria Peak, creating the perfect combination between city life and nature. What’s special about the park is the views of Victoria Harbour from the Victoria Mountain peak in Pok Fu Lam. Furthermore, Pok Fu Lam is home to the start of the popular Hong Kong Island Trail that leads to Victoria Peak. Choose between Harlech or Lugard Road to reach the top, both taking 2.2 kilometres.

While walking to the top of the mountain, you’ll quickly have panoramic views of Victoria Harbour before reaching the top. The park is a unique location filled with lakes, dense canopies of trees, and mountains. Furthermore, Pok Fu Lam is well-known as a citizens’ back garden. This highlights how close it is to city residences.

You’re already in the park so why not take the Pok Fu Lam Tree Study Trail on your way down? It is the first trail specifically designed and created to educate hikers on plant life growing in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, here you simultaneously experience the rare combination of the bustling city and the magnificent nature close at hand.

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4. MacLehose Trail (麥理浩徑)

Hike the MacLehose Trail in Hong Kong
Image: Goldthread, 2020

This is the first-ever long-distance hiking trail in Hong Kong. In total, the MacLehose hiking trail is a whopping 100 kilometres long. But to make it seem easier and less daunting, the MacLehose is divided into 10 sections. Nevertheless, it starts in Pak Tam Chung. Each section climbs over various peaks ensuring stunning views of Hong Kong.

However, the section I would like to focus on is the sixth. The reason is, this section of MacLehose runs through the Central Park of the New Territories. And New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong. Therefore, you’ll hike through a city that is home to around half of the population of Hong Kong. You’ll definitely have the opportunity to take in all that New Territories have to offer

Lastly, walk through Chun Shui Tang (Citygate), a centre filled with restaurants and shops. Here you can buy a snack, or just pause to take a break. The scenery is varied and beautiful with clear signs and instructions along the hiking paths.

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5. Violet Hill Hiking Trail (紫羅蘭山谷)

Hiking at Violet Hill Hong Kong
Image: Time Out, 2018

The Violet Hill hiking tour starts from Wilson Trail in Tai Tam Country Park. However, the trail runs along Deepwater Bay, Repulse Bay, and then Stanley. This gives you the feeling of a scenic hiking trail along the beach while still moving towards huge skyscrapers in the city of Hong Kong.

For a more challenging route, enter Twin Peaks. It is a 3-kilometre hike that takes about an hour and 30 minutes to complete due to the elevation gain. For this reason, a certain level of fitness is required. Towards the top of the hill, the hike splits into three peaks. So, you can decide from which peak you want to enjoy the views of Tai Tam Reservoirs and Wong Nai Chung.

The hill is well-preserved with little construction. When descending, however, the trail leads to the city. Equally important, the rare and protected species of Hong Kong Iris (a violet flower) grows on the hill. Seeing this beautiful flower makes the climb worth it!

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End of Trail

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Combining a scenic yet strenuous hike through an exciting city is really embracing the best of both worlds. As a result, Hong Kong is the perfect destination for city hiking. Their endless mountain ranges and busy city life offer you the ultimate all-in-one deal. Perhaps you feel like relaxing after your day of hiking, why not head to an exotic wellness spa? Finally, as the Hong Kongese say, gai tung aap gong (don’t be a chicken talking to a duck, practice Cantonese). 

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