MacLehose Trail

MacLehose Trail, Hong Kong: Address, Phone Number, MacLehose Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

MacLehose Trail
MacLehose Trail is a 100-kilometer trail winding through beautiful countryside of the New Territories. There are 10 sections of varying degrees of difficulty, with hike times ranging from 1.5 hours to five hours.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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192 reviews
Very good

Hong Kong, China139,100 contributions
Stages 5 & 6 - Convenient from the city
Jul 2021
The MacLeHose Trail runs 100 km across Hong Kong's New Territories from east to west. It is broken down into 10 sections of various lengths and challenge, taking in impressive coastlines, dramatic peaks and ridges with excellent viewpoints, scrubby hillsides, woodland forests and past reservoirs. The trail is an outdoor wonder in Hong Kong and is recognised by National Geographic as one of the World's 20 Dream Trails.

Two of the most popular sections of the MacLehose Trail are Stages #5 & #6 which are closest to the city, easily accessible and generally less challenging compared to other legs of the trail, meaning they are convenient for families who want to spend some time outdoors with the children.

Stage #5 links Tate's Cairn (east) to Tai Po Road (west) and is around 11km in distance. This trail is most notable for passing through the Lion Rock Country Park. While technically a separate trail within the park, Lion Rock is the famous landmark peak with 360 degree views around the city. It is a very popular hike for locals and outdoor enthusiasts who visit the city and is often clubbed with the MacLehose Trail Stage 5 when trekking across the country park. There is also an informal War Relic trail with 17 different war period ruins along what is known as the Gin Drinker's Line, where key military defensive positions where constructed and manned before WWII and the Japanese invasion, something interesting for the history buffs hiking along Stage #5.

Stage #6 picks up at the end of #5 at Tai Po Road. The trail makes way north through the Kam Shan Country Park and ends the southern boundary with the Shing Mun Country Park. It is just over 5 kms in distance and an easy hike throughout. The trail passes a few small reservoirs and historical waterworks structures in the southern end. Notably, the trail follows Golden Hill Road, informally known and Monkey Hill because of the high concentration of macaques that reside in the area. You will see quite a few, best to follow regulations and not try to feed them. Just have a look at them and move on. Near the north end of Stage #6 you will find Shing Mun War Relics trail where there are 8 or 9 more war era ruins that also formed part of the Gin Drinker's Line. This is a better war relic trail as the relics are in higher concentration and only spread over a couple hundred metres.

In the end, Stage #5 is really good if including a visit to Lion Rock. Stage #6 is better suited for those who want something light, easy and are interested to see lots of monkeys. War history buffs will prefer the Shing Mun Relics Trail in Stage #6 if you have to choose. It can be done quickly by starting from the north end of that trail section, where the ruins are found.
Written August 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

6 contributions
May 2021 • Family
Hikers leave the trail of plastic behind them. The sights are average. Signages are non existent. Utter disappointment.
Written May 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

4 contributions
No locals
Apr 2021
Everyone we met on this trail is either an expat or foreign born Chinese. Why are there no locals around? Trail needs more signs.
Written April 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

5 contributions
Slippery and dangerous at places
Mar 2021 • Family
The hike is slippery and dangerous at places. Tell hotel concierge when and where you are going. Make it fun!
Written April 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hong Kong, China139,100 contributions
Section #4 through the Ma On Shan Country Park
Mar 2021
The MacLeHose Trail is a 100 km long trek across Hong Kong's New Territories that is broken down into 10 sections, taking in delightful coastlines, mountain peaks and ridges, woodland forests and reservoirs. It is an outdoor wonder in Hong Kong that is recognised as one of the World's 20 Dream Trails by National Geographic.

The trail was officially inaugurated in 1979 and named after HK's former governor Sir Murray MacLehose, an avid hiker and outdoorsman who championed the establishment of the Country Parks of Hong Kong Ordinance in 1976.

One of the most popular sections of the MacLehose Trail is Section #4 which crosses the Ma On Shan Country Park, spending much time clinging to the ridge line and peaks of what is referred to as the Hunchbacks of Ma On Shan.

The trail starts at Kei Ling Ha / Shui Long Wo at the country park's northeast boundary with the Sai Kung West Country Park (and the end of Section #3 of the trail) and ends at Tate's Cairn in the southwest near the start of the Lion's Rock Country Park (the beginning of Section #4 of the trail).

Section #4 is one of the more challenging treks. It is around 13 kilometres in distance and includes a lot of upward stretches and steep climbs. Some hiking fitness is recommended when attempting to tackle this stage of the MacLehose Trail. Plenty of water and whatever snacks you need is also recommended. There are few public toilet stops and no eateries or kiosk stops once you start the hike.

Hightlights of Section #4 include the ridge line and viewpoints of Sai Kung, the islands of the Inner Port Shelter, The Tolo Channel, Tolo Harbour and Ma On Shan. Pyramid Hill is a quick add-on summit you can climb near the Ngong Ping Plateau which links to the Section #4 trail. Buffalo Pass is another highlight further to the southwest.

You will pass through some beautiful wooded areas along this trail section but mostly it is the ridge lines that are the star of the show. Quite a few birds will be seen and during the cooler months, butterflies are fairly prevalent. As for wildlife, most of what lives in this area are nocturnal. However, you may encounter a wild pig and will likely cross pathes with ferrel cows which are commonly seen near the Ma On Shan Country Trail intersection and Ngong Ping area and then in higher numbers around Buffalo Pass.

In the end, Section #4 can be a great day hike in Hong Kong. If does require some level of fitness to complete comfortably and the rewarding views are highly dependent upon visibility. As such, it is a hike you may want to save for a clear day with better sky conditions.
Written March 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

United Kingdom4,944 contributions
Stage #1 – Scenic Reservoir, Secluded Beach & Seafood Lunch
Feb 2021
This 100km long walking trail is broken into stages. This is one of the shorter, easier stages. For the most part, you are walking alongside the road which makes Stage 1 less appealing as other hikes.
The singular highlight is walking along the High Island Reservoir. Here, you get panoramic views. The water is a startling blue and the high, rocky sides of the dam stand in stark orange contrast.
Stage 1 starts inside the Sai Kung Country Park gates. To get here by taxi, expect to pay about $270 from Central (which is about the same as an uber).
Every 500 metres, you will see a marker, so it’s very easy to gauge your timing and distance. Whilst it’s not flat, Stage 1 has no difficult or very steep stretches. The only difficulty is that the road is narrow in parts and you have to walk on the road. Private cars can’t enter the country park but taxis shoot past, often more quickly than is either safe or necessary, so you need to keep an eye out for this.
Water, sunscreen and a hat are essentials. There is very little shade, the walk is quite exposed and the sun is pretty brutal in the summer.
There are toilet blocks at the country park gates and a couple of porta-loos as you approach the reservoir. The reservoir ones are unclean, there’s no soap or hand-wash and no water in the pump taps. Use only if desperate.
We recently combined Stage 1 with lunch at Yau Ley. This is a great diversion down to a secluded beach and a local seafood restaurant. Yau Ley is a hidden gem which is well and truly off the beaten track. You can only access it by boat or on foot. To get there, you need to leave the MacLehose trail at Marker 12 and take the stairs leading downhill. From here, it’s a 25 min walk. There’s really only one point where you can go wrong. Halfway down you need to keep an eye out for the signpost marked ‘Tung A’ and turn left here. If you can’t face the stairs back up after lunch, then there’s a speedboat that will return you to Sai Kung instead.
Written March 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hong Kong, China3,893 contributions
Section 4 is fantastic...
Nov 2020 • Friends
...but utterly exhausting, with the end being pretty far away from any public transport options so be prepared to continue walking a fair way even after you think you may have finished. The views over both Sai Kung and Kowloon are pretty wonderful though.
Written November 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hong Kong, China2,819 contributions
Section 2 - a good hike with fabulous views of wide variety
Nov 2020 • Friends
Section 2 of Maclehose Trail is known to be very scenic. This is the 3rd time I did this trail and was blessed with the best weather conditions for photos - blue sky, blue sea, green mountains. The hike is around 13.5 km and has an elevation of around 490m. It is mostly paved road and well maintained with a few toilet stops. Takes around 5 hours to finish if you don’t stop for lunch. It takes a long time to get there if you are not living in Sai Kung. You have to take a train to Hung Hom station. From there you can take mini bus to Sai Kung city and then taxi to start point at Long Ke. The road from Pak Tam Au to Long Ke start point is restricted and private cars cannot go in. So, if you are driving, you can park at Pak Tam Au and then taxi into Long Ke. The trail is very crowded on weekends and less crowded on weekdays. See pictures I posted for what to expect - beautiful beaches, wild sea, rocky beds, foliage, cattle, a stargazing area, green mountains, abandoned houses, villages, farmland, etc. Advised to stop at the village after around 2 hours of hiking for some simple food, drinks, rest and toilet stop before continuing. At the end point, there are toilets, buses and taxis though you should expect to wait as this trail is getting busier lately. Also noticed increasing litter left behind by hikers.
Written November 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Placentia, Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador61 contributions
Sign posting could be improved
Jul 2020 • Couples
Stunning views of urban Kowloon from the top. But you need an old style map to follow the trail correctly as signages are confusing.
Written July 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hong Kong, China139,100 contributions
100 km long distance trail in Hong Kong - Stage II is a remarkable day hike
Feb 2020
The MacLeHose Trail is one of the four long distance trails in Hong Kong. It is 100 km and made up of 10 sections that pass through a variety of coastal, mountainous and forested scenery across the New Territories. National Geographic recognises the MacLeHose Trail as one of the World's 20 dream trails.

The MacLeHose Trail opened in 1979 and is named after former governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray MacLeHose. He was responsible for establishing the Country Parks of Hong Kong Ordinance in 1976 and was an an avid hiker as well.

Of the ten different sections of the MacLeHose Trail, one that makes for a particularly popular day hike is Stage II, a 13.5 km trail that links Long Ke to Pak Tam Au in the Sai Kung East Country Park.

The route can be hiked by way of taxi transportation from Sai Kung village to the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir. This is near the end of the Stage 1 and includes an interesting area to visit some of the geological highlights of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global GeoPark before starting the Stage 2 hike.

The trail passes through rolling hills, beautiful coastline and isolated beaches at Long Ke and Tai Long Wan, including the Sai Wan beach and village where you can take a break for a light bite to eat or drink at a beachside restaurant. It then turns west crossing more hilly areas, a bit more coastline and past interesting abandoned hamlets before finishing at Pak Tam Au.

From here you can catch a couple of bus routes south back to Sai Kung village or call in a taxi to come pick you up for a ride back to the village. The trail is moderately difficult and can be completed in approximately 5 hours. However, given the number of quality stops and viewpoints, you may want to allow 6-8 hours to complete Stage II of the MacLeHose Trail.
Written March 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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