From concrete jungle to rolling hills, we’re treated to the best of both worlds here in Hong Kong, and while we love a weekend hike with friends, nothing beats bringing our pup along for the ride. While we sadly can’t pop on public transport to get there, an additional $5 in a taxi is a small price for to pay for slobbery chops and wagging tails! So, forget morning trips to concrete-laden dog parks and walking on the roads this weekend, we’re taking to the hills and letting our doggos run free with these top hikes. Just make sure to bring enough water for you both (and keep your eye out for signs of overheating – we all know how unforgiving Hong Kong’s weather can be!).
Less than an hours walk, the hike to Pineapple Dam Nature Trail is perfect for pups who struggle in the heat, or for those who are looking for a shorter adventure.
Climb the stairs by the minibus station, and follow the follow the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail sign, heading right as you reach the top of the stairs. There’s a cute picnic/barbecue area about 30 minutes in to the walk from here if you’re ready for a spot of lunch (and game of fetch), otherwise carry on walking on the road towards the bridge that will take you to Tai Shing Stream (access is on the left of the bridge). Here is a great spot for a dip before heading back the way you came, but if your doggo is a big fan of water, you can actually continue to trek in the stream for about an hour and a half, where you’ll eventually come to the end of the first half of the hike, an ideal spot to chill out in the sunshine and swim.
Distance: To Pineapple Dam Nature Trail – 0.8km; to Tai Shing Stream a further 1.2km
Duration: About 30 minutes – one hour to Pineapple Dam (depending on your pace) and a further 1.5 hours to the stream, if you’re keen to keep going.
Getting there: Take a taxi or drive to Shing Mun Reservoir. The start of the hike is by the minibus station, up the steps and to the right.
Note: Keep an eye on your dog and be careful that it doesn’t drink water from the stream since they may contain leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can cause severe kidney damage and possible death.
Brimming with quirky cafés and plenty of craft beer huts, start your weekend off on the right paw and hike from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan (or vice versa!). A leisurely stroll across the island, stop for a drink at one of the dog-friendly restos along the way, or cool off at Power Station Beach while your pup burns off some energy on the sand.
There isn’t a huge amount of shade along the way, so be sure to start earlier in the morning, aiming to reach Sok Kwu Wan for around lunch time were you can then dig in to a feast of fried rice, sweet and sour chicken and fresh seafood. Many of the restaurants are happy for your dog to join you (they will most likely have a designated area that you can sit in) so grab a table, a beer and few dog biscuits before heading back to Central.
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Lamma Island
Distance: Approx 5km
Duration: Between one and two hours depending on your (and your dog’s) pace
Getting there: Take a ferry from Central Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan, bearing in mind that dogs are only allowed on the slow ferry as ‘cargo’, which means that you’ll need to check which times these depart, as they aren’t as frequent. From Yung Shue Wan Main Street, walk past Lamma Winds and Hung Shing Yeh Beach and you come to the start of the Family Trail.
Note: Dogs are required by law to wear a muzzle on the ferry, so be sure to take one with you. Tickets for dogs will need to be bought separately and occasionally you will need to board via cargo access rather than the main gate – this can easily be checked with the staff, however!
This hike is guarenteed to have you both panting and more than ready for lunch, but is perfect for tiring out an excited pup and for working on your own fitness game. Start by taking the sign posted stairs at Wong Nai Chung Resovoir and climb Violet Hill. You’ll be rewarded with sweeping valley views along the way, with plenty of bushes for your pup to duck in to for a while if the sun gets intense. This is a great trail for dogs to run off leash as there is only path all the way to the start of The Twins. Call it quits here and make your way to Repulse Bay for some well-deserved grub, or face the start of The Twins (and 1,000 steps) and end in Stanley.
Duration: Approx 3 hours (including The Twins)
Getting there: Take a taxi to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir to start the hike at Violet Hill.
So, folk legends spin the tale of a bride passing the pools in a sedan chair on the way to meet her groom, when the carriers slipped and she was washed away – but the spooky aside, Bride’s Pool is the perfect spot for a dip with your furry friend. Start your hike from Bride’s Pool Nature Trail and follow the path that winds over the stream until you come to the waterfall. Spend as long as you like frolicking in the stream here, or if you’re keen to get a long hike in, keep going on the path and through bamboo groves until you reach Wu Kau Tang village. Keep going past Sam A Wan village on your way to Lai Tau Shek and enjoy the grassy lakes that surround the area.
Keep to the signs and hike a further 45 minutes to Lai Chi Wo, where you can then climb the stairs at the entrance to the village. We’d suggest keeping your pup on a leash as you walk through, and keep your eye out for local village dogs, which could potentially be guarding their territory, as well as small animals that live in the area. If you’re up for the trek, Lai Chi Wo is pretty special, known for it’s 400 year old Hakka village, a designated Site of Special Science Interest, and an ecological wonderland.
Distance: Approximately 7.5 km
Duration: 3 hours
Getting there: Located in northeastern New Territories (near Tai Mei Tuk), take a taxi to Bride’s Pool Road and start your hike from the clearly marked signs, ‘Bride’s Pool Nature Trail.’ To get home, check the times for the ferry service between Ma Liu Shui and Lai Chi Wo which runs on Sunday and public holidays.
Note: Keep an eye on your dog and be careful that it doesn’t drink water from the pools since they may contain leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can cause severe kidney damage and possible death.
Countless Hong Kongers climb Dragon’s Back, pup in tow, every weekend. And while it does get super crowded mid-morning, we’d suggest hopping in a cab with your dog and getting to the start of the trail early, so that you can avoid the hoards of tourists and avid hikers and instead spend some quality time with man’s best friend. Depending on which direction you opt to start from, you can end at Shek O Beach, while you both cool off in the waves. The hike provides some shaded areas, with the highest points of the ‘dragon’s back’ providing much-needed and cooling winds.
Distance: Approximately 8.5 km (depending on which route you take!)
Duration: Roughly 4 hours
Getting there: Take a taxi or a drive to Shek O Road near To Tei Wan Village and keep an eye out for the signs that signal the start of the hike!
There are plenty of different paths to take in Aberdeen Country Park, and you may well find it best to just start exploring and head back when you’re ready. But one hike we like in particular is Lady Clementi’s Ride (Hong Kong Trail Section Four). Offering up incredible views of Aberdeen Reservoir, as you skirt around it, the hike is predominately shaded, making it an ideal hike for you and dog even when the weather is a little hotter. The trail takes you deep into the forests of Wan Chai Gap, eventually winding its way up to Mount Cameron up on The Peak. When you reach Black’s Link, follow the road down to Wong Nai Chung Road, where the hike will eventually come to an end at the junction of Wong Nai Chung Gap Road and Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Road.
Duration: 2.5 hours
Getting there: Take a taxi or drive to Wan Chai Gap and walk along Aberdeen Reservoir Road for about 15 minutes until you reach the starting point.
Note: The walk uphill from Middle Gap Road to Black’s Link (approx 15 minutes) provides little shade, so be sure to bring lots of water for your dog and take regular breaks if needed.