We love a good easy beginner-friendly hike that still makes an awesome (and short!) workout, with sweeping views of nature and the urban jungle, and best of all, they’re a stone’s throw away from the city.
Those of us who are constantly Googling “beginner-friendly hikes in Hong Kong”, this one’s for you – and this writer means it when she says beginner-friendly! We may say the mountains are calling (especially when Hong Kong gets chilly) but get put off by endless flights of stairs. If you’re the anxious type, you will appreciate these short and easy hikes where you can walk on the wild side, worry-free. Plus, these trails are meant for just about anyone. To summit up, here are our top picks of the best beginner-friendly hikes in Hong Kong. And once you’re a seasoned expert, check out the most challenging hikes in Hong Kong.
Editor’s Note: While these are beginner hikes, it’s still important to be prepared and mindful of your safety. Make sure to look up the difficulty of the trail route and take necessary precautions before and during your hike (safety before Instagram!). Check the weather for high temperatures or unexpected rain, bring water, wear appropriate clothing and shoes, stay on the path and keep your mobile charged in case you need to make an emergency call.
The Best Beginner-Friendly Hikes On Hong Kong Island
Some of our friends marvel at the sight of Cape D’Aguilar when we post it on Instagram, simply because it looks out of Hong Kong! From beautiful caves to World War Two relics and bones of Miss Willy (whose death still remains a mystery!), this easy hike can be done any time of day and some also prefer tenting out to catch the Milky Way in all its glory.
How to get there: Bus route 9 from Shau Kei Wan and alight at Cape D’Aguilar stop. You will land right at your starting point which is a straight walk that’s partially shaded.
Duration: Roughly one hour to walk from the bus stop to Cape D’Aguilar, and then you walk back the same way.
Distance: Approximately 8 kilometres
The Morning Trail
The accessible, paved route and well-known trail makes this the best candidate for your first push into the city’s green spaces. It’s an easy walk from Central, making it ideal for before or after work. We suggest you ignore the name and strike out in the evening, as the path is well lit and the city views are spectacular at all hours of the day. Plus, this leisurely hike ends with plenty of options for a feast!
How to get there: Take the number 13 bus to the Kotewall Road Bus Terminus or a taxi to Hatton Road. Walk up the hill at Hatton Road which will turn into the trail.
Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Distance: Approximately 2.8 kilometres
Red Incense Burner Summit (Braemar Hill)
Deemed as one of the best viewing points on Hong Kong Island, hikers flock to Red Incense Burner Summit to catch the picture-perfect sunset and also Hong Kong’s glorious night view. From the summit, you can see Hong Kong Island and Kowloon stretch out, and keep your eyes peeled and spot Tai Mo Shan in the distance. The hike will take you a maximum of half an hour to hike – it simply doesn’t get any easier and any less rewarding than this!
How to get there: Minibus routes 25 and 49M will drop you on Braemar Hill Bus Terminus which is right by the starting point. There are plenty more buses, see the alternative routes here.
Duration: 15 minutes to half an hour
Distance: Approximately 0.5 kilometres
We like to think of Brick Hill as the Rescue Trail’s (much) easier cousin, because you can hike right by Ocean Park’s cable cars! The gradual slope here can be tackled by beginners and seasoned hikers alike and you’ll be greeted by a 180-degree view of Ap Lei Chau, Lamma Island, Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay. Plus, if you’re a fan of Ocean Park sunsets, take on this hike around the afternoon for a leisurely climb and end with beautiful golden hour sky.
How to get there: Get to Nam Long Shan Road Cooked Food Market from Wong Chuk Hang MTR Station Exit B. Then, make your way to Singapore International School and walk up Nam Long Shan Road. Next, turn left to Nam Long Shan Road Rest Garden which will lead you to Brick Hill Pavilion.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Distance: Approximately 5 kilometres
Read More: The Best Waterfalls In Hong Kong
Even if you haven’t done this hike, you’ll have heard of it. Named for the rugged ridge-line that runs up the Southwest peninsula of Hong Kong Island, Dragon’s Back offers panoramic views of Stanley and Shek O where it’s not unusual to see paragliders drifting along the hills. After a gradual uphill climb for the first kilometre and a half, there are a few small climbs followed by flat and downhill trails, finishing in the tucked away Big Wave Bay. It is the ideal trek for showing off our gorgeous city when you’ve got visitors in town.
Getting there: Take bus route 9 from Shau Kei Wan and get off at To Tei Wan stop, you’ll likely see a bunch of hikers alighting here.
Duration: 2 hours (longer if you stop for snacks and admiring views)
Distance: Approximately 8.5 kilometres
Mount High West
The route you take up to the summit of Mount High West will determine the overall difficulty of this hike, but for this article, we’ll focus on the easiest way up. This hike is known to have one of the most scenic views of the western peninsula of Hong Kong Island and panoramic views of Cyberport, Pok Fu Lam, Kennedy Town, Sai Ying Pun, alongside ICC and West Kowloon on the opposite side.
Getting there: You can combine your hike up to Victoria Peak (or well, take the tram up) and after reaching the Peak Tower, walk towards the Peak Morning Trail (Harlech Road Fitness Trail) until you reach the park. Walk through the park to reach the “Treacherous Trail”, don’t worry it simply gets its name for its rugged path. Follow the signs posting Mount High West and before you know it, you’re there at the viewing point.
Duration: 30 minutes to one hour (depending on breaks)
Distance: Approximately 2 kilometres
The Best Beginner-Friendly Hikes In Kowloon
Don’t be deceived by its name, Devil’s Peak is completely beginner-friendly and a short and easy hike that’s well-paved all throughout the trail. The hill was once home to ferocious pirates in the Ming Dynasty, including the notorious pirate, Cheng Lin Cheong, hence the name Devil’s Peak. It’s a shaded climb (all stairs) to the top but be sure to stop by and check the World War Two relics before you rush up to the summit.
Getting there: Get off Yau Tong Exit B2 and walk along Cha Kwo Ling Road until you reach the intersection at Yau Tong Road. Get to Junk Bay Chinese Permanent Cemetary Access Road and walk along the gentle slope ahead until you see a flight of stairs pointing to Wilson Trail Section 3.
Duration: About one hour to the summit
Distance: Approximately 2.6 kilometres
Monkey Mountain (Kam Shan Country Park Tree Walk)
Quit monkeying around and take on Kam Shan Country Park, but be warned, there are plenty of monkeys (about 85% of the whole city’s population reside here!) and they aren’t shy or afraid of humans. But that shouldn’t stop you from basking in the natural beauty that surrounds four key reservoirs in the Kowloon and New Territories area. Just be mindful to not show food in front of the monkeys, but there is a barbecue area for those who like to live dangerously!
Getting there: There are a number of bus routes from various parts of Hong Kong, they will drop you right outside the country park. See the list of bus routes here.
Duration: 30 minutes to one hour depending on breaks
Distance: Approximately 1 kilometre
Sassy Tip: You can also take on the Kam Shan Family Walk (1 kilometre), Kowloon Group of Reservoirs (3 kilometres) or the Smuggler’s Ridge trail (4 kilometres).
Read More: The Best Hikes In Kowloon
A hike in Sham Shui Po? That’s also a short 15-minute walk up? And best of all, an easy hike? That’s Garden Hill for you! If you’re looking to get a quiet spot for yourself or to chill with friends over a can of beer, this short, urban hike needs to be on your list – especially if you’re an avid urban photographer because the night lights here will have everyone taking out their cameras.
Getting there: Get out at Exit D2, Sham Shui Po MTR. Walk straight on Kweilin Street until you see Mei Ho House on Castle Peak Road. Walk over to Berwick Street and follow the path up to Garden Hill from Mei Ho House Youth Hostel (right by No Milkshake No Life).
Duration: About 15 minutes
Distance: Approximately 0.6 kilometres
Read More: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Sham Shui Po
The Best Beginner-Friendly Hikes In The New Territories And Outlying Islands
Thousand Islands Hike (Tai Lam Chung Reservoir)
Shaded? Check. Well-paved? Check. Short and easy hike? Check, check, check! We love that it feels like a walk in the forest for the most part, with little to no sights of tall buildings nearby, it’s just you and nature. And it continues this way all the way to the stunning summit. On a clear day, you can see Shenzhen’s skyline in the distance too! This trail is also very popular amongst mountain bikers (probably best to stay on one side of the road).
Getting there: Catch minibus route 43 from Tuen Mun Station Exit B and alight at So Kwun Wat village. Follow the signs posting MacLehose Trail near Tin Hau temple.
Duration: 1 hour
Distance: Approximately 4 kilometres
Tai Mo Shan Easy Route
Tai Mo Shan aka Hong Kong’s tallest peak on the list of beginner-friendly and easy hikes? Sure that’s bound to make you raise an eyebrow but take this as a cheat sheet of short cuts! This route follows MacLehose Trail Section 8 from Tai Mo Shan Visitor’s Centre, next to the Rotary Club Campsite. The catch here is, the starting point of this route is already 470 metres above sea level, as compared to other routes that are longer and start lower on the ground. There are however, some very steep (but very short) inclines towards the beginning of this hike.
Getting there: Take KMB bus route 51 and alight at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park bus stop. Make your way to the visitor centre and the Tai Mo Shan Picnic Site and follow signs posting MacLehose Trail.
Duration: About 2 hours
Distance: Approximately 4 kilometres
If you’re looking to unplug and get away from Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle, grab a ferry to Po Toi. Also known as Hong Kong’s South Pole, there will only be sea and sky stretching as far as you can see and the island is famed for its peculiar rock formations, rock carvings and seaweed. Just be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen (carry some with you) and bring enough water. There is little to no shade and we recommend going in the cooler months. Other than that, hiking around this island is a breeze. Plus, some people come to this island solely for its Ming Kee Seafood Restaurant!
Getting there: Take a ferry from Stanley or Aberdeen. See ferry schedules here. Bear in mind the frequency is very scarce.
Duration: about 2 to 3 hours (depending on breaks)
Distance: Approximately 4.5 kilometres
Sok Kwu Wan Circular Trail, Lamma Island
We’ve taken on this circular trail on south Lamma Island and have been recommending it since! From exploring abandoned houses at Mo Tat Wan to stopping by Shek Pai Wai beach and spotting peculiar rock formations along the way, the Sok Kwu Wan Circular Trail is a complete package. You can also spot by seafood restaurants along the ferry pier before or after your hike.
Getting there: Take the ferry to Sok Kwu Wan from Central Ferry Pier. Walk left from the seafood restaurants until you see a public toilet and a flight of stairs next to it. This is the starting point of the hike.
Duration: About 2 hours
Distance: Approximately 5 kilometres
Tai Long Wan
One of the most pristine beaches in Hong Kong, hiking to Tai Long Wan is often on everyone’s Hong Kong bucket list. There are a total of four beaches in Tai Long Wan and so the duration, length and difficulty of the hike varies on your destination. The first beach, Sai Wan is the easiest to get to, followed by Ham Tin Beach (often the most popular for camping), and then Tai Wan Beach and Tai Lung Beach which are both far more secluded and the paths here are rocky. See our full guide to Tai Long Wan here.
Getting there: Get to Sai Wan Pavilion from Sai Kung Town either via village bus NR29 or taxi, and follow the signs to Sai Wan.
Duration: About 2 hours to cover all four beaches without breaks
Distance: Approximately 6 kilometres
Shing Mun Reservoir
For a shaded hike that’s also easy, look to Shing Mun Reservoir which compiles a little bit of everything, from a brisk walk to gentle slopes and more steep inclines in some sections. Hikers can opt to only complete until Pineapple Dam and turn back or complete the full loop, either way, it’s scenic and peaceful (until you come face-to-face with the monkeys at least!). From the Shing Mun Leisure Deck to the paperback tree forest, your senses are in for a feast!
Getting there: Take minibus route 82 from Shiu Wo Street, Tsuen Wan. This will drop you right at the starting point.
Duration: About 4 hours
Distance: Approximately 7 kilometres
Editor’s Note: “Your Ultimate Guide To Beginner-Friendly & Easy Hikes In Hong Kong” was most recently updated in February 2023 by Fashila Kanakka.