Lion Rock is not the highest peak but it gives you a panoramic view of the Kowloon and Shatin Area. It just speak volumes on how Hong Kong has maintained a large forested area even as they progressed into a modern city. It gets its name as the rock at its peak is shaped like a lion overlooking the city. It’s gonna take your breath away with the climbs and with the view from the peak.
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After hiking the Lantau Peak, I was searching for other trails to trek and one of the consideration was Lion Rock. The view from the top is just the irony that Hong Kong represents, it’s a country that has been up-to-date with technology, in touch with its heritage and has preserved its forest reserve. There are really so many friendly hiking trails in Hong Kong and you get every detail on how to visit each trail from their tourism site, blogs and even the Enjoy Hiking app. The problem I initially had with Lion Rock was that based on what I read was there were no direct access to the starting area but via Taxi from the MRT station. I’m such a super sleuth when it comes to finding what I want on the web so I was able to see a mini bus that passes nearby the start area of the trek. The thing about the Lion Rock trail is there are so many ways to reach it. You can take it coming from section 4 of the Mclehose Trail. You can take Shatin Pass or via the Lion Rock Park coming from Chuk Yuen Road. You can read alternative direction via the strippedpixel blog. Now, I know the various ways of getting there, it was a go for me to visit Lion Rock.
The Map and Elevation
I decided to take the Shatin Pass Route, which is accessible by Bus Number 72 or 73 from Kowloon Tong MRT Station.
From the Tsz Wen Shan Road, go to Shatin Pass and head to the road going up. You’ll pass about about 1.3 km worth of concrete road with about 100 meter of elevation and once you see the temple arch, your just a few meters from the start of the Lion Rock Trail. There’s a steep climb in the next 600 meters with about 120 meters worth of elevation. The route goes on a flat to rolling terrain for the next kilometer before another 500 meter climb to the Lion Rock with about 130 meters of elevation. The trail heads to a steep descent from there on exiting to Lion Rock Park.
Descend the Lion Rock Park to Chuk Yuen Road and you can get bus 72 or 73 at the other side of road to Kowloon Tong MRT Station.
Trekking Lion Rock
Lion Rock is located on Section 5 of the McLehose trail and is located in between Kowloon and Shatin area of the New Territories. There are several ways to trek the Lion Rock and I opted to use the Shatin pass route for this one. I had plotted each step already from taking the MRT in Tung Chung and reaching Kowloon Tong MRT after two train line transfers. The bus area is in front of Festival Walk, which is accessible from Kowloon Tong MRT Station. I took Green Mini Bus 73 and I asked the driver to drop me at Tsz Wen Shan Road, Outside Wo Tin House, Shatin Pass Estate and he didn’t understand English. Plan B, I set my google maps to Wo Tin House. I noticed that the driver was not stopping at all the stop so when he stopped at the foot of Shatin Pass Road, I alighted the bus. I just went on to do the extra kilometer, which also happens to be the start of the climb. It would be a nice warm up. Honestly, I was more afraid of not finding the trail start area than climbing the trail.
After the intersection between Tsz Wen Shan Road and Shatin Pass Road, there’s a Fat Jong Temple which had steps to climb. That also leads you to the middle of the Lion Rock Trail. I followed the Shatin Pass Road instead and it was an uphill climb on concrete roads for about 1.3 kilometers. There’s a temple you would see on this route. Once you see the arch, you’re about a few kilometer to the Lion Rock trail. I asked a local if I am on the right path and he didn’t speak English. He was creative though as he imitated a Standing Lion Pose and said Rawwr. I said yes and he pointed me to the trail marker. That’s how to beat the language barrier.
I then met some hikers who just came to the section 4 of the McLehose trail and went at their pace. One of them was a bit winded coming from the previous trail so I had to go ahead. The trails had stone steps for the next 600 meters and it was the usual feeling of the lungs going on overdrive again.
The climb felt tough because of the drastic ascent but I was just putting in the effort and taking a few breaks in between. Good thing it was not as hot as the other day as I started trekking around 2 pm. The trail had a lot of scenic view decks along the way so that’s a perfect way to rest the lungs and at the same time please the eyes.
It was one effort after another. It was a bit more technical at this part as the steps were varying in size and were uneven. You had to exert more effort on the climb coupled with the steep ascent. After forever worth of climbs (about 2 kilometers starting from the paved part), I’ve finally reached the flat surface. The trail become more manageable with the uphill climb shifting to mud tracks coupled with few stone steps in some areas.
When you’ve been climbing so long, it such a delight seeing flat grounds. After about 2 kilometers climb, the road shifts to mud tracks and it’s mostly flat. It was a walk in the park at this point. There were a few ascent and several descent but it was minimal. I met some hikers on the way from the other side of the Shatin Pass doing their mileage too.
I started moving faster to cover more grounds with a flatter terrain. The route was properly marked and there were alternative routes but I just went on to follow the Shatin Pass markers. The easy part lasted about one kilometer before the last 500 meter mark heading to Lion Back.
Last 500 meters to Lion Rock Peak. Whenever you see peak used in a group of words, don’t expect it to be easy and it was not. I did expect this part to be hard as I read in most of the blogs that it was the difficult part and it didn’t disappoint. It felt like stairs unlimited.
I shifted my effort to a 30 seconds climb accompanied by a 30 seconds rest though I would sometimes extend the climb to a minute. It was another lung buster but I focused on counting down the meters heading to the peak. I knew I would eventually reached the summit so trek, rest, trek, rest and after another round of forever, I was at the Lion Rock Viewing Deck.
There was a group ahead of me at the top and with that, I had someone to take my photos. If there was one reason I wanted to be here is to see the vantage point of nature overlooking the city. It was not the highest of peaks but it had a really nice view of the Kowloon and New Territories area. Since pictures speak a thousand words, here you go.
That’s how I come to love Hong Kong. It’s among the world’s most modern cities but it has taken good care of their forested areas that they can give you great views like this. It has kept its heritage and nature in place even as it progressed. Even with the foggy backdrop, the view was worth the effort of searching the route to be at this point.
The other group at the view deck went down. I saw a marker that says Lion rock 250 meter which meant that the view deck was not yet the Lion Rock. Initially, I went down too. I went back up just to make sure I won’t miss the Lion Rock. I did go on the route even if it was more technical. I saw a group of trekkers awaiting sunset near the lion rock. I would have done that too except that I didn’t bring any headlamp. The area had an equally nice overlooking view of the city and you’d get to see the Lion Rock from here.
I honestly didn’t know if I was still in the right track since the other group went in the other direction. One group was at the peak area but might take time if I wait for them. I then went on the trail, which was more technical than the other parts of the trail as it has big uneven stone steps heading downward. I sure wish I’ve brought my trekking pole.
It’s anything goes on the road going down. It also rained a bit too. I’m confident though as the Newton Boco Sol had great traction on most surfaces. After a while, I was able to reach the unification pavilion. I discovered that the route from Shatin Pass also goes to meet here. You’ll have a lot of option from here on. You can continue on the McLehose trail by taking Beacon Hill trail. You can go back to Shatin Pass Road by taking Shatin Pass trail. I opted to go to the road going down. After a while, the road becomes easier to navigate as it shifts to paved road. The paved roads leads to the entrance of Lion Rock Park. Take the road heading down from Lion Rock Park and you’ll reach Chuk Yuen Road. Cross the street and take Green Mini Bus 72 or 73 to Kowloon Tong MRT. It was then time to head home. It was really an adventure visiting the Lion Rock.
Outfit Of The Trail
- Top: Berghaus with #TaleOfTheTrail Design by Breakout Design
- Bottom, Socks, Visor and Sling Bag: Under Armour
- Shoes: Newton BOCO Sol
- GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
- Eyeweay: Salice
- Camera: GoPro Hero 3+
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