MacRitchie Nature Trail and Reservoir Park was a breath of fresh air in Singapore. It has long run-able trails on rolling terrains with a Tree Top Walk showing a higher view of the reservoir.
Tale Of The Trail
Unplanned! This how this Tale of the Trail starts. I was on a business trip but I decided to come a day earlier just to be with friends in Singapore. I had a small window on Sunday morning before I transfered to our designated hotel. It was a good thing I brought my Hoka One One Speed Instinct and a few running clothes. I always bring some running gear just for chances like this. I didn’t bring any hydration bag. I just used my Oakley pack-able bag to store a bottle of water and my other stuff. With a short window, I was planning to walk 45 minutes and go back the next 45 minutes to be home by noon. I took a cab to MacRitchie Reservoir Park to save time. Alternatively, you can take the bus to the park.
Map and Elevation
Starting at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, it’s about 500 meters of paved paths going around the reservoir before entering the trail head. There’s about of 3 kilometers of ascending trails to the intersection. There’s another 2 kilometers of ascending trails heading to the Tree Top Walk. The trail descends for the next 2 kilometers where you can either head back to the old trail or take the outer trail, both of which takes another 5 kilometers back to the Reservoir Park.
Trekking the MacRitchie Nature Trail and Reservoir
After arriving at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, I immediately saw a lot of runners either cooling down or warming up for their run. The park opens at 9 am and I arrived at 10 am, which leaves me about two hours. Initially, I’ll just do whatever I can in 45 minutes and head back after. I started my walk from the reservoir park and a short climb after, I was at the reservoir. There were a lot of activities available at the reservoir from fishing, water sports and of course, hiking. I entered the trail head 500 meters into my walk.
I entered the trail head and I immediately felt at home with the forested trails. It was covered trails, dirt roads, rolling terrains which is slowly ascending. The place was filled with hikers and runners. The trails were run-able. I seriously would want to try a pure run on this loop sometime again. I started my walk slowly as I was just following the pace of the hikers. I’ll push the pace later.
The trails were about 3 kilometers from the trail head. It felt cool because it was covered by the forest. The ascents were spread out just right so it didn’t feel too tiring. There were also several descents along the way. It was also a cool morning so I didn’t have to hydrate much especially since I’m going at a very relaxed paced. I’m really enjoying the rich green view. The plan was to reach the end of the trail stretch and head back. Maybe I can do the tree top walk some other time.
I’ve reached the intersection in 45 minutes and I can now head back but I saw one road, which was just a kilometer away to Upper Thomson Road. It’s possible to do this loop and just take this way back and still be home by noon if I take the road back. I went on the trail heading to the tree top walk, which was another 2 kilometer stretch of ascending trails. I tried to push the pace a bit and I was now running on some stretches. It was still on covered trails, passing through a golf course and a little bit of road stretch.
I noticed people in front me rest 500 meters heading to the Tree Top Walk. I went on because of the time constraints. It was a steep 500 meter climb heading the tree top walk. The tree top walk was a 250 meter walk on suspended bridge with an overlooking view of the reservoir.
You can just see a glimpse of the reservoir, which is because of the rich forest reserve of MacRitchie. It was slower at this stretch as it was on suspension bridge and everybody was enjoying the view from this vantage point. There were also Macaques on the suspension bridge.
The bridge and the trail was one way from this point. After the bridge, there was a short descent followed by a longer climb on wooden stair paths. I took longer strides on the wooden paths just to finish this stretch faster. It was then descending wooden stairs and paths for the next kilometer and after one more kilometer of dirt roads, there were two alternative path. One lead to the old trail, which is about 5 kilometers and another which takes you to the outer trails and is about 5.5 kilometers. I took the way back to the old trail since that had an option for me to exit earlier given my time constraints. I’ll do the other loop in the future.
I went back to the old trail. I activated the navigation mode of Suunto to track back the old route until I reach a familiar area. I reached the intersection again and I had two options to take the exit which is just a kilometer to the main road or go back to the old trail, which is another 3.5 kilometers. By my estimate, it would take me 20-25 minutes longer on the old trail but I like the idea of finishing 12 kilometers for the weekend. I went with the old trail and since it’s mostly descending I just went on to run some stretches to finish the trail faster. I ended up finishing the whole loop including the stops and the sight seeing in two and a half hours. Not bad for a weekend hike.
I went back to MacRitchie Reservoir Park and I was already soaking in sweat. Well, an easy walk turned out quite a workout already and I’m glad even if the time was short, I was able to sneak in another Tale of the Trail. I took a cab back and it was time to prepare for the work part of the trip.
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