Devil’s Peak is an easy hike that won’t take more than a couple of hours of your time. It’s perfect for those on the island, or on the Kowloon side because it’s easy to get to by MTR.
What makes Devil’s Peak unique is that it is an area of historical interest in Hong Kong! What was once home to pirates, and a base for military importance is today a family hike that offers great views of Hong Kong’s skyline and harbour.
Although the Devil’s Peak fortifications are overrun by nature, some are still in good condition and add a unique touch to the Devil’s Peak Hike!
Devil’s Peak History
Devil’s Peak gets its name from the ferocious pirates who once occupied the hill during the Ming Dynasty era. It was the home of the famous pirate Cheng Lin Cheong.
The hill overlooks Lei Yue Mun, a narrow passageway to Victoria Harbour, classified as one of 16 major sea passages by the Ming Dynasty.
When the British acquired the New Territories in 1898, they built military stations at Devil’s Peak – two gun batteries (named Gough & Pottinger) on the southern slopes, a smaller post, and a redoubt on top of Devil’s Peak.
Before the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong on 8th December 1941, there were no guns at the Gough or Pottinger Battery. However, the sites at Devil’s Peak had become part of the Gin Drinker’s Line in the 1930s. Devil’s Peak was a crucial component of the Kowloon segment of the Line.
Defensive positions on the military sites on Devil’s Peak were taken up by the 5/7 Rajputs of the Hong Kong Garrison on 12th December, after the fall of the Shing Mun Redoubt in the western part of the Line three days before.
The sites at Devil’s Peak witnessed heavy defensive fighting by the 5/7 Rajputs and the First Mountain Battery of the Hong Kong and Singapore Artillery. The two evacuated to Hong Kong Island on the morning of 13th December and destroyed all equipment before they crossed the Harbour during the night.
After Japan’s defeat, the Devil’s Peak sites were abandoned by the British. and then later reoccupied and put into active military use until the mid-1980s.
The Devil’s Peak Hike
At 222 metres tall, Devil’s Peak is a relatively short hill along Section 3 of Wilson Trail. The trail to the summit is paved and doesn’t involve many steps, which in itself is pretty unique in Hong Kong. This just means that the Devil’s Peak Hike is very easy!
The map above includes the detour to Pottinger Battery which adds 1 km to the hike. However, if you skip the detour, the Devil’s Peak Hike is only 1.5 km from Yau Tong to the Redoubt.
The views of the city along the hike are quite spectacular. So, we highly recommend picking a clear day for the hike.
The Devil’s Peak Fortifications
The main structures on Devil’s Peak are the Pottinger Battery, Gough Battery, and Devil’s Peak Redoubt.
Although Gough Battery and the Devil’s Peak Redoubt fall along the trail, visiting Pottinger Battery requires a detour. Pottinger Battery is mostly covered by vegetation but the military fortifications are still visible.
This guide will help you plan your hike through the military structures at Devil’s Peak, as you make your way to the top.
And as a bonus, here’s a quick video of the hike.Subscribe to my YouTube channel
To start the hike to Devil’s Peak, make your way to the Junk Bay Chinese Permanent Cemetary Access Road in Yau Tong. Although there are quite a few buses that ply the adjacent Ko Chiu Road, taking an MTR to Yau Tong station might be the easiest way to arrive at the starting point.
At the Yau Tong MTR Station, take Exit A onto Ko Chiu Road. Once on Ko Chiu Road, walk towards Lei Yue Mun Estate and turn right onto the uphill road towards the Chinese Permanent Cemetery.
This is the start of the Devil’s Peak Hike.
To Wilson Trail Section 3 Starting Point
As you turn onto the Junk Bay Chinese Permanent Cemetary Access Road, the incline begins immediately.
The incline is not too bad and thankfully it’s shaded for most of the way. So, take your time as you make your way uphill. There is also a rest area for you to take a break.
There are a couple of viewpoints along the way that offer views of Yau Tong. But trust me, the views get much better as you keep hiking.
After approximately 600 metres of walking, you’ll arrive at the start of Wilson Trail Section 3.
At this point, you have the decision to make – continue hiking on Wilson Trail towards Gough Battery or take a detour to visit Pottinger Battery.
The Pottinger Battery Detour (Optional)
To visit Pottinger Battery on Devil’s Peak requires a detour that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It adds 1 km (back and forth) and involves a bit of off-trail bushwhacking.
However, if you’re up for a mini-adventure, don’t cross the road onto Wilson Trail. Instead, continue on Junk Bay Chinese Permanent Cemetary Access Road.
Continue walking downhill for 200 metres till a footpath on the right, heading down to Lei Yue Mun.
Walk down the path for approximately 90 metres and keep a lookout for a ribbon on a tree just before the path curves left.
Take the unmarked trail and walk towards the open area with trees.
From here, continue following the trail behind the trees. You might notice a couple of ribbons to guide you along the way.
The unmarked trail then heads downhill through the thickets, not before showcasing an amazing lookout point!
From here, you can admire views of the narrow passageway of Lei Yue Mun that leads to Victoria Harbour.
Continue to carefully walk downhill till you see a large, grey structure on the ground.
Situated at 81 metres above sea level, this is Pottinger Battery!
About Pottinger Battery
The Pottinger Battery finished construction in 1902 and had two 9.2-inch B L (Beech-Loader) Mark X guns. The battery was relocated to Bokhara Battery, Cape D’Aguilar in 1939 or 1940.
As this isn’t a frequently visited area on Devil’s Peak, it’s overrun by trees and bushes. The first gun pit is partially visible and reaching the second one requires a bit more bushwhacking.
Follow the ribbon along the path behind the gun pit to reach the second pit.
Once you’re done exploring Pottinger Battery, trace your steps back uphill to the start of Wilson Trail Section 3.
To Gough Battery
Once you return to the start of Wilson Trail Section 3, cross the road and climb the steps. After the steps, turn left and follow the signs for Devil’s Peak.
The paved slope on a gentle incline is extremely easy.
After a couple of hundred metres, the trees clear up and you’re presented with beautiful views of the city below.
Continue walking uphill until the trail reaches a right turn. Although the sign points straight to Devil’s Peak, turn right and walk for a short distance till you reach Gough Battery.
About Gough Battery
At a height of 160 metres, Gough Battery is the upper battery on Devil’s Peak. It was built in 1898 and consists of two gun pits (one big and one small), underground magazines, and a few buildings.
The last gun was dismantled and taken to Stanley Fort in 1936.
Today the gun pits, barracks, and buildings of Gough Battery lie in derelict conditions, overrun by nature. Part of the roof of the building has now collapsed, making way for trees to grow.
But despite that, I think the structures are still in good condition and it’s quite enjoyable exploring the battery.
The entire structure occupies substantial space on the hill. So, make sure that you take your time to explore the gun pits and the underground magazine.
Once you’re done exploring the battery, head back down to connect with Wilson Trail.
To Devil’s Peak
Once you return to Wilson Trail from Gough Battery, Devil’s Peak is only 355 metres away.
Getting to Devil’s Peak requires you to take a trail that runs parallel to Wilson Trail. So, remember to follow the signs to Devil’s Peak.
As you turn away from Wilson Trail, the incline picks up slightly. But it’s still paved and quite easy.
Continue walking up the inclines as it scales the side of the Devil’s Peak.
The final ascent is the only part of this hike where the incline gives way to steps.
Follow the steps as they lead you directly to the Devil’s Peak Redoubt.
Devil’s Peak Redoubt
The summit of Devil’s Peak is occupied by the old redoubt (a temporary or supplementary fortification) that was built in 1914.
The Devil’s Peak Redoubt was the location of the Eastern Fire Command. Although it could accommodate at least 150 soldiers in action, the approved establishment of the Redoubt was only one officer and 10 soldiers.
The redoubt has an area of about 1240 square metres and is rhomboid in shape. It looks like a crater from the air that was built to circumscribe the rock outcrop of Devil’s Peak.
Today, a very small portion of its roofs survives but the redoubt retains its external walls and internal dividing walls.
The northwest-facing external walls of the redoubt were generally built in stone while all the other structures were of concrete.
And in case you didn’t notice on our way up, there’s also a bunker under the redoubt accessible from a small opening next to the steps.
There are plenty of hidden areas of the redoubt that are now difficult to access.
The views from the top
It’s best to take your time to explore the top of Devil’s Peak. The entire structure is fascinating and beautiful!
Given that the redoubt’s job was to protect Hong Kong from any invasion from the harbour, the panoramic views remain unobstructed even today.
From the western wall, next to the triangulation station, you can admire most of east Kowloon, from Yau Tong to ICC.
To the east, you can admire Junk Bay and the new bridge, Tsuen Kwan O and LOHAS Park.
Most hikers like to visit the top of Devil’s Peak during sunset. As the golden light illuminates the Hong Kong skyline, it makes for a lovely view!
Options to end the hike
Because Devil’s Peak is an easy hike, many hikers choose to continue hiking on Wilson Trail Section 3. There is a trail behind the redoubt that reconnects with Wilson Trail.
You can continue along Wilson Trail towards Black Hill and end at Mau Wu Shan. Black Hill is a 304-metre hill between Tiu Keng Leng and Lam Tin in the southeastern New Territories and played a role during the days when Kai Tak Airport was still used. Mau Wu Shan is the location of the historic Mau Wu Shan Observation Post.
Alternatively, you can also choose to end the Devil’s Peak Hike at Lei Yue Mun, which is a squatter village full of amazing seafood restaurants!
Simply retrace your steps back to Yau Tong and walk towards the village next to the harbour.
Devil’s Peak, Hong Kong
We hope you enjoyed our guide to Devil’s Peak in Hong Kong. There are many World War II relics that you can explore in Hong Kong. If you wish to read more about Devil’s Peak, here is a link to a survey from the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, which contains many interesting facts about its past.
We also recommend visiting Sai Wan Battery, which is situated directly opposite Devil’s Peak on Hong Kong Island. Or even better, Mount Davis which was the Western Fire Command for the British Army.
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