Grassy Hill, or Tso Shan, is a verdant, flat-topped hill between Tsuen Wan and Tai Po. The hill is situated on Section 7 of the Maclehose Trail and is easily accessible via the Shing Mun Forest Track.
Although there are no striking features that distinguish Grassy Hill from a distance, its lush peak gives it a very unique character. The peak of Grassy Hill is quite literally covered in grass and trees, making it very picturesque and comforting. It’s almost like a garden in the sky!
Grassy Hill Hike
Let me preface this section by stating that there are many different hiking routes to Grassy Hill.
Many hikers like to combine Grassy Hill with either Needle Hill and/or Shing Mun Reservoir. The route from the Shing Mun Reservoir via the Shing Mun Forest Track is perhaps the most popular route to Grassy Hill.
For a real challenge, you can combine Grassy Hill with Tai Mo Shan to cover Sections 7 and 8 of the Maclehose Trail. And finally, you can also hike to Grassy Hill from Tai Po via Lead Mine Pass.
Grassy Hill’s location makes it unusually distanced from urban areas. So, no matter which route you land on, the hike won’t be short. But fortunately, it’s also not difficult.
With all these options, we couldn’t decide which route to take. So, in the end, we mapped our own trail. We started from Fo Tan, near Shatin, and then descended to Tai Po via Lead Mine Pass.
I would recommend this route as it involves a moderate ascent, with some steps in the first half of the climb, followed by a relatively quick descent.
If you follow our hiking route to Grassy Hill, it is possible to start at Shatin MTR Station or Greenwood Terrace in Fo Tan. As we had recently covered the Shatin Country Trail (Pai Tau Street to Shing Mun Country Park Section) during our hike to Needle Hill, we decided to take the other section of the trail.
This section of the Shatin Country Trail starts from Greenwood Terrace, a residential complex, in Fo Tan. The easiest way to arrive here is via the green minibus 69K from Shatin MTR Station.
The bus departs from the Pai Tau Street PLB Terminus, which is at the bottom of the ramp from Exit B.
Once on the bus, ride it to the final destination – Greenwood Terrace.
To the Pai Tau Hang Fresh Water Service Reservoir
Once at Greenwood Terrace, walk back on Sui Wo Road to the bend where there is the entrance to the Shatin Country Trail (Fo Tan MTR Station to Shing Mun Country Park Section).
Enter the trail, walk along the boundary wall of Greenwood Terrace and stay on it once it turns right at the end of the wall.
The trail behind Greenwood Terrace is paved, shaded, and very easy. It runs above a stream that flows into a small lake/reservoir below that isn’t visible from here.
200 metres ahead, the trail arrives at a pavilion and a bridge over that stream.
So, cross the bridge and climb up the steps to the Pai Tau Hang Fresh Water Service Reservoir.
Unfortunately, the reservoir is underground and fenced. So, there’s nothing to see here except for the sign and outer structure.
To continue, walk around the fence to the trail on the other side of the reservoir.
To the Wong Chuk Yeung Tsuen intersection
The next section of the Grassy Hill Hike was very reminiscent of our descent from Needle Hill.
The paved and shaded Shatin Country Trail returned with its scenic views. At this point in the hike, the trail remains relatively easy, with a few moderate flights of steps.
As the hike progresses, the trail becomes slightly more undulating with more gentle steps.
Further ahead, the views of the hills and the gentle incline of the steps make this section of the hike quite enjoyable!
After a short downhill section, the trail splits into two.
The path on the right goes to Wong Chuk Yeung village and the path on the left continues to Maclehose Trail. Technically, it is possible to reach Grassy Hill from both paths (below I’ve shown the point where the trail from Wong Chuk Yeung village merges with Maclehose Trail).
The route from Wong Chuk Yeung Tsuen is an unmarked, village trail that shaves off 300 metres from the hike. And the path on the left is a continuation of the trail that you’re already on.
As it was a very sunny and hot day when we hiked, we decided to head towards Maclehose Trail as we knew there was more shade on this trail. But if you’re in a slightly more adventurous mood, try the route via Wong Chuk Yeung village. I believe it’s more picturesque.
To Maclehose Trail
The Shatin Country Trail from the Wong Chuk Yeung Tsuen intersection to Maclehose Trail is the only challenging part of the Grassy Hill Hike. The added difficulty is thanks to the steep and multiple flights of steps that follow.
From the intersection, the trail approaches a dip before standing below the longest flight of steps on this hike. Needless to say, it is a daunting sight!
At the end of the steep flight of steps, the trail enters the shade and the steps become slightly less intense.
Fortunately, the shade helps make this climb less intense, especially on a sunny day.
Also, the higher you climb, the better the views get. But to admire those views, you may need to look behind.
At this stage in the hike, the trail twists and turns as you climb the hill on steps. And on this section, we even saw an old marker stone (CLS D67).
When the climb finally ends, this trail meets its other half – the Shatin Country Trail (Pai Tau Street to Shing Mun Country Park Section).
From this point of merger, continue straight on what is now a dirt trail.
Keep walking for another 300 metres till you reach the Maclehose Trail.
Maclehose Trail Section 7, Shing Mun Forest Track – Needle Hill Section
The area where the Shatin Country Trail meets Maclehose Trail Section 7 is a shaded rest stop, with a couple of benches, a pavilion, and a toilet.
From here, the Maclehose Trail runs on the paved Shing Mun Forest Track that interlinks many of the hills surrounding the Shing Mun Reservoir.
The trail to the left heads to Needle Hill. But to continue to Grassy Hill, turn right and follow the sign for Lead Mine Pass.
This section of the hike is relatively easy and smooth, thanks to the paved road.
It’s also shaded and flat, which is a relief coming from all those steps.
Continue walking on the Shing Mun Forest Track till you reach a very noticeable fork ahead. At this fork, turn right for Grassy Hill / Lead Mine Pass.
Maclehose Trail Section 7, Shing Mun Forest Track – Grassy Hill Section
As you turn right onto the Shing Mun Forest Track – Grassy Hill Section, there’s a short and steep incline.
The initial section of the incline is relatively steep but the intensity lowers after 3-4 hairpin bends.
The trail continues to climb but the incline is hardly noticeable. And as the Shing Mun Forest Track progresses on this section of the hike, the tree cover begins to thin. So, it can get a little warm walking uphill on a sunny day.
700 metres after the start of the Shing Mun Forest Track – Grassy Hill Section is another fork in the trail. Once again, turn right and follow the sign for Grassy Hill.
The final ascent to Grassy Hill
Grassy Hill is only 1.4 km from this fork that splits the trail into two – one for Lead Mine Pass and the other for Grassy Hill.
And 500 metres after the fork is where the village trail from Wong Chuk Yeung Tsuen merges with the Shing Mun Forest Track.
This is also the area where we started to notice the grass on Grassy Hill. I forgot to mention but don’t be surprised if you see cows grazing around this area.
The Shing Mun Forest Track continues on its gentle incline as it makes its way to Grassy Hill. But the closer it gets to the peak, the harder the incline becomes.
On the final incline is a beautiful garden with a pavilion where we saw plenty of cows grazing. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to read what is written about this garden on the stone plaque.
And after the garden, the Shing Mun Forest Track momentarily splits from Maclehose Trail Section 7.
Maclehose Trail turns left towards Lead Mine Pass, whereas the Shing Mun Forest Track turns right towards Grassy Hill.
So, turn right and walk to the end of the road. But just before the road ends, there is a small mound covered in trees and bushes.
Crawl under the trees, through the opening to reach the peak of Grassy Hill!
The Grassy Hill peak offers panoramic views of Tai Po, Tolo Harbour, and even as far as Fanling on a clear day.
We hiked to Grassy Hill in the spring and couldn’t help admiring the colourful foliage all over the hill!
But I must admit that I found the area around the peak of Grassy Hill more enjoyable than standing at the triangulation station.
The top of Grassy Hill feels like a manicured garden, with grass patches and boulders that have been shaped into seating areas. It feels like a garden in the sky!
Even the Shing Mun Reservoir lookout behind the peak is so picturesque!
Grassy Hill has a very inviting and comforting feel! And so, we sat on a rock, under the shade, enjoying the cool breeze for 30 minutes, admiring this unique hill and the views from here.
We only wished for a shorter hiking trail to Grassy Hill to keep returning here.
To Shing Mun Picnic Site No. 11
We found it hard to leave Grassy Hill but we knew we still had a long way to go before reaching civilisation.
So, to begin the descent, trace your steps back to the sign for Lead Mine Pass and follow Maclehose Trail Section 7 downhill.
Once again, we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful downhill trail. The spring colours on the trees added to the beauty, but walking down a verdant hill, with the tallest hill in Hong Kong in our view was a memorable experience!
On our way, we even took a couple of minutes to lie in the grass and enjoy the last of the winter sun!
As the trail continues downhill, it reenters the shade with lots of trees on the grassy landscape.
The remainder of this downhill section is a beautiful walk through lush woodlands.
At the end of the descent, Maclehose Trail reunites with the Shing Mun Forest Track, next to Shing Mun Picnic Site No. 11.
To Lead Mine Pass
Once on the Shing Mun Forest Track, turn left and walk downhill for about 100 metres.
Then, make a U-turn and follow the sign for Lead Mine Pass downhill.
The road twists and turns a couple of times before arriving at the AFCD Shing Mun Country Park Management Centre. The building and area around it looked abandoned, but I’m not sure if it’s still in use.
Just ahead of the AFCD Shing Mun Country Park Management Centre is a helipad, presumably for the centre.
And around the corner from the helipad is Lead Mine Pass.
Lead Mine Pass
Lead Mine Pass is a junction of numerous hiking trails between Kowloon and the New Territories. It’s where Section 7 meets Section 8 of the Maclehose Trail, and also Section 7 of the Wilson Trail and the Shing Mun Forest Track.
And in case you were wondering, there’s an interesting article about the origins of the Lead Mine Pass name.
So, feel free to take a quick break here as there is plenty of space to sit, and there is a toilet and a water dispenser.
Wilson Trail Section 7
To continue hiking from Lead Mine Pass, locate the sign for Wilson Trail towards Tai Po, next to the toilet.
Enter the trail to begin the next stage of the descent.
Depending on the season, you might hear the sounds of a stream running alongside the trail.
The sound of the stream kept us company until we reached a small bridge over the stream.
To Wun Yiu Road
The section of Wilson Trail up till the bridge, in my opinion, is fairly easy.
However, after the bridge, the trail becomes very rocky and has steep steps. And although it’s downhill, it’s not easy navigating the terrain.
Walking over the large rocks and steep steps can be jarring to the knees. It is also a contrast to the paved surface of the Shing Mun Forest Track earlier on.
Along the trail, we also saw a few structures, what looked like, remains of pillars. Or perhaps they are some type of markers, like the one we’d seen on our way up on Shatin Country Trail.
Fortunately, the rocky terrain doesn’t last all the way. And as Wilson Trail gets closer to the end, the views of Tai Po also become more scenic.
So, enjoy the views of Tai Po as you continue on the trail till it merges with Wun Yiu Road.
End the hike
Once on Wun Yiu Road, there are a couple of ways to end the Grassy Hill Hike.
The easiest is to turn right and walk uphill to Ta Tit Yan. At the village, wait for the green minibus number 23S (to Tai Po Market MTR Station). Or if you’re lucky and spot an available taxi, ride it to Tai Po Market MTR Station, the closest MTR station.
Alternatively, you can walk downhill to the first bus stop, after the village. Because we didn’t feel like walking uphill, we walked in the other direction.
On our way down, we came across a scenic lookout garden. We got to appreciate the views from here while we waited for the minibus.
Fortunately, the bus stop is at the roundabout, a short walk past the garden.
Grassy Hill Hike – Shatin to Tai Po
We hope you enjoyed our detailed guide to the Grassy Hill Hike.
As mentioned earlier, there are many different hiking routes to Grassy Hill, so feel free to pick one, or follow our recommended route.
Given its location from most urban areas, Grassy Hill is a long hike, but fortunately, it’s not a difficult hike.
With its lush hilltop and panoramic views, Grassy Hill has earned a spot as one of our favourite hills and hikes in Hong Kong.
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