Lion Rock, Hong Kong’s iconic peak is not only known for phenomenal views of the city but also its peculiar shape that can be spotted from miles. For many living in Hong Kong, the Lion Rock is a must-do hike. Personally, I waited ages for the perfect day to climb up Lion Rock Peak. After all, this hike is all about the views!
For those of you looking to hike up Lion Rock, I have put together this guide. I’m going to keep things simple yet thorough while answering all the questions you may have about the hike.
How Difficult Is Lion Rock Hike?
I would say moderately difficult.
Of course, this totally depends on your level of fitness and how comfortable you are with hiking in Hong Kong. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone would classify Lion Rock Hike as easy. No matter which route you take, it involves climbing up 400-450 metres.
The whole hike took me just over 2 hours to complete – 1.5 hours to climb up, and 40 minutes to come down (took a shortcut on my way down). Obviously, this does not include the time spent on the peak.
Also, a large portion of the hike is uncovered and without shade. I would recommend that you carry at least 1 litre of water. Maybe more if it’s hot day, or you get dehydrated easily.
Lion Rock Starting Point
You can use Tai Wai or Wong Tai Sin as the starting point for the Lion Rock Hike. However, the best and perhaps most relevant route is from Wong Tai Sin. And what’s better is that you start the hike from Wong Tai Sin MTR station.
If you’re wondering which is the best trail from Wong Tai Sin, don’t worry, I had that question too. Luckily, I spoke to a few people who’ve hiked up Lion Rock, and even some who I met while on the trail. And the route everyone recommends is the one I will highlight in this post.
Lion Rock Hike Map
Here is the map of the recommended trail for Lion Rock for your reference.
I’ve also included stats from my fitness tracker for you to get a better idea.
Lion Rock Hike from Wong Tai Sin
Like I already mentioned, to get to the starting point of Lion Rock Hike is really simple. Take the green MTR line to Wong Tai Sin, the station between Diamond Hill and Lok Fu.
For the sake of simplicity and recollection, I’ve divided the hike into 5 parts, each with its own checkpoint. That’s the way I like to think of and remember the hike.
So, once you’ve arrive at Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, let’s get started.
Wong Tai Sin MTR to Fat Jong Temple
For the first section of this hike, make your way to Fat Jong Temple on Shatin Pass Road from the MTR station. You have two options to reach the temple.
You can choose to walk to Fat Jong Temple (click here for the map). The temple is a 20 minute walk from the Wong Tai Sin MTR station. But be warned, it’s up a steep incline.
Take Exit E from the MTR station and turn left. Walk 100 metres, and then turn left again. From this point, continue straight on Shatin Pass Road and follow it as it starts the incline. Unfortunately, this part isn’t easy. The incline can be quite tough for a lot of people. That’s why there’s another option.
You can also take a taxi to Fat Jong Temple. At the MTR station, follow the signs to Temple Mall. From the mall take any exit (B or C) where you can see taxis. Tell the driver to take you to Fat Jong Temple. This is the furthest point to which taxis can go.
Or you could take the green minibus 18M from outside Exit E to Shatin Pass Estate. The housing complex is across the street from the temple.
One of the reasons why I advise you to take a taxi or minibus to Fat Jong Temple is because the initial incline is quite steep. And it’s not like the incline finishes at Fat Jong Temple. So, if you want to conserve energy and save time, pick this option.
Fat Jong Temple is the checkpoint for Part 1.
Fat Jong Temple to Lion Rock Country Park Entrance
Once you reach Fat Jong Temple, continue on Shatin Pass Road for another 20 minutes. The road twists and turns as it keeps climbing. Along the way, you’ll begin to see Kowloon on the right. But I doubt this view would compensate for you being so out of breath at this stage.
Trust me, this part seems never-ending. And what’s worse, the hike technically hasn’t even started yet! But continue to persevere till you reach the entrance of Lion Rock Country Park.
At this point, I would advise you to take a break. You’ve earned it! I know many of you will feel really frustrated because you’ve spent 20 or 40 minutes already, and you’re still on paved road. Hang in there, it gets worse before it gets better!
The entrance to the Lion Rock Country Park is the checkpoint for Part 2.
Lion Rock Country Park Steps
Once you enter Lion Rock Country Park, it finally feels like you’re on a hike in the wilderness. But you’re probably already exhausted from walking up this distance that you may not have the energy to climb those steps. My advice is to go slow, take it easy. I remember I took multiple breaks at this stage.
After a certain point, you start getting really beautiful views of Kowloon on your left. There is a segment where the views of the steps against the city are just so beautiful. It was here that I began to feel that the hike is really worth it. The good news is that just around this corner, the steps end, and the flat terrain begins.
Once the terrain turns flat, you’ve reached the checkpoint for Part 3.
The Flat Terrain
This is the only part of the hike that is on flat surface! And it feels like such a relief after all that climbing. Most of this segment is also covered, which means there’s plenty of shade as you hike to Lion Rock.
However, a word of caution – there are also plenty of monkeys on those trees. Stay calm and carry on hiking. The monkeys won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Refrain from feeding them, or eating in front of them.
During this stage, you’ll get beautiful views of Tai Wai and Shatin on your right. If it’s a clear day, you can see all the way up to Plover Cove Reservoir! At the half way point, you’ll also come across a path with a sign for Shatin Pass Estate. Make a mental note of it.
Stay on this trail till you reach a small sign for Lion Rock Peak on the left.
This is the checkpoint for Part 4.
The Final 500m Climb
You’re almost there! From here on, the Lion Rock Peak is only 500 metres away. The final stage purely consists of steep steps all the way to the peak. There is no need to rush yourself. Go slow, take it easy, and climb at a pace that you’re comfortable.
When you finally emerge from the steps, you’ll be greeted by some of the most spectacular view of Hong Kong right in front of you!
Congratulation, you made it to the final checkpoint – The Lion Rock Peak!
Views From Lion Rock
A point to remember is that there are three peaks on Lion Rock. From where you emerge from the steps is the first. You can see the other two on your right. Each peak is like a mound, separated by a mini-dip. It’s relatively easy to go from one peak to another. The last rocky peak is the Lion Rock Head, the cliff that can be seen from Hong Kong Island on a clear day.
The views from the Lion Rock Peak are simply breathtaking! The peak lies on a ridge that separates Kowloon from the New Territories. So, from on top of Lion Rock you can see Kowloon and Hong Kong Island on one side, and New Territories on the other. Standing here makes you feel like a king, who lords above all this land. It really is a spectacular sight!
End The Hike
Once you’re done soaking in all the views from Lion Rock, it’s time to head back down. The route I recommend is a slight variation of the trail you hiked up. Remember the signpost for Shatin Pass Estate? Head back there, and follow the steps down on this route.
This trail will bring you out just behind the Fat Jong Temple, near the Shatin Pass Pump House. From here you can walk down to Wong Tai Sin MTR station, or take the green minibus 18M from Shatin Pass Estate back to the station.
Although it took me 1.5 hours to hike up, it only took me 40 minutes to come down. In addition, the route down is half the length (2 km vs. 4 km) of the route up. So, why didn’t I recommend it to go up? Because it consists only of steps all the way to the top. It may be shorter, but it’s much steeper. However, if you think you’re up for a challenge, you can take these steps up to Lion Rock.
Best Time For The Hike
The Lion Rock Hike is best enjoyed on a clear day, before mid-day or in the evening.
If you decide to hike in the morning, I would advise you to start early and complete the trail before noon. Or you can start in the afternoon, and complete it by early evening (before sundown).
A vast portion of the hike lacks shade, including the peak. During these times you’re less likely to get toasted by the sun. On a clear, sunny day, the sun can be very unforgiving on Lion Rock Peak. Also, remember to carry sunscreen and/or an umbrella.
Lion Rock Night Hike
The hike is an equally popular as a night activity. Although, I haven’t attempted it, I can absolutely imagine the beautiful views of the city lights from the peak.
However, I wouldn’t recommend that you attempt the night hike before you’ve conquered the peak during daytime. Once you’re comfortable with the trail, and confident of your level of fitness, go for it. And it also might be better as a group activity.
Completing the Lion Rock Hike feels like unlocking an achievement in Hong Kong. Almost everybody recognizes and appreciates this iconic hike.
If you’re hiking for similar views of the city, I would recommend the hike to Beacon Hill. In fact, it can be combined with Lion Rock. But if you want to do the hike separately, I would highly recommend it as it offers equally great views, with slightly less climbing.
Hope you enjoyed this guide. As always, feel free to share it on the social media channel of your choice or leave a comment below.