You don’t often hear about the Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron Hike like you do about Dragon’s Back or Twin Peaks. And after completing the hike, I think its lack of popularity could have to do with a couple of factors.
The Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron hike isn’t easy to navigate. The trail isn’t maintained and requires a bit of bushwhacking and rock climbing. But if you want to step out of your comfort zone, and set off on an uncharted hike that offers unique views of Happy Valley and Deep Water Bay, then read on!
Hike map and elevation profile
The hike starts from Wong Nai Chung Gap Road and ends in Wan Chai.
I honestly wouldn’t advise this hike for beginners. Only set out on this hike if you’ve got some hiking experience and are comfortable hiking in Hong Kong. As there’s some rock climbing and bushwhacking involved, I would recommend that you wear proper hiking shoes and gloves to protect your hands. And definitely do not attempt this hike during or after the rain.
To start the Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron hike, make your way to the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park bus stop. This is the same starting point for the Violet Hill and Twin Peaks hike. It’s probably best to Google Map your way to the bus stop.
Once you arrive at the bus stop, cross the street and walk through the garden towards the bus stop on the other side. Walk around the bend till you reach Black’s Link.
Black’s Link to Face Mask Rock
This first section of the hike is extremely easy. It essentially involves walking along a quiet street and a slight incline.
Continue along Black’s Link road, past all the fancy mansions and housing. You’ll probably see more hikers and joggers on this street than you will cars.
After the last house, Black’s Link narrows down and transforms itself from a street to a trail that enters Aberdeen Country Park.
Continue walking along this trail till you reach a flat area, with a large electric pole. And now if you look up towards your right, you’ll see a steep slope with a rock formation on the top. This is where the hike gets a little difficult!
The climb up to the rock formation requires a bit of effort. You’ll probably need to use your hands to hoist yourself up, or provide you with extra support. The soil too is loose, which makes it difficult to get a solid footing at times.
But as long as you’re careful, you should be fine. And when you take a break from climbing, make sure that you admire the beautiful views of Deep Water Bay right behind.
Face Mask Rock
Fortunately, this section is really short. Before you know it, you’ll arrive at a rock formation. The most popular of the rocks here resembles a face mask.
To really see the shape of the aptly named Face Mask Rock, you need to go left when directly under the rocks. From here you can capture its face-like essence.
Unfortunately, when we hiked here it was drizzling and this made it difficult for us climb up besides the Face Mask Rock. Sadly, we were forced to climb from the right. Which brought us to the flat area right above the Face Mask Rock. We had a few minutes to admire the view around us before it started raining again.
Honestly, the views of Deep Water Bay, Ocean Park, and Brick Hill from up here are quite spectacular, especially on a sunny day.
The Face Rock Mask is only the half-way point to Mount Nicholson. From this spot if you look above, you’ll see a white building on top of the hill. That is the top of Mount Nicholson.
To get to Mount Nicholson, continue along the path that runs from the flat area above the Face Rock Mask. It’s a short and steep climb through the bushes, and when you arrive at Mount Nicholson you won’t even know it because the top is covered in trees.
Mount Nicholson to Middle Gap
The next section of the hike is the easiest part of the entire hike. The descent from Mount Nicholson to Midsection of Black’s Link is just a simple downhill walk.
At the top of Mount Nicholson, walk around the boundary wall of the white building till you see the trail on the other side that’s going down. Continue on that trail till you see a flight of steps to your left.
At this stage, you have two choices. Take the steps down and rejoin Black’s Link, or go straight along the unmarked trail to reach Midsection of Black’s Link directly. I would recommend the steps on the left – the route may be slightly longer but it’s a safer bet.
However, if you choose to go straight, like we did, follow the markers till you reach a clearing. Walk down from the clearing to the road that connects to Midsection of Black’s Link.
Midsection of Black’s Link
Fun fact, the Midsection of Black’s Link sits right above the Aberdeen Tunnel. It also saddles right between Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron.
The next section of the hike requires a bit more effort in terms of bushwhacking and navigating. Definitely more than just what you’ve covered.
So, if you don’t feel comfortable or confident in proceeding to Mount Cameron, you can end the hike now by walking down Black’s Link all the way to Wan Chai Gap Park on Stubbs Road. However, if you choose to continue to Mount Cameron, turn left towards Aberdeen Reservoir and immediately take the steps going up on the right.
Walk up this flight of steps till you reach a dead end. That should be your first sign that this isn’t your average hike. Climb up the slanted rock on the left and bushwhack your way till you see a clearing, and the trail. Now simply follow this trail as it makes its way up. This part of the hike has some amazing views of Deep Water Bay on the left, and Mount Nicholson behind.
For the most part this ascent is quite easy. But if you notice it getting really steep that means you’re almost at the end of the climb. And just after it ends, there is a clearing with an incredible viewing point to the right!
From this viewing point you get sweeping views of Happy Valley and parts of Kowloon. Take a moment to catch your breath, and admire the view before continuing.
The trail from here is relatively easy and flat. However, it does get very narrow in parts. You will need to pay attention to where you step or else you might end up slipping. So, be extra careful! Also, you’ll notice a cast iron pipe running along the side of the trail. Make a mental note of the pipe as it proved to be my guide later on in the hike.
After the narrow section ends, you’ll arrive at an intersection with multiple trail markers. To get to Mount Cameron, turn left here and begin the climb.
Although the climb up is relatively short, it can get really slippery especially after the rains. Unfortunately, I decided to hike up while it was raining, which wasn’t the most pleasant experience.
But that doesn’t matter when you reach the top of Mount Cameron. The views from up here are quite spectacular, with IFC and ICC on one side, and Happy Valley on the other.
Mount Cameron to Middle Gap Road
Personally, I found the next section of the hike the most challenging. It could have been because it was raining and the whole section was extremely slippery.
From Mount Cameron trace your steps back to the intersection with the multiple markers. Once you reach here, turn left. It’s quite easy to get lost going down, so keep your eyes open for two things – the colourful markers, and the cast iron pipe. As long as you see them both, you’re on the right trail!
After a short downhill hike, you should begin to hear a stream on your right. Now usually the sound of a stream is quite soothing. But it in this, the stream poses a slight challenge.
Just before the trail meets the stream, the slope gets a quite steep. So, grab onto something as you descend. When you reach the stream, you will be required to cross it. It goes without saying that the rocks in the stream can be slippery, so make sure you exercise caution while crossing.
The trail continues downhill on the other side of the stream till it meets a paved path. After slipping through a mushy downhill hike, I was delighted to be walking again on a proper road. Take this path down to Middle Gap Road.
Once you emerge on Middle Gap Road, turn right.
To Wan Chai Gap Park – End Option 1
Continue walking down on Middle Gap Road for another 10 minutes till you reach Wan Chai Gap Park. This is the intersection of Stubbs Road, Peak Road, Mount Cameron Road, Middle Gap Road, Coombe Road, and Black’s Link.
If you had continued on Black’s Link after descending from Mount Nicholson, this is where you would have arrived.
You can choose to end the hike here. There’s a bus stop and taxi stand nestled among the intersection. Or you can continue along Wan Chai Gap Road and end the hike at Wan Chai (Queen’s Road East).
To Wan Chai – End Option 2
To finish this hike in Wan Chai, cross Stubbs Road and enter Wan Chai Gap Road. Walk down the trail as it twists and turns past Bowen Road’s Fitness Trail.
The Wan Chai Gap Road finishes at Kennedy Road, which runs above and parallel to Queen’s Road East. Cross the road and then take any of the steps down to Queen’s Road East. You should emerge next to Hopewell Centre. And yes, the entrance to the Wan Chai MTR is right across Hopewell Centre.
Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron
I hope this guide to the Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron hike was able to simplify this relatively uncharted trail.
No doubt this is a relatively challenging hike. If you’re looking for similar views with less effort, I would recommend the Jardines Lookout and Mount Butler hike. But if you, like me, just wanted to scale Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron, then by all means go for it!
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