Lion Rock (New Territories, Hong Kong)

The City from the Lion Rock Viewing Deck

I like Lion Rock because of the irony of the view at its peak. It’s the trail and the view of Kowloon and Shatin area in Hong Kong.  They were able maintain their forest reserve even as the progressed.  The rock is also shaped like a lion overlooking the city.

Lion Rock

The Lion Rock – Photo from Wikipedia

Lion Rock is located on Section 5 of the McLehose trail and is located in between Kowloon and Shatin area of the New Territories. While it’s amazing to have a Lion Shaped at its peak, what caught my attention was the view from the top that mixes the raw trail and the Kowloon and Shatin city-scape. It’s ironic to see nature and development in a single picture and that’s Hong Kong. They’ve managed to preserve their forest reserve even as they progressed. There are so many ways to reach the trail, one is through the McLehose Section 4 Trail. You can take Shatin Pass or via the Lion Rock Park coming from Chuk Yuen Road.  It’s one of the easier access point starting at Kowloon Tong MRT Station and taking bus 72 or 73 from Ground Floor of the Festival of Walk just above the MRT station. Exit at Tsz Wan Shan Road, Outside Wo Tin House in Shatin Pass then walk to the road going to the trail.

The Map and Elevation

Map Powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount
Elevation Profile is Powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount

From the Tsz Wen Shan Road, go to Shatin Pass and head to the road going up. You’ll pass about about 1.3 km worth of concrete road with about 100 meter of elevation and once you see the temple arch, you’re just a few meters from the start of the Lion Rock Trail. There’s a steep climb in the next 600 meters with about 120 meters worth of elevation. The route goes on a flat to rolling terrain for the next kilometer before another 500 meter climb to the Lion Rock with about 130 meters of elevation. The trail heads to a steep descent from there on exiting to Lion Rock Park, where you can take Bus 72 back to Kowloon Tong at the main road.

Trekking Lion Rock

The Climb on the concrete roads leads to the Temple

From the drop off point I went to Shatin Pass road and followed the road upward. After the intersection between Tsz Wen Shan Road and Shatin Pass Road, there’s a Fat Jong Temple which had steps to climb. That also leads you to the middle of the Lion Rock Trail. I followed the Shatin Pass Road instead and it was an uphill climb on concrete roads for about 1.3 kilometers. There’s a temple you would see on this route. Once you see the arch, you’re about a few meters to the Lion Rock trail.

Once you see this arch you’re about a few meters away from the Lion Rock Trail

I asked a local if I am on the right path and he didn’t speak English. He was creative though as he imitated a Standing Lion Pose and said Rawwr. I said yes and he pointed me to the trail marker. That’s how to beat the language barrier.  There’s a road up going to section 4 of the McLehose trail and once you see this marker, you’re on the right track.

The Lion Rock Trail

I followed a group of hikers coming from section 4 of the trail but since they stopped because one of them was winded because of the previous trail, I went ahead. The trails had stone steps for the next 600 meters and it was the usual feeling of the lungs going on overdrive again.  I put in a consistent effort of climbs and a few seconds to catch my breathe. The good thing that the weather was a bit overcast and there were some view decks to rest and appreciate the surroundings.

The best place to rest with a view of the city.

It was one effort after another. It was a bit more technical at this part as the steps were varying in size and were uneven. It’s been 2 kilometers worth of climb and I’ve finally reached the flat surface. The trail become more manageable with the uphill climb shifting to mud tracks coupled with few stone steps in some areas. It was a walk in the park at this point. There were a few ascent and several descent but it was minimal. I met some hikers on the way from the other side of the Shatin Pass doing their mileage too.

It was also time to move faster.

I started moving faster to cover more grounds with a flatter terrain. The route was properly marked and there were alternative routes but I just went on to follow the Shatin Pass markers. The easy part lasted about one kilometer before the last 500 meter mark heading to Lion Back.

Last 500 meters, Yehey!!!

Last 500 meters to Lion Rock Peak. Whenever you see peak, don’t expect it to be easy and it was not. I did expect this part to be hard as I read in most of the blogs that it was the difficult part and it didn’t disappoint. It felt like stairs unlimited.

Stairs Unlimited

I shifted my effort to with a series of steps climbing and a few seconds of rest.   It was another lung buster but I focused on counting down the meters heading to the peak. I knew I would eventually reached the summit so trek, rest, trek, rest and after another round of forever, I was at the Lion Rock Viewing Deck.

Lion Rock Viewing Deck

There was a group ahead of me at the top and with that, I had someone to take my photos. If there was one reason I wanted to be here is to see the vantage point of nature overlooking the city. It was not the highest of peaks but it had a really nice view of the Kowloon and New Territories area. Since pictures speak a thousand words, here you go.

It was a bit foggy but the view was still worth it.

That’s how I come to love Hong Kong. It’s among the world’s most modern cities but it has taken good care of their forested areas that they can give you great views like this. It has kept its heritage and nature in place even as it progressed. Even with the foggy backdrop, the view was worth the effort of searching the route to be at this point.

Trails and the City

I saw a marker that says Lion rock 250 meter which meant that the view deck was not yet the Lion Rock.  I followed the route even if it was more technical. I saw a group of trekkers awaiting sunset near the lion rock.  The area had an equally nice overlooking view of the city and you’d get to see the Lion Rock from here.

And that’s the Lion Rock

I honestly didn’t know if I was still in the right track since the other group went in the other direction. One group was at the peak area but might take time if I wait for them. I then went on the trail, which was more technical than the other parts of the trail as it has big uneven stone steps heading downward.

Stone Steps heading down.

It’s anything goes on the road going down. It also rained a bit too.  After a while, I was able to reach the unification pavilion. I discovered that the route from Shatin Pass also goes to meet here. You’ll have a lot of option from here on. You can continue on the McLehose trail by taking Beacon Hill trail. You can go back to Shatin Pass Road by taking Shatin Pass trail. I opted to go to the road going down. After a while, the road becomes easier to navigate as it shifts to paved road. The paved roads leads to the entrance of Lion Rock Park. Take the road heading down from Lion Rock Park and you’ll reach Chuk Yuen Road. Cross the street and take Green Mini Bus 72 or 73 to Kowloon Tong MRT. It was then time to head home. It was really an adventure visiting the Lion Rock.

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Post Author: Franc Ramon

Franc Ramon is a Marathoner, Mountaineer and a Duathlete. He has adopted the fitness lifestyle since mid-2010 and loves sharing them in his personal blog . While he's not on the trails, the road or on an adventure, he spends his time in the finance field.