Hike Lion Rock in Hong Kong

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(Last Updated On: December 10, 2019)
Hike Lion Rock in Hong Kong
Can you see why it’s called Lion Rock?

Fast Facts – Hike Lion Rock (Normal Route)

Not Including Breaks

4 hours

Round Trip Distance

7.1 km

Cum. Elevation Gain

590m

Route Difficulty

Med.-Diff.


Hike Lion Rock – A Bit of Background

When you hike Lion Rock you’ll be sweating your way up a massive chunk of Kowloon Granite that is estimated to be 140 million years old! But aside from trekking on some pretty nifty geology, you’ll also be hiking one of the most classic hikes in all of Hong Kong.

A hike up Lion Rock is challenging, but it’s massively rewarding. Beginner hikers, leave this one for later, and instead enjoy this Tai Po walking tour in the Venice of Hong Kong or this family friendly hike at Waterfall Bay.

Lion Rock towers over Kowloon, and at its summit you will enjoy spectacular 360 degree views of Kowloon and beyond. From atop Lion Rock, you’ll be able to see The Peak (Victoria Peak), Jardine’s Lookout, Mt. High West, Tai Mo Shan (Hong Kong’s tallest mountain), Suicide Cliff, High Junk Peak, and even Devil’s Peak. The vantage point from the summit of Lion Rock is truly spectacular.

Kowloon Peak and Suicide Cliff off in the distance
Kowloon Peak and Suicide Cliff off in the distance

Hike Lion Rock Off the Beaten Path

And, if you’re wondering why we’re covering this classic Hong Kong hike when we claim to be all about off the beaten path adventure travel, it’s because we’re not only going to cover how to hike Lion Rock via the normal route, but we’re also going to give you all the details about another trail up Lion Rock that is quite off the beaten path but also extremely challenging.


Fast Facts – Hike Lion Rock (Advanced Route)

Not Including Breaks

3.5 hours

Round Trip Distance

5.2 km

Cum. Elevation Gain

467m

Route Difficulty

Difficult


Regardless of how you choose to experience this, if you decide to put in the effort to do so, you will be experiencing a hike that is near and dear to our hearts. From our early days in Hong Kong, we used to trail run in this area. Now, we take it a bit slower, since we bring P along for the hike.

But the fact remains, the views all along the trail are spectacular, the workout you get in order to summit Lion Rock is fantastic, and the memories you will make from this hike are going to last you much longer than the few hours it takes to hike. If you have any questions about either of the routes, please leave us a comment below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

If you want to hike Lion Rock, but you want to leave all the navigating to us, click below and we’ll start making plans with you!

Want a guide?

Gear Essentials to Hike Lion Rock

gear for Lion Rock
Properly prepare to hike Lion Rock, and you’ll have a great time!

To put it simply, you’ll need the following gear.

You may want the following gear.

Below is the specific gear we use and why we use it.

Bring Enough Water

There is no place along this route to fill your water bottles. Therefore, we recommend you bring 2 liters per person in the winter months and 3 liters per person in the summer months. We love the following bottles because they are reusable, durable and insulated.

Sun Protection is Important on Lion Rock

Parts of the route are shaded and parts are in the full sun. It’s in your best interest to at least put on some suncream. Better yet, bring the items below. We usually bring them when we hike here, and we’ve never been caught unprepared on this route.

Hiking Shoes are Suitable for Lion Rock

We find hiking shoes sufficient for hiking Lion Rock, so we never use boots on this route. The terrain is not particularly technical. We love the following shoes.

Proper Hiking Socks Prevent Blisters

We always hike in wool socks, as they have natural anti-blister properties. We use the following ones year round in Hong Kong.

Rain/Wind Protection

traverse the summit ridge
The summit of Lion Rock is quite exposed.

When we hike we usually bring our rain/wind jackets. The ones below are lightweight, durable, great value, and are useful for providing a bit of extra warmth, protection from the rain and wind, or both.

Snacks

Sometimes we bring snacks when we hike, other times we don’t. You best know how far you can hike without needing to refuel. This route is challenging however, so to be safe, we suggest you bring at least a few calories with you. Probars are DELICIOUS!

Gear Optionals

Camera

As we said above, the views along the trail, and especially at the summit of Lion Rock, are spectacular! Bring some sort of camera. We bring this set up as it’s weatherproof, has a full frame sensor and is pretty lightweight.

A Baby Carrier

man carrying baby on Lion Rock
We love this baby carrier, and P does too!

If any of your hiking buddies happen to be a baby, you will want to seriously consider getting one of these baby carriers. This Osprey Poco AG is very comfortable, very durable, and is essential gear for us to be able to hike with P.

Getting There and Getting Home – Hike Lion Rock

A view of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island from Lion Rock
A view of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island

To get to the trailhead, just hop on the MTR, and ride the train to the Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, then take Exit B3 to get up to the street. At this point, you can use our Hike Lion Rock Google Map to navigate. This hike ends at Lok Fu MTR Station. Once you’re there, hop back on the train and head home.

To hike Lion Rock, you won’t need the navigation skills of Galileo, but if you don’t want to worry about having to navigate at all, click below, as we would be glad to guide you here.

Want a guide?

Difficulty, Duration, Distance and Elevation – Hike Lion Rock

There are two main trails up to Lion Rock. Both are difficult, so if you’re a beginner hiker, you’ll want to consider something else such as this Tai Po walking tour in the Venice of Hong Kong or this family friendly hike at Waterfall Bay.

1. The Normal Route to Hike Lion Rock

We recommend you use our Hike Lion Rock Google Map (on your mobile device) to navigate out on the trail. This normal route is entirely on paved roads and hard packed trails. It’s pretty easy to follow, and requires only minimal navigation.

Fast Facts – Hike Lion Rock (Normal Route)

Not Including Breaks

4 hours

Round Trip Distance

7.1 km

Cum. Elevation Gain

590m

Route Difficulty

Med.-Diff.

We suggest you follow this route in a counter-clockwise direction. Start at “A” and end at “C”.

Route map for the normal route up Lion Rock
Route map for the normal route up Lion Rock
Elevation profile normal route up Lion Rock
Elevation profile for the normal route up Lion Rock

2. The Advanced Route to Hike Lion Rock

We recommend you use our Hike Lion Rock Google Map (on your mobile device) to navigate out on the trail. The ascent up Lion Rock via the advanced route is quite a bit more challenging than the normal route. This is due to the fact that you will have to scramble, likely on hands and knees, up some very steep and overgrown sections of trail. ONLY EXPERT HIKERS SHOULD CONSIDER THIS ROUTE. However, this route has some very unique and beautiful views.

Fast Facts – Hike Lion Rock (Advanced Route)

Not Including Breaks

3.5 hours

Round Trip Distance

5.2 km

Cum. Elevation Gain

467m

Route Difficulty

Difficult

We suggest you follow this route in a counter-clockwise direction. Start at “A” and end at “C”.

Route map for the advanced route up Lion Rock
Route map for the advanced route up Lion Rock
Elevation profile for the advanced route up Lion Rock

Our Route on Google Maps – Hike Lion Rock

We recommend you use our hike Lion Rock google map to navigate while you are out on the trail. Click here to access our Hike Lion Rock Google Map on your mobile device.

NOTE: Make sure you also click on the button in the top left corner of the map (pictured below) so you can toggle on/off the route you’d like to follow.

google map button

Our Route in Pictures – Hike Lion Rock

You can use these pictures to have a sneak peak of the beautiful sights you’ll see when you hike Lion Rock via the normal route. You can also use them to help yourself navigate along the trail.

(Click to enlarge. The order of the pictures goes from left to right, top to bottom.)

Temple Hill Fat Jong Temple on hike Lion Rock
This is Temple Hill Fat Jong Temple. The turn for the advanced trail is near here.
woman hiking up stairs on Lion Rock
There are lots of stairs when you hike Lion Rock.
stairs on Lion Rock
More stairs…
a view of Lion Rock
First glimpse of Lion Rock
view of Kowloon on the way up Lion Rock
A view of Kowloon
many carrying baby on Lion Rock trail
One of the few flat sections of the trail
a view of Tai Mo Shan
A view of Tai Mo Shan off in the distance (Hong Kong’s tallest mountain)
stairs to the summit of hike Lion Rock
Turn left up the final stairs to the summit of Lion Rock.
stairs up to Lion Rock
And…more stairs!
hike Lion Rock summit sign
The Lion Rock Summit! The Lion Rock head is just a bit farther down the trail.
danger sign on Lion Rock
If you ascend via the advanced trail, you’ll pop up from behind that sign.
woman standing atop Lion Rock
Our resident Mama and photographer
Traverse this ridge to get to the Lion Head.
views of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island
Take in the views of Kowloon (foreground) and Hong Kong Island (background).
family photo atop Lion Rock
We made it!
a junction in the trail
Turn left at the junction.

Other Challenging Hong Kong Hiking Experiences

If you’re in the market for intermediate and challenging hikes in Hong Kong, there are PLENTY of great ones! For starters, you can hike Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls. Near that same area you can hike Tai To Yan or hike Kai Kung Leng in Lam Tsuen Country Park. If you want a challenging hike on Hong Kong Island, try to hike High West in Kennedy Town, and if you want a real calf burner, hike Sharp Peak in Sai Kung.

No matter what you decide to do, if you have questions, we’re here for you. So, leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you in a flash.

And in the meantime…Happy hiking!

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