Hike Needle Hill – Monkeys and Goats and Stairs, Oh My!

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2019)

Hike Needle Hill but Mind the Monkeys and Goats!

We know it sounds weird, but when you hike Needle Hill in the New Territories, along a particular section of the trail (we’ll tell you about it below in the “Our Route” section) it’s not uncommon to see Rhesus Macaque playing around in the trees. On the descent down into Tai Wai, depending on the time of day, it’s also not uncommon to see some Billy Goats (from a nearby farm) grazing on the jungle underbrush. We know this sounds weird, but indeed when you hike Needle Hill (and if you follow our route) you’ll have a good chance of seeing monkeys and goats!

Urban Jungle to Literal Jungle and Back Again

Something you may also find interesting about this hike is how quickly Hong Kong’s urban jungle transitions into the literal one. This hike starts at the Sha Tin MTR station, and it ends at the Tai Wai MTR station, but you won’t be taking the train to get from point A to B. Instead, you’ll hike up and behind the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery to the MacLehose Trail Section 7, and from there, you’ll walk along the MacLehose trail in order to head up Needle Hill. After you’ve finished taking in the spectacular 360 degree views from the summit, at which point you’ll be able to see Hong Kong’s tallest mountain Tai Mo Shan, as well many of the other Hong Hong hiking classics such as Ma On Shan, Lion’s Rock and the Shing Mun reservoir, you’ll head down to Tai Wai.

Hike Needle Hill – Big Effort, Big Rewards

Needle Hill in Hong Kong

This hike is quite challenging, as it includes many stairs both on the ascent and descent, but the spectacular views at the top make it well worth the sweat you will pour to get up there. If you’re lucky enough to see the monkeys and Billy Goats, that’ll be and added bonus too! The short video below will give you just a bit of what awaits you at the summit! And the details below that will give you all the information you need to hike Needle Hill yourself!

If however you’d prefer not to try and navigate out on the trails all by yourself, we’d be glad to guide you, so you too can hike Needle Hill. Just give a click below, and we’ll get planning with you!

What You’ll Need to Bring

When you hike Needle Hill, the main thing you’ll need is water, especially if you do this in the summer months. A couple of snacks wouldn’t hurt either. The rest of the items we suggest are below.

Hiking Shoes

Especially on some of the loose slippery gravel, it is important to have good footwear. We love these shoes*. However, the most important thing in a shoe is proper fit, so use these as a starting point, but keep in mind there is no “one-type-fits-all” shoe out there. 

Water Bottles

We love these water bottles because they are insulated and reusable. Reduce your plastic waste by using these!

Hiking Poles

Hiking poles save our knees on the downhills, and on the really long hikes, they are even nice on the ups! If you hike Needle Hill and you’d like a bit of extra support, we recommend these hiking poles.

Rain Jackets

It never hurts to have a rain jacket. On the off chance that the weather turns, these will keep you dry and a bit warmer. 

Sun Protection

If you hike Needle Hill on a sunny day, you will want to protect yourself from the sun.

Camera and Lens

We love this camera and lens. This whole setup is weatherproof too, so we don’t have to worry about it in the rain!

Drone

Drones are fun, they can give you a unique perspective on wherever you’re at, and this is the one we use and LOVE!

Getting There and Getting Home

This hike starts right from the Sha Tin MTR station Exit B (the same exit you’d take to get to the Ikea in Sha Tin), and it ends at the Tai Wai MTR station Exit A. Suffice it to say, when you hike Needle Hill, take the MTR to get to the trailhead and back home afterwards.

Difficulty and Distance

Difficulty

This is an intermediate/advanced hike due to the distance and elevation gain. Also, when you hike Needle Hill you’ll notice that going up Needle Hill itself, and also going down into Tai Wai, there are some stretches of the trail with loose rocks, gravel and places that are a bit “technical” in terms of footing. Make sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes, like the ones we recommend above.

Distance, Elevation Gain, Duration

This hike is 8.34 km (5.18 mi) long, and it has 592 m (1942 ft) of elevation gain. For intermediate hikers, plan on this taking 3-4 hours. Advanced hikers, plan on this taking 2-3 hours.

Our Route to Hike Needle Hill

We suggest you use our hike Needle Hill Google Map  and our picture guide (below) to navigate while you’re out on the trail. From your mobile device, just click the link above, and you’ll see our route in  your Google Maps App.

But again, if you’d prefer to leave the navigating to us, we’d be glad to guide you on a hike up Needle Hill. Just click below, and we’ll get planning with you!

Hike Needle Hill Picture Directions

Staring out at Sha Tin
Once out of the Sha Tin MTR exit B, turn left, then walk down this ramp.
Staring out at Sha Tin
U-turn to the left, around this railing.
Staring out at Sha Tin
Walk ahead, and zig-zag between the shop and the slope on the left.
Heading out of Sha Tin
Walk up these stairs.
Heading out of Sha Tin
Head to the right. 
Heading out of Sha Tin
And the stairs begin!
Still going up while we hike Needle Hill
At this traffic circle, walk up to the right. 
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Continue uphill.
Making our way to the dirt path
Bear left here.
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Keep on heading uphill.
Passing the Lutheran Theological Seminary on our Hike up Needle Hill
Pass by the seminary on your right.
The trail turns to dirt here
Walk up this small driveway. Then continue straight until the dirt trail.

Getting onto the Trail

Dirt trail finally
Enjoy the dirt trail for a moment.
Still going up
Continue up the paved path.
Hike Needle Hill
That red building is the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.
Hike Needle Hill
Climb up these stairs, to the right.
Lots of stairs here
Keep on going! From this point onward, keep an eye and an ear out for rustling in the tree tops. It may be monkeys!
A bit of flat trail
Pass straight through this makeshift exercise area.
A view of Sha Tin from up high
Check out Sha Tin far below!
Hike Needle Hill
And then go up some more stairs. 
Still going up more stairs
And more.
Hike Needle Hill
Hike Needle Hill
Make sure to stop and enjoy the views.
Hike Needle Hill
This is the first glimpse you will get of Needle Hill.
Hike Needle Hill
Go left at this intersection.

Onto the MacLehose Trail

Hike Needle Hill
Go left up the road.
Hike Needle Hill
Walk on the road until you reach the base of Needle Hill.
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Hike Needle Hill
Needle Hill in its full glory! Get ready for those steps!
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This is the base of Needle Hill. Head on up!
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There are plenty of stairs to enjoy!
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The Summit

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Tada! Nice work! Enjoy the beautiful views!
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That is the Shing Mun Reservoir below.
Hike Needle Hill
Hike Needle Hill
Off in the distance is Ma On Shan.
Hike Needle Hill
Check out Lion Rock too.

Heading Down

Hike Needle Hill
Retrace your footsteps to head back down.
Hike Needle Hill
Once you’re retraced your footsteps on the road for a while, look for this area on your right. This spot is marked on our Hike Needle Hill Google Map with a red pin titled “Turn Off for Tai Wai” 
Hike Needle Hill
This is the “Turn off for Tai Wai”. Head down this trail. 
Hike Needle Hill
The underbrush is quite dense, but the trail is well established.
Hike Needle Hill
Keep pushing your way through.
Hike Needle Hill
Check out Tai Wai down there! That’s where you’re going.
Hike Needle Hill
Make your way through the bamboo groves!
Hike Needle Hill
Don’t forget to enjoy the views!
Hike Needle Hill
Eventually the trail opens up a bit. 
Hike Needle Hill
Near the big rock is where you will likely see some goats!

Mind the Goats

Hike Needle Hill
On this day, we did! 
Hike Needle Hill
Eventually, you’ll get there. Follow the path sharp right downhill.
Hike Needle Hill
Keep on going!
Hike Needle Hill
Hike Needle Hill
Hike Needle Hill
Here, make a sharp left and stay on the road.
Hike Needle Hill
Head downhill.
Hike Needle Hill
Walk across the road and down the small path. 
Hike Needle Hill
Hike Needle Hill
Check out the homestead!
Hike Needle Hill
Hike Needle Hill
Curve around to the right here.
Hike Needle Hill
Cross the street, and using your Google Maps app, head back to the Tai Wai MTR station!

Get Hiking

Well, there ya have it! Now you should have all the information, and hopefully all the inspiration you need to hike Needle Hill. If you’d like to do another adventure up in the New Territories, you should seriously consider checking out the refreshing waterfalls at Ng Tung Chai, and if that doesn’t suit you, how about the Dragon’s Back of the New Territories, Tai To Yan? Looking for something a bit more mellow? How about a gentle walking tour through Tai Po – The Venice of Hong Kong! Last but certainly not least, you should consider the stunning ridge walk at Pat Sin Leng. No matter what you do, if you have any questions, comments or compliments 😉 just leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you in a flash!

Happy hiking!

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2 comments

Avatar for forsomethingmore
Angel Nardi March 22, 2019 - 10:33 am

How long it took for you to hike this?

Reply
Avatar for forsomethingmore
forsomethingmore March 22, 2019 - 10:46 am

Good question! For a slow hiker, four hours, for an intermediate hiker 3 1/2 hours, for a fast hiker 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Reply

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