Kowloon Reservoir Hike: A Family-friendly Trail With Amazing Wildlife


Essential Kowloon Reservoir Hike Details

  • District: Between Kowloon and the New Territories
  • Duration: 1 - 1.5 hours
  • Distance: 3 km (up to 4.5km if you decide to go off the beaten path)
  • Highest Elevation: 210ish meters
  • Difficulty: 1/5
  • Facilities: Toilets and vending machines at the Shek Lei Pui Reservoir bus stop (from Kowloon)

Why Hike Kowloon Reservoir?

Kowloon Reservoir (九龍水塘) is situated in Kam Shan Country Park. Though it's technically part of the New Territories, it's so close to Kowloon geographically, that it's kind of difficult to say which district it really occupies. You could feasibly walk here from Cheung Sha Wan in Kowloon or from Hin Keng (near Tai Wai) in the New Territories.

Anyway, the start point of the Hike is on Golden Hill Road (AKA Monkey Hill), so expect to see macaques everywhere. If you're afraid of monkeys, this is NOT the hike for you.

The hike takes you around part of the reservoir before you head into the trees to tackle stage 6 of the MacLehose Trail.

If you want to see all four reservoirs in the area (Kowloon Reservoir, Kowloon Byewash Reservoir, Kowloon Reception Reservoir and Shek Lei Pui Reservoir), there's an optional detour that is outlined in the blog.

No matter if you visit all four reservoirs or not, this hike is super easy, very quick and great for beginners or wildlife enthusiasts. It's also perfect for families looking for a fun day out.

Just avoid the first little detour I accidentally took where I had a very close encounter with two massive wild boars.

Google Route Map

Kowloon Reservoir Hike (Maclehose Stage 6) GPX File

How to Get the Kowloon Reservoir Hike Start Point

There are 2 buses that go to the Kowloon Reservoir hike start point. Grab either of them and get off at the Shek Lei Pui Reservoir stop.

  • Bus 81: (From Jordan, West Kowloon, Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok, Prince Edward, Sham Shui Po) or (Wo Che, Shatin, Tai Wai)
  • Bus 72: (From Cheung Sha Wan, Sham Shui Po) or (Tai Wo, Tai Po, Chinese University, Shatin)

By Taxi

Show this address to the taxi driver to get to the hike start point: 金山路

Quick Kowloon Reservoir (MacLehose Stage 6) Hike Route Summary

  1. Get off the bus at the Shek Lei Pui Reservoir stop
  2. Follow Golden Hill Road down to Kowloon Reservoir (opposite side of the road to the 'Eagle's Nest Nature Trail' arch)
  3. Optional: Take the sketchy detour between the bridge fence and the wall (you will have to loop back to this same point)
  4. Cross the bridge and follow Golden Hill Road as it starts to ascend upward
  5. Ignore the 'Kam Shan Tree Walk' Arch *unless you want to go on a detour
  6. Follow the trail under the 'Kam Shan Family Walk' arch
  7. Ignore the stairs heading upward to the left
  8. Begin descending to the end point
  9. Head through the chain-link fence and go left until you arrive at the Tai Po Road Lookout bus stop a few minutes later

From Monkey Hill to Kowloon Reservoir

Once you get off the bus, the easiest landmark to look for is the 'Lion Rock Country Park' sign. After finding it, cross Tai Po Road (if you're on the same side of the road as the sign).

You'll possibly see macaques crossing the road with you or taking the footbridge nearby.

Once you're across, you'll spot the Kam Shan Road sign. Follow it downward for a minute or two until the Kowloon Reservoir comes into sight.

Optional Loop Detour

As you approach the bridge near the reservoir, you'll notice a little path that goes between a fence and a wall.

This is the optional detour path that takes you around part of the reservoir, though it's not officially part of MacLehose Stage Six.

If you take this path, be careful because it's not well-maintained. You will be privy, though, to much closer views of the reservoir and can even walk up to the water's edge where fishermen often go for a quiet afternoon of illegal fishing.

Since the trail is not maintained, it's quite overgrown in parts, but there are no detours for you to get lost on.

When you arrive at the picnic area, keep your wits about you and pay attention. This is where I had a really close encounter with two MASSIVE wild boars.

By no means were these two my first wild boar encounters while hiking in Hong Kong, but the size of this pair took me by surprise. I estimate that they must have been 100-120kg easily.

One of them made a wild squeal/snort/roar before rushing directly across the path I was walking along and crashing into the undergrowth. The other calmly observed me and continued eating some foliage.

I decided to take the path left, which went back to the water's edge in hopes that the second boar would be gone by the time I came back.

When I returned, it was still there, so I had no choice but to slowly (and calmly) walk past it.

I managed to snap a few quick pictures before leaving the majestic creature behind.

Anyway, you'll return to Tai Po Road after ending this little route. Follow the road as it slopes upward and you'll return back to the Kam Shan Road sign.

From there, return back to the bridge.

Walking Beside Kowloon Reservoir

Whether you avoided the detour or completed the detour and have circled back, you should now cross the bridge. Enjoy the views of the Kowloon Reservoir as you follow Kam Shan Road.

The views from the dam just after the bridge are stellar!

Kowloon Reservoir began construction in1907 and it was completed in 1910. It was officially the first reservoir to be built in the New Territories.

As you follow Kam Shan Road around the edge of Kowloon Reservoir, there's plenty of amazing scenery to drink in (no pun intended).

The road is flat, concrete and easy to navigate.

Beside Kowloon Reservoir, there are actually an additional three reservoirs within the Kam Shan area. These are the Kowloon Byewash Reservoir, Kowloon Reception Reservoir and Shek Lei Pui Reservoir.

If you want to visit all the reservoirs, follow the optional detour below, which will bring you back to Golden Hill Road at the end. If not, skip all the detour sections below.

Optional Detour to All Reservoirs (45 Mins - 1 Hour)

Route Map of Optional Detour

Optional Detour Part 1 - Getting to Kowloon Byewash Reservoir

After crossing the Kowloon Reservoir Dam, Look for the 'Kam Shan Tree Walk' arch. Head through it and follow the natural trail for about 15 minutes. Don't turn off into any of the picnic areas.

At the end of the trail, you'll arrive at a fence. follow the fence left and walk down some stairs before arriving at a road.

Continue downward from the road and you'll arrive at the far end of the Kowloon Byewash Reservoir.

Feel free to explore as much as you want. To get to the next reservoir, you'll need to retrace your steps slightly, so return back to the road when you're ready to continue.

Optional Detour Part 2: Getting to Kowloon Reception Reservoir

It only takes about 10 minutes to get to the epic Kowloon Reception Reservoir viewpoint from Kowloon Byewash Reservoir.

After retracing your steps up the road and up past the fence, you'll see a 'Jogging Trail' sign. Follow the flat path for a few mintues, ignoring the set of stairs heading upward to your right.

Not too long later, you'll see a little opening on your left that leads to the the Kowloon Reception Reservoir shoreline.

Head down to the shore and enjoy the breathtaking view.

Optional Detour Part 3: Getting to Shek Lei Pui Reservoir

Remember those stairs from earlier? Well, retrace your steps and then begin climbing them. It's not too long of a climb and it's definitely worth it for the views.

Once the trail flattens out, you should see Shek Lei Pui Reservoir after just a few minutes of walking.

Cross the dam and follow the sign left in the direction of the 'jogging trail'. As you walk along the shore of Shek Lei Pui Reservoir, you'll catch views of Golden Hill Radio Station on your left.

Keep a lookout for the little ramp leading to the water's edge. Heading down the ramp will offer awesome views of Shek Lei Pui Reservoir from up close.

Optional Detour Part 4: Back to Golden Hill Road

After climbing the ramp, continue along the trail and you'll see a fenced area once more. Follow the path downward beside the fence and then continue walking down the stairs.

You'll be heading downward the whole way from here unless you want to circle around Shek Lei Pui Reservoir, in which case you can head left at the little stone bridge.

The further down you go, the closer you get to Kowloon Reservoir.

Before long, you'll see Kowloon Reservoir from above. Keep walking downward and you'll arrive back at Golden Hill Road!

The guide continues from the sign pictured above, so there's no need to return to the pavilion and the tree walk arch unless you want to head back to the bus stop.

Follow Golden Hill Road to Kam Shan Family Walk

Kam Shan Road will eventually begin to slope upward. Stay on it until you arrive at the 'Kam Shan Family Walk' arch.

On the way up, you should ignore the 'Kam Shan Tree Walk' arch beside the pavilion, go past the picnic area, follow the 'Kam Shan Family Walk' sign and eventually head under the 'Kam Shan Family Walk' arch and begin following the trail there.

Don't miss the stellar views of Beacon Hill and Lion Rock before entering the trail!

The Family Walk Trail

About five minutes after beginning the trail, avoid the stairs that appear to your left. Keep going straight and you'll be following MacLehose Stage 6.

This portion of the hike is on natural dirt trails and treats you to lush greenery the whole way. From wild coffee to bamboo, you'll be spoilt for how relaxed, quiet and lush this particular trail is.

It's also incredibly easy and is a great hike for kids to fall in love with nature. On the trail, you'll pass by small little gurgling streams and encounter several really vibrant butterflies! I was also lucky enough to spot a huge moth that fascinated me.

The trail takes about 40-45 minutes to complete, after which you'll have descended back to Tai Po Road. Turn left and you'll be at a bus stop in minutes.

Getting Back

From the bus stop, get either the number 72 or 81 bus back to civilization. Make sure you're on the correct side of the road or else you'll head into the totally wrong district!