Header image courtesy of @breebree.chan (via Instagram)
After a year of non-stop hiking to scratch that travelling itch, it may be time to retire the sturdy hiking boots and rest those sore legs in exchange for a nice and easy trail. Hongkongers of the younger generation may only know efficient train systems that are the envy of Asia (and the rest of the world, most likely) and food deliveries that arrive at the press of a button, but the city is dotted with hidden pockets that preserve its history and humble beginnings.
Prior to modern transportation, villages across the city paved their own walking paths to ease commutes and trade. No longer a necessity for our daily commute, these ancient trails now act as a gift from our predecessors. Decently paved and often shaded, these paths that are good for families or just some light exercise to get out of the house.
This week, we’re introducing you to the Kap Lung Ancient Trail Loop, which, unlike other trails, is well-marked with directions and is suitable for hikers of all levels. So grab some sunscreen, a lot of mosquito repellant, and some snacks for a little picnic on this quiet and quaint trail in the western part of New Territories.
For the purpose of our guide, we will merge two trails—the Kap Lung Ancient Trail and the Kap Lung Forest Trail— both of which have the same starting point, so feel free to do this trail in reverse order if you wish! Housed in the Tai Lam Country Park and next to Tai Mo Shan Country Park, these two trails were originally the main economic trade routes for farmers in Shek Kong and Pat Heung heading to Tsuen Wan.
From its days as a trade route, the need for easy and safe passage whilst carrying produce makes this a beginner-friendly trail. Both trails can be undertaken as downhill jaunts on sloped ground if headed towards Tsuen Wan. However, because both trails are downhill, walking them as a loop means half your journey is an uphill climb.
Distance: 6.5 kilometres approx.
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
Height: 438 metres approx.
Time: 2.5 hours approx.
For the Kap Lung Ancient Trail and Kap Lung Forest Trail, the starting and ending point will be in Tai Mo Shan Country Park. It is easily reachable via public transportation from Tsuen Wan.
Unlike other ancient trails, the Kap Lung Ancient Trail has been preserved through government support and thus, there are plenty of well-maintained trail markers along the way. Once you alight from the bus, the trailhead is well-marked; there should be a flight of stairs, leading you up to a vertical signpost that directs you towards the Kap Lung Forest Trail. Follow the sign and make sure you stay on the path for hikers, not bikers!
Eventually, you will come up to a series of signposts and maps, with the Kap Lung Ancient Trail heading off to the right. As mentioned before, this hike can be done in reverse, but for the purpose of our guide, we’ll hike the Kap Lung Ancient Trail first. After a short flight of stairs, you will reach a divider that marks the official start of the trail.
Kap Lung Ancient Trail is not known for its spectacular views as the bush area does cover up much of the scenery. However, the trail does offer some greenery that is missing in city life, with a highlight being that the trail crosses over the top of a waterfall and some streams, which makes for a nice picnic spot or just a place to cool down.
Lui Kung Tin is the official “end” of the Kap Lung Ancient Trail, at which you can turn back around and retrace your steps. However, to complete the full loop and also explore the Kap Lung Forest Trail, follow the paved road towards the left past the public toilets and picnic area. Farm Milk Co. is located on that way, manufacturing all of their own dairy products—it is recommended as a must-try for hikers! A fan-favourite is their cold ginger milk.
Across from Farm Milk Co. is a flight of stairs leading back to the Kap Lung Forest Trail, which is mostly uphill but is still relatively gentle and easy with plenty of shade. It should take around an hour and a half for your return trip following the Kap Lung Forest Trail. On a good day, you might even get a glimpse of Tai Mo Shan!
Eventually, you’ll reach the part of the Kap Lung Forest Trail that merges with the Kap Lung Ancient Trail. Once you arrive back at your starting point, you can take bus 51 back to Tsuen Wan West. Alternatively, if you opted to cut your walk short at Lui Kung Tin, you can exit right via Lei Kung Road until you hit Route Twisk, where you can catch bus 51 back to Tsuen Wan or minibus 72 to Kam Sheung Road Station or Yuen Long Station.