Why 12 Peaks
Why 12 Peaks ?MacLehose Trail is not only the first official trail, but also the longest one. The trail lies on the mountains between Saikung and Tuen Mun. The trail is divided into 10 sections. Many people know the route from Section 3 to 8 is very mountainous and forms the natural border between Kowloon and the New Territories. However, seldom of them notice that they have to climb 12 peaks for these sections.
Therefore, we organize a virtual event and name it “The 12 Peaks” to make people refocus the beautiful mountains and landscapes along this route.
1. Ngau Yee Shek Shan 425m
It is the first mountain along Double Au, also the highest point of McLehose Sec 3. Starting from Pak Tam Au, there is a very steep climb in 1 km which is a tough challenge for most people. It is really physically demanding. However, people may have a relief when they see the beautiful scene of seas and mountains, especially in sunny days. Don’t forget Sharp Peak in the East.
2. Kai Kung Shan 399m
Kai Kung Shan is not the highest one but it must be the most impressive one in McLehose Trail Sec 3, because the trail on this mountain is very very rough and steep. People have to be extremely careful when they tackle the ups and downs. After the peak, there is a section of trail covered by tree roots which may twist your ankles in most of the case.
3. Wan Cook Shan 590mThe name of Wan Cook Shan is not shown on the government maps, thus not many people know this name. However, every hiker will notice the stunning view on the mountains before Pyramid Hill. When you reach Ma On Au, you will turn left and go along a meandering path. A ridge goes parallel with the path is called Wan Cook Shan, which means a crooky ridge in English. No one can forget the beautiful view on the ridge. It also famous for the windy
4. Tate’s Cairn 577m
MacLehose Sec 4 -5 is the most famous training section for most trail runners. Some of them always try to avoid the climb of Tate’s Cairn. The funny fact is, runners feel exhausted after the long hike and always avoiding the Tate’s Cairn top by detouring the easy tempting short cut spur, instead of the discouraging zig-zag uphill steps.
5. Unicorn Ridge 437m
When you pass Shatin Pass, you have to climb up Unicorn Ridge. Although the steps are quite steepy, but they are wide and well paved. When you reach the top and turn right, you will run around the north side of Lion Rock towards Kowloon Pass. This part of trail is flat and wide, which means very ‘runnable’.
6. Beacon Hill 457m
In Qing Dynasty, there was pirates problem along the coast of Guangdong and the government built a beacon tower on Beacon Hill to monitor the waterway. This is why the hill is called Beacon Hill. The other function of tower was to inform the junk boats when the monsoons arrived. The steps towards the top are very steep and physically demanding, but the view up there is very gorgeous, especially the night city view of Kowloon.
7. Needle Hill 532m
The climb of Needle Hill is the second largest on MacLehose Trail, which is about 342m in height from the main dam of Shing Mun Reservoir ( 190m ) to the peak ( 523m ), just a bit lower than the climb up to Ma On Au. The climb can be roughly divided into 3 sections. The first and the last section are very steep and demanding. The top of Needle Hill is very pointy in all the angle around the mountain, just like a pyramid. Why this pointy hill is named Needle? In the old times, the habitants around Shing Mun spoke Hakka, pointy (尖) in their language sounds similar to needle (針) in Cantonese language. Thus it is officially recorded as Needle Hill.
8. Grass Hill 647m
Needle Hill is really a tough one and its neighbour Grass Hill is very gentle. There is a road linking up the bottom of Needle Hill and the top of Grass Hill. Although the road keeps going up, the gradient is quite gentle and most of the road is under the shade of trees. It is quite pleasant to walk along this section event in hot and sunny days.
9. Yin Ngam Teng 680m
Lead Mine Pass is the start of MacLehose Sec.8. The first 500m is in the forest. After that, the view is very open. You can see Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi on the left, while Taipo and Kam Tin is on the left. The trail is very rocky and quite difficult to move fast. The top of this rocky path is called Yin Ngam Teng. Although this hill is not famous but the stream runs towards Taipo is the 5 biggest stream of Tai Mo Shan and a main water source of Tai Po River. The Bamboo Tunnel in Yin Ngam Village is a popular scenic spot recently.
10. Sze Fong Shan 784m
The trail from Yin Ngam Teng to Sze Fong Shan is quite easy and flat. You can really enjoy running there. Some rocks look very funny. There is a pavilion down Sze Fong Shan where a path leading you to the famous waterfalls of Ng Tung Chai.
11. Tai Mo Shan 957m
You will walk along on the road from Sze Fong Pavilion to the top of Tai Mo Shan. Why do we suggest the verb “walk?”It is because the middle section of road is very very steep and make you difficult to run. When you arrived this section of Tai Mo Shan means you are barely on the top of Hong Kong too. The radar of Hong Kong Observatory and some military facilities there make people unable to reach the highest point of Hong Kong. You can just pass the gate of those facilities, and then run down along the zig-zag road for about 2 km.
12. Wo Tong Kong 654m
When you reach the Distance Post M153, there is a picnic site and a small hill called Wo Tong Kong. Please leave the road the run along the trail on Wo Tong Kong. The trail is quite flat and the view is very open. Then there is a long section of steps which will lead you to the Tai Mo Shan Country Park Visitor’s Centre. Running through the car park and then turn right. You will reach Rotary Park right away.