27 October 2016
The MacLehose trail consists of 10 stages. The Shing Mun reservoir (above) is in Stage 7, one of the most popular  stops on the hiking trail. Photo:
The MacLehose trail consists of 10 stages. The Shing Mun reservoir (above) is in Stage 7, one of the most popular stops on the hiking trail. Photo:

MacLehose Trail: A walk through history

Younger people might find it hard to associate the MacLehose Trail with the 1967 riots.

But that’s how it all began.

In 1976, Sir Murray MacLehose launched a country park development program to kickstart a new era and heal social divisions that festered years after the communist-inspired violence.

Three years later, Hong Kong’s most popular footpath was completed. It would later bear his name. 

The hiking trail runs about 100 kilometers across much of the New Territories, starting from Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung in the east to Tuen Mun in the west.

The trail features markers at 500-meter intervals and is divided into 10 stages.

One of the most popular is Stage 7 which starts in the main dam of Shing Mun reservoir. 

The trail has stone-paved stairs that seem to go on forever. They take you to Needle Hill, where you are rewarded with magnificent views of the reservoir and Sha Tin Valley.

Further up is Grassy Hill, a gentle climb along shrubs and grasses that can only thrive in its thin, loose soil.

Soon, Lead Mine Pass looms at the intersection of MacLehose Trail and Wilson Trail, which leads to Wun Yiu in Tai Po.

Here, you’ll find a kiln site, the only one in Hong Kong. It is said to have produced porcelain during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Ancient artifacts from the site are on permanent display at the Wun Yiu Exhibition hall.

Before it became the MacLehose Trail, the footpath served as the second line of defense for the British garrison against any intrusion from the mainland. The first line was Shenzhen river.

That part of Hong Kong history is still being debated but the MacLehose Trail is by itself a compelling narrative thanks largely to its namesake who served as Hong Kong’s 25th governor from 1971 to 1982.

Getting there:

From Shing Mun reservoir, take minibus route 82 in Chuen Lung Street in Tsuen Wan.

To return from Sheung Wun Yiu Village, take Tat Wan Road to the Tai Po Market MTR station.

Time: About four hours


MacLehose Trail stage 7 

Wun Yiu Exhibition

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 16.

Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting

[Chinese version中文版]

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Sha Tin’s Lion Rock is a breathtaking sight from a distance. Photo:

Needle Hill (left) offers easy access too Grassy Hill and Lead Mine Pass (right). Photos:, HKEJ

Fan Sin Temple (above) sits next to Wun Yiu Exhibition hall where ancient artifacts are on permanent display. Photo: HKEJ

HKEJ contributor

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