About Hiking

About Hiking

Hiking is taking a long walk in the countryside, usually for pleasure or exercise. There are many hiking trails in our Country Parks, and they are all managed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. To maintain the naturalness of our countryside, we promote the use of natural materials in our trails. Most concrete footpaths to remote villages are managed by the Home Affairs Department.

Trail Difficulty Level Reference

A 5-star system is adopted for assessing the difficulty levels of hiking routes. 5-star represents the most difficult one. The difficulty levels are provided for hikers to plan their trips ahead. Hikers shall choose the appropriate route according to their physical ability, experience, and health condition. The assessment of individual trail conditions, including the “length”, “time required to finish the whole trip”, “gradient” and “surface condition” is tabulated below.

Level
Length
Duration
ElevationSurface
  •   
  • (1 star)

(1 star)

< 4 Kilometer≤ 1 Hours< 100 MeterFlat and smooth
  •   
  • (2 stars)

(2 stars)

4 - < 8 Kilometer> 1‐2 Hours100 - 200 MeterWith few stairs
  •   
  • (3 stars)

(3 stars)

8 - < 12 Kilometer> 2 - 3 Hours201 - 350 MeterWith many stairs
  •   
  • (4 stars)

(4 stars)

12 - < 15 Kilometer> 3 - < 5 Hours351 - 500 MeterWith a lot of stairs
  •   
  • (5 stars)

(5 stars)

≥ 15 Kilometer≥ 5 Hours> 500 MeterWith numerous stairs and hard to walk

Overall Difficulty Reference


    •   
    • (1 star)
    • Easy

    •   
    • (2 star)
    • Moderate

    •   
    • (3 star)
    • Demanding

    •   
    • (4 star)
    • Difficult

    •   
    • (5 star)
    • Very Difficult


Hong Kong Hiking Trail Weather Service


01Hiking Equipment

If you are planning a hike, it is important to have the proper hiking gear. Take equipment according to your personal need and the nature of the activity. The checklist below is provided for reference.

  1. Backpack -
    • Place light items at the bottom, heavier items in the middle, and the heaviest ones on the top. Put less frequently used items first and frequently used ones on the sides. Be sure weight is equally balanced on each side.
    • It should not exceed one third of your body weight. The maximum weight is 40lb.
  2. Hiking shoes - ide toe box hiking shoes with deep and thick lugs on outsole are preferable.
  3. Socks
  4. Shirt - Wear sun protective/moisture-wicking/breathable long-sleeved shirt with collar to avoid sunburn on your arms and the back of your neck.
  5. Trousers - Sun protective/moisture-wicking/breathable loose-fitting trousers are preferable.
  6. Towel/cooling towel/ arm sleeves
  7. Outer garments & windproof jacket/rain jacket
  8. Hat, sunglasses, umbrella, gloves
  9. Spare clothing
  10. Hiking stick
  11. Compass & map (countryside series published by the Lands Department) -
  12. Illumination device
  13. Whistle
  14. Food & emergency food: Bring portable and conveniently packaged food with high calories, e.g. glucose, raisins, and other high energy food.
  15. Water bottle & water (drinking water refilling stations in Country Parks)
  16. Personal drugs & first aid supplies
  17. Mobile phone & battery/charger & charging cable
  18. Watch


02Hiking Skills

Basics

  • Walk with the entire soles of your boots touching the ground, to spread the load evenly across your feet.
  • Free your hands or hold a walking stick to assist balance.
  • Maintain a steady and natural pace, and one that suits you.
  • Breathe smoothly, steadily and in rhythm with your pace.
  • Avoid running or jogging.
  • Avoid excessive conversation, which may affect your breathing rhythm and concentration.
  • Concentrate and always look where you tread. Be observant and vigilant to what is lying ahead
  • To avoid accidents, always stop walking when you read your map.
  • When moving forward, keep an adequate distance from other hikers

Uphill

  • Maintain a natural pace and avoid making very large strides.
  • Avoid climbing at high speed. Don't rest too frequently or for too long. When you feel tired, reduce your speed instead of stopping.
  • Tread only on secure stable ground, where there is enough foot room.
  • Use the strength of your legs to climb. Avoid pulling yourself up by grasping small trees or branches, as they may break leading to a fall.
  • Keep your upper body straight.
  • When going up very steep slopes, don't go straight ahead. Move sideways and work your up in a series of zigzags.

Downhill

  • Never run downhill ―this is a certain way to have a dangerous fall.
  • Tread only on secure stable ground, with enough foot room.
  • Avoid treading on wet slippery ground, especially wet clay or grasses. But if there is no other way, proceed with caution and keep your body low.
  • Use the strength of your legs to descend. Avoid sliding down by grasping small trees or branches. This indicates you are half out of control. Branches can break and, even if they don't, you will damage the vegetation.
  • Keep your upper body straight.
  • When moving down very steep slopes, move sideways and work down in a series of zigzags.

Hiking Programme

  • Plan to end your hike two hours before sunset.
  • Use the Naismith Law to estimate the time required for your hike. According to this law, a fit adult can cover 5 km of level ground per hour, and an extra hour should be added for every 600 m of uphill hiking. For hiking in Hong Kong, it is best to base on an hourly rate of 4 km for level ground, and an extra hour for every 500 m of uphill hiking.
  • Select a gentle slope to go uphill. Avoid challenging yourself with a very steep or treacherous route right at the beginning.
  • The party's entire load should be distributed among all members of the group, taking into account the strength of each member.

Food and Drink

  • Never eat or drink while moving.
  • Relax to take refreshments. Don't hurry your food or drink.
  • Never drink untreated water from hill streams or eat any wild plants or mushrooms.
  • Don't consume icy drinks immediately after a long hike, when your body temperature is still high.
  • Never drink alcohol during a hike.

Food Care

  • Wear suitable hiking shoes. Wear new shoes on level ground a few times before going on a serious hike. This will ensure the surface material is soft and the shoes are comfortably worn in to the shape of your feet. Bootlaces should not be too tight.
  • Wear two pairs of socks made of soft, fluffy and absorbent material.
  • Trim your toenails, and try to keep your feet clean and dry. Stop walking if your feet are uncomfortable. Inspect them and treat any wounds promptly.
  • If there are signs of blisters, put a plaster on the affected area.
  • Blisters should be dressed with an absorbent plaster that eliminates moisture.
  • Serious blisters should be treated with antiseptic. Pierce the blisters with a sterile pin and squeeze out any moisture. Avoid touching the wounds directly, and cover them with an antiseptic dressing right away.
  • For soreness or cramps in the legs, massage the leg muscles. If possible, soak feet in warm water, or use a menthol-based heat rub ointment.