- Needle Hill (532m) and Grassy Hill (647m)
- Jubilee (Shing Mun) Reservoir
- Busy flight path, perfect for plane spotting
Section 7 is all about two hills — the Grassy Hill (647m) and Needle Hill (532m). Particularly, the extravagant view at Needle Hill is comparable to that at the Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island, with less of a crowd for snaps. Section 7 is also right below a busy flight path. You will keep seeing planes of all airlines and sizes passing above you during your hike.
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Lead Mine Pass
To begin at Lead Mine Pass, you will need to hike along the Wilson Trail (from W084) from Wun Yiu Road. You can take the green minibus no. 23K or 23S from Tai Po Market MTR Station to arrive at Wun Yiu Road, the final stop. It will be some 2.5km up the slope with stone steps and dirt along the way. Can be challenging so do take it slowly.
At Lead Mine Pass, there are pavilions, flush toilet sand camping facilities maintained by the Country Park. Historically, Lead Mine Pass is a connecting route between Tai Po and Tsuen Wan. It is also a location for mining and later for tea farming until late 19th century. You can find this information from the Country Park notice board at Lead Mine Pass and Shing Mun Country Park Visitor Centre.
Grassy Hill (647m)
Hike along the service road after Lead Mine Pass, you will soon be directed to the stone steps going up to Grassy Hill (647m) on the right. From this point, you probably will begin noticing airplanes passing above you almost non-stop, this is likely to be the flight path for planes coming to Hong Kong.
The end of the stone steps will arrive at the service road once again pointing you down for Needle Hill but do take a short detour up over just a short distance and you will find the Survey Monument that marks the height of Grassy Hill. It is a perfect viewing spot for Tai Po.
After Grassy Hill, you will hike along a winding and long service road until you reach the foot of Needle Hill.
Needle Hill (532m)
You will see the nearly vertical steps ahead of you at the foot of Needle Hill. It might feel daunting to go up, but it is not as difficult as you might think. The first giveaway is that Needle Hill is 115m shorter than Grassy Hill, which you will already have climbed at this point. The second giveaway is that you start at an elevation of 350m so the climb is only 180m. Most importantly, missing out the view will be a lifetime regret.
At the peak, you will have a 360-degree view of Kowloon and the New Territories.
If you arrive just before sunset, look towards the direction of the sun and you will see Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi islands. Turn counter-clockwise and you will find a very tall building (International Commerce Centre). That is Kowloon and turn further counter-clockwise, you will see the Lion Rock Hill. Try to locate a small building with a brown roof as you keep turning. That is the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Shatin, and further down is Ma On Shan. When you turn leftward further, you will see the hilly landscape that is within the boundary of Shing Mun Country Park. Locate the tallest one. That is Tai Mo Shan (957m), tallest hill in Hong Kong. Further down is Shing Mun Reservoir.
I consider the view at Needle Hill equivalent to that at the Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island. Here, you won’t find cable cars, a shopping complex or fine dines, but has great views of different parts of Hong Kong with a good balance of both urban and natural landscapes.
After descending from Needle Hill, the path will take you further down to Pineapple Dam (also known as Jubilee Reservoir). This part of the hike is mostly on dirt. You will arrive at Pineapple Dam and follow the service road towards the AFCD Shing Mun Visitor Centre. You will see the stop for green minibuses, take no. 82 to Shiu Wo Street and then a short walk to Tsuen Wan MTR Station.
I enjoyed this hike mostly for the view at Grassy Hill and Needle Hill. Observing the city from afar gives me great pleasure — I like to find the logic and the details of how the city was built and connected by roads.
While Section 7 is close to the city, getting in or out at Lead Mine Pass would mean an extra 2.5km of hiking along the Wilson Trail from Tai Po. If you are an aviation enthusiast, Section 7 is perfect for aircraft spotting as planes just keep passing above your head almost non-stop.
If you are looking for a bit of a hiking challenge and want to own the extravagant view of Hong Kong, Section 7 is a great choice!
- Distance: 6.2km
- Duration: 2.5 hours
- Difficulty: Fairly Difficult
- Elevation: 200m/647m (min/max)
- Pole No.: M137 to M124
- Getting In: From Tai Po Market MTR Station, take green minibus 23S to Ta Tit Yan, hike along the Wilson Trail (Section 7) until Lead Mind Pass.
- Getting Out: From Pineapple Dam, take green minibus no. 82 to Tsuen Wan MTR Station.