Mount Nicholson hike is a short but challenging hike with marvellous views and hidden treasures. The point-to-point hiking trail includes a vertical climb and an easy stroll on Black’s Link and Hong Kong Trail Section 4 to Wan Chai Gap Road.
And at 430m, you can see a panoramic view of southern Hong Kong, including Deep Water Bay, Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang and Aberdeen.
But if you follow Google Maps, you will not see the giant rock statues on the side of Mount Nicholson. But I included the detailed route for the climbing trail up Mount Nicholson, which is the only way to see these whimsical rock statues hidden away in the city. Keep reading and learn how you can see these statues too.
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What you need to know before hiking Mount Nicholson
Before you start the Mount Nicholson hike, take a look at my Hong Kong solo travel guide and get an overview of HK first.
And here are few additional tips for hiking Mount Nicholson:
- Even though the trail is accessible year-round, the best time to hike Mount Nicholson is during late fall, winter and early spring. The weather in Hong Kong can get pretty hot and humid in the summer months, but you can still go, make sure you bring enough water and sun protection.
- Bring a pair of gloves to protect your hands when you climb Mount Nicholson.
- Most people would hike Mount Cameron on the same day. However, I hiked Mount Cameron and didn’t find the view or trail that spectacular, which is why I left it out of this post.
- Get an Octopus Card, a rechargeable smartcard for taking public transportation and use it for taking the bus and MTR. It costs $100HKD, but you can use $50 stored value and get your $50HKD refundable deposit when you leave HK.
- If you want to see the detailed route for the Mt Nicholson hike, download “Hiking Trail HK” app on your smartphone since Google Maps does not show the short hike up to Mount Nicholson. But if you follow my itinerary and see the attached map below, you will have all the necessary information.
How to hike Mount Nicholson in Hong Kong
The best way to hike Mount Nicholson is to start from Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, which can be reached by several public buses. Then follow Black’s Link, a section of the road that is also part of Hong Kong Trail Section 4, to Aberdeen Country Park’s entrance. When you are near the transmission station, start climbing up the rocky path to find the massive rock statues.
Click on “more options” on the top left corner of Google Maps and the map will open in your browser or in the app on your smartphone.
- Difficulty: easy to intermediate
- Duration: 1.5 hour
- Distance: 4km
- What to bring: hiking shoes, sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen), water, snacks, smartphone (for taking photos and navigation), gloves for climbing
Google Maps shows only one trail going up Mount Nicholson (see the dotted green line towards Mount Nicholson on the map). And it doesn’t show you how you climb up.
I included a screenshot of the area from the Hiking Trail HK app to show you exactly what the short trail looks like. From Black’s Link road, hike up and across Mt Nicholson and hike down (dotted green line on Google Maps).
How to get to the start of the Mount Nicholson hike
For solo hikers, you can take public transportation to the start of the trail. Bus 5, 6, 41A, 63, 66, and 76 stop at the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park bus stop, just in front of the Sinopec gas station (see map). This is the same bus stop for hikes like Violet Hill and The Twins.
The best way to get to the beginning of the Mount Nicholson hiking trail is to take the subway to Hong Kong Station and take Exit B1 for Central Bus Terminal (below One & Two Exchange Square). At Exit B1, turn right and cross the road. Once you are at the terminus, look for platform B.
- Bus 6: from Central Bus Terminal to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park Bus Stop
- Time: 23 minutes (every 12 minutes)
- Cost: $5.70 HKD (use Octopus card)
- Check: CityBus website and look for Bus 6 in the “route list”
When you are at the Sinopec gas station, walk up the stairway south of the gas station to cross the road. Then continue walking along Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, towards Deep Water Bay Road and hang a right when you approach Black’s Link.
The short walk along Black’s Link will take you across a high-end residential neighbourhood. Continue on the same road, and it will lead you directly into Aberdeen Country Park.
Start the Mount Nicholson hike near the transmission station
Keep walking on the Black’s Link (which is also part of Hong Kong Trail Section 4 at this point) until you reach the transmission station. You will see a giant boulder or rock formation on the right.
And it might not be obvious, but this is the start of the climb. The climb begins with several large rock steps and changes into uneven, gravely, rocky climbing conditions.
This is a good time to take out your gloves because you want to protect your hands from climbing to the rock statues.
Perhaps this is the most challenging part of the hike because you will have to climb up on all fours. But the incline is not too steep or too long.
First rock statue: a bird with a pointy beak
Because I am not a super-fast hiker, I tend to take a bit of a break when I hike.
During this hike, I took several breaks from climbing up the first part of the Mount Nicholson hike.
When I looked back to see Deep Water Bay’s view, I saw a red marker on the left and saw what I thought was a trail. I followed it and realized the path was leading toward a large boulder.
But I didn’t realize until I walked away that the rock’s shape looked like a bird’s profile. Do you see it? It looks like a bird with its eyes closed and has a long sharp pointy beak.
Second rock statue: Face Mask Rock
As you climb, you will see big rocks above. Keep climbing towards the right (there is only one way up, so don’t worry, you won’t get lost).
When you pass the protruding rock, look back, and you will see a giant boulder that resembles a face. This is the left profile of the Face Mask Rock. Do you see a face profile with a large nose and a prominent chin?
See the other side of the Face Mask Rock
When you are about the same level as the Face Mask Rock, take the path on the left, which meanders through the rock formations. It doesn’t feel like this is the right way, but it is. Keep going!
Then you’ll have to climb over the rocks, crawl through the opening between the boulders, and walk out to the other side.
And it might not be noticeable right away, but walk away a bit and turn back around. Then you can see the right profile of the Face Mask Rock. The right profile looks completely different from the left side! But I guess that’s the beauty of natural rock formations.
Panoramic views from Mt Nicholson hike: southern Hong Kong
After seeing the Face Mask Rock, there is a flat area where you can take a break and enjoy the view. This is the perfect spot to take in southern Hong Kong’s unobstructed views, including Deep Water Bay, Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang and Aberdeen.
When you look back towards the east side, you can see the residential neighbourhood you just passed and the mountain ridges of Violet Hill and the Twins.
Keep hiking up to the top of Mount Nicholson
This isn’t the top, so you’ll have to keep hiking up. The path to the top of Mount Nicholson is not difficult. Just follow the hiking trail through the bushes.
When you arrive at the top of Mount Nicholson, you will see two buildings, which I believe is the transmission station.
And take note of the spot when you arrive at the top; the stairway down Mount Nicholson is just next to it.
Views from the top of Mount Nicholson: northern Hong Kong Island and Kowloon
At the top of Mount Nicholson, you can see views all around. Make sure to walk to the north side to check out the view.
On a clear day, you can see Causeway Bay, Happy Valley, Wan Chai, Victoria Harbour and even different Kowloon neighbourhoods lining the harbour.
Descending Mount Nicholson
Do you remember where you came up from? Well, the way to go down Mount Nicholson is just next to the path where you came up.
There is a continuous stairway that will take you down Mount Nicholson. It is made with either wood or stone so it is easy to walk down. This is the green dotted line in Google Maps.
The stairway will lead you directly to Black’s Link, which is also part of Hong Kong Trail Section 4.
Continue walking on Black’s Link
Continue walking on Black’s Link. By the time you reach the Midsection of Black’s Link, there is a covered bench area where you can take a rest.
At the Midsection of Black Link, this is also where you can start hiking Mount Cameron.
I did follow other blogs for hiking both Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron. However, I didn’t think the views were that great from Mount Cameron and the trail itself is not clearly marked. I didn’t really enjoy hiking Mount Cameron, so I did not include it in this blog post.
I definitely think there are better trails in Hong Kong worth hiking, so if you have limited time in HK, skip Mount Cameron and consider other hikes in the city.
Descend Wan Chai Gap Road
At the end of Black’s Link, turn right and you will see a big intersection.
At the intersection, take the pedestrian walkway between Peak Road and Stubbs Road. This is Wan Chai Gap Road. The steep descent will take you to Kennedy Road in Wan Chai.
From there, you can wander around Wan Chai or walk to the nearest MTR Station, Wan Chai Station, Exit A3.
Interested in tours in Hong Kong? Try one of these tours below:
Are you ready to hike Mount Nicholson?
If you only have a few hours to spare while travelling in Hong Kong, I highly recommend the Mt Nicholson hike. Not only will you see gorgeous views of southern Hong Kong but also stunning rock statues are hidden in the middle of the city.
And if you have more time in Hong Kong, check out some of these hikes.
Other HK hikes you might be interested:
- Victoria Peak Hike: See Hong Kong’s beautiful skyline
- High West: A short hike to see the Victoria Peak sunset
- Dragon’s Back Hike: the most popular day hike in HK
- Rhino Rock Hike: see a rocky rhinoceros head in Stanley
- Pineapple Mountain: hike Hong Kong Grand Canyon
- Lamma Island: hike from Sok Kwu Wan to Yung Shue Wan
- Red Incense Burner Summit on Braemar Hill: best spot for sunset and night views
- High Junk Peak: one of three sharpest peaks in HK
- Ma On Shan Hike: hike across the horse-saddle mountain to Sai Kung
- Pat Sin Leng Hike: hike over 8 peaks named after Chinese Mythological immortals
- Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail: hike around HK’s largest reservoir
- Kowloon Peak and Suicide Cliff: See HK’s most dramatic cliff
- Po Pin Chau: hike around hexagonal rock columns in Sai Kung
- Tung O Ancient Trail: hike the coastal trail in Lantau North Country Park
- Trio Beach hike: see a secret beach and rocky headland in Sai Kung
- Cape Collinson hike: visit an old battery used during WWII on Hong Kong Island
- Tsing Yi Nature Trails: meander through the easy trails in Tsing Yi
- Tsing Yi Peak: hike the three peaks on Tsing Yi Island
- Ma Shi Chau Nature Trail: see 280 million year old rocks in Tai Po
- Fan Lau hike: explore the southwest tip of Lantau Island
- Po Toi Island: see Hong Kong’s South Pole