Last Updated on March 20, 2021 by queenie mak
Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail is an 18km circular trail that wraps around Plover Cove Reservoir, Hong Kong’s largest reservoir. The challenging hiking path crosses many mountain ranges and eventually leads you to the Plover Cove Reservoir main dam.
The Plover Cove hike is the longest trail I’ve ever hiked in Hong Kong and probably the most difficult because of the distance and terrain. So if you are an experienced hiker and you are up for a challenging hike, you should consider hiking Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to hike the Plover Cove Country Park circular hiking trail and how you should prepare for this epic hiking trail.
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What you need to know before hiking the Plover Cove Hike in Hong Kong
Before you hike around Plover Cove Reservoir, 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 the circular path in Plover Cove Country Park in Hong Kong:
- Only experienced and advanced hikers should attempt Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail. The trail is tough due to the length of the trail. It will require a lot of endurance.
- The best time to hike the Plover Cove hiking trail is late autumn, winter and early spring. The trail is mostly exposed, so I would not recommend hiking during summer.
- Make sure to bring at least 2L of water when you hike during the cooler months.
- Get an Octopus Card, a rechargeable smartcard for taking public transportation and use it to take the MTR and minibus to the start of Plover Cove trail and take the minibus from Tai Mei Tuk. It costs $100HKD, but you can use $50 stored value and get your $50HKD refundable deposit when you leave HK.
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How to hike Plover Cove Country Park Circular Hike
The best way to hike Plover Cove Reservoir circular trail is to start in Wu Kau Tang, hike the entire circular path, continue onto Tai Mei Tuk Family Walk and finish the trail in Tai Mei Tuk, where you can take a public bus or minibus back to an MTR Station.
In terms of distance, the entire circular hiking trail is over 18km. But you will end up walking more because of the logistics and transportation to the start of the trail and when you go back home. I ended up walking over 25km that day!
- Difficulty: difficult (distance, terrain, and endurance)
- Duration: 7 hours
- Distance: 18km
- What to bring: hiking shoes, sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen), at least 2L of water, snacks, smartphone (for taking photos and navigation)
How to get to Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail
Take either minibus 20R or a cab (costs ~$120HKD) at Tai Po Market MTR Station Exit A3, to the start of Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail, which is located in Wu Kau Tang Village (see map).
- Minibus 20R: from Tai Po Market MTR Station Exit A3 to Wu Kau Tang (last stop)
- Time: 45 minutes (every 1 to 1.5 hours)
- Cost: $10.2HKD (cash or Octopus card)
- Check: 16seats website for minibus 20R for more information
Start hiking at the end of Wu Kau Tang Road
Take the minibus to the last stop of the route, which is at the end of Wu Kau Tang Road.
There is a modern pagoda with a bench; walk through it and follow the trail at the back.
When you see the stairs and the map for Plover Cove Reservoir, turn left and hike up the flight of stairs. This is the start of the Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail.
Plover Cove Reservoir Hike: trail condition
The Plover Cove trail will take you up and down the ridges of the mountain of Plover Cove Country Park.
And it is a mixture of dirt paths, rocky uphills, stone stairways, etc. The rolling hills are not too difficult and not too slippery, but there are many of them! And I mean a lot!
Reaching the first peak: Ma Tau Fung
Shortly after you start the hike, you will see the first triangulation station at the peak. This is Ma Tau Fung.
At the top, you can start to see the reservoir. And when you look north, you can see the back of Plover Cove Country Park, including Tiu Tang Lung.
Also, there is a sign saying “the section ahead is extremely challenging. It is steep and unsheltered. Do not walk this trail in hot and unstable weather to avoid heatstroke, lightning and severe cold. Those without sufficient equipment, food and water or physically unfit should not attempt this trial. Please retrace your steps.”
Please do not take this lightly. I did find that the Plover Cove hike is the hardest hike I’ve ever hiked in Hong Kong. And I hiked in February, but it was a relatively warm day. I finished most of my water, and I still had another 2 hours of hiking to go. So please bring enough water and choose a day that is not too hot.
Uphill hike to Wang Leng
Keep following the hiking trail and it will bring up to several spots along the mountain ridge where you can clearly see the reservoir.
By the time you reach the second triangulation station at Wang Leng, this is what you will see.
At Wang Leng Au junction, keep right
Continue hiking until you see a sign at the Wang Leng Au junction.
At Wang Leng Au junction, there is a sign indicating the directions for Wu Kau Tang and Luk Wu Tung.
To continue forward in the Plover Cove hike, keep right towards Luk Wu Tung. Remember that you should always keep hiking on the path on the right. There are two junctions along the entire Plover Cove Reservoir trail where you have to choose the right path; this is the first junction.
At Tai Tung, stay on the right towards Luk Wu Tung
After a few more hills, you will arrive at Tai Tung, where there is the second signpost.
To continue forward on the Plover Cove hike, stay on the right and hike towards Luk Wu Tung.
FYI – I took a photo of the signpost in the middle of the junction, and it looks like you have to turn left to go to Luk Wu Tung. But when you arrive at this junction, you have to stay on the right. Sorry, this photo is confusing (I can’t go back to take another photo), but I wanted to show what the signpost looks like.
If, for whatever reasons, you need to go back to where you started i.e. Wu Kau Tang, this is the only way out. Otherwise, continue hiking!
Luk Wu Tung: the best spot to admire Plover Cove Reservoir
Keep hiking – there is only one way now!
After a few more uphills and downhills, you will arrive at the mid-point of the Plover Cove hike: Luk Wu Tung, the most scenic spot along the Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail.
And at Luk Wu Tung, you can see the entire reservoir, including the Plover Cove Country Park mountain range. It is quite an impressive sight!
The rolling hills of southern Plover Cove Country Park
The path continues along the rolling hills of Plover Cove Country Park.
First, you have to hike up a rocky path. At the top, you can see the mountain range hugging the south side of the reservoir. Then it is a long flight of stairs that will bring to you the base of the mountain and then the path immediately takes you back up.
At this point, I forget how many hills I’ve hiked!
As you keep hiking on the Plover Cove Country Park circular trail, you can see different scenery on both sides of the mountain ridge.
On the left (looking south), you can see Tolo Channel and the north side of Sai Kung West Country Park.
And when you look west, you can see the actual hiking trail along the mountain ridge.
From one of the highest points on the ridge, you can see the rolling hills and hiking path in front of you. The scene itself is quite marvellous. But at this point, there is still a couple of hours to go.
Descending down the rolling hills of Plover Cove Park
At the last stretch of the Plover Cove hike, make sure to get a glimpse of the reservoir. The light aqua water is peacefully still.
And most of all, take a look at the undulating mountain ridge that wraps around the reservoir. This is the mountain range you just hiked across! You were literally at the very top of the ridge and walk across to where you are standing now!
Moreover, take a look on the south side and see Tolo Channel and the north side of Sai Kung and Ma On Shan. It certainly doesn’t feel like this is part of Hong Kong as it is so peaceful and quiet.
Last peak at Cheung Pai Tung
The path continues to the last triangulation station at Cheung Pau Tung. It is the highest point of this mountain range but there isn’t much to see. But nonetheless, it is a good shady spot for a bit of rest.
Plover Cove Reservoir Sub Dam
Once you see the Plover Cove Reservoir Sub Dam, the rest of the trail is flat. Yeah! Never thought I’d be so happy to hike a flat trail. But after 6 hours of hiking up and down the undulated hills, I am happy to be on flat land.
First, you’ll see the sub dam where you must walk across the straight path. When you reach the end, don’t hike up the small mountain, keep walking on the left side. It will bring to you the other side of the Plover Cove Reservoir sub dam.
Follow the flat path in Pak Sha Tau
The flat path continues and winds through Pak Sha Tau, the last island at the end of the Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail.
Tai Mei Tuk Family Walk
And the final stretch of the hike includes a leisurely walk on Tai Mei Tuk Family Walk. The entire path is on a flat and smooth paved road which is part of Plover Cove Reservoir main dam.
And in the distance, you can see the eight peaks of Pat Sin Leng mountain range, which is another epic hike in Hong Kong.
Keep following the straight road and keep on the left until you reach Tai Mei Tuk, which is the final destination of the day.
Returning home from Tai Mei Tuk
Both Pat Sin Leng hiking trail and Plover Cove Reservoir trail end in Tai Mei Tuk, an area known for Tai Po District’s outdoor activities.
The easiest way to get back to the city is by taking minibus 20C at Tai Mei Tuk Bus Terminus (see map) and take it to the last stop, which is Tai Po Market MTR Station.
- Minibus 20C: from Tai Mei Tuk Bus Terminus to Tai Po Market MTR Station
- Time: 25 minutes (every 4 – 10 minutes)
- Cost: $7.70HKD (cash or Octopus card)
- Check: 16seats website for minibus 20C for more information
Want to explore Hong Kong with a tour? Check out one of these exciting tours:
Are you ready for the challenge and attempt the epic Plover Cove Hike?
Even though it is one of the most difficult trails I hiked in Hong Kong, I would recommend any advanced hiker ready for a challenge. If you are an experienced hiker, you can probably finish the trail in less than 5.5 hours.
Let me know in the comments if you hiked Plover Cove with my hiking guide or if you have any questions.
Other challenging hikes in Hong Kong you might be interested:
- Dragon’s Back Hike: the most popular day hike in HK
- Violet Hill and the Twins: hike over two mountains with over 1,000+ steps
- Rhino Rock Hike: see a rocky rhinoceros head in Stanley
- High Junk Peak: one of three sharpest peaks in HK
- Ma On Shan Hike: hike across the horse-saddle mountain to Sai Kung
- Mount Nicholson Hike: see hidden rock statues in the middle of HK Island