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MacLehose Trail Sections 1 & 2

This stunning running route in Sai Kung’s country park lifted my mood.  Around High Island reservoir, across the beaches of Long Ke and Tai Long and over the green hills of the country park.

The route starts from Pak Tam Chung and follows a beautiful, very lightly lightly trafficked road around the south side of High Island Reservoir.  This first undulating 10k makes up the majority of MacLehose section 1.

Passing over the West Dam, there are great views to the right over the sea towards Sai Kung and to the left over the reservoir to the country park.  Continuing along, passed many roaming cows, the road ends at the East Dam: a long thin dam bridging the reservoir and the sea.  Running along the dam is magical!

Next, onto the trails.  The MacLehose route shifts and after a short asent, passes a sign post marking the end of section 1 and the start of section 2.  First up on section 2, a decent to Long Ke’s white sand beach.  Running the length of the beach and then moving back inland, to continue following the trail to the right. 

From Long Ke, it’s up a steep section of trail to Sai Wan Shan, with an elevation of 314 m, and back down to the wild beaches of Sai Wan and then Ham Tin.  The route turns away from the coast after Ham Tin, past Tai Long and towards the inlet of Chek Kang.

Continuing along the trail, one last climb through the country park to the end of MacLehose 2 at Pak Tam Au.  Turning left at the road, it’s a final few kilometers of down hill back to the visitor center at Pak Tam Chung.


Getting Here

The route starts and ends at the Sai Kung Country Park visitor centre. There’s parking at the country park entrance, although it can get very busy on the weekends.

Bus 94 or minibus 7 run to and from the centre of Sai Kung.  Details of public transit routes can be found on the government website.  Or grab a taxi from Sai Kung town centre.

Food & Drink

The visitor centre at the start and finish has toilet facilities as well as a souvenir kiosk where you can buy snacks and drinks.  At the far side of the East Dam, at about 10km, there are vending machines (bring your Octopus card!) and toilets.  There are restaurants and kiosks in Sai Wan, which is about the half way mark, for refilling water packs.  The cold water here tastes delicious.

Since this route is long and not very shaded, it really is important to drink lots of water enroute.  On hot days elecrolight tablets or sports drinks are also a good idea.  Although I don’t typically eat on runs, the length of this route means I do pack some snacks for this run.

Changes to the Route

This route could easily be modified to suit the time you have and the type of runs you enjoy. Here are a few options:

  1. Take a taxi to High Island East Dam, cutting out the paved first 10km of the route around High Island reservoir.
  2. Leave MacLehose 2 at the junction to Sai Wan, turning left and up towards Sai Wan Pavillion instead.  From the pavillion you can run back along the road to the start, making a loop of approx 22km.  Or sometimes there are taxis waiting at the pavillion to take hikers back to Pak Tam Chung.
  3. Take a sanpan boat from Sai Wan beach back to Sai Kung.
  4. At the end of MacLehose 2 you can avoid the last few kilometers of road running and catch a bus back to the country park entrance.
More Info

Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation department looks after the hiking trails in Hong Kong’s country parks.  Here you can find more information on the MacLehose trails Section 1 and Section 2 including excellent illustrated maps of the routes.