Needle Hill is named after its needle-like shape, a mountain between Tsuen Wan and Shatin that is the third sharpest peak in Hong Kong. On the first part of the hike, you get a great view of Shing Mun Reservoir and Tsuen Wan in the distant background. On the second part, you will be walking alongside the Shatin neighborhood from the top – ending right by the East Rail station.
Getting to Shing Mun Reservoir
The trail starts by the Shing Mun Reservoir, and the closest way you can get there is by taking the minibus 82 in Tsuen Wan. But the queue can be long on the weekend so it’s worth getting 4-5 people together for a taxi.
You can cut some time by asking the taxi to take you to the main dam, but they usually won’t. Once you get off at the reservoir minibus stop, go right along the Shing Mun Road. If you need a bathroom break, there is one to the left past the stairs and it would be your last chance. Don’t go on the stairs unless you want to do a loop of the Shing Mun Reservoir instead!
This first part is a nice and leisurely walk. There are many monkeys along this path so do not take out any plastic bags or they might be ripped out of your hands!
Shing Mun Reservoir to MacLeHose Trail
At the end of the main dam, there is a triple junction. The stairs up and the road to the right both lead up to the trail start and from there is a brutal steep hike up.
If you are going on a sunny day, bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses as the path is completely unsheltered with many stairs. While the hike up isn’t far, it feels much longer given that you are going up to 532 m above sea level!
There are a few smaller hills before you reach the top, so be mentally prepared to go up and down a little before the last stretch.
Don’t forget to look back as you go up because the sceneries are stunning! There are two paths down Needle Hill, take the one that is directly across from the trail you emerged from and not the one to the right. You need to be careful going down as it can be slippery.
Descend to Shing Mun Forest Track
Once you get down from the stairs and dirt trail, you will reach a concrete path. This is the Shing Mun Forest Track – Needle Hill Section. There are a few paths that diverge to the right from it, you’ll first pass some signs!
Diverge down to Shatin via Yau Oi Tsuen
From here, we turn right and keep right to get down to Shatin. If you are looking to extend your hike, you can actually go up to Grass Hill by continuing on past the information sign. But we ran out of water that day and decided to get down.
The path here becomes much more shaded and nicely paved, though there are many stairs – I wouldn’t want to be going up them! At the end of the trail, we reach Yau Oi Tsuen (a village). From there, go past the road sign and you’ll see a small path right along the metal fence that goes left. At the end of the trail is one of the exit to Shatin East Rail Station!