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Kau To Shan is a more hidden hike that arguably only has one small scenic stretch. A short minibus ride from Shatin, it’s across the river from Ma On Shan and its lesser popularity means you are less likely to run into other hikers and it’s not a long hike. As one of the mountains between Shatin, Tai Po, and Tsuen Wan, you can even catch a glimpse of Shenzhen from its peak!
So for a very off the beaten path hike, try this!
Summary of Kau To Shan
Time taken: 3 hours or less
Difficulty: ⅖, the route to get in and out is a little confusing
Pros: off the beaten path with a view of Tolo Harbour and mountains galore
Cons: not the most scenic hike and trails at the beginning and end a little difficult to follow
Getting to Kau To Shan trail start
Make your way to Shatin East Rail Station and exit to the minibus and bus station. The minibus 66K is at the right side of the road directly in front. It’s a circular line so make sure you let the driver know you’re getting off at the end of Ma Lok Path (Greenery Villas Phase 2 – basically where they make a U-turn).
From Ma Lok Path, the minibus makes a U turn back out. You want to go past the pavilion towards the very end of the road before it turns right, where a few steep steps leads you right into the bushes – that’s the trail start.
Kau To Shan
Stick to the right of the trail at the start as there’s a junction we got lost at early on. Fortunately, the trail is well marked by ribbons by previous hikers so we just follow them. Aside from a glimpse of the nearby area, we mostly hiked up in dense bushes and forest on a narrow trail up.
We reached a black and white pillar for Ma Niu, then it’s a pretty long hike all the way to the one for Kau Tau Shan.
We got a quick glimpse of Shatin when we took a turn~
The pillar is curiously atop a raised concrete platform surrounded by big boulders – we spotted the old one collapsed and weathered to the side.
You can climb up for a great view of the Tolo Harbour, Ma On Shan, and University. You can also catch a glimpse of Shenzhen!
From here the hike down has a clear view of the mountains of the area, we can just make out Needle Hill and Tsuen Wan to the far left, and Grass Hill much closer by.
The downhill trail is pretty steep and slippery so watch your footing.
Once you get across the valley up the other hills, the vegetation once again envelopes you. The trail then transitioned to the concrete of Tai Po Lau Forest Track.
Tai Po Kau Forest Track Kon Hang section
Follow the trail and then turn right at the junction. You actually have various choices here, but this is the fastest and most straight forward way out.
Carry on to the end and the trail will then connect to a dirt path. Follow it until you reach a weird crossroad.
Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve brown trail
It took some orienting and map reading to figure out the right path and it is the brown trail – which is left of the path we emerged from.
The Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve has several loop trails with colours as names, so do have your own offline map ready.
From here, simply stick to the main trail and ignore any offshoots that go steeply up or down.
We saw some pretty cool boulders and then the trail will eventually go down and end at another junction. The main path is to the left, but go right for a faster way out.
This connects to the big concrete road that leads to the entrance of the whole reserve.
Getting out of Tai Po Kau
The nearest bus stop is very close by, right of the entrance. The direction towards Tao Po is on the side of the entrance, while the Shatin and Kowloon-ward direction is across the road.
The bus stop name is Chung Tsai Yuen. Most of the buses go to Tai Wai or Shatin, the other side to Tai Po.