Hong Kong’s MacLehose Trail has been recognised on National Geographic’s list of the world’s best 20 hikes, according to “outdoor luminary”, writer and editor M. John Fayhee.
In his entry on the National Geographic website, the longtime editor of Mountain Gazette recalled hearing about the “dream trail” from his uncle, a retired sergeant major in the British Army who told him how national components of the army would use the trail in fitness competitions.
“Uncle Jack, as macho a person as has ever been bred, actually graciously deferred to the Gurkhas of Nepal when he described the MacLehose. He stated that, tough as he and ‘his lads’ were, they could not hold a candle to the famed Gurkhas. I hiked this trail in 1987 over the course of a week and it kicked my ass,” Fayhee wrote.
Fayhee’s description of the trail itself marvels at the juxtaposition of its rural peacefulness with Hong Kong’s world-famous urban density, which we’re sure the man the trail was named after, Sir Murray MacLehose — who established the country parks — would be proud to hear.
“The MacLehose Trail makes constant, grueling 1,000-plus-foot descents followed immediately by ascents along the fingers of ridgetops, making it more challenging than its mileage suggests.
“The trail is broken down into ten sections, starting at the stunning eastern beaches before climbing up into tropical mountains, where monkeys chatter from the branches — watch out for cobras — and winding past 3,140-foot Tai Mo Shan, the highest peak in the area. It usually takes five to six days to complete the trail, which has been made a bit easier since the days of the Gurkhas with stone steps and paths and first-come-first-serve free campgrounds.”
Like anyone who’s actually been in Hong Kong during the summertime could tell you, Fayhee recommends hiking the trail during winter months (November to March) due to the humidity. Word.
Check out the 19 other trails that made the cut here.
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