The Twin Peaks Hike in Hong Kong takes you up and down Violet Hill and gives incredible views over Stanley and the peninsula below. It’s up there amongst the toughest trails in Hong Kong due to the brutality of the stairs. No matter which direction you attack the trail from you will have to endure hundreds of stairs up and down the Twin Peaks Hike.
TWIN PEAKS HIKE & VIOLET HILL
Experience the thrilling adventure of hiking Twin Peaks and Violet Hill in Hong Kong, an unforgettable journey filled with breathtaking views and vigorous terrain. As you make your way through the green surroundings of Violet Hill, prepare for the challenge that lies ahead – the formidable “Terrible Twins”.
TWIN PEAKS HIKE DETAILS
- Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike for me was 5.7km. You can start the hike from either direction as it is a through-hike but I started in Stanley. Either way, your distance should be the same although maybe the incline changes slightly.
- Hike Duration: The total moving time was 2 hours for me but the total adventure time was 3 hours. We hung out on some of the summits and took photos along the way.
- Hike Difficulty: This route is often referred to as up there with the hardest hikes in Hong Kong. Don’t let that scare you. What people are referring to is the aggressiveness of the incline. There are sections where you have to do 400+ steps in a row. It can be pretty taxing on the legs and is a real burner. However, the trail is straightforward and always well defined so other than the incline it is an easy trail to follow and manage.
- Hike Incline: My total hike incline was 715m starting the hike at the Stanley end.
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HOW TO GET TO THE TWIN PEAKS HIKE TRAILHEAD
As I mentioned above this is a through-hike. That means you can start at either end. I started in Stanley because I was already down that end after visiting the Rhino Rock formation.
However, I think it might be better hiking from the other direction and finishing in Stanley during sunset with a view out over the bay. It was still pretty starting in Stanley. Below are the details for the starting and finishing points on either end.
Stanley End: There is a bus stop on Stanley Gap Road. If you put ‘Stanley Gap Road Bus Stop’ into Google you will find the trail and see Wilson Trail Section 1, begins right from that bus stop. There is also a sign that says ‘Tai Tam Country Park‘ visible from the bus and the road that indicates the start of the trail. I’ve pictured that below.
Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park: The other starting (or finishing) point of the trail is the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park. Again, if you drop that directly into google maps you will easily make your way to the reservoir and the start of the trail.
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MY EXPERIENCE ON THE TWIN PEAKS HIKING TRAIL
The Twin Peaks Hike is actually the first stage of the 78km Wilson Trail, which spans across Hong Kong. You can begin from Stanley Gap Road or Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park. The hike is often known as the ‘Terrible Twins’ which is on reference to the much-feared thousand stairs that await hikers who are up for the challenge.
I began my day by exploring the Rhino Rock formation further south in Stanley. I encourage you to combine the Twin Peaks Hike and the Rhino Rock trail on the same day as they are both in the Stanley region. Because I visited the Rhino Rock first, I decided to start the Twin Peaks & Violet Hill hike from the Stanley Gap Road Bus Stop end. I began the hike at about 2:30 pm so it was a bit bright for any photos but the view was nice nonetheless.
So, the hike starts basically as soon as you get off the bus. You can see the Tai Tam Country Park Trail sign as pictured above and off you go up the steps. It is a brutal incline from the first step and you never really get a chance to ease into it.
I found myself stopping and turning back to check out the view of Stanley partly for the scenery and partly for a rest. It’s no joke in this early section.
This trail is a bit of a funny one because there are people going in both directions. Sometimes you are dead as you crawl your way up and others are jogging down briskly. At other times you are on the way down watching others hunched over and heaving as they battle their way to the top.
What are my favorite pieces of hiking gear?
There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a hike. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my hiking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
The view back over Stanley is actually beautiful and I was a bit disappointed not to be at that part of the trail during sunset. That’s just how it goes sometimes. If you can start at the other end and finish coming down here during sunset it would be a real treat!
After reaching the top of the first hill you are less than 2-kilometers into the hike but it feels like you have been on a journey. You now get to enjoy a small section of flat (ish) trail before making the descent into the gap between the two peaks. This gap is called Tze Kong Bridge (Repulse Bay Gap).
We descended down the stairs into the gap as lots of hikers coming the other way really struggled up. It was hundreds of consecutive stairs and some of the hikers coming up were really up against it. On the way down we had views of Violet Hill on the other side of the gap, so we could see what was to come.
We made it down to the Tze Kong Bridge (Repulse Bay Gap) and it seemed to be a bit of a meeting place and a scene of contemplation. You can exit out of the route here if you don’t want to continue up another peak. While most weren’t thinking of quitting, there were lots of chats going on complaining about heading up another steep hill. I think people just hang out here to delay the inevitable climb that is about to come.
We only had 300m of incline left so when considering the incline, we were well over halfway. This section of trail seemed a little less brutal than the initial climb but maybe our legs had just warmed up to the hills.
The next part of the trail was the ascent to Violet Hill. You will again be heading up another winding set of stairs but this time the scenery is much greener and there are no city views. It feels like you are in the middle of the mountains and I found it hard to believe this was Hong Kong.
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We pushed on through and made it to Violet Hill. To be honest, the actual ‘Violet Hill’ summit wasn’t the greatest view, but there is another platform just 2-minutes further with great views into the city. The clouds foiled our view a little bit but we had a few gaps to enjoy looking down and seeing the skyscrapers in the distance. On a clear day without smog or clouds, you will see very clearly all the way into the city but I think it is quite common to have either cloud, fog or both in Hong Kong.
The final descent is now down to the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park, which takes less than half an hour to get down to. The trail has very few views once you leave the viewpoint as the route is surrounded by 10-ft tall bushes. It’s nice to walk through but the scenic views are definitely over. I flew the drone up out of the bushes to shoot some shots of the path heading down towards the reservoir.
I hope you enjoy this epic hike and conquer the stairs of the Twin Peaks or Terrible Twins. I guess what you decide to call them will be based on how much you enjoy the struggle!
TWIN PEAKS & VIOLET HILL HIKING TRAIL MAP
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE TWIN PEAKS HIKE
1. Trail Difficulty: The Twin Peaks hike, including Violet Hill, is classified as a moderate to difficult trail due to the steep steps known locally as the “Terrible Twins”. The hike takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete, depending on your pace and physical fitness.
2. Location and Starting Point: The hike is part of the Wilson Trail Section 1 in Hong Kong Island. It begins at the Wong Nai Chung Gap, a historical pass in the eastern part of Hong Kong Island.
3. Scenery: The hike offers stunning views of Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea. From the top, you can see the blend of the city’s urban sprawl, verdant hills, and the sea.
4. Flora and Fauna: The trails are surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife. You might spot some local bird species, butterflies, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a porcupine.
5. Best Time to Go: The best time to hike is in the cooler months between October and March. It’s recommended to start early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day and bring plenty of water and sun protection.
6. Facilities: There are no facilities on the trail so ensure you bring enough water, snacks, and other necessities for the hike.
7. Safety: Be careful when navigating the steps as they can be slippery, especially after rain. Also, be prepared for the sudden changes in weather that can happen in Hong Kong.
HAVE YOU READ MY OTHER HONG KONG ARTICLES?
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- The biggest ever guide for where to stay in Hong Kong: WHERE TO STAY IN HONG KONG: BEST AREAS & HOTELS
- My favorite EASY hikes: 10 EASY HIKING TRAILS IN HONG KONG
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