Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) – Mellow, Beautiful, and Maybe Monkeys!
Fast Facts – Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山)
There’s certainly no single correct way to teach your child the golden rule – treat others how you’d like to be treated – but we’ve found that teaching Peri that lesson through hiking is a great way to do it. We’ve also found that the hiking context allows us to lump plants, animals, flowers, trees, really Nature in general, into the golden rule. Since we hope Peri eventually develops a sense of environmental stewardship (and someday Kai too), this all aligns with our own personal values. Of the many places in Hong Kong where we’ve been able to teach Peri this lesson, the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) is one of our favorites.
The reason we like Eagle’s Nest for this purpose is primarily because of a short section at the beginning of the trail. It’s at this part where we’ve been tempted to treat some particularly pesky animals (due to no fault of their own) in a way that we’d NOT like to be treated ourselves.
And thus this part, and frankly the whole loop, gives us an authentic chance to demonstrate to Peri through our own actions The Golden rule. With Peri, we have found actions speak immensely louder than words. If you check out this family-friendly loop trail, we think you’ll find this same teaching-opportunity. And of course, all along the way, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and mellow terrain, too!
Want To Hike With Us?
Let Us Guide You On Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山)
The Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) is not particularly intense, and the trail is not hard to follow. But, we also realize it’s sometimes nice to put all your focus into simply enjoying the scenery and to let a guide do all the work.
If you have kids and you want to hike this trail, we realize that sometimes it’s also hard to motivate them, that often they listen best to anyone but their own parents, and that teaching them developmentally appropriate details about the natural world can be hard to do (especially if you don’t have degrees in Environmental Science or Child Development). That’s where we come in!
Not only are we experienced in guiding families on outdoor adventures, but as seasoned educators, we are also experienced in guiding kids on authentic, immersive, inquiry-based outdoor adventures in the best “classroom” of all – Nature!
So no matter your situation, if you’d like us to guide you on the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山), we’d be glad to do so. Simply click below, and we’ll start making plans with you!
Questions Or Comments?
As always, if you have any comments or questions about all this, feel free to leave us a comment below. We’ll get in touch with you just as soon as we can.
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Difficulty, Distance, Duration, And Elevation Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山)
Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山)
The Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) is an easy loop-hike. We recommend you complete it in a clockwise direction. It starts and ends near the Kowloon Reservoir located in the Lion Rock Country Park. The beginning of the trail winds its way through the jungle. All the shade here makes this a great choice for summertime hiking. If you hike here in the cooler months, bring a warm layer.
Farther down the trail, the views open up. At this point, you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, and beyond. While this route is not as scenic as hiking Lion’s Rock, it’s in the same area, it’ll give you similar views, and it’s entirely family-friendly.
While you will be going uphill at the beginning of the loop, the incline is gentle. We hardly broke a sweat. Also, the terrain all along the hike is easy, as there is no loose gravel, large rocks to navigate, etc. You will encounter some roots intermittently, but even Peri as a toddler had no trouble with the terrain. The end of the route is a gentle downhill, so no need for hiking poles on this one. Eventually, the trail takes you right back to the same place you’ll have started.
The Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) – Starting From The Bus Stop
Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll either come up and over Tai Po Road, just as we did, or you’ll get off the bus without needing to cross over. But either way, don’t worry. All the details about how to get to the trailhead of the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) are below.
If you didn’t already guess, the pesky animals we mentioned above are Hong Kong’s infamous Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) and Long-tailed Macaque (M. fascicularis). Both live all around the Kowloon Reservoir, and they’ve learned quite well that humans carry tasty treats.
They’ve also learned how to grab shiny items – think food wrappers, mobile phones, sunglasses, etc. – so use caution when you’re in this area. In particular, keep all your shiny stuff out of sight. Walk confidently past the monkeys without making eye contact, keep your distance, and you should be fine.
Once you’ve left Tai Po Road, you’ll begin going uphill. Julia carried Kai on this one, as she so often does, so the hill was a bit more burdensome than without a baby strapped to her front. But, with her handy dandy hiking-stick slash monkey-repeller, it really wasn’t a problem at all.
The Official Trailhead
Soon, you’ll see the formal start of the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山). Head on up the stairs.
The trail is a bit narrow in the beginning. However, Peri still managed to stop and play with some pebbles and berries. Related to teaching Peri the Golden Rule, we also try to teach him hiking etiquette when we’re out on the trails. He’s learned to “move over but keep going” when someone wants to pass him. But, he still can’t resist plopping right down in the middle of the trail, no matter the circumstance, to collect some tidbit of nature he finds fascinating. We’ll keep working on the etiquette!
Not surprisingly, one of our primatal “friends” stalked us down the trail for a while. In this area, the wild monkeys are highly over-populated, due in large to people feeding them human food. Again, keep all your shiny stuff hidden. Walk confidently past them, keep your distance, don’t make eye-contact with them, and most importantly, don’t feed them anything.
The trail meanders through the forest for a while. Peri was thrilled that he had the trail all to himself here, as he didn’t have to practice “move over but keep going.”
On a few short sections, there are some stone stairs. They take a minute at most, so don’t worry, this one won’t burn your legs like a hike up Mount High West.
In spite of how much Peri likes to do things on his own, there are times when he wants to hold our hands. We always oblige him. And, we treasure these young years, as we know that someday (hopefully not too soon though) holding our hands will likely be the last thing he wants to do.
And then of course, once he’s gotten his fill of hand-holding, he’s back to crushing the stairs. Again, there aren’t too many to climb, so don’t worry.
Sharing Is Caring
Something we constantly reinforce with Peri is Sharing. This one we don’t lump in with the Golden Rule, as we want him to learn to share without the expectation of getting something in return. But, when he’s worked up an appetite on the trail and he’s gotten a big-piece of “yummy yummy banana,” sharing is about the last thing on his mind. And in this situation, we really can’t blame him.
While you won’t have to climb over any rocks like this one, there are certainly boulders like this strewn about the trail. Peri is still learning his own strength.
A Snack In His Pack
Even though the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) is very much a family-friendly option, after all, Peri is still a toddler, and can’t hike as far as we can. So when he gets tired, or when we can tell he’s tired but he refuses to get into our tried and true baby backpack, we offer him yet another snack. That usually does the trick. Our spill-proof snack cup is essential gear when we hike. We usually fill it with fresh or dehydrated fruit, and Peri usually squeals with excitement about his “VERY special” snack.
Peri will usually ride in his backpack for 30-minutes at a time. He’s not one to sit down for long periods.
Kai on the other hand can sleep in our baby carrier for hours on end. Thankfully, Julia has the grit to carry him all that time.
Once Peri is ready to come out, I usually give him a quick little flying session. And then, he’s right back to bounding down the trail.
Shelters For Rest Breaks
One thing that’s nice about the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) is the few small shelters along the way. Peri saw the bench, so he simply had to run over, climb up it, and test it out.
Eventually, you’ll reach this junction in the trail. Turn right and head up the stairs. We like to give Peri as much freedom as he can safely handle. Again, a bit of the Golden Rule in practice. But the fix is always in figuring out just how much he can handle. On stairs like these, we let him get a bit ahead of us but not so far ahead that we couldn’t intervene if he were about to fall.
At the top of the steps, you’ll reach another shelter, and this time it comes with a lovely view of the Kowloon Peninsula and Victoria Harbor.
For Peri, a rest break wouldn’t be complete if he didn’t get to throw at least a couple dozen rocks. He’s becoming increasingly aware of where it’s safe to throw rocks. He certainly knows it’s not okay to throw them at people or animals. We’re still working on getting him to look downhill before making his first throw.
Kai-eena on the other hand is able to grab small rocks, and we’re proud of him too! But seriously, if you need a convenient changing table, the extra-wide benches in the shelters are perfect.
From this shelter forward (assuming you followed our route in a clockwise direction) the views are lovely.
You can more or less see 180 degrees of the Kowloon Peninsula with the Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island in the background. The next three images show what you’ll see at this point in the trail if you scan from east to west.
If you care to climb up on this rock, you’ll get even more beautiful views.
It’s All About Perspective
I don’t think I can tell you how many times I’ve been to Kowloon. And all those times when I’ve been tangled up in the winding streets that weave between the towering buildings that punctuate the frenetic hustle bustle of Hong Kong, I seldom remember to think about what Kowloon looks like from way up above. On hikes like this, I take mental notes for the times I’m tangled up in the city and I need a mental-breath of fresh air.
As you come around to the last part of the loop, you’ll get views of eastern Kowloon and even Lantau Island.
In this last section where you get all these lovely panoramic views of Kowloon, the trail is almost perfectly flat. At this point in the hike, I was glad for the flat ground, and Julia was too, as carrying the kids gets tiring after a while.
Ultimately, the trail will wind you back around to the spot you started. But if you’re anything like us, by the time you reach the end of this route, mentally you’ll be in a very different place. For us, as we headed home on the bus (though our feet were a bit tired) our minds were refreshed, rejuvenated, and recharged by our gentle, scenic, and family-friendly jaunt on the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山).
Gear For Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山)
The Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) is an easy hike, so you won’t need any specialized gear. We bring our normal day hiking kit (detailed below), and not much else. If you bring these items too, you’ll be all set to enjoy the Eagle’s Nest, especially if you have little ones in tow.
Below is our specific day hiking gear list, with items for us and the kids.
- Rain/Wind Jacket
- Water Bottle(s)
- Sun Protection
- Hiking Shoes
- Hiking Socks
- Baby Backpack
- Baby Carrier
- Spill-Proof Snack Cup
The first part of the trail is shaded and can be a bit cool. For a little bit of extra warmth, we bring our Marmot PreCip jackets. They are also waterproof, so they double as a rain jacket.
In the cooler months, 1.5 liters per person should be more than enough water. For kids, 0.5 liters should be fine. In the warmer months, we recommend 2 liters per adult and 0.75 per kid. We like Hydro Flasks because they are durable and reusable.
In the cooler months, you really won’t need any sun protection for this route, unless you are particularly prone to sunburn. In the warmer months, we recommend at least sunscreen, and if you’re very sun-sensitive, the other items too.
Sturdy hiking shoes like the ones below or trail running shoes have served us well on this easy trail. We think they’ll do the same for you too.
We almost always hike in these wool socks. They help keep our feet dry and thus blister-free. In the summer we use thin and short ones. In the winter we use heavier and longer ones.
Who doesn’t love taking a few photos every now and then? Frankly, if that’s all you do, our setup might be a bit overkill for you, but at least bring your phone camera. If however you really like photography, we highly recommend the following gear for active outdoor adventures. It’s lightweight, weather-resistant, and optically powerful.
If your kids are able to hike 4.2 km of relatively flat and easy terrain, leave your baby backpack at home. If however that’s a bit too much for your little ones, we highly recommend you get an Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier. It’s comfortable, built-to-last, and is essential to us being able to adventure outdoors as a family with young children.
There’s not much to say here other than Kai is certainly not walking 4.2 km these days. So our LILLEbaby Airflow carrier also is another one of those essential pieces of gear. This specific model is made of a lightweight mesh material, so it’s perfect for hot and humid places like Hong Kong.
Spill-Proof Snack Cup
We’ve learned the hard way too many times with Peri spilling snacks on the trail, so now we put all his trail-snacks into one of these spill-proof cups. And like magic, or more accurately like a spill-proof cup, we don’t have spills anymore!
Getting To And From Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山)
Using Public Transit
Our route begins at the Monkey Mountain Public Toilet (馬騮山公共洗手間). Funny name, we know, but no joke. This is what you’ll type into your public transit app to figure out how to get here. We love the City Mapper app (iOS/Android) for figuring out how to use public transit to get all over Hong Kong. We recommend you use it too.
Driving and Parking
The nearest parking is about 150 meters away from the trailhead. It’s metered, so make sure to top-up your Octopus Card. Also carefully consider whether or not you feel comfortable leaving your car in this monkey-infested area. If you do leave your car here, make sure shiny things are not visible from the outside, and ideally, don’t leave any food or odorous things inside.
Taking A Taxi/Uber
If you want to take a taxi/Uber to get here, again, the Monkey Mountain Public Toilet (馬騮山公共洗手間) is your destination. If you’d like to order a taxi right to your front door, we recommend the HK Taxi App (iOS/Android). As for Uber, you know what to do.
Download Our Route Map – Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山)
If you decide to hike the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山), we recommend you download our map file, and then open it using the Guru Maps app (iOS/Android). That way you can use our map to navigate on the trail, even if you’re offline.
In truth, you can open our map file with other apps, but we LOVE Guru Maps app for offline navigation so much that we actually reviewed it. It’s a very intuitive app, but our review also has some free tutorials just in case you’d like a bit of a jumpstart.
To do download our map file and then open it using the Guru Maps app, follow these simple steps.
1. Download Guru Maps (iOS/Android). If you want to buy the professional version, get in touch with us, and we’ll shoot you a code for a discount.
2. Click on the GPX, GeoJSON, or KML links here or in the top right-hand corner of the map below.
3. Once the map file has finished downloading, on your mobile device choose the option to “Open In,” and select Guru Maps. Then, you’ll have our route map (and a whole lot more map data too) right in your pocket. It’s that easy!
And, if you prefer other mapping options, we’ve got you covered.
Other Family-Friendly Adventures In Hong Kong
While the Eagle’s Nest Nature Trail (鷹巢山) is a fantastic family-friendly hiking option, it’s not the only one. If this hike has merely whet your appetite for exploring the New Territories with your family, the Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk and the fantastic Indian/Pakistani restaurant at the end is another hike you’ve got to add to your list. Another family-friendly option up in this area is the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir (大欖涌水塘 千島湖) Thousand Island hike. And, if you have older kids, or you’re looking for something to do without the kids, Kai Kung Leng in Lam Tsuen Country Park is one of our favorite ridge hikes in all of Hong Kong.
Ultimately, if you have any questions or comments about any of this, feel free to leave them below, and we’ll connect with you as soon as we can.