young boy smiling during his Tai Mo Shan hike in Hong Kong
With proper preparation, just about anyone can experience a Tai Mo Shan hike!

Embarking On A Tai Mo Shan Hike With Kids Requires Proper Preparation

Tai Mo Shan Hike – Introduction

Embarking on a Tai Mo Shan hike, especially with kids, requires careful planning. This trek to Hong Kong’s tallest peak involves navigating challenging terrain, and an elevation gain of 957 meters (3,100 ft) that is spread over just about 4.5 km (2.8 mi.) – think neverending Stairmaster. Despite its rugged nature, the route offers breathtaking views, including Tai To Yan, Kai Kung Leng, Pat Sin Leng, Cloudy Hill, and the Sham Chun River into Shenzhen.

With proper preparation and pacing, Tai Mo Shan is an achievable goal for experienced hikers and their families. Our own journey with young children demonstrates that with the right approach, this hike can be both challenging and rewarding. During our expedition, Peri, aged 5, admirably hiked all the way up Tai Mo Shan, and Kai, aged 3.5, tackled about 85% of the ascent, showcasing that children can successfully tackle this adventure with appropriate support and guidance.

However, it’s essential to emphasize safety and readiness before undertaking this adventure, particularly when hiking with kids. As you prepare for your Tai Mo Shan hike, consider the terrain, weather conditions, and your group’s abilities. While the trail presents formidable challenges, it also promises unforgettable experiences and memories amidst the stunning landscapes of the New Territories.

Below we go into full detail on how to safely summit Tai Mo Shan and specifically how to do so with kids. At the risk of being repetitive, we only recommend this route with kids if you and your children are experienced hikers. And as usual, if you have any comments/questions about this, feel free to leave them below!

Trail Information – Fast Facts

Before you set out for a Tai Mo Shan hike, it’s always nice to know what you’re getting yourself into. Here are some of the basic stats you should consider:

  • Trail Difficulty: Difficult
  • Distance: 9 km (5.6 mi)
  • Elevation Gain: 950 m (3,100 ft)
  • Duration: 6-7 hours with young kids, 3-5 with only adults

Tai Mo Shan Hike With Kids – Tips And Tricks

If you’ve done much hiking with kids you know it’s both challenging and rewarding in different ways than hiking without kids. We appreciate both rhythms and after our years of experience enjoying the great outdoors with our two great kiddos, we’ve come up with some tips and tricks on how to hike with kids that will help you get your little ones up Tai Mo Shan. Again, if you’re not already an experienced hiking family, save Tai Mo Shan for later, and instead consider some of these family-friendly hikes in Hong Kong.

  • Start Early – We were on the trail by 7 AM. Starting early means you’ll avoid the hottest part of the day and also means you’ll give yourself enough time to complete the route at a kid’s pace.
  • Pace Yourself – More pointedly, plan to hike at a pace that will feel very slow for you as an adult. Quite likely, that same pace will feel comfortable or even challenging for your kids. As we mentioned above, it took us 6+ hours to hike 5.6 miles – Now that’s slow for most adults, but Peri and Kai were able to continuously progress uphill at that pace, so clearly it was just right for them.
  • Pack Properly – Bringing the right gear items will ensure everyone is comfortable and safe and that your pack isn’t too heavy. Check out our section below for our full gear recommendations.
  • Check The Weather: Related to bringing the right gear is making sure you look at the weather report. If any severe weather is forecasted, pick another day to do your Tai Mo Shan hike.
  • Play Games: We’ve found trail games to be one of the best ways to keep Peri and Kai hiking down the trail. One of our favorites is a moving scavenger hunt. We choose an item far down the trail, but still in eyesight, and we give the boys a clue about said item. They must touch or stand next to that item to score a point. It keeps them engaged for a long time!
  • Tell Stories: This uses up a lot of our parental brainpower, but there’s nothing like a good story to make the hiking-with-kids-miles fly by!
  • Be Prepared To Carry Your Kids: If you set out to do a Tai Mo Shan hike with your kids, and you’re not confident they will be able to complete the entire route we detail below, be prepared to carry them. Frankly, it could be quite dangerous if your little one runs out of steam and you’re unable to carry her/him down off the mountain. We bring our hiking carriers to make sure that we always have a way to get Peri and Kai home safely, even if they’re tuckered out.

Trail Description And Points Of Interest

All things considered, this Tai Mo Shan hike route is challenging. Despite both of our young sons being able to hike nearly all the way up, this is not a beginner-friendly hike. And, if indeed you are eager to hike this with your kids, we only recommend you do so if you’re a highly experienced hiker and also highly experienced in the nuances that come along with hiking/guiding kids along hiking trails.

This route gains a lot of elevation, takes you over some rooted and rocky terrain, and passes through a few sections where there are some pretty steep drop-offs. Nevertheless, if this route does fit your skill level, you will be thoroughly rewarded with some of the best views you’ll get in the center of the New Territories, and when you’re done, you’ll be able to say you’ve hiked the tallest mountain in Hong Kong! As always, we recommend you download our route map, for safety and convenience, and we go into how to do that below.

Some of the spots along our Tai Mo Shan route that we most enjoy are:

  • Views of Tai To Yan: This challenging ridge hike gives you a great view of Tai Mo Shan and beyond!
  • Views of Kai Kung Leng: If you hike along this spectacular ridge, you’ll see Tai To Yan, Tai Mo Shan, and also right into Shenzhen.
  • View of the Lam Tsuen Valley: The entire valley is verdant and full of natural beauty.
  • Views of Cloudy Hill: If you’re looking for another Stairmaster challenge, Cloudly Hill is a great and scenic choice.
  • Views of Pat Sin Leng: The Ridge of 8 Immortals isn’t an easy hike, but it offers stunning views of Tai Mei Tuk, Tolo Harbour, and Plover Cove.
  • Views of Lion Rock: On the way down you’ll see Lion Rock and almost all of Kowloon.
mother and two sons start their Tai Mo Shan hike early in the morning
The trailhead on Lam Kam Road isn’t scenic, but after just a few minutes of hiking, you’ll begin to get some nice views of and through Ng Tung Chai village.
mother and two young sons hiking through Ng Tung Chai village
Walk between these two buildings in the small alleyway. Then make a hard left and head up the sidewalk for a while.
Mother and two sons on their tai mo shan hike with kids at the Man Tak Yuen Taoest temple in Hong Kong
After you head up the trail for a while, you’ll reach the Man Tak Yuen Taoist temple.
a vibrant pink cherry blossom fully blooming with a Taoist temple in the background at the base of Tai Mo Shan
If you’re here in the later winter/early spring, you’ll see these cherry blossoms in full bloom!
Mother and her two young boys standing in front of the Tai Mo Shan Country Park sign
Continuing up the trail for a minute or two more, you’ll reach the Tai Mo Shan Country Park sign. This is where the stairs begin.
mother and two boys hiking up steep stone steps during their Tai Mo Shan hike
Take them slowly. There’s no rush.
boys and mother taking a snack break during a family hike
And, enjoy many snack breaks. Your Tai Mo Shan hike doesn’t have to be about breaking speed records, especially if you’re hiking Tai Mo Shan with kids.
a view of the Lam Tsuen Valley
As you climb higher, you’ll start to get a view of the Lam Tsuen Valley, and far off in the distance, Cloudy Hill. To the left, you’ll start to see Tai To Yan.
a boy hiking in the sun rays in the forest
Don’t forget to frolic a bit!
young boy pointing the correct way to go on the Tai Mo Shan hiking trail
Make a hard right here.
a boy wearing a hiking backpack scrambles up a steep grass slope
At this point, you’ll begin to scramble uphill. Pace yourself.
two brothers smiling as they take a break during their Tai Mo Shan hike
The boys took a break on this somewhat flat part. Somehow Kai was cold, so he put on some of Mom’s layers.
Two young boys hiking up Tai Mo Shan
At this point, you’ll reach the treeline. The views start to open up.
a steep section of trail
This section is super steep, so go slowly.
a view of Tai Mo Shan
This will be your first glimpse of the summit and the radar balls that adorn it.
Mother and two sons hiking above the tree line on Tai Mo Shan
This part of the route up Tai Mo Shan, amongst many others, makes it hard for me to believe that this hike is in Hong Kong.
young boy wearing a hiking backpack climbs over a challenging rocky section of trail
Peri and Kai loved this rocky technical section.
a view of Tai To Yan and Kai Kung Leng and Shenzhen
The nearest range is Tai To Yan, and the farthest is Kai Kung Leng. Both are GREAT hikes! Shenzhen is in the background.
the top of Kadorie Farm
These old terraces are the topmost part of Kadorie Farm.
Mother and two sons hiking though silver grass on Tai Mo Shan
You’ve got the world’s best mama here folks!
3 year old smiling proud of himself for hiking nearly all the way up Tai Mo Shan
Kai was VERY proud of himself for hiking this far, and we were too.
mother and son hiking on Tai Mo Shan Road
Our route will eventually lead you onto Tai Mo Shan Road which is also MacLehose Trail Section 8.
family selfie on Tai Mo Shan
There are many scenic spots for photos.
Boy hiking up to Radar Balls
Eventually, you’ll see the radar balls, so you’ll know you’re close to the summit of Tai Mo Shan.
Boy standing outside restricted military area
Keep out of this military area.
a happy family selfie at the summit of Tai Mo Shan
We were VERY excited to be at the summit, especially since Peri hiked all the way up!
family selfie with Stonecutters Bridge in the background
The Stonecutters Bridge was looking mighty fine on this sunny day!
View of Kowloon from summit of Tai Mo Shan
The amazing views are endless when you’re on the summit of Tai Mo Shan.
The trail down from Tai Mo Shan
The way down takes you over this ribbon of road. It’s easy terrain, but goes on for a while.

Recommended Gear

The top of Tai Mo Shan is quite exposed. In addition to our normal day hike packing list, you’ll need to pack according to the season you’re hiking up Hong Kong’s tallest peak.

In the warmer months, that means you’ll need to bring ample sun protection. In the cooler months, you’ll need to ensure you’re not going to get too cold. While it’s quite rare, there have been times when there’s been snow and ice at the top of Tai Mo Shan.

Again, if severe weather is forecast, pick a different day to do your Tai Mo Shan hike.

The following are some of those seasonally specific gear items we suggest you bring.

Hiking Child Carrier

If you’re hiking Tai Mo Shan with kids who might not be able to make it the whole way, you’ll need to bring some sort of hiking carrier. We LOVE our Kinderpacks, as they are durable and comfortable for everyone.

child carrier on Tai Mo Shan

Sun Protection

Most important in the warmer months is sun protection. However, no matter the time of year, it’s never a bad idea to limit your UV exposure.

Warm Layers

If you’re hiking during Hong Kong’s cooler months, a quick drying and wicking base layer will keep you feeling comfortable all day long.

Wind Or Rain Layer

No matter the season, there is often high wind at the top of Tai Mo Shan. Having a layer that blocks the wind and also the rain will be a smart addition to your hiking gear for this route.

First Aid Kit

It never hurts to carry a small first aid kit, but it certainly could if you don’t have one. We bring a small one whenever we hike, including on Tai Mo Shan.

Hiking Poles

If you choose to hike our route in reverse, or in other words if you descend to Ng Tung Chai, you’ll want to consider bringing some hiking poles for the unrelenting downhill stairs. And even if you hike in the direction we suggest, by the end of this challenging route a bit of extra balance certainly won’t hurt.

Family Hiking Safety Tips

Setting out to do a Tai Mo Shan hike as a family will make you some unforgettable memories. However, you want those to be for good reasons, not bad ones. To make sure you stay safe and have fun on Tai Mo Shan, here are some of the basic family hiking safety tips we follow:

  • Stay Together: We always make sure to stay within earshot. When the kids were younger, we always stayed within eyesight.
  • Give Everyone A Whistle: If for some reason you do get separated, make sure everyone has an emergency whistle and knows how/when to use it. They massively extend your earshot range.
  • Stay Hydrated: It seems like a no-brainer, but one of the easiest ways to make sure everyone is safe and well is to drink enough fluid. Consider using an electrolyte mix on really challenging routes.
  • Hike Within Your Ability: Last but most importantly, know your limits. Biting off more than you can chew will lead to an unenjoyable time, whereas picking something appropriately challenging will lead to an enjoyable one.

Trailhead and Route

Tai Mo Shan Route Map

Our route begins on Lam Kam Road at the Chai Kek bus stop (GPS coordinates: +22.441829, +114.127761), so you can call this the trailhead, and ends on Route Twisk Road at the Country Park bus stop (GPS coordinates: +22.407476, +114.105080).

We recommend you hike our route in this direction because we find this way most scenic, and also easiest on our knees on the downhill. Of course, it is possible to do our route in reverse, but we recommend you bring a pair of hiking poles, as the downhill will be grueling.

If you’ve read any of our other posts about hikes in this area, such as the Ng Tung Chai waterfall hike, you’ll know that the cell service here is quite spotty. Regardless, and for safety purposes, we always recommend you hike with a map of your route (you can download our Tai Mo Shan route map below), especially on Tai Mo Shan as bad weather can roll in quickly. Our solution is to use GuruMaps for offline navigation.

In short, if you want to follow along with our route map, even when you have no service, you’ll need to do three things.
1. Download the GuruMaps app.
2. Download our Tai Mo Shan route map. Do that by clicking on any of the links in the top right-hand corner of the map below. You can choose from the file formats of GPX, KML, or GeoJSON
3. Open that downloaded route map file using the GuruMaps app

Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a copy of our Tai Mo Shan route map on your device, and it’ll work even without service!

If you prefer to use Google Maps, we’ve got one for you below, but again, it likely won’t work on your Tai Mo Shan hike.

Tai Mo Shan Elevation Profile

Tai Mo Shan hike elevation profile
Tai Mo Shan Hike Elevation Profile

Nearby Hikes

There are a myriad of additional great hikes in the area. Some of them include:

  • Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls: An iconic and spectacular Hong Kong waterfall hike.
  • Kai Kung Leng: A challenging and scenic ridge hike in the New Territories that you won’t soon forget.
  • Pat Sin Leng: 8 mini peaks in one hike make this challenging but also a Hong Kong bucket list hike
  • Tai To Yan: This is another spectacular but challenging ridge hike in the New Territories.

Tai Mo Shan Hike – Conclusion

In conclusion, embarking on a Tai Mo Shan hike, especially with kids, necessitates meticulous preparation. Hong Kong’s tallest peak offers breathtaking scenery but presents formidable challenges, with steep ascents and rugged terrain.

However…

With the right mindset, gear, and pacing, it’s an achievable feat for experienced hikers and their little ones. Our journey with Peri and Kai, aged 5 and 3.5 respectively, exemplifies this. Taking over 6 hours to ascend and complete the route, we savored every moment, relishing the unparalleled vistas and creating cherished memories.

Remember, safety is paramount, so only undertake this adventure if you’re well-prepared and seasoned in hiking with children. Happy trails!

FAQs

  1. Is the Tai Mo Shan hike suitable for beginners?
    No, this hike is challenging and not recommended for inexperienced hikers, especially with children.
  2. What should I do if my child gets tired during the hike?
    Be prepared to carry them if needed. Bringing a hiking carrier ensures you can safely transport your child if they run out of energy.
  3. Are there any specific safety tips for hiking Tai Mo Shan with kids?
    Stay together, ensure everyone has an emergency whistle, stay hydrated, and hike within your abilities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  4. Are there any alternative routes for the Tai Mo Shan hike?
    Yes, there are different routes to summit Tai Mo Shan, but they all require proper preparation and hiking experience.
  5. What time of year is best for hiking Tai Mo Shan with kids?
    Spring and autumn generally offer the most comfortable weather conditions for hiking, but always check the forecast and plan accordingly.

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