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It is hard to believe that, just beyond Kowloon, Hong Kong has rugged peaks, remote valleys, and ocean coastlines. Or that in these places there is striking natural beauty -- and surprising ecological diversity.

The MacLehose Trail, a 100 kilometre-long Country Parks hiking trail, winds through this region. Generally crossing higher land, the ten-Section Trail offers memorable countryside experiences -- and the adventure of sustained hiking.

The New Territories, through which the MacLehose Trail runs, covers the vast majority of the SAR's land area. Here is Hong Kong's most varied - and finest - countryside. The east coast, where the Trail begins, is deeply indented and wild. The central mountains, which the MacLehose Trail crosses, include many of Hong Kong's highest peaks. And the western part, where the Trail winds to its end, has impressive valley reservoirs.

The MacLehose Trail links eight Country Parks. Sai Kung East Country Park (4,477 hectares), Sai Kung West Country Park (3,000 hectares), Ma On Shan Country Park (2,880 hectares), Lion Rock Country Park (557 hectares), Kam Shan Country Park (337 hectares), Shing Mun Country Park (1,400 hectares), Tai Mo Shan Country Park (1,440 hectares), and Tai Lam Country Park (5,370 hectares).

The Trail has ten Sections, varying from 5 to 16 kilometres -- though most cover about 10 kilometres. The Trail begins at Pak Tam Chung, winds through Sai Kung Peninsula, then turns south to the Kowloon hills. From Shing Mun it runs north towards Tai Mo Shan, where it turns west and continues towards Tuen Mun. Some Sections of the MacLehose Trail are surfaced roads, but most follow hillside paths. Hiking conditions are mostly easy to moderate, with only a few sections needing strenuous effort. The MacLehose Trail is well signposted, and Country Park facilities are sited at its key points.

The MacLehose Trail can be reached by public transport, though the starting areas of a few Sections are some distance from transport drop-off points.

Further information of MacLehose Trail can be found in the book "MacLehose Trail" and "Country Map".



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