Qianlong Ancient Trail
Ancient Trail Story
Qianlong Ancient Trail is located inside Lion Rock Country Park. Although it has no association with Emperor Qianlong, this stone paved ancient trail winding in the valley is rather legendary. Legend has it that in the old days, Sha Tin was abound in agarwood (Incense Tree). Porters carried agarwood on their backs along this ancient trail and then transported them to the Hong Kong Island. There has been a saying that the name of Hong Kong is directly associated with incense trees. In that case, this ancient trail also added a sense of folklore to Lion Rock. In Ming dynasty in southern Dongguan, all incense products made in Xin’an (including present-day Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories) were all transported on land to the incense pier in Tsim Sha Tau (i.e. Tsim Sha Tsui), before they were shipped from Shek Pai Wan to Guangzhou, and then moved on land to Suzhou and Hangzhou for sales. Since all incense products were centralised for freight forwarding, the port became known as Hong Kong – the port of incense. In 1840, British fleet arrived at the port and asked for its name. Fishermen living on boats at Aberdeen told them it was called Hong Kong (pronunciation same as Incense Port). Subsequently, China and Britain signed the Treaty of Nanking, and the name of Hong Kong was extended to cover the whole island. The English transliteration Hong Kong came from the Tanka accent of fishermen living on boats.
Published during the Jiaqing reign of Qing dynasty, an entry in the section “Produce – Wood” in the Gazetteer of Xin'an County mentioned, “Incense trees are grown in large quantities within the county; from the East route, those that originated from places such as Lik Yuen (Sha Tin ), Sha Lo Wan (north western Lantau) are better...” From this, one could see that Incense trees were grown, and incense were harvested and produced in quite many locations in the New Territories in early 19th century.This ancient trail was the main route that villagers of Sha Tin and Tai Po villagers took to Kowloon. Villagers heading for Kowloon to source local and imported goods must travel along this ancient trail. Since Tai Po Road opened in 1902, villagers no longer need to climb mountains and ridges to travel between the New Territories and Kowloon.
After years of exposure to rainwater, the soil on certain parts of the ancient trail suffers serious loss. There is an erosion gully with a depth of over 2.5m. The erosion has exposed some tree roots, with some of the trees becoming unstable. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department set up a water draining system that connects nearby streams at the erosion gully and strengthened nearby slopes. During the process, they tried their best to preserve the road surface and trees along the ancient trail. The maintenance work was completed in April 2020. The stone paved road surface of the ancient trail was later manually restored.
Qianlong Ancient Trail has a mild gradient and is densely forested on both sides, making it a very pleasant walk. The original alignment of the ancient trail can no longer be validated. At Lion Rock, enjoy a journey to identify the legend of Hong Kong. Walk along the stone paved ancient trail to experience how predecessors lived in the mountains and to retrace the old footprints of Hong Kong.
The route on this website is introduced to be conveniently accessible by public transport, which may differ from the actual alignment of the ancient path.
Keep the noise down in the countryside
Respect villagers and their properties
Do not enter private places or architectures that might pose hazards of collapsing
Do not pick any farm produce
Do not climb on or take away any item in the village
Take your litter home
Overall Rating (5 hearts is the highest)
Overlooking Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong East
Kowloon Pass Waymark
Ancient Trail (Left: Maintained Section)
Waymark towards Tai Wai
Overlooking Tai Wai
Overlooking Tai Wai
Hung Mui Kuk Barbecue Area