Breakwaters at East Gate.Breakwaters at High Island Reservoir East Gate.

The first section of the Maclehose Trail is a flat and easy hike. The trail starts at the end of Tai Mong Zai Road in Sai Kung and heads south along the west side of the serene High Island Reservoir. There are two dams in the trail: West Dam near the halfway point, and East Dam at the end of the trail. The East Dam features a view of the reservoir to the west, and the South China Sea to the east. The road parrallel to the East Dam is filled with gigantic T/H-shaped breakwater stone structions that protect the coast. It’s a popular photo taking spot and you’ll see plenty of Instagram models there.

View of High Island Reservoir.

Hexagonal rock columns

Hexagonal volcanic rock columns surround the East Dam area. These columns are the most beautiful geological structures I’ve ever seen in Hong Kong. The orange vibrance, organic-yet-geometric forms are absolutely beautiful. The S-shaped curves were formed 140 million years ago by the influence of earthquakes, when the columns were still semi-solid.

Magnificent S-shaped hexagonal rock columns.

East Dam sea cave

Take an extra half an hour to walk down the path from East Dam to enter the East Dam sea cave. There are also lots of flat, small rocks around the cave. Skip rocks at your own risk though, as the cave is known to be haunted by a girl who died there.

Hike elevation

Section 1 starts at almost sea level—it’s literally next to a river that’s close to the sea. From there, there’s a slight ascent to 80m, and then maintains around 60-120m above sea level for the rest of the hike. The entire trail is flat and very easy to hike.

Trail surface

The majority of the trail is paved with concrete and there is minimal dirt surfaces. The trail is easily walkable with casual or running shoes.

East Dam facing east: breakwaters, and South China Sea beyond.

Transport

Going to the starting point

Take bus 94 from Sai Kung Bus Terminus towards Wong Shek Pier. Get off at Sheung Yiu bus stop.

Leaving the finishing point

There aren’t any bus stops near the ending point. You can call a taxi to pick you up from High Island Reservoir East Dam, walk back to Pak Tam Chung and take the bus back to Sai Kung, or continue walking the Maclehose Trail Section 2.