Over and Around Mt Violet

  • Toward Mt Butler - © William Mackesy
  • Towards Tai Tam in the mist - © William Mackesy
  • Repulse Bay, misty - © William Mackesy
  • Middle slopes, misty day - © William Mackesy
  • Upper Tai Tam reservoir - © William Mackesy
  • Along the storm drain - © William Mackesy
  • Along the storm drain - © William Mackesy
  • Along the storm drain - © William Mackesy
  • Along the storm drain - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Cliffs above Repulse Bay - © William Mackesy
  • Cliffs above Repulse Bay - © William Mackesy
  • From the upper storm drain - © William Mackesy
  • From the upper storm drain - © William Mackesy
  • Repulse Bay - © William Mackesy
  • Storm drain lip - © William Mackesy
  • Upper Tai Tam Reservoir - © William Mackesy

Key information: Over and Around Mt Violet

  • Fine walk across this sharp hill on the south of Hong Kong Island.
  • Magnificent views, across placid reservoirs nestled amid rocky, verdant hills, and toward towers clustered around the bays, distant islands shimmering in the haze.
  • Beautiful shrub azaleas and sub-tropical woodlands; surprising birdsong and wildlife, just across the ridge from one of the world's most densely populated cities.
  • Pity about the concreted paths.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating79
  • Beauty30
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest6
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points3
  • Total rating79
  • Note: Negs: popularity; concreting; pollution.

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 2.5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Along the storm drain - © William Mackesy


Over Mt. Violet

One of our favourite Hong Kong walks, a demanding yomp on the Wilson Trail over this sharp hill on the south of Hong Kong Island, followed by a steady meander beside storm drains back around the contours of the hill.


Starting at the hideous, corruption-built Parkview, the trail climbs steeply up a long ridge through shrub azaleas, which sport beautiful flowers over a long season.  This stage is a bit of a slog on at times concreted paths, but the top of Mt. Violet is worth it: wonderful views far down to the upper Tai Tam Reservoir, nestled between steep hillsides of gorgeous mixed foliage, round to the towers lined around Repulse Bay, the outlying islands faintly visible through the haze.  And that most romantic of waters, the South China Sea.


The hike down is fabulous, winding along a ridge which falls sheer to Repulse Bay.  You will be surprised by the birdsong and wildlife a wide-spanned kite will circle above you; a large snake slithered across into the scrub when we were last there.


From a junction near some WW2 blockhouses, one way back meanders along a fault in steep cliffs above the densely populated Repulse Bay, then contours beside a storm drain around the rugged, densely forested hillside.  The other follows another water channel high above the peaceful reservoir.  This is beautiful, steep, empty hillside and an elevating walk, slightly let down by finishing with a steep, crowded climb back to Parkview. See below.


Any enterprising visitor can walk Violet Hill (just 15 minutes from central Hong Kong), which is a testament to the truth behind the cliché: nowhere else in the world can such superb walking exist so close to such dense population.  Pity about the concreting on the paths (although we acknowledge the need in places): even when you see no buildings, you sense you are in suburbia.


Around Mt. Violet

One of Hong Kongs most exciting and delightful walks is the 2 hr+ circuit of Mt. Violet, weaving beside fine and some of Hong Kongs oldest storm drains.


Upper Tai Tam Reservoir was Hong Kongs first major attempt at addressing the difficult water supply problems of this burgeoning colony, with a large dam of finely fitted granite blocks and a tunnel to carry the water through the mountains to the great harbour to the north. Storm drains catchment channels that feed the reservoirs snake around Hong Kongs mountains, often providing easy walking through impassable hillsides, commanding glorious views. The west catchment from the Tai Tam is a fine example.


Start at the County Park entrance at the depressing Parkview development. A heavily walked road drops steeply to the reservoir, surrounded by the usually vibrantly green hills of Hong Kongs central spire.


Here is where the fireworks begin: turn right on a stone aqueduct across an arm of the reservoir look out for the endearing terrapins floating in the warm backwaters and you are on the concrete path along the storm drains rim. Apart from the recent, depressing rails to stop walkers falling into the watercourse, this is marvellous walking through the azalea-dominated mixed-shrub forest of Mt. Violets flank. Lovely views open up to the left of a lower reservoir and a corner of Tai Tam Bay between verdant hillsides. Sit on the rocks by a tiny, gurgling stream perhaps half an hour in (a favourite picnic spot when we lived in Hong Kong), a couple of cliffs-waterfalls in the wet season, and a WW2 blockhouse (now hard to see) on the ridge top overlooking Repulse Bay (now nearly invisible through the growing shrubs), a remnant of a tragic episode.


By the time you meet the path coming down off Mt. Violet (see above), at the pass to the South Side, the watercourse has petered out and you are on a well-walked trail that becomes dramatic as it continues along a fault in the cliffs behind Repulse Bay, high above that truly Hong Kong mixture of beautiful, island-scattered bay and 30+ storey apartment blocks.

Soon after turning back towards the north, you join another nascent storm drain and return to the little reservoirs below Parkview through thick, mixed forest with occasional glimpses of sea, mountains and, yes, the odd tower block. Very Hong Kong.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.


We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

Membership is FREE AND JOINING TAKES 30 SECONDS. To login or sign up click here

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Repulse Bay, misty - ©William Mackesy

share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Middle slopes, misty day - ©William Mackesy...

Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more

Our partners Responsible Travel 

have carefully chosen expeditions 

and holidays around the world.    

Great walking, and much else...

Walkopedia Sponsor

See their site for inspiring ideas.

For £100 off your trip, contact them quoting WW50

All material on this website is © Walkopedia Ltd 2008 - 2015, unless specified otherwise.