Other than Gilwell campsite at the beginning of Section 5 (where you are not allowed to camp at if you aren’t part of a HK organisation), there are no campsites along this section. However, the trail crosses plenty of roads that you can leave from by foot if you have accommodations booked in the city.
The first thing you encounter as you continue from Gilwell campsite are large traditional Chinese graves. I’ve read that they are built on hills for fengshui, and the bigger and grander graves signal the wealth of the buried. The walk from here goes through mostly forest for the next few kilometres.
We found ourselves crossing the Wilson Trail at Jat’s Incline, where a road intersects and quite a few cars are parked here to enjoy a great view of the city below that was unfortunately obscured by fog that day for most of the time.
Originally planning to camp somewhere along the trail after Gilwell turned us away, our brother and I were getting worried as evening was arriving soon and we hadn’t found an ideal secluded camping spot. Plan C was to leave the trail and find accommodations in town. Unfortunately, you can’t really book hostels at the last minute in Hong Kong as they were all fully occupied, but we managed to book a dingy room in Chungking Mansions at the edge of our budget.
Looking at the map board, the next best part to exit the trail was Sha Tin Pass just ahead. We continued walking as the sun set down a sloping road. At the entrance of Lion Rock Country Park where the Maclehose Trail continued, we walked down a steeply sloping road back into the city, where we caught a train to our beds for the night.
The next morning, we take a cab back to where we left off; we didn’t want to waste time and energy walking up the San Francisco-esque steep road that wasn’t part of the trail anyway. After a night in a windowless bedroom, we were glad to be back on the Maclehose Trail.
This day was less foggy, and our stair-walking is rewarded with some really epic views of Kowloon.
Lion Rock Country Park is forested, but with plenty of locals on morning walks even at the early hour we started, it doesn’t feel isolated. The trail takes us to the peak of Beacon Hill, where there are a couple of large spherical beacons that are easily identifiable from far away as long as you have a clear view.
The trail through Lion Rock Country Park eventually takes us to the exit at the other side, where Section 5 ends at a road where there is a bus stop nearby. Section 6 continues across the road to the entrance of the Kowloon Reservoir in Kam Shan Country Park.