Lantau Peak Hike via the Middle Dog Teeth Ridge

March 24, 2022

Hiking to Lantau Peak via the Middle Dog Teeth Range is a fantastic adventure for experienced hikers in Hong Kong. This short, yet steep hike offers incredible views as you scramble up the rocky and exposed trail to Hong Kong's second highest peak. As one of the most difficult hikes in Hong Kong, it's not for everyone. But if you love a challenge, this hike on Lantau Island might be perfect for you! 


Hiking to Lantau Peak via Dog Teeth Range 

Lantau Peak, or Fung Wong Shan, which literally means 'Phoenix Mountain' in Cantonese, is Hong Kong's second highest peak at 934 m (3,064 ft). Although you can hike to this peak several ways, scaling one of the steep, rocky trails up Dog Teeth Ridge, or Kau Nga Ling, is by far the most challenging. 

Kau Nga Ling, the Dog Teeth Range, is made up of three trails - West Dog Teeth, Middle Dog Teeth, and East Dog Teeth. I've heard West Dog Teeth is the most difficult, but so far, have only tried Middle Dog Teeth.

Middle Dog Teeth to Lantau Peak

The hike I'll cover in this post is the route up the Middle Dog Teeth Range (also called Middle Dog's Teeth) and continuing to Lantau Peak. From Lantau Peak, we finished on the Lantau Trail, Sec. 3 down to Pak Kung Au. Although a short hike at 6.5 km (4 mi), it's a steep climb and took us almost 6 hours to complete it (with many breaks).

Middle Dog Teeth Trail to Lantau Peak

Fun Fact: Despite Lantau Peak being Hong Kong's second highest peak, its summit is actually the highest point a regular person in Hong Kong can visit. This is because the Hong Kong Observatory sits atop Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong's tallest peak at 957 m. The observatory grounds are restricted which means visitors can only climb to ~920 m, whereas on Lantau Peak, you can stand on the summit at 934 m.     

Who Should Hike It?

The Middle Dog Teeth Ridge hike on Lantau Island is one of the most difficult hikes in Hong Kong, so I'd recommend it only for experienced hikers

At times, the trail turns into rocky boulders which require you to climb using your hands to navigate. If you have a fear of heights or getting your hands dirty, this trail is not for you. Given the straight uphill sections, I'd also recommend a good level of physical fitness for this trail.  

Steep Middle Dog Teeth trail
Climbing Kau Nga Ling

If you'd like to climb Lantau Peak but want an easier route, I'd recommend beginning at Pak Kung Au or Ngong Ping instead. If you take those trails, you'll still get a good workout climbing all the stone steps, but it's a less dangerous route.

If you're looking for a good practice hike for rock scrambles, I'd recommend this hike up to the Hunch Backs and Ma On Shan in New Territories.

When to Hike It?

Since you'll want to appreciate the stunning views from the trail, I recommend picking a clear day. However, make sure it's a fairly cool one and perhaps not too sunny! This trail is very exposed and gets quite hot.

When we hiked Middle Dog Teeth, it started out sunny and clear but I was so relieved when the clouds rolled in as we climbed. The clouds, plus the breeze, probably saved me from heat exhaustion and it was only in the mid-70s Fahrenheit (low 20s C).

Items for Your Hike

  • WATER and snacks: The climb is steep and you'll need plenty of water.
  •  Hiking shoes: The rock scrambles require hiking shoes or trail sneakers with good grip.
  • Sunscreen: There's very little shade on this hike and those UV rays are intense.
  •  Light Jacket: Especially in cooler seasons, the temperature drops significantly towards the top of the peak.
  • Wet wipes: Since you'll use your hands a fair amount, they'll get dusty so you may wish to use wipes before you eat any snacks.

Other Clothing Considerations for the Middle Dog Teeth Hike

Since the Middle Dog Teeth trail is not as well maintained as some trails, you have to fight your way through some forested areas. I was wearing shorts and a tank top and got scratched up quite a bit by random branches. Personally, I'd rather be scratched up than hot, but if you want to avoid the scratches, you might consider wearing longer clothes.

Also, the rocks you'll have to climb up are rather rough and can scratch up your hands (and any rings you have on). I saw quite a few people wearing gloves and thought that would be a good idea.

Getting To the Middle Dog Teeth Trail

The Middle Dog Teeth trail begins at the Shek Pik Reservoir on western Lantau Island. You can get there easily from either Tung Chung or Mui Wo.

From Tung Chung

If you're taking the MTR, the easiest way to get to the Shek Pik Reservoir is to get off at Tung Chung Station. Catch the 23 or 11 bus and take it to the Shek Pik Police Stand stop. Then walk backwards to the start of the trail.

Since it was late when we got started, we took a taxi from Tung Chung to the trailhead which cost HK $130 (~US $17) and took ~20 minutes.

From Mui Wo

If you'd rather take the ferry to get to Lantau Island, catch the one to Mui Wo at Central Ferry Pier no. 6. At Mui Wo, hop on the 1 bus to Tai O and get off at the Shek Pik Reservoir stop.

Overview of the Middle Dog Teeth Hike to Lantau Peak

The hike from Shek Pik Reservoir to Lantau Peak on the Middle Dog Teeth Range which finishes at Pak Kung Au is 6.5 km (4 mi) in distance and took us 6 hours to complete (with breaks). 

The distance of the hike is almost divided in half between the uphill and downhill sections. However, it took us much longer to climb up than to climb back down the other side of Lantau Peak.

Ascending Lantau Peak

For the first part (3.6 km / 2.2 mi), you'll be climbing steep inclines, scaling rocky cliffs, and will ascend ~850 m / 2,788 ft in elevation. The ascent took us slightly over 4 hours. Then, we rested at the top of Lantau Peak for about a half hour.

Descending Lantau Peak

Once at the top of Lantau Peak, it's a steep downhill climb (2.9 km / 1.8 mi) to Pak Kung Au. Since Pak Kung Au is already several hundred meters in elevation, you'll only have to descend ~584 m / 1,916 ft. The descent only took about 1 hour and 15 minutes - much faster than the climb up!

Middle Dog Teeth to Lantau Peak map


Timing Note: Although the hike took us 6 hours to complete, it's worth mentioning that I had surgery 6.5 weeks before hiking this trail. As a result, I wasn't quite in shape for this type of hike and had to take a lot of breaks. If you're in good physical condition and don't take a lot of breaks, this hike would probably only take you around 4.5-5 hours.

Starting at Shek Pik Reservoir

The trailhead where you'll begin this hike is on the eastern side of Shek Pik Reservoir along S. Lantau Road. Luckily, the start of the trail is already ~75 m ( 246 ft) above sea level which reduces what you have to climb!

Cross the bridge over the catchwater to begin the Shek Pik Country Trail. 

Shek Pik Reservoir BBQ area
Shek Pik Reservoir Country Trail start

Toilet Tip: Although not listed on the map, you'll find a blue portable squat toilet at the start of the trail. It's not fancy, but the washrooms with running water are on the western side of Shek Pik Reservoir and aren't convenient to this trail. 

The Shek Pik County Trail is a slightly shaded, fairly easy uphill section for the first 850 m (0.6 mi) with a variety of stairs and dirt trail. You'll climb about 127 m (416 ft) on this section.

Shek Pik Reservoir Country Trail on Lantau Island
Shek Pik Reservoir Trail stairs

Turn off for Middle Dog Teeth

As you go, watch out for the turn off for the Middle Dog Teeth Range. You'll be able to spot by the warning sign telling you not to proceed any further. Always a good sign, right?

Middle Dog Teeth trail split

Accidents have occurred on the Dog Teeth Ridges in the past, including a fatality. So please be careful and have the right equipment before attempting any of these high-risk Dog Teeth Range trails.

Fighting the Shrubs on Middle Dog Teeth

As with most trails that have danger signs in front of them, the Middle Dog Teeth trail is not as well maintained as most trails in Hong Kong. On the first part of the trail, you'll fight your way through the shrubs and plants along the trail. 

Middle Dog Teeth Trail shrubs

As I mentioned earlier, because of how overgrown the trail is, you may wish to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect your skin. Wearing shorts and a tank top, I ended up with lots of cuts and bruises from sharp branches and rocks.

Once you get above the initial forested area, the trail is mostly exposed. However, along the way, you'll encounter a few sections through which you have to fight the bushes and branches again.

Climbing Rocky Middle Dog Teeth

From the start of the Middle Dog Teeth trail, you'll be gaining some serious elevation. The portion of the trail which is solely the Middle Dog Teeth range is ~1.8 km (1.1 mi) long and gains 425 m (1,394 ft) of elevation.

To illustrate the experience climbing this trail, I've included lots of photos. Hopefully, they will help you decide if this is a good trail for you to try. 

Middle Dog Teeth rocky climb
Jeremy on rocky Middle Dog Teeth Trail
View over Tai Long Wan

View of Tai Long Wan on western Lantau Island

Becky looking at Middle Dog Teeth peaks

Looking ahead at the steeper sections of Middle Dog Teeth and how far to Lantau Peak.

Kau Nga Ling (Dog Teeth) gets its name from the teeth-like points on the mountain range which you can truly appreciate as you climb. Each "tooth" is a rocky climb straight up which often requires using your hands to pull yourself upward. 

Becky looking up steep trail

Some of the "teeth" on the range.

Becky climbing rocky Middle Dog Teeth trail

After scaling each tooth, you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment and the view continues to improve the higher you go. 

Note: Despite this trail having multiple peaks, you don't climb down after each peak. There's a short, flat section between the peaks, but unlike trails such as the 8 Immortals, there's no downhill section. Honestly, I was relieved to discover this.

Appreciating the Views

As soon as you're above the trees, you'll have beautiful views of Shek Pik Reservoir below you. On a clear day, you'll also be able to spot the Soko Islands off the southern coast of Lantau Island.

View of Middle Dog Teeth and Shek Pik Reservoir

Kau Nga Ling "Lifeline" Connection

After climbing several teeth on Middle Dog Teeth, you'll meet up with the West Dog Teeth trail at one of the trickiest sections of the trail to finish Kau Nga Ling (Dog Teeth Ridge). 

Lifeline on Middle Dog Teeth

Can you see the metal rope in the shadowy area? There's an old rusted one and a newer one.

In my opinion, the Lifeline (一線生機), or One Line of Survivability, is the most treacherous part of the trail. It's narrow - only one-person wide - with rock wall on one side and a sheer drop on the other. (I don't think my photo truly does it justice.)

Although the Lifeline rock has a metal chain attached to it to help you out, I didn't fully trust it. Plus, my hands were slippery with sweat. Even though I'm not afraid of heights, this section gave me some butterflies in the stomach! 

After completing the nerve-racking Lifeline, you'll have a bit of flat trail before continuing the uphill climb. On this portion, you'll gain 182 m (597 ft) of elevation in 650 m / 0.4 mi.

Steep Kau Nga Ling rock trail

Yes, that rock in front of me is the trail.

View of Ngong Ping from Kau Nga Ling

Views of the Tian Tian Buddha and Po Lin Monastery in Ngong Ping, plus the HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. 

Just after passing the Bird Rock at Tsam Chai Au Peak, you'll meet up with Lantau Trail, Sec. 3. 

Bird Rock on Lantau Island

Bird Rock with views of Pui O Beach and the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula behind it.

Lantau Trail at Tsam Chai Au

Once you meet up with the Lantau Trail, Sec. 3 at Tsam Chai Au Peak, you'll have a decision to make. Do you continue up to Lantau Peak or head down to Ngong Ping? 

Lantau Trail and Kau Nga Ling connection

At this point, you'll be at ~800 m of elevation, which means to summit Lantau Peak, you'll have an additional 134 m (440 ft) of elevation to climb in 350 m / 0.2 mi. It's really not that far, but is very steep - a common theme for this hike.

Climbing Lantau Peak

Despite feeling like I could pass out at any moment, we continued our climb to Lantau Peak. As I mentioned, I physically wasn't ready for this hike so I found it challenging and had to stop several times in the final push to the top. 

Rocky Lantau Trail, Sec. 3

It doesn't look that far, but when you're totally beat, it's a struggle to make the final climb!

View of western Lantau Island

So why not sit and admire this view for a while?

The good thing about hiking up the taller peaks, especially in cooler seasons, is that the further you climb, the cooler the temperatures! By the time we got to the summit, I was actually cold and had to put on a warmer shirt.

Climbing Lantau Trail to Lantau Peak

Almost there!

Lantau Peak - The Summit

Once we reached the summit of Lantau Peak, I was ecstatic. Red-faced, sweaty, and so relieved I made it.

Becky on Lantau Peak

Success! I needed a photo of me at the top to prove I did it.

Luckily, we got to the top just before the clouds rolled in, so we snapped a few photos of the Hong Kong International Airport and Sunset Peak before the clouds enveloped us.

View of Sunset Peak and Airport from Lantau Peak

Sometimes I love the wide-angle setting on my phone camera. Can you spot the plane taking off? It's a rare sight these days!

Even in the clouds, it was lovely to sit up at the top, have a snack, cool off, and admire the clouds. Since the weather can get dicey at the summit, there's a temporary shelter on the peak.

Descending Lantau Trail

After about a half hour break on Lantau Peak, we continued on Lantau Trail, Sec. 3 down towards Pak Kung Au.

Jeremy climbing down into clouds on Lantau Trail

Climbing down the Lantau Trail into the clouds

Similar to Middle Dog Teeth, the Lantau Trail is quite steep and very exposed. Unlike Middle Dog Teeth, the trail is mostly stone stairs and is very well maintained.  

View of Lantau Trail and Pui O Beach

The views climbing down Lantau Trail are still spectacular with the airport off to the left and Pui O Beach to the right. Not to mention, you have great views of Sunset Peak ahead of you as you go. 

View of Sunset Peak on Lantau Trail
View of airport from Lantau Trail

Hong Kong International Airport and Tung Chung

View of Middle Dog Teeth from Lantau Trail

Looking back to Middle Dog Teeth and remembering the tough climb up!

Lantau Trail from Pak Kung Au

If you'd like to climb Lantau Peak but aren't ready for all the rock climbing, hiking roundtrip from Pak Kung Au up to Lantau Peak is my recommendation. 

Due to the steep elevation gain and exposed trail conditions, this route would still be quite a workout. But you wouldn't have to worry about navigating the technical and dangerous sections. 

View of Sunset Peak with clouds

In addition, Pak Kung Au is already 326 m /1,069 ft above sea level, so the elevation gain/loss is only ~585 m (1,919 ft) versus ~850 m / 2,788 ft on the Middle Dog Teeth trail.

Getting Back from Pak Kung Au

The trail finishes at Pak Kung Au on Tung Chung Road. At the bottom, you'll find a a couple portable toilets right next to the bus stop. If you want to go back to Tung Chung, catch one of the buses at the stop directly in front of the trail. 

Pak Kung Au bus stop to Tung Chung

To get to other places on Lantau Island, including Mui Wo, cross the street, turn left and walk up over the hill to the bus stop. The 3M bus terminates in Mui Wo where you can catch the ferry back to Central.

Final Thoughts

The Middle Dog Teeth trail to Lantau Peak is an adventurous and beautiful trail that I'd recommend for any experienced hikers in Hong Kong. The views are gorgeous and the rock scrambles provide a fun challenge as you climb Hong Kong's second highest peak.  

Other Hikes You Might Enjoy

If you're looking for other challenging hikes in Hong Kong, you might enjoy the following hiking guides:

Happy hiking!

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Middle Dog Teeth to Lantau Peak Hike
Middle Dog Teeth Hike
Hiking Guide Lantau Peak via Middle Dog Teeth
  • Wow! I respect your determination to get to the top….. and to ignore signs that tell you not to proceed any further. Spectacular views! The Big Buddha doesn’t look so big from up there.

    • Thanks, Steven! Since I know the Dog Teeth ridges are popular adventure hikes, I wasn’t too surprised to see the warning signs. It is funny when you’re hiking to get above the Big Buddha – I always think of it as so far up in the mountains.

  • Now that’s what we call a victory smile and a rewarding view! When you look at an old map of Hong Kong, before the age of gleaming highrises, its all about green hills and peaks and mountains. Thanks for taking us to the peak Becky 😉

  • You’re not wrong Becky, this was a challenging hike! Just the name alone, Middle Dog Teeth Ridge would put me off! Beautiful views and happy that I could experience it vicariously!

    • Rock scramble hikes are always a good time – they keep you on your toes! I haven’t done nearly as many on the U.S. East Coast as I’d like to. Would love to hear your favorites!

  • When I think back to our short stay in Hong Kong, I always have images in my head of the great waterfronts on both sides of the water. But I was amazed to see these outdoor sites in your blog post list Lantau Peak. Good to know there is more than one way to hike this. Those views are definitely worth the climb. Saving this for when we finally get back to Hong Kong.

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