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Hiking

When should you hike a trail? Some hikes lead to fascinating forests, some have tremendous views and others are rich in variety. Share your favorite trails with other hikers and nature lovers.

The best months to visit Hong Kong's trails are October to April since the northern summer means monsoon. Most pleasant temps from October to December although, the clearest months are also the coldest from December to February. Keep in mind that Hong Kong is very busy during the Western and Chinese holidays. The Dragon's Back and other parts of the Hong Kong Trail are best done during the week. Usually, weekends are crowded, especially at Shek O Beach where the trail ends.

Dragons Back with a clear blue sky during winter
Dragons Back

Weather by Seasons in Hong Kong
  • Dry Season
    The driest months are October to March, although rain already returns in March and temps start to rise again. The very best months especially if you come to Hong Kong for hiking are October to the beginning of December due to the pleasant temps; on average around 25°C / 77°F in October. November is already cooler and from mid- December to February daily temps are below 20°C / 68°F and nights can be chilly around 14°C / 57°F. The colder temps are the reason for fewer clouds, clear skies. However, be prepared for a shower.
  • Rainy Season
    The rainy season starts in April but most precipitation from May to September while June until September are the hottest months with high humidity. Thunderstorms occur frequently and be aware of typhoons in September. Temps during summer are on average around 30°C / 86°F. Bring a swimsuit and towel and go swimming at one of the many beaches around.
Beautiful scenery along the Dragon's Back hiking trail
Crowds on the Dragons Back Trail 

If you can't start early, the trail is packed with people. However, many walk until the Dragon's Back viewing point only and back. From here the trail is less frequented and makes even more fun. Visitors hike the trail in either direction, but most start at To Tei Wan. If possible avoid weekends. Hiking is pretty popular by the Hong Kong residents. 

HK Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Ben Nevis is climed year around but the winter time is only for experienced mountaineers, people still die on the mountain. In the summertime it is one of the most popular hikes in Scotland, since it is the highest peak of the UK.

GB United Kingdom

Mount Olympus, the mountain of the gods, is an impressive geographical hike, the maximum altitude is 2.917 meters, but it's only some kilometers from the Aegean Sea. Best season is from June until the end of September. In the spring the mountaintop is known for thunderstorms, hence the number of trees felled by lightning.

GR Greece

September and October. Rain season is finished and there is not too much snow.

CN China

If you like to experience New Zealand's outstanding rainforests without any crowds this may be one of the best hikes for it. Regarding the weather check the forecast first. The trail is pretty steep, slippery and muddy. Plan an entire day for this strenuous track.

Mount Tuhua from Lake Kaniere
Mount Tuhua

Weather 

Mild temps throughout the year; neither hot nor freezing cold. The annual rainfall at Lake Kaniere is up to 4000 mm high. If it rains it pours but can be dry and beautiful as well. 

  • Summer; Average day temps are 18-20°C and around 10°C in the night. Comfortable for camping. Precipitation occurs more often at this time of the year.
  • Winter; Average day temps are above 10°C with a significant drop in the night. During winter expect snow on the top of Mount Tuhua on 1.125 m elevation. The weather is more stable with clear days.
     

Lake Kaniere
Lake Kaniere

[updated by When to be Where]

NZ New Zealand

The glacier is open year-round. The best time to visit Franz Josef depends on what you’re looking for. Mild temperatures? Ice highlights? Fewer Crowds? Read on for our detailed ‘WHEN TO GO’ tips below. Tip: Make sure to check our complete season guide below and don't miss (quick navigation):


Special Tip: Planning to visit Milford Sound as well?  Check out our detailed guide with many tips: 7 Tips for Milford Sound| A Complete Guide | Link to our article.  If you'd like tips about combining Queenstown - Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier, read this TripAdvisor Post: How to combine Queenstown - Milford - Franz Josef — TripAdvisor

 
Weather / Crowds / Highlights

In general, the weather is highly unpredictable in this region, regardless of the season. Within one day it can change radically. Always bring rain gear, despite a sunny weather forecast. The Franz Josef town experiences more than 5 liters of rain each year and 10-15 meters of snow at the top of the glacier. However, in the winter it’s more stable.

June - July - August | Winter:
Temperatures are low: 5 – 15°C (41-57°F), but the weather is more stable than during other seasons. Winter has the clearest days; everything is clean and pristine. Highlight: The ice moves less in winter, resulting in amazing ice features like crevasses and ice caves which stay much longer. There are significantly fewer tourists, and it’s a lot quieter than in summer months.

September - October - November | Spring:
Temperatures are rising: 9 – 17°C (48-63°F). September is still quiet but also still a cool month with 6-13°C. October gets a little more busy and warmer. November is already peak season which means it gets crowded during the day.

December - January - February | Summer:
Mild daytime temperatures between 12 and 25°C (53-77°F). Great for exploring. However, the weather is very unpredictable and can quickly change from sun to heavy rainfall which can last for hours or a whole day. It’s also the very busy peak season: Starting in November (spring) and lasting until March with up to 2700 tourists each day. Be prepared for crowded tracks and photo spots.

March - April - May | Fall:
Temperatures continue to be pleasant: 9 – 17°C (48-63°F). However, be prepared for rain like in the summer. In March it’s still busy. The heavy crowds start to dissipate during April and thin out even more in May.

 
Avoiding Tourist Crowds

It’s usually very busy and crowded in high season between November and March with one million visitors each year. Especially if you want to take the popular 45 minutes walk to the glacier (90 minutes round trip). Although there is plenty of parking space, it fills up pretty quick by mid-morning. In peak season it can become quite difficult to find a parking spot after 10 AM. The main track itself gets crowded as well, although it thins out a little as you near the glacier. When parts of the track are closed during or after heavy rainfall, it feels even more crowded. Moreover, the helicopter sightseeing and hiking flights start at 8 AM making a lot of noise. Expect one helicopter each minute during the peak season. To dodge the crowds and avoid the disturbing helicopter noise be there early around 7 AM. You’ll experience a much more peaceful walk to the glacier and enjoy the fascinating sights in solitude. You might also try to go after 6 PM in the summer or after 4 PM in the winter when the crowds dissipated again and heli flights are terminated soon for the day. However, the views sometimes can get worse since when clouds descend later in the day. But still, a late hike, still daylight etc., is a great way to dodge the crowds.

NZ New Zealand