West Dog’s Teeth on Lantau Island has been dubbed “the hardest hike in Hong Kong,” and although we advise only advanced hikers attempt this trail for the level of scrambling involved, we would rank West Dog’s Teeth high up there in terms of fun, views, and adventure!
West Dog’s Teeth makes up one of three ridge lines that connect to the south of Lantau Peak, forming Kau Nga Ling (狗牙嶺), which literally means “Dog’s Teeth Ridge.”
The trail gets its name from the resemblance of the jagged ridge lines to the lines of teeth in a dog’s jaw, and is considered challenging, requiring lots of scrambling and climbing up over rocks. Although a challenge, it is passable with dogs, though they may require assistance up or down certain sections of the trail, so a harness is advised. It meets with Middle Dog’s Teeth Range along a narrow and precarious pathway, aptly named “One Lifeline” (一線生機) - a route we DO NOT advise taking with your dog.
Distance: 8.7 kilometres
Total ascent: 938 metres
Total time: 5 hours approx. at a leisurely pace with breaks
Start from Shek Pik Country Trail and make your way to The Big Buddha, as the descent towards Ngong Ping involves man-made steps, and would make for a much more enjoyable climb as opposed to doing this walk in reverse, where you would be faced with a steep downhill slope of scree.
Once you are at Shek Pik Country Park, walk roughly 100 metres to the first bridge and cross the nullah, which will bring you to the start of this trail. There are a few stairs to climb initially, but it eventually flattens out and the first hour of this trail is very easy and flat.
Eventually, you will come across an opening in the trees, and there will be a big rock face to your right, with the Chinese characters “西狗牙” (pictured above) meaning West Dog’s Teeth. - This marks the start of your scrambling ascent. If you do not decide to go through with the climb up to West Dog’s Teeth, you may continue along this path, as it will end up at the same location (Wisdom Path).
Fortunately, once you’ve passed the marker for West Dog’s Teeth, the trail is relatively straight-forward, meaning you can focus all of your efforts to staying on the path and scaling up the hillside. Although looking at the trail ahead, as it climbs over ridge after ridge, seems daunting, it’s surprisingly more manageable than it looks.
The final stretch
You're near the end when you hit a rock, known as Hades’ Wall, which offers a good stopping place for a well-deserved break, and a great viewing point of the ridges. You can see Lantau Peak from here, and once you've passed the big cluster of rocks towards the top of the hill, where Bird Rock resides, you can begin your descent down at the sign-post for Ngong Ping to your left - or, if you have enough steam left, you can add a little detour to visit Lantau Peak, to your right.
What you’ll need
Dog Harness: As mentioned earlier, there are certain sections of this walk where your dog may require assistance up and down rocks, so an active dog harness, with a handle will be useful for these moments.
If you want to check out some dog gear we recommend, check out our article on What to pack for your dogs.
Plenty of water: Depending on the season and time of day you attempt the hike, 1.5 litres per person should be an adequate amount during the winter. We would also recommend bringing a sports drink with electrolytes. Type of clothing: Again, depending on the weather, this trail is rather exposed, so it would be best to bring a waterproof windbreaker to shield you from the winds. If you are attempting this walk outside of winter, which we do not advise, you will need a hat, sunscreen, and probably a change of clothes for after.
A good pair of walking shoes: Don’t wear your old gym shoes from high school with little to no tread. Most of this trail involves climbing, or scaling up hillsides with a powdery surface! Gloves (optional): A majority of this walk involves scrambling up the hillside using your hands, so some gloves may come in handy (pun intended). Snacks: As this walk can take up to five hours, and be fairly strenuous at sections, bringing some snacks to keep you (and your dog) going is a good idea!
If you need some recommendations on things to pack for your adventures, check out our article; What to pack for your adventures.
Lantau taxi phone numbers: Best to get a few Lantau taxi numbers saved to your phone before you attempt this hike, especially if you are attempting this walk with dogs, as you will not be able to catch the bus or cable cars once you arrive at the Big Buddha, and hailing a taxi can be tricky at times.