It was forecast to be another scorching hot day, so we moved the start time an hour earlier. Instead of taking the usual hiking trail up South Chinese Mountain, the four of us took a climbers’ path, which goes steeply up to the base of the rock wall. From there the path is less steep and goes up a swale between the south peak and a minor southeast bluff. We took a side trail which goes up that bluff for excellent viewpoints, a rest and a snack. We continued on the path back down to meet the main trail at the “mud hole”. Coming back down the regular trail we took the new “scenic route” trail which avoids a badly eroded section of the original trail. Then we took another scenic route, which avoids another part of the main trail which is more stream bed than trail. The second scenic section is not marked or flagged, but it is a very nice alternative route. It rejoins the main south bluff trail near a viewpoint. 3.4 km; 2½ hours; 220 m elevation gain.
(click on photos to enlarge)