I decided to try the full-length Southern Ridges walk one morning with Steel Wool. We started from West Coast Park after breakfast. (No prizes for guessing where we ate.) The walk took us through five parks (West Coast Park not included as it was just the start point), one university and a science park.
The press said that this walk is about 9km. My GPS logger listed the distance travelled as almost 15km. I think 9km is the map distance, not taking into account elevation.
We were more or less alone from West Coast to NUS. Around the South Bouna Vista/Kent Ridge junction, we met a couple, a pair of ladies and a father-son duo – all clutching maps of some sort! It turned out they all needed some help with directions.
At Kent Ridge Park, there were even more couples as well as family groups. HortPark, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Mount Faber Park were full of couples, groups and families, all eager to experience Alexandra Arch and Henderson Waves. It seems that Singaporeans are quite keen on this new trail.
So, I’ve compiled a visual guide of the Southern Ridges from West Coast Park to Harbourfront.
Why not the other way, as suggested in ST’s infographic?
A few reasons:
- Prefer to walk towards a place with more food choices.
- Prefer to walk to an end point where it’s easier to get home.
- Prefer to walk away from workplace.
- Prefer an easier incline to start (I cannot verify until I’ve tried the opposite route though).
- Familiarity: the NUS/Kent Ridge sector is in the same direction as Pasir Panjang Heritage Walk.
- Start early! It gets really hot, really fast. So start early while it’s a little cooler. Set aside
threefour hours to complete the whole walk at a moderate pace. More if you want to take in the sights.
- Please bring: water (I needed 3 litres but I’m a water barrel), snacks, sunblock, a cap. Wear good walking shoes and clothes you can perspire in.
- Remember: You can choose to stop any time. There are many places where you can deviate from the route and get public transport.
- Feel free to explore: My route is not the ‘correct’ route. This is not a definitive guide. There are many alternatives, especially within each park. So, explore the options. Don’t worry about getting lost. It’s part of the fun. =)
Ok, enough preamble, let’s get to the guide.
The guide is available in different sections as individual sets in Flickr. Click the links or the photo to get to the set. Each set explains the route using photographs of major landmarks along the way and comes with relevant maps and information panels.
These were mostly taken during the walk from the many panels available along the walk. The Bridging Ridges infographic is a terrific overview. Unfortunately, it glosses over road names, which are essential for certain parts of the walk. You can also get maps of the parks from Nparks website.
This short starting stretch is mainly on pavement. It is simply walking from West Coast Highway via West Coast Link to West Coast Road, where Clementi Woods Park is located.
Clementi Woods Park is a small park bounded by West Coast Road and Clementi Road. The is a gradual uphill slope towards Clementi Road. There are two options here: come out by the car park or take the walking path that will lead you straight to the overhead bridge. You will have to cross this bridge to NUS.
This is probably the most tricky part of the entire route. At the top of Kent Ridge Crescent in NUS, you will have to take the red-brick stairs up to Kent Ridge Road, which is partially hidden behind a lecture theatre.
At the other end of Kent Ridge Road, you have to turn to South Buona Vista Road and then cross the road to walk along Science Park Drive towards Kent Ridge Park.
Here, there are two options. This guide shows the shortcut. The other way is to walk to the end of Science Park Drive, where there is a path which will lead you to Kent Ridge Park.
At Kent Ridge Park, there are a few ways to get to Car Park B, where you will continue walking to the canopy walk. At the end of the canopy walk, there is a connector leading to HortPark.
From Kent Ridge Park, you will reach the rear of HortPark. You can choose to explore HortPark on your way to Alexandra Arch or you can walk along Hyderabad Road, which is surprisingly the more shady option. This guide goes via HortPark.
Once across Alexandra Arch, you will be on the forest walk. There is just one main elevated pathway, with options for earth trail detours. At the end of the forest walk, you will see Car Park 1. Walk to Car Park 3 where there is a small ramp leading to Henderson Waves.
From Henderson Waves, keep on walking uphill to the top of Mount Faber. You will then find Marang Trail which is a downhill section leading to one of the Harbourfront MRT entrances. Of course, you can cross the road to VivoCity or Harbourfront for a nice meal.
Enjoy the walk!
Southern Ridges walk KML file | for Google Earth