MacRitchie Grand Loop

Last Updated on 10 May 2024

Once we’d conquered all the shorter trails in MacRitchie Reservoir Park, we decided to tackle the grand 11-km loop that curves around the reservoir like a snake.

On the park map, this is the Yellow trail (11 km, 4 hours, moderate).

You can go either clockwise or anti-clockwise. If you’re up for the TreeTop walk, go anti-clockwise. If a peaceful start along a scenic reservoir route is preferred, clockwise would be our choice.

No matter which way you choose, it’s best to start this epic hike early, beating both the sun and the crowds.

Even then, you’ll likely encounter some early risers, like the Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor) sauntering along the footpath…

…or the Crimson Sunbirds (Aethopyga siparaja), indulging in an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast.

In the clockwise direction, you’ll begin along Lornie Trail, an unremarkable sand and gravel track where hardcore runners might zip past you.

You’ll soon reach a choice: to continue along Lornie Trail or take the scenic boardwalk.

Opt for the boardwalk for some awesome reservoir views and a chance to spot cool critters.

You might even bump into some interesting flora and fauna along the way.

Sitting on one of the benches by the water’s edge…

…you might catch a Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) sneak a snack…

…or a Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) taking a breather mid-flight.

While walking along the boardwalk, a Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) was witnessed having a spat with a Pacific Swallow. Both birds were vying for fish in the same spot, but the feisty swallow won the turf war, chasing the kingfisher away with its aggressive antics. After a short but noisy chase, the kingfisher called it quits and flew off into the forest, perhaps to find another fishing spot in peace.

Continuing along the boardwalk, we had some charming company in the form of fluttering butterflies. One particularly striking chap was the Commander (Moduza procris milonia), proudly flaunting its bold wings like a true leader.

And then there was the Chocolate Grass Yellow Butterfly (Eurema sari sodalis), zipping around energetically or chilling out by the reservoir for a sip.

Gazing into the calm reservoir waters, you’ll spot loads of bugs busting moves on the water’s surface. Those little guys are water skeeters, also known as pond skaters or water striders, masters of the art of walking on water thanks to their cool surface tension trick.

You’ll definitely also notice the vibrant dragonflies buzzing around the reservoir, doing their funky dance over the water as they attempt to engage in oviposition – which is just a fancy way of saying to lay eggs.

When you eventually emerge from the boardwalk, you’ll continue along a trail that weaves past the golf course of Singapore Island Country Club.

This part of the trail is our favorite, thanks to the idyllic scenery.

This is also the favourite haunt for the Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis), who we caught hopping around with a tasty bug in tow. Even if we don’t see him, chances are we’ll catch his sweet serenade drifting through the air from afar.

Also often lurking around these parts is theĀ Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), stealthily stalking his prey as we stealthily try to stalk him.

Before long, another boardwalk emerges, whisking us back into the depths of the dense dark forest.

Reaching Jelutong Tower means you’re halfway there!

Don’t miss the chance to climb to the top and take in the view!

Towering above the treetops, you might just spot some of the most charming residents of the nature reserve. Curious to know what you could spot here? Dive in to the Jelutong Tower page and find out!

Pressing on past The Tower, you’ll proceed along Sime Track.

Then it’s onwards to Terentang Hut, the starting point of the popular TreeTop walk – a free-standing suspension bridge that stretches through the canopy of the mature secondary forest. If you opt in for the TreeTop walk, it’s an extra 2-km adventure!

If not, stop by the Ranger Station for a water break.

Proceeding along, you’ll continue along Terentang Trail…

…and the seemingly endless MacRitchie Nature Trail…

…until the reservoir reappears.

Take the boardwalk for more stunning reservoir views…

…or continue along the trail back to the MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

And after all that, why not join the monkeys for a picnic and a cool drink?