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Ultimate Guide to Family-Friendly Fun at MacRitchie Reservoir Park

MacRitchie Reservoir
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Want to go on a weekend ramble at MacRitchie Reservoir? Consult our guide to see all the fun, family-friendly things you can do here!

MacRitchie Reservoir Park just might be our favourite park in Singapore. After all, it’s huge – fun fact: MacRitchie Reservoir is part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and was the first water supply system to be implemented in Singapore. It is known for the shaded MacRitchie Reservoir trails, water sports like kayaking and canoeing, and endless opportunities for spotting wildlife such as monkeys, snakes and monitor lizards. There’s also an on-site café and handy amenities like a parking garage and restrooms, all of which make MacRitchie Reservoir extremely kid-friendly. Ready for some fresh air with a side of social distancing? Here’s everything you need to know for exploring all 12 hectares of MacRitchie Reservoir Park with kids (or on your own). Do note that pets are not allowed due to its extensive wildlife, so leave the furbabies at home!

                           Read more: Ultimate Guide to Fort Canning Park

Jump to:
Nature Trails
Hiking and Running at MacRitchie Reservoir Park
Water Sports at MacRitchie Reservoir
MacRitchie TreeTop Walk (temporarily closed for upgrading)
Wildlife at MacRitchie Reservoir
Food & Other Amenities at MacRitchie Reservoir
Getting To MacRitchie Reservoir Park & Opening Hours
What to Bring

MacRitchie Reservoir Trails

1. Nature Trails at MacRitchie Reservoir Park

MacRitchie Reservoir is one of the four reservoirs within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and was constructed way back in 1867. The park offers a fantastic network of nature trails that are well-maintained but refreshingly rustic – think tree roots and rocks, and no pavement for strollers, so watch your step when you’re exploring! The front park of the park is paved so there’s plenty to see with a bub in tow. It’s one of the few places in Singapore where you can walk through the jungle and feel miles removed from the city.

MacRitchie Reservoir Map
Click to expand to see the full network of MacRitchie nature trails

MacRitchie has six different nature trails that range from 3km to 11km in length. The 11km trail – perhaps our favorite running route in Singapore – travels in a big loop around the reservoir, while the 9.5km route traverses the park and terminates at Rifle Range Road near Bukit Timah. The 4.8km loop that runs near Lornie Road is perfect with kids, as the terrain is relatively flat and mostly features a wide gravel walkway, along with plenty of shade (and opportunities for wildlife spotting!). The route can be shortened at any point if you just turn around, rather than follow the loop to the boardwalk; otherwise your best bet with kids is to walk along the reservoir boardwalk from the jetty (to the left if you’re facing the park) to the boat rental centre. Want a detailed MacRitchie Reservoir map? Click on the image above to download it!

MacRitchie Reservoir - momentum bootcamps at macritchie reservoir

2. Hiking and Running at MacRitchie Reservoir Park

We all know Singapore’s not exactly Switzerland when it comes to hiking, but MacRitchie offers some of the country’s hilliest terrain, with occasional rises that require you to hold onto trees or put your hand down on the ground to balance yourself as you scramble up a muddy patch. With thick vegetation and lots of shade, it always feels just a couple degrees cooler than anywhere else in Singapore – one of many reasons that runners absolutely love it. MacRitchie is also popular for group hikes; note that if you plan to visit with a group of 30 or more people, you’ll be required to fill out a group hiking application form, as there’s a cap of 100 people in groups max per day in the nature reserves.

Besides the aforementioned shade, MacRitchie is beloved by runners in Singapore for its varied, challenging terrain and oh-so picturesque scenery. When you follow the 11km loop, at various points you’ll run along the water, you’ll traverse a meadow adjacent to a golf course, you’ll cross freshwater streams, and you’ll feel your quads burning as you dash up the occasional steep hill. Around the midway point (near the golf course) you’ll also pass Jelutong Tower, a 7-deck observation tower that offers stunning, unimpeded reviews of MacRitchie’s lush rainforest. There are shelters situated throughout the trail (handy when the downpours start), but it’s wise to bring your own water bottle because there’s not much else around.

Many schools and other organizations host races and cross country meets at MacRitchie Reservoir Park – if you’re keen to take your trail running to the next level, one of Singapore’s most elite running clubs, MacRitchie Runners 25, trains at the park every Sunday. Momentum Bootcamps holds occasional weekend group running classes there as well.

macritchie reservoir park boats sunset

3. Water Sports at MacRitchie Reservoir Park

MacRitchie Reservoir Park offers up myriad opportunities for canoeing and kayaking, with rental rates starting from $15/hour (click here to see the full list of offerings from the Singapore Canoe Federation). MacRitchie Reservoir is tranquil and calm – perfect for beginners – and there’s even a designated area close to shore for novice paddlers. Note that children must be age 7 or higher to accompany adults, although the SCF also offers a Kid-in-a-Kayak programme geared toward kids aged 10 to 12. Fishing is also permitted in MacRitchie Reservoir Park; the designated fishing spot is just past Mushroom Café, near the water sports centre.

MacRitchie Reservoir - TreeTop Walk

4. TreeTop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir Park (temporarily closed)

TreeTop Walk is closed for maintenance works from 11 August 2020. Works are expected to complete in Q3 of 2021.

One of MacRitchie’s most popular features is its TreeTop Walk, a free-standing, 250m-long suspension bridge that gives you a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy from 25m above the ground (proceed at your own caution if you’re afraid of heights!). The TreeTop Walk is the first of its kind in Singapore, and connects the two highest points in MacRitchie – Bukit Kalang and Bukit Peirce. The TreeTop Walk is relatively narrow and allows for one-direction traffic; entry is at the Ranger Station via Peirce Track. The TreeTop walk closes at 5pm sharp, and visitors are advised to start hiking from the Ranger Station by 4:30pm. The TreeTop Walk is also closed on Mondays (except public holidays).

Note that the MacRitchie TreeTop Walk is about a 4.5km walk from the main MacRitchie Reservoir Park entrance at Lornie Road (about 1-2 hours depending how fast you walk). However you can also park closer by at Venus Drive, which is 2.5km and about 45 minutes-1 hour away on foot. Click here to read the NParks Nature Guide to the MacRitchie TreeTop Walk!

5. Wildlife at MacRitchie Reservoir Park

MacRitchie Reservoir Park is absolutely one of the best places in Singapore to go for an (almost) guaranteed monkey spotting. Be warned, though: MacRitchie Reservoir’s macaques are quite fearless, so it’s important to use common sense and follow park regulations to not antagonise them (don’t feed them, don’t scream at them, don’t use flash photography…like we said, common sense!). We’ve often spotted macaques near the bandstand and the jetty (to the left of the parking area, if you’re looking at the park), but they can be anywhere along the trail and seem to like the TreeTop Walk, too.

MacRitchie Reservoir is also popular amongst birdwatchers. kingfishers, woodpeckers, eagles and owls are just some of the majestic birds you can spot within the park; check out the nature guides for the Chemperai and Prunus Trails for more, including additional info on the unique and varied flora that you’ll spot along the way! In addition to monkeys and birds, MacRitchie is home to monitor lizards, squirrels, colugos (flying lemurs), skinks, tree snakes and whip snakes.

MacRitchie Reservoir - Mushroom Cafe

Food & Other Amenities at MacRitchie Reservoir Park

To the right of the Lornie Road entrance is Mushroom Café, which serves up lots of local dishes (laksa, nasi lemak, curry puffs, mee siam, kaya toast), kiddie favourites like French fries and chicken nuggets and desserts (including ice cream). Our favorite post-run treat is fresh coconut; you’ll also find sodas, coffee, tea and Milo. Note that the café is open-air, with fans but no aircon. Mushroom Café is part of MacRitchie Reservoir’s Amenities Centre, which features bathrooms, showers, lockers (bring $1 coins), and drinking fountains.

macritchie reservoir park flora fauna

How to Get to MacRitchie Reservoir: Opening Hours, Access & Parking

  • MacRitchie Reservoir Park is open daily from 7am to 7pm
  • The TreeTop Walk is open from 9am to 5pm (Tuesday to Friday) and from 8:30am to 5pm on weekends. It is closed on Mondays (except for public holidays)
  • Mushroom Café is open daily from 7am to 9pm
  • Kayak rentals are available daily from 9am to 10:30am, and from 2pm to 4:30pm

The main entrance to MacRitchie Reservoir Park is located on Lornie Road at the intersection with Thomson Road, maybe about 15 minutes by car from Orchard (depending on traffic). The two-level parking garage has 300 spaces and rarely fills up (unless there is a big race or special event going on). The nearest MRT to MacRitchie Reservoir is Marymount MRT, which is about 20 minutes away on foot. However, many bus lines stop right outside the park’s entrance. Note that the Venus Drive carpark closer by to the TreeTop Walk is located off Upper Thomson Road.

What to Bring On Your Hike at MacRitchie Reservoir

A water bottle and sturdy walking shoes are a must if you plan to explore any of MacRitchie Reservoir’s trails. However if you’re just going to stick to the boardwalk area near the entrance, or are planning on waterfront yoga, flip-flops or sandals should be fine. As ever, a hat, sunscreen and mosquito repellent are vital. Most of the park is not stroller-friendly, so pack your baby carrier! Once again, dogs are NOT allowed in the Nature Reserve (although we have seen them in the paved area near the entrance and café).

MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Singapore 298717, www.nparks.gov.sg

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Lead image and Image #4 from NParks. Image #1 by Michell Tam; Image #2 via Momentum Bootcamps; Images #3, and #7 via Wikimedia Commons; Image #5 by Syazana Hishamuddin; Image #6 via Mushroom Cafe; MacRitchie Reservoir map image by NParks

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