June 08, 2011

Hiking in Taiwan - 陽明山 (Yangming mountain)

I went to Yangming mountain last week but took no camera and was later pretty sad, because there were some nice things worth taking pictures of. Since the place is not that far from Taipei city, I decided to go there again, just to take some pictures and try a different route.

陽明山 (Yangming mountain) is actually a complex of hills and peaks with the main peak called Qixing peak which is 1120 m above the sea level and the view from it is quite nice. It took me around an hour to get from the Yangming mountain station tourist center to the top, but I was taking pictures and resting so I think it could be done in 30-40 minutes of active walking.

The last time I went there I started at the Miaopu entrance, hiked all the way up to the Qixing peak and went down the other side to Xiaoyoukeng  and then took the bus back to the Yangming mountain terminal station. This time I started at the same place, but then went to Lengshuikeng, because I heard there’s nice waterfall there. The waterfall was nice, but unfortunately there was a fence and signs saying that it was dangerous to approach it. Being as hot as it was, that waterfall could’ve made my day. The waterfall started a nice little stream which eventually turned into a river. The hiking trails were always far up high from the stream, so it seemed impossible to get closer to it at first,  but I managed to find a small entrance, got off the hiking trail and made my way through the jungle directly to the river. I was so sad that I didn’t have river tracing shoes, because I would’ve traced the stream right back to the waterfall. On the other hand, I was alone and pretty far from the hiking trail, the rocks were slippery so I think it’s a better idea to go there next time.

The route:  

I started off at the Miaopu entrance at around 11 am. The heat was already pretty intense and the humidity was high as always, which I personally enjoy very much. The trail first goes along a freeway and then turns left into the jungle and was turning steeper every 200-300 meters or so:

After I passed  a certain height, the vegetation around me changed to low, sharp-leaved bamboo. It also got much cooler:


View of the QIxing peak:

Qixing peak:

Again there were hundreds of butterflies everywhere. There was this very nice big black/blue one that I wanted to take a picture of, but it always flew away or had it's wings closed. I was taking pictures until I finally got a nice one while it was flying:

Some views from the Qixing peak:  

The wind was quite strong at the top. After a little rest I made my way down the south side of the mountain to Lengshui keng to look for the waterfall. 

After coming to Lengshui keng, at the tourist center I asked for directions for the waterfall. Maybe I was lucky, because there were no clear signs directing hikers to it, but I eventually found it. There were other very inspiring signs though:

I made my way through the trails. Along them a small stream started to build up that grew larger and larger, eventually I could hear the waterfall from a distance. When I arrived I was quite disappointed, because I couldn't go all the way to it, because of a fence and warning signs.

At the bottom of the waterfall a small river was starting to build up:

The stream slowly started to turn into a small river and as I said, I managed to get into it, even though it seemed impossible at first. I would definitely like to trace this river from the other end all the way to the waterfall. See how that goes:

Additional information:

Name: 陽明山 (Yangming mountain)
Location: Taipei county
Elevation: 1120 m


Take the MRT to Shilin station and from there, if on a weekend, take the 111 bus right at the Shilin station, or on a weekday, turn right and walk to the McDonalds and take either 260 or 紅5. The 111 is better because it will take you all the way to the tourist center near the Miaopu entrance, the other two buses will take you to the Yangming mountain terminal station and you will have to walk for about 20 minutes to get to the Miaopu entrance.


If you go in summer, take a lot of water. good shoes are preferable, although I've seen barefoot people again. I would rate the hike to be a solid 2 on a 0-5 scale, but again, only if it's really hot and humid. 

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