June 10, 2012

Hiking in Taiwan - Yangming Mountain biathlon

The Yangming Mountain National park (陽明山國家公園) is a wonderful place to go hiking with several hot springs, waterfalls, great views and most of all fresh air and the whole park is only a half an hour bus drive away from Taipei.

I went to the Yangming mountain (陽明山) several times but always took a bus from the ShiLin MRT station (士林捷運站) to the Yangming mountain tourist center and started the hike at the MiaoPu entrance (苗圃). I bought a bike last month and kept wondering whether there were any bike routes that would lead to the top of the mountain. As it turned out, there were none, because the last 2 km of paths are too steep to bike, but there are plenty of ways to get quite close. I searched the internet for some options and eventually decided to bike to LengShuiKeng (冷水坑), which is only 2.1 km away from the top of the mountain. 
牛奶湖 (Milk lake) at the Lengshuikeng tourist center

I started the whole trip near the ShiDa University (師範大學) at around noon and biked my way through crazy traffic all the way to ShiLin. At the ShiLin station I turned right and followed the route of the 260, 111 and 紅5 buses for about 1.5 km until I crossed a small bridge and got to the point which is labeled "A" on the map at the bottom of this article, which is where the bike climb started.  This road section is a 11.6 km long continuous climb, with an elevation of about 750 m and gets very demanding at some points. 

View of the East peak from the Qixing peak

My main concern was, that I might get lost on my way, because of the many intersections, but it turned out that the only thing I had to watch out for was not to miss a right turn at the traffic lights in a small town which was about 6.6 km away from point "A" (there is a 7 eleven on the right and something sort of like a bell tower that can be seen behind some trees across from the intersection. If I remember correctly, I followed the sign to 金山) and another left turn which was 1.2 km away from this intersection (the new road after the turn starts with a sharp ascent). From there, I just followed the road for another 3.8 km to the LengShuiKeng tourist center. 

Wonderful view of the 夢幻湖 from the 
It was about 35 degrees Celsius that day, very humid so my initial plan was just to bike to LengShuiKeng and go back to Taipei. It was a bit cooler at that altitude however and I didn't feel that tired so I decided to leave my bike at the tourist center and hike all the way up to the top of the mountain. 

A small look out point on my way up
The climb from the LengshuiKeng side is 2.1 km long with an elevation of about 370 m. As I was going up the mountain it was getting cooler and cooler (at the top of the mountain it was only 18 degrees Celsius), winds started to pick up, the views were amazing and at that temperature the YangMing Mountain snakes were not that active either:) Since I left my bike at the tourist center which would close at 4:30 pm, I had to be back by then and did the whole hike in less than an hour. 

The bike way back down the mountain was a lot of fun. There were a lot of cars on the roads because it was a weekday and my forearms hurt from all the braking, but all in all it was great.

Additional Information:

Name: 陽明山 (Yangming mountain), 冷水坑 (LengShuiKeng), 七星山 (QiXing Peak)
Location: Taipei county
Elevation: 1120 m

Bike section: 11.6 Km, Elevation 750 m (from "A" (仰德大道一段/台2甲線 intersection) to "B" (冷水坑)
Hike section: 2.1 Km, Elevation 370 m (from 冷水坑 to 七星山)

Directions and other information:

It depends on where you live in Taipei, but I think the most general directions and the best way of how not to get lost is to get to the ShiLin MRT station and start from there.

If you can, take a lot of water or energy drinks like 舒跑 with you. I didn't know how many 7 elevens there would be on the way so I took 4 liters of water and 舒跑 with me. The climb was really hard at times and all this water was a lot of extra weight, so a better idea might be to buy water as you go. 

View of the LengShuiKeng tourist center
Another good thing to do is to start eating a lot of carbohydrates from sources like wholegrain bread, pasta or potatoes the day before you start your trip to store up some extra glycogen in your body and eat 4-5 bananas during your trip. My entire biking route was 46 km long and took me almost 3 hours to complete and I think I couldn't have done it without this sort of carbohydrate loading the day before. 


  1. Very impressive bike ride!! I can imagine that it definitely got demanding as you went. Gave you an excuse to stop and take those nice photos :) The Milk Lake is really cool, but I especially like the photo of the East Peak from the Qixing Peak -- those clouds are majestic. Thanks for sharing :) Happy 2015

  2. Hello Dana,

    thank you for the nice comment. Can't believe I wrote the article 2 and half years ago!:) makes me miss the place too. Hope winter will get a bit milder so that I can try to go somewhere nice again.

    Take care,