Qi Xing Shan is located on the Datun Volcano Group and is the highest mountain in Taipei, at the rim of Taipei Basin. It is also the highest (dormant) volcano in Taiwan. It located in the center of Yangmingshan National Park and its main peak (主峰) is 1,120 metres (3,675 ft) above sea level. Just about 400m away lies the eastern peak (東峰) of Qi Xing Shan at 1, 107 metres.
Hiking technical difficulty relatively low due to the nicely constructed man made steps and paths and useful informations and sign post, Qi Xing Shan offers a rewarding 360 degree view around the Yangmingshan Main Peak.
Take the Taipei Metro to Jiantan station upon exiting out the gantry, turn out to the left of the station. You should be able to see bus stops on your left.
Take Bus R5 (you can use i-Pass for the bus ride) and drop off at the very last station. The buses here displays an electronic signboard in English and Chinese as well as voice notes so you can keep track of which stops you are at/next stop.
The Bus should drop you off at Yang Ming Shan bus terminal (also the final stop). Look for the signpost to direct you to the SECOND PARKING LOT. (We took a detour down to the another Visitor Center as we wanted to take a look at Cherry Blossom [unfortunately, according to the park rangers, the blossom has already been delayed for well over 2 weeks and expected to blossom in Mid March])
Walk across the second parking lot and you should pass by Yang Ming Shan national park visitor centre, continue down the path and you will hit stone path. Get onto the Stone path and you will reach a small pavilion with sign post pointing to the start of the trail.
There are also bus services that loops in Yang Ming Shan, bus 108 from Yang Ming Shan Bus terminal, which can drop you off directly at the start of the trail.
There are a few trails that can lead you to the peak, the one that we took to go up was from Yang Ming Shan national park visitor centre and when we return, we took the trail from Eastern peak to Lengshueikeng visitor centre.
From Yang Ming Shan national park visitor centre
The trail up that we took is made up of mostly concrete stairs and at some parts, rock stairs. Very very similar to Mount Kota Kinabalu.
Total hiking distance : 2.4km
Along the way, from the courtesy of the authorities, there are
– Indicators that show you the current elevation
– Rest stops every now and then
– Sign board that directs you to other places such as Qi Xing Shan park, return route to Lengshueikeng etc
– Display panels that shows you the upcoming elevation intensity and graph chart of steepness
The timing given by the sign board indicates a good 60min walk for the first 1.6km and another 40mins for the last 1km push. We took 50mins to finish the entire trek to the peak and we are a little burn out partly due to the cold, so it all depends on your physique level and exposure to trekking. Most of the locals we spoke to trek there at least twice a week and the oldest guy we met was at the age of 65!
Close to the peak, there is a Y junction on which the right leads to the main peak and left to the eastern peak. Both peaks are close to one another.
We first went to the main peak then detour down to the Y junction and went for the eastern peak. We then took the trail down from the eastern peak that leads to Lengshueikeng. Similarly, the terrain are made of mostly concrete stairs and rock stairs, however the trail from the eastern peak is more barren and we were constantly exposed to the cold winds.
The trek is definitely a workout but it is not very intensive. I will suggest doing a good 15min warm-up before attempting this trail and will roughly estimate a good 1hr 15mins to 1hr 30mins for the less experienced. The trek does not require rocket science to navigate your way due to plenty sign board and the very obvious man made path. Some of the rock steps might be a little loose so watch your stepping. Do take note of the opening and closing hours of the park as well as the bus services. When we finish the trek, we were at Lengshueikeng visitor centre and we took Bus Small 15 back to Jian tan station.
1350 Reach Yangmingshan national park visitor centre
1400 Hrs start of trek
1430 Hrs reach pavilion and crossroad of trail (to direct people to other parts of Yang Ming Shan)
1450 Reach Main peak (photo time)
1510 Reach Eastern peak (photo time + detour to see the exclusive Taiwan Isoetes at 夢幻湖)
1620 Reach Lengshueikeng visitor centre
(We noticed locals actually walking off trail that does not deviate too far off from the man made path, but do take caution when going off trail)
No permit is required, hiring of guides is not necessary at all and the entry was free. We only spend 40 TWD on buses to and fro from the metro station.
Yang Ming Shan national park HQ 02-2861-3601
Yang Ming Shan national park police branch 02-2861-3609
Location Map (Google Maps)