Hiking in Taiwan is a remarkable experience and Taiwan’s Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳) is a great place to start. Taiwan’s Xiao Bai Yue is a perfect list of 100 suburban mountain peaks suitable for hikers of all skill levels.
Gangziliao Mountain (or Gangziliaoshan) (槓子寮山) is listed at #004 of the Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳). Located in Xinyi District (信義區) just east of Keelung City (基隆市) in northern Taiwan. Keelung is a coastal port city located between 30 minutes to 1 hour northeast of Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei.
The Xiao Bai Yue is 100 mountain climbs oriented towards sub-urban destinations and routes suitable for novice hikers. These include beginner routes like Dawulun Mountain, novice routes like Dongyanshan National Forest and some that are more challenging, like Jialishan.
Notes about Gangziliao Mountain (槓子寮山) and Fort
Gangziliao Mountain and Fortress is located directly south of Badouzi Fishing Harbor (八斗子觀光漁港) and behind National Taiwan Ocean University (國立臺灣海洋大學). The fort is the largest and best-preserved fort monument in Keelung and still has neat relics like guard posts, saloons, camps, command posts, bunkers, tunnels, ammunition depots, machine gun positions, cannons and a ton more. When the weather is good, standing on the ridgeline or peak is spectacular with really charming scenery of the sea and sky and views of attractions such as Badouzi Coast, Bisha Fishing Port, Keelung Island, Heping Island, Waimu Mountain and the northeast coast.
Sitting on the right plateau of Keelung Harbour, the Gangziliao Fort has a clear ocean view of Keelung Islet and Badouzi. It was a strategic position and used to guard the northeast coast. The facilities were left by the Japanese troops following the Russo-Japanese War. The original structure was built during the Qing Dynasty.
Hiking Gangziliao Mountain Trail
Officially known as the Gangziliao Mountain Trail (Longgang Trail) 槓子寮山步道 (龍崗步道), the ascent up to the peak is actually not too difficult. At 163m, this is one of the easier Xiao Bai Yue’s from an elevation perspective.
There are a few ways up to Gangziliao Mountain and Fort; one easy and one with a bit more distance, more natural trail and a bit steeper. We discuss how to climb this Xiao Bai Yue through the longer more natural route (this is an outdoors site after all). You can shorten the hike from the 4.0km return hike listed below by simply hiking direct to the peak/fort and returning back down from Gangziliao Road. This shorter route takes approximately <1.5km and is mostly on hard surface road and crushed stone path.
To start the hike you have to walk through National Taiwan Ocean University to reach the trailhead. Once you arrive at the small wooden platform you have a choice to take the trail right or left. Either are fine and loop back to this same platform. Heading up the right-side path the trail transitions into mostly hard surface.
There is some compact soil here. When it gets wet it can get slick. Keelung also gets a lot of rain, so be sure to bring a pair of shoes that can get dirty and have good traction. The trail is a mix of stones and hard surface trails with a bit of compact soil with some roots. Before you reach the industrial road, you will come across large eletricity towers. Stop here or just past this and enjoy some stunning views. As you approach Gangziliao Road, you’ll find some sections of steps and crushed stone.
When you arrive at the paved road, turn right to go out to the lookout with fantastic views back west towards the Keelung waterfront. Continue for an additional 300m or so along a compact soil trail to arrive at the triangulation site and mountain peak of Gangziliao. It has a great view and worth a photo opportunity. Take a pic and head back, passing the trail connecting back down to the university. Continue along and you’ll eventually come upon Gangziliao Fort and the abandon ruins. This is a definite highlight and worth the extra 30 minutes or so to walk there and walk around.
You can either go back the same route or as you descend along the same trail back to the university, take the only trail junction to the right hand side. This secondary trail is much like the first – nearly all hard surface, some elevation change and a relatively easy hike.
What to Bring
When hiking in Taiwan consider your capabilities before heading out. We hope this helps provide insight into the level of difficulty. When it comes to the kinds of equipment or resources one should bring when hiking this trail in Taiwan, we’ve provided a list below:
- Gloves – No need
- Water – About 1L of fresh drinking water
- Food/Lunch – There are no services along this trail, so get supplies before you come up. It’s not that long of a hike, so you can do without a lot. Grab something in Badouzi or Keelung when you’re all done
- Sunscreen – The trail is a mixed of covered and uncovered, but as you get towards the fort it opens up a bit. Better to have sunscreen in case you need it.
- Camera/Phone – Reception is pretty decent on this trail. The scenery and views from the peak are very picturesque too!
- Toilets – There is a mobile toilet at the fort area, as well as facilities in the Taiwan Nature Ocean University.
How to Get to Gangziliao Mountain
There are two main ways to get to Gangziliao Fortress and Gangziliao Mountain: one is to drive from Xiangfeng Street to Lide Road and go directly after Erxin Middle School; the other is to walk from Ocean University along the circular cement path of “Longgang Trail” Although it has been artificially developed, it has flowing waters and a humid and warm climate, which breeds a variety of species and environments. It is known as the secret garden of National Taiwan Ocean University.
Driving to Gangziliao Mountain: Driving to Gangziliao is not too difficult, as it is located directly behind National Taiwan Ocean University. Parking can be slightly inconvenient as parking is not readily available in the campus. Our suggestion is to look for parking just south of Beining Road (#2) and east of the main campus. To drive you can set this as your location – HERE and then walk the last 300-500m to the trailhead within the campus. Depending on when you are driving, Gangziliao is approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour from Taipei.
Public transportation to Gangziliao Mountain: From Taipei Main Station (Zhengzhou), take the 1811 Bus Via Coastal Highway for approximately 45 minutes (10 stops) until you get to National Taiwan Ocean University stop. It is about a 3 minute walk to the main gates and an additional 5 minute walk to the trailhead.