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 mostly suitable for hikers of all skill levels.
Guanyin Mountain (or Guanyinshan) (觀音山) is listed at #005 of the Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳). Located in Wugu District (五股區), New Taipei City (新北市), Guanyinshan is easily accessible by car and public transit and is about a 30 minute drive or 1.5 hour commute from central 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.
Perched 616M above sea level , the peak of Guanyinshan is visible from most parts of Taipei on a clear day. The mountain rises above Bali District on the left bank of the Tamsui River with spectacular views of the river, Taipei 101 and surrounding landscape.
Directly across the Tamsui River, hikers can see Datunshan and the other mountains that make up Yangmingshan National Park. As the lore goes, Guanyinshan received its name after being recognized for its ridge line’s resemblance to the female Buddha known as Guanyin (觀音). It is said that Guanyin guards the left bank of the Danshui River.
Starting the Hike up Guanyinshan
Parking can get really ugly at Guanyinshan on the weekend, but there are plenty of different options which are discussed below. To keep things simple, we will start this post from the Yanhanling Trailhead. As a result, stop in at the Guanyinshan Visitor Center (觀音山遊客中心) before or after you kick off the hike or afterwards.
A great pre- or post-hike stop, the visitor center has a cafe and small interpretive center on local ecology. Restrooms are located south of the main visitor center across the road at the lower parking lot.
The interesting thing about Guanyinshan is that there are over half a dozen trails that criss cross the area and a few that actually reach the peak at 616m. One of the most popular ways to ascend is taking the YingHanLing Trail (硬漢嶺步道) literally meaning “Tough Guy Peak” Trail; getting its name from its past history as a military training ground.
Very well maintained and is essentially a stone and hard surface staircase up the entire way, hikers of all kinds can enjoy this trail. Its’ a thigh burner, but a great way to keep in shape and the views are worth it. These stunning views include views back across the Damshui River, the Pacific Ocean and Greater Taipei area.
Crowned with a “Tough Guy” arch and stone monument at the top, the main peak of Guanyinshan is YingHanLing (硬漢嶺). There are lots of spots to grab a drink or snack, including pavilions along the way. Not deter you, but there are nearly 2000 stone steps on this hike.
Reaching the Peak!
After a short break at the stone picnic and rest area, you can set off for the 150-200 meters of stone stairs up to the famous “Tough Guy” arch and viewing platform that offers 270 degree views across Damshui River, Taipei and the Pacific Ocean. Take you time to watch the world go by perched above the largest city in Taiwan.
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. There are no of rope on this climb
- Water – About 1 of fresh drinking water
- Food/Lunch – There are no services along this trail, but there is a small cafe and vending machines inside the visitor center nearby.
- Sunscreen – The trail is covered and shaded almost the entire time, but you may wish to spend time at the peak.
- Camera/Phone – For sure, bring a camera or use the phone, the scenery is fantastic!
How to Get to Guanyinshan
Driving to Guanyingshan: If you are driving, you can set this as your location – HERE. Parking is free, but it can be very busy on the weekend. Our suggestion is to arrive very early or mid-morning when the first cohort of hikers begin to return. Guanyinshan is approximately 30 minutes from Taipei Main Station.
Public Transportation to Guanyingshan: Ther are two options
- From the Yellow Line MRT Station Luzhou, take Sanchong Bus (Orange 20) to Guanyinshan Visitor Center.
- From Tacheng Street near Taipei Main Station, take Sanchong Bus 785 (Beimen – Guanyinshan) and get off at Linyun Temple. The trailhead is a 10-15 minute walk away.