Hiking in Taiwan is a remarkable experience and Taiwan’s Xiao Bai Yue is a great place to start. This is a perfect list of 100 suburban mountain peaks suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Dongyan Mountain is one of these 100 peaks and is located in Fuxing Township, Taoyuan in the northern part of Taiwan. This Xiao Bai Yue peak is situated inside Dongyanshan National Forest Recreation Area. At an altitude of 1212 meters, this the highest peak in the National Forest. If you’re looking to get outdoors and are concerned about your skill level, this is a Hiking along this trail isn’t too difficult with only sporadic sections of steeper elevation gains. However, when you’re hiking in Taiwan, you can expect to find some elevation.
Hiking with Heritage in Taiwan
During Japanese Occupation, the Dongyan Mountain region was an important logging area but now the largest forest recreation area in northern Taiwan. The secondary forest of Dongyanshan is a mix of Japanese and Chinese cedar trees and some broad leaf trees. The entire route is over four kilometres and includes 20 outdoor exhibits and interpretative signage.
Self-Guided Trail (Up to Dongyanshan)
This looped hiking route in northern Taiwan starts off right from the Dongyanshan Visitor Center and is just over 4km in length and leads to the peak of Dong Yan Mountain at 1,212 metres. While facing the front of the visitor center hikers can follow the trail that either runs to the left or to the right of the building (they both connect to the main trunk trail). Walking to the right, hikers will walk only 40m along the “Scenic Trail” and take the first trail on your left. Follow the “Self-Guided Trail” signage. The trail that swings back to run behind the visitor center and is the beginning of the ascent.
This first section is most steps with some sections slightly steeper than others. This continues for approximately 300m before the first trail branches right. Stay left on the main trail and continue climbing for another 400m before another trail fork emerges. Again, stay left and keep on the main trail.
Continue on the main trail up to the peak. The peak of Dongyan Mountain is located in a small clearing but the view is restricted by tree cover. Snap a quick picture and head up a short trail that is right next to the peak. Here you can climb 10 steps to a wooden observation deck. On a clear day, there are panoramic views across Taoyuan, Guanyin Mountain, Danshui River, the Greater Taipei area and even Taipei 101. Enjoy the stunning views and seemingly endless ridgelines across Taoyuan County, including Sanxia Township.
Reach the Peak
From here it is a straight climb down for another 1km or so, before a rest area and clearing opens. A trail branches off right here, but you’ll stay left and continue down the mountain until you reach an elevated washroom built out of shipping containers. Sounds odd, but it’s kind of a neat design. From here you can continue left along the “Scenic Trail” and into the Forest Bathing area or turn right and head back to the Cafe and visitor center.
Signage: This trail is very well signed in English and Chinese along the trail with Kiosk maps at both the Visitor Center and near the Self-Guided Trailhead behind the visitor center. There are only two intersecting trails that hikers could get diverted on to, but these are well signed.
Shade: This trail is almost completely covered by the tree canopy with little sun exposure.
Food and Drink: There are water fill-up stations at the visitor center and the Dongyanshan Cafe, both of which are located along this looped route. Fill up 1 litre of water prior to starting this trail and you’ll be fine (maybe a bit more in the summer months). There is basic food for sale at both of these facilities as well, including noodles, rice and simple snacks.
Mobile Reception: Mobile phone reception is good along most of this trail including at the peak.
Admission: Entrance tickets into Dongyanshan National Forest are $100 on weekends and $80 on weekdays. If you are a resident of Taoyuan, you get a 50% discount and student/seniors (+65) pay $50/$10 respectively.
How to Get There:
Driving to Dongyan Mountain (東眼山): Click here for Google Maps directions to this protected area. If you don’t want to pay the $100 for car parking, you can park outside the ticket gate if space is available. The road is in great shape, but does get windy near the end, but the views are stunning. Dongyanshan 東眼山 is located about 1 hour from Zhongli and about 2 hours from Taipei Main Station by car.
Taking Public Transit to Dongyanshan (東眼山): The Taoyuan Bus 5107/F906 leaves from near Daxi Old Street at the Taoyuan Bus Daxi Terminal Station and connects to Dongyanshan National Forest via the Sanmin Bat Cave. This bus takes just under 2 hours. Another option from the same pick up location is the 506 Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus direct to Dongyanshan National Forest. This bus takes about 50-55 minutes. Here is a link for the pick up location.
Is this Dongyanshan trail family-friendly?
In short, yes. While Dongyanshan has a trail that is suitable for strollers, this trail is not. This trail is suitable for 6+ if your six year old is an adventurous one. There is a some stair work required, but nothing for too long or too technical. Keep your kids busy with trail snacks, songs or have them on the look out for wildlife and birds and you should be able to get the children through most of the stairs with no problem. If you’re looking for a high-quality forest bathing experience that is suitable for the whole family and specifically for children 6+ then Dongyan Mountain is a perfect destination.