#032 – Hiking Xiantianhushan 向天湖山

Hiking in Taiwan is a remarkable experience and hiking Xiantianhushan (向天湖山), one of 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.

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.

About Xiantianhushan (向天湖山)

Xiantianhushan (向天湖山) is commonly referred to as Xiantian Lake Mountain and is listed at #032 of the Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳). The peak is located right on the border of Hsinchu and Miaoli Counties. The trailhead as shown in the map below begins in Nanzhuang Township (南庄鄉) in Miaoli County (苗栗縣). Xiantianhushan is a beginner to intermediate hiking trail and includes some relatively steep ascents on a well-maintained trail.

Hiking Xiantianhushan (向天湖山)

Parking at the designed lot located close to the Xiangtian Lake Tribe Saisiyat Ethnic Folk Culture Museum (向天湖部落 苗栗縣賽夏族民俗文物館), take the small, paved mountain road for a few hundred meters and you’ll see concrete road heading off to the right with a small blue sign that reads Welcome to GuangtingGaoShan “欢迎来到光天高山”. Follow this for about 30m or so until you see another blue sign with a smaller writing for Xiantianhushan 向天湖山登山口. This is the official trailhead of Xiantianhushan.

A beautiful forest while hiking Xiantianhushan 向天湖山

The trail starts as a single track, compact soil trail through a beautiful cedar forest with a gorgeous fern ground covering. The ascent begins almost immediately and is consistent until you reach the peak. The terrain is moderate and the trail is well-maintained and easily recognizable. Please note that this trail will likely get very slick and slippery when wet. Exposed roots, steep sections and wooden steps are all very susceptible to become slippery when wet.

Beautiful Cedar Forest

Hiking through the forest at this section is really pretty with medium sized cedar trees and is almost completely shaded. When the fog rolls in, as it does at this elevation, the forest gives off a mysterious feeling. One of the most prominent features of this trail is a black boulder. It could offer cover if you are hiking here and it’s raining. Many local hikers prop up sticks. This gives the perspective that the stick is holding up the boulder. 

Hiking Xiantianhushan 向天湖山, Taiwan's Xiao Bai Yue

Further along the trail, the forest changes and becomes more diverse. Here the forest feels a bit more closed in as you approach the peak. There is a small clearing at the official peak, but not much of a view from this location. Guests can continue to Guangtinggaoshan (光天高山) to get some views across the surrounding area. The Sea of Clouds are common in this area. If there are low clouds in the area it might be worth walking the short distance.

Our routing for hiking Xiantianhushan 向天湖山 is an out-and-back route. We suggest to turn around and head back along the trail you ascended on.

Hiking Xiantianhushan 向天湖山 on a foggy day.

What to Bring

When hiking in Taiwan, consider your capabilities before heading out. We hope this article helps provide insight into the level of difficulty. When hiking in Taiwan, one should bring the kinds of equipment or resources. We’ve provided a list below:

  • Water – About 1L of fresh drinking water (there are no water sources on trail)
  • Food – There are some services in this area, including stalls and vendors outside of the Xiangtian Lake Tribe Saisiyat Ethnic Folk Culture Museum. Many of these hold infrequent hours, so it is best to come prepared.  
  • Washrooms – There are public toilets available in Xiangtianhu parking lot.
  • Sunscreen – Almost the entire trail shaded, with about 5% unshaded.
  • Camera/Phone – Reception is available along all portions of this trail.
  • Equipment / Clothing / Gloves – It really depends on the time of the year you are hiking. Always consider the weather when preparing for your hike. Gloves are optional as there are some steep sections with ropes for support. Hiking poles might be useful.

How to Get to Xiantianhushan (向天湖山)

Driving to Xiantianhushan (向天湖山): If you are driving to the Xiantian Lake area, you can set this as your location – HERE. Note that the drive here is very easy, with a two-lane road most of the way. After you pass Donghe Suspension Bridge (東河吊橋) you have to take a smaller mountain road to the parking lot. Parking is free and abundant. 

Taking public transportation to Xiantianhushan (向天湖山): Take “Bus 5824” at Miaoli Bus Nanzhuang Station and get off at “Xiangtianhu Station”, and walk for about five minutes to the Xiangtianhu parking lot. Please read the schedule, as there are limited number of buses each day.

Map & GPX File for Hiking in Taiwan

Taiwan Hiking Trail Distance
Trail Distance: 4.75km
Taiwan Hiking Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions:
Compact soil, stone and wood steps
Hiking Trail Altitude in Taiwan
Altitude: 1225 meters

Degree of Difficulty:
Easy (2/5)
Time required to hike this trail in Taiwan.

Time Required: 3 hours
Trail Type: Out-and-back

Published by Taiwan Outdoors

Taiwan Outdoors is the pre-eminent source for Taiwan's outdoor recreation and adventure-based experiences on the Internet.

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