#029 Shitoushan (獅頭山)

Beginner and intermediate 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.

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 Shitoushan (獅頭山)

Shitoushan (獅頭山) is commonly referred to as Lion’s Head Mountainis listed at #029 of the Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳). Located in Nanzhuang (南庄) in Hsinchu County (新竹縣), hiking Lion’s Head Mountain is an easy hike that offers easy hiking (essentially walking) and visits to temples in Taiwan’s Tri-Mountain Scenic Areas.

Hiking Shitoushan (獅頭山)

There are two main ways you can reach this peak. An easy way, up the stone steps behind Shitoushan Quanhua Temple (獅頭山勸化堂停) on the Miaoli side. This path is over 1000 stone steps up and only about 3km total return trip. The second way is about 9.5km round trip and is much more enjoyable and fills out a full day of hiking and sightseeing.

Hiking the Tengping Trail (藤坪古道)

Starting from the Lion’s Head Mountain Scenic Area Visitor Center (獅山遊客中心) (water, restrooms and tea house), hikers will begin along the Tengping Trail (藤坪古道). This trail starts with steep, stair section right from the parking lot of the visitor center. Once hikers reach a plateau, the trail transitions into compact soil with a viewing platform (although the trees have grown in a fair bit), before descending down a wooden stair section towards the Liuliao Historic Trail (六寮古道). Take the extended trail Tengping Trail (藤坪古道) (1.2km). One of the more secluded trails, Tengping connects hikers to Liuliao Trail and then onto Shishan Trail. A popular trail during the Hakka Tung Flower blossom season, it’s also a short, but favorite trail of ours. The total length of the trail is only about 1.5 kilometers. It is not really that difficult and easy to walk.

The steep stairs that hikers face when starting up the Tengping Trail (藤坪古道)

Hiking the Liuliao Historic Trail (六寮古道)

At the trail junction of Tengping Trail (藤坪古道) and Liuliao Historic Trail (六寮古道), turn left onto Liuliao Trail and continue along the single lane asphalt road. The Liuliao Historic Trail (六寮古道) is only about 2.5km in total and functions as a quiet road for local Hakka residents follows the Liuliao River.

While a visit any time of the year offers scenic lookouts and natural scenery, a visit in April and May allows visitors to experience the unique Tung Blossom. This trail offers a key (and recommended) trunk to a wonderful looped route. The route is well-signed and is more of a walk than a hike due to the hard surface. Be cautious of vehicle traffic on this section.

Compact soil trails along the Tengping Trail while hiking in Taiwan

Hiking the Shishan Historic Trail (獅山古道) in Taiwan

This then connects to the main Shishan Trail (獅山古道), a slightly steeper, single-lane asphalt road. There are few cars along this road, but still keep an eye out for traffic. As hikers approach the top of Lion’s Head Mountain they will pass several temples, including the famous Lingxia Cave Temple (靈霞洞) and Yuanguang Temple (元光寺). Yuanguang Temple (元光寺) is the oldest temple on Lion’s Head Mountain and offers nice views with a large platform for viewing both the natural and cultural scenery.

Views from Shitoushan Quanhua Temple (獅頭山勸化堂停)
Views from the steps behind Shitoushan Quanhua Temple (獅頭山勸化堂停)

Walking past Yuanguang Temple hikers will reach a small vendor and stone gazebo. The vendor here serves cold drinks and basic food and noodles. The short path to the peak is about 1 minute past the vendor on the right hand side. It’s not too obvious, so if you start walking down stone steps you’ve gone too far.

The final ascent to the peak is along a natural, soil single track trail and brings hikers to a small clearing with the small metal sign showing you’ve reached the peak. A common practice while hiking in Taiwan, is to take a selfie with this metal sign (we of course forgot to do it this time).

Views from Shitoushan while hiking 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:

  • Water – About 1L of fresh drinking water (you can refill at the temples)
  • Food – There are some services in this area, including a small vendor near the peak of this trail. The visitor center also has a nice tea house with light snacks and drinks.
  • Washrooms – Available at the visitor center and Yuanguang Temple
  • Sunscreen – Almost the entire trail shaded, with about 15% unshaded.
  • Camera/Phone – Reception is available along all portions of this trail.

How to Get to Shitoushan (獅頭山)

Driving to Shitoushan (獅頭山): If you are driving to the Shitoushan Visitor Center, you can set this as your location – HERE. Note the drive here is very easy, with a two-lane road with paved shoulders most of the way. Parking is limited to about 20 cars in the Visitor Center parking lot, but a second parking lot can be found 100m up the road.

Taking public transportation to Shitoushan (獅頭山): There is direct public transportation on a bus from Hsinchu High Speed Train Station to Shitoushan (獅頭山), however it will likely take just over 1 hour travel time. The bus to Lion’s Head Mountain is the 5700 Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Lions Head Mountain Route 獅山遊客中心[台灣好行. This bus will take you within a 5 minute walk to the Lion’s Head Mountain Visitor Center. Here is the Google Route.

Map & GPX File for Hiking in Taiwan

Taiwan Hiking Trail Distance
Trail Distance: 9.5km
Taiwan Hiking Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions:
Stone steps, wood steps, hard surface paths
Hiking Trail Altitude in Taiwan
Altitude: 492 meters

Degree of Difficulty:
Easy (1/5)
Time required to hike this trail in Taiwan.

Time Required: 3-5 hours
Trail Type: Loop

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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