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 Tianshangshan (天上山)
Tianshangshan (天上山) is listed at #018 of the Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳). Located in Tucheng District (土城區) in New Taipei City (新北市), Tianshangshan, aka Emperor Mountain, is a fun, yet pretty developed area for a hike. There are lots of spots that offer some great views and is a very popular area during the Tung Flower blooming season between April and May.
Hiking Tianshangshan (天上山)
Having parked and gotten ready, follow the road towards Tonghua Park. When you see the white park gates on the left, stay on the road and continue along for about 5 minutes. As you walk along you will find the trailhead on the righthand side and beginning, as many trails in Taiwan do, with cement stairs. Trail guide map is just up a few stairs.
This section of the trail begins the major part of the ascent up towards Wang Yue Pavilion (望月亭). The trail mostly stone stairs with some sections of flagstone pathways and compact soil on flatter sections.
There are a few steeper sections as well, but overall nothing too technical. The trail is forested and offers few unshaded areas. It’s a great stretch of hiking in a nice forest. You’ll climb for about a kilometer before it flattens out and begins to descend a bit towards Wang Yue Pavillon.
This first stretch of the trail takes hikers up to Wang Yue Pavilion first. From here, you’ll head north and onwards to the peak of Tianshangshan. Although the altitude of Tianshangshan is not that high at 430m, it has an excellent view overlooking the Tucheng City area, the western half of Taipei and the Datunshan and Guanyinshan in the distance.
You’ll double back and head towards the Wang Yue Pavillon and continue south. Here the trail transitions into a more natural trail for sections. The forest thins here and there is a lot more unshaded sections. You’ll hike for another 900m or so and then pop out on another mountain road. Turn left and continue up the street with an eye for the trailhead on the right side.
The climb is mostly downhill until you arrive near the famous buddhist temple Chengtian Temple 承天禪寺. At the time of writing this temple is under construction. Once you arrive at the road in front of the temple, turn left and continue walking on the road. After 300m, you will pass a small vendor / restaurant on your right and the trailhead adjacent.
More flagstone and stone stairs, which eventually transition into a short wooden boardwalk with a few more stairs. This last section climbs about 150m before you arrive into Tonghua Park and back to the begin of the route.
In recent years, the craze for viewing Tung Flowers has drawn a lot of hikers to the area in April and May. In fact it’s locally referred to as “May Snow”, as these trees bloom a bright white flower that covers the trails and hillsides during the spring.
This route finishes up with a scenic stroll through Tonghua Park, famous for its white flowering trees and fireflies in the evenings of early spring. You’ll pop out near that white park gate/arch that you past at the very beginning of the trail.
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 1.5-2L of fresh drinking water
- Food – There are some services along this trail, but limited to a single restaurant and possible vendors along the trail.
- Washrooms – There are no washrooms available along this route.
- Sunscreen – The trail is mostly shaded, with about 20% unshaded. The peak is open, so if you’re spending much time up there you may wish to wear a hat or have some sunscreen on.
- Camera/Phone – Reception is near perfect on this trail!
How to Get to Tianshangshan (天上山)
Driving to Tianshangshan (天上山): If you are driving or taking a scooter, you can set this as your location – HERE. This will take you to a small area for parking cars near Tunghua Park (Tung Blossom Park 桐花公園). Depending on availability, you may have to park in the secondary parking lot. Tianshangshan is approximately 30 minutes from Taipei Main Station by car.
Taking public transportation to Tianshangshan (天上山): From Yongning MRT Station in Tucheng, you can get to the trailhead for Ergeshan in just under 30 minutes. When exiting the Yongning MRT Station, walk across Zhongyang Road to Chengtian Road. Catch the Tiaowa Bus (Nantianmu) to Nantianmu Square. Take this bus for 7 stops until the Nantianmu Square 南天母廣場. The trailhead is 10 minutes by foot from there. Here is the Google Route.