#033 – Xianshan 仙山

Hiking in Taiwan is a remarkable experience and hiking Xianshan 仙山, 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 Xianshan (仙山)

Xianshan (仙山) is listed at #033 of the Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳). The direct translation of this mountain is “Fairy Mountain” The peak is located in Shitan Township (獅潭鄉) in Miaoli County (苗栗縣). The standard looped, or “O” route up to this peak takes around 2 hours and is about 1.7km. The peak reaches 967m above sea level and this route consists of around 270m of elevation. Despite its short distance and relatively low elevation, hiking Xianshan 仙山 is anything but a walk in the park. 

Hiking Xianshan (仙山)

The famous mountain in Miaoli was listed as one of Taiwan’s top 100 mountains. It is 967 meters above sea level and numbered 33. It is located at the junction of Shitan Township and Nanzhuang Township in Miaoli County. 

There are lots of stairs while Hiking Xianshan 仙山.

Take the painted stairs on the right of the Lingdong Temple a short distance before you arrive at a second, smaller temple. The entrance to the real mountaineering trail and your journey of hiking Xianshan 仙山 begins here. Starting off, you’ll find a series of stone steps. You’ll reach a smaller temple with stunning views overlooking the larger Lingdong Temple. 

Continue up through a pretty section of the forest along steep, roughly cut stone steps. The trail changes between compact soil and stone steps until you reach the only trail fork on this trail. Turn right and you’ll see a small gazebo. There isn’t much of a view, but it is a good place to rest before the final climb up.

Climbing up from the gazebo is challenging. Steep sections with ropes and roots pretty much rounds out the ascent from here. Lots of scrambling up rock ledges is required. It isn’t overly dangerous but can be intimidating for some. The rooty sections are pretty remarkable, as it is surprising that trees can cling to the rock face at such a steep incline. 

The forest here is less dense and thins out a little as you approach the peak. To make it to the peak while hiking Xianshan 仙山, hikers will have one final unique feature to tackle. A steep rock face. Don’t worry though, there are several metal staples and a rope to help support hikers as they make the final push up to the peak. It’s worth it though. On a clear day, the Fairy Mountain Peak 仙山頂峰 has 360 degree views of beautiful forested mountains. If the weather is nice, hikers can see across the western plains to the Taiwan Strait. Definitely worth the effort.

The technical sections like this while Hiking Xianshan 仙山 are what make it so much fun.

Returning from the peak, be careful on the way down, as footings and hand holds seem a bit different than climbing up and aren’t always as obvious. Just before the fork in the trail, you’ll pass the small stone gazebo you saw on the way to the peak. This time you’ll stay right (or rather go straight). This section features a single track trail that continues to throw some unique challenges and features your way. 

Hiking Xianshan 仙山 is well worth the effort with views across the Western Plains of Taiwan.

Ropes and steep rocky sections make the hike down slow going, so please be careful. One section requires hikers to walk underneath a large boulder that is large enough to make the short walk through easy, but might seem tight for some. The trail continues down single track with a mix of compact soil, roots and roughly cut stone steps. Some of these steps are very shallow and would definitely be slippery when wet.. Soon the trail will reach a small lookout. Take some pictures if it’s a clear day, this spot has nice views. Continue down the stone steps and you’ll eventually arrive at Lingdong Temple coming out on the opposite side of the temple you went up. 

Hiking Xianshan 仙山 is no easy feature. There are plenty of technical sections like this.

Catering to the temple goers, there are a few Taoist temples in the area, food stalls and vendors are typically open during common visitor hours. Grab a snack or drink, you’ve earned it. You’ve just climbed #33 of Taiwan’s Xiao Bai Yue.

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 (there are no water sources on trail, but places to fill up your water at the temple)
  • Food – There are some services in this area, including stalls and vendors outside of the temple. 
  • Washrooms – Available at Lingdong Temple (靈洞宮)
  • Sunscreen – About 25% of the trail is unshaded.
  • Camera/Phone – Reception is available along all portions of this trail.
  • Clothing / Gloves / Equipment – It really depends on the time of the year you are hiking, but always consider the weather when preparing for your hike. We’d recommend bringing a pair of gloves and if you tend to walk with hiking poles, they’d come in handy on this trail.

How to Get to Xianshan (仙山)

Driving to Xianshan (仙山): If you are driving to the Xiantian area, you can set this as your location – HERE. Note that the drive here from Shitan Old Street is on a well paved, two-lane road, however it can get curvy. As always, be careful while driving in the mountains and be aware of oncoming traffic. Parking is available in a large, covered facility. It is free and can hold around 30 cars. Behind the covered parking, past the temple, there is another parking lot. At the time of writing, this was also free for users.  

Taking public transportation to Xianshan (仙山): There is public transportation from Miaoli High Speed Rail Station, however it likely takes over three hours. With two transfers, this is estimated to cost around $180ntd. Click here for the transportation schedule and overview.

Map & GPX File for Hiking in Taiwan

Hiking Xianshan 仙山 Trail Distance
Trail Distance: 1.75km
Hiking Xianshan 仙山 Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions:
Rooty, ropes, rock scrambles, compact soil, stone steps
Hiking Xianshan 仙山 Altitude
Altitude: 976 meters

Degree of Difficulty:
Easy (4/5)

Time Required: 2 hours
Trail Type: Looped, “O” route

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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