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 Yuanshan (鳶山)
Yuanshan (鳶山) meaning ‘kite mountain’ is listed at #019 of the Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳). Located in Sanxia District (三峽區) in New Taipei City (新北市), Yuanshan is a relatively easy hike with an interested trail and great views of Sanxia and surrounding areas.
Also known as the “Three Gorges Kite Mountain”, Yuanshan rests adjacent to the Dahan River. The mountain nickname comes from both its location (Sanxia / 三峽 meaning three gorges) and the mountain’s shape, which is said to look like a flying kite. Although it is only just over 300 meters high (321m to be exact), it is one of the best places to overlook this area of Taoyuan. It has been named as one of the five scenic destinations in the Sanxia area.
Hiking Yuanshan (鳶山)
There are many different routes and looped hikes in the Yuanshan area, many of them longer than the proposed route GPX and map provided here. If you hike this shorten route and are lucky enough to get parking as identified below, then the first section of the trail will be paved path. This continues for about 20 meters and is a relatively flat and smooth walk in the woods. After this it turns into a gravel and natural mountain trail.
Climbing up a viewing deck, the trail is rocky and features lots of roots, but nothing technical. As we made this a shorter hike, it was nice to have something a bit more interesting. Off the left side of the viewing deck is a roped off cliff with rocky footings and a spectacular 180 degree north across National Highway 3. The views here are famous with Instagrammers as it gives a rugged foreground with picturesque views.
The natural trail continues with the forest closing in, which gives this section of the trail some nice shade. There is a significant drop on your righthand side, so be careful with you footing as the rocks and roots continue here. You’ll arrive at the first rest area called “Long Life Ridge” (Changchun Ridge / 長春嶺). This area has a small clearing that features a trail guide map and a steel pavilion. There are some nice views from here as well.
This trail was rated easy, however this is not a simple stroll along a flat, paved or stone path. This trail has some sections that has ropes mostly for providing simple balance. After the Changchun Ridge clearing, the trail descends down along a narrow path with some ropes. Small structures exist along the trail as you walk along out to the peak. The trail changes to its steepest with wooden and stone steps and ropes. Nothing is unsafe or technical, but it does get a little twisty.
A second clearing has a number of mismatched seats and tables with views across both sides of the ridge. The hike continues for a short time and then a final clearing appears and you’re at the peak of Yuanshan. Despite this trail being popular for its scenic views, the peak area of Yuanshan has no views. Take some pictures and hike back the 1.5km back to the start (or longer depending on if you took public transit or where you parked).
This area is popular in the Spring (April-May) due to the blossoming Tung Flower Trees, which locals referred to as “May Snow”. The route options around Yuanshan are plentiful and you can create hikes that can be long or short. There is a lot to do in the area such as visit old streets and some neat historical sites.
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:
- Gloves – There are some sections with ropes that you may wish to have gloves for, but not completely necessary
- Water – About 1 to 1.5L of fresh drinking water
- Food – There are some services along this trail, but limited to vendors and some vending machines at the temple.
- Washrooms – Available at temples.
- Sunscreen – The trail is mostly unshaded, with about 30% shaded. 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 Yuanshan (鳶山)
Driving to Yuanshan (鳶山): If you are driving, you can set this as your location – HERE. Note that traffic and parking in this area of New Taipei City gets busy and parking can be difficult at times. Come early if you wish to beat the crowds.
Taking public transportation to Yuanshan (鳶山): From Taipei Main Station, take the train to Yingge Station. When exiting the Yingge Train Station, go out the south side towards Dingying Village Office to catch the 5001 Bus for 8 stops to the Fishing Net Factory. From here you will hve to walk an additional 2.1km to trail head. Here is the Google Route.