Mudan to Jinguashi on the Diaosan Old Trail
Here’s a fun way to hike into the Gold Ecological Park at Jinguashi. This hike goes up the Diaosan Old Trail up a valley and over the ridge above Jinguashi, then descends through Jinguashi to the coast passing some mining ruins and Huangjin Waterfall on the way down.
Access: take a local train to Mudan Station.
Length: 15km, 5 – 6hrs
Trail Conditions: mostly stone trails with lots of steps, dirt or grassy trails near Jinguashi
Mudan is a quiet little town three stops past Ruifang, we were the only two people who got off the train here. A sign outside the station points to the way to the hiking trail (Diaosan Historic Trail) which starts at the end of the road. If you need water turn at the river and go under the tracks, there is a mom and pop shop down the road. This may be the only store in Mudan.
Keep walking along the road as it follows the river upstream and through the last village at the end. Along the way you’ll pass the start of a trail that goes over the hills to Houtong. Go through the last village and there are two hiking trails that start at the end of the road. Take the left trail (signposted for Diaosan) which switchbacks its way up a hill. At first the trail actually still a small road, but it will turn into a stone/concrete trail at the end of the switchbacks. The trail follows the valley up to the top of the mountain. It is an easy hike, climbing gradually with lots of great scenery, but there is very little shade along the way. The trail ends at a road at the top.
Turn right and walk along the road a short distance until you come to the start of another trail going down.
This trail is an unusual trail made of mowed grass that winds its way down the hill. There will likely be lots of small lizards that will scurry away as you approach. At the bottom you’ll come to another trail. Turn right here.
This trail goes along the hillside and passes and old mining pit along the way.
Turn left at the end of this trail to make the descent into Jinguashi. On the way down you’ll pass some grass-covered old mining buildings and the ruins of a Japanese temple. There are also great views of Jinguashi. Mount Keelung, Tea Pot Mountain, and the north coast.
If you are hungry after the hike, turn left when you reach Junguashi and go down the steps to find a nice café. You’ll pass the Crown Prince Chalet on the way, an old Japanese guest house. Back the other way from the end of the trail takes you past the museum and an old mining tunnel that you can go through as past of a guided tour.
In additional to these usual sights that everyone sees, there are some others that most people tend to miss. Follow the walkway past the museum and over the stream. Further down look for some stairs going down to a temple. From the temple keep following the stairs down (the ones with lanterns strung above them) to Junguahsi’s little old street at the bottom, a cluster of old houses beside a stream. Take the walkway along the stream, cross the bridge and you’ll come to the Kinkaseki Monument, a memorial which has the names of all the Allied POWs who were incarcerated at a Japanese prison on this spot.
From the monument take the road up to a temple with a large statue on the roof. Keep going past the temple up to the top of the hill for great views of the north coast and some old mining stuff on the hillsides.
Unfortunately it is one again not possible to hike from Jinguashi down past the mining ruins to Hunagjin Waterfall. The trail has been blocked off and is now overgrown. This means the only way to get to the waterfall from Jinguashi is by bus.
THIS SECTION IS NOW IMPASSIBLE
From another viewpoint down the road there is a trail going down past more mining ruins and leading to the top of the 13-tiered smelter at the bottom. The grassy track leads winds its way down to an abandoned road near the bottom and more mining ruins. Keep walking along the road.
There is a section where the road has been destroyed by a landslide. Follow the narrow dirt trail over this section. On the other side the road winds down to end at another road. Turn left here to reach Huangjin Waterfall.
UPDATE: it is no longer possible to walk from Jinguashi to the waterfall. You need to take a bus down the hill.
From Huangjin Waterfall walk along the road continuing down, cross the bridge at the bottom, and walk into the village. There is a great viewpoint in the village where you can see the waterfall, mining ruins, and surrounding mountains.
From the viewpoint take the steps going down the large parking lot at the coastal highway at the bottom. From here you can catch a bus to either Keelung going along the coastal highway or to Ruifang going back up the mountain to Jinguashi.
Map of the Hike