Yangmingshan National Park
Qixing (7 Star Mountain)
Highlights: the highest peak in Yangmingshan
At 1120m, this hike takes you over the highest peak in the Taipei area and to several different sites on the slopes. The views are excellent from the trails and the peaks.
There is absolutely no shade for much of this hike as most of the mountain is covered by grasses. Be prepared and have plenty of fluids. The best time to do this hike is in late spring after the plum rains when the trail is covered with flowers and butterflies.
Access: take bus Red 5 from Jiantan MRT station to the last stop, the Yangmingshan bus terminal. From the bus terminal, take the Yangmingshan shuttle (number 108) and get off at the Xiaoyoukeng stop and car park. Some buses only go to the Erziping stop and then return to the bus terminal, if the bus has 二子坪 for its destination do not board it.
Length: 8.5km, 4.5 – 5 hours
Difficulty Level: 1/5
Trail Conditions: stone trails, lots of steep steps
The hike starts at the hydrothermal vents which can be seen in picture above. There is also a visitor centre and a store at the car park.
The trail starts near the bus stop. It is a steep, sweaty, shadeless climb to the top. This side of the mountain is covered only by grass.
The trail also passes by several smaller hydrothermal vents on the way to the top.
As it is a very steep climb, there are also a couple of viewing platforms along the way where you can take a rest.
Take care to avoid stepping on the small lizards which may be on the stone steps. You’ll likely see lots of butterflies on the trail as well if you do the hike early in the summer.
On a clear day there are sweeping views from the peak of Taipei, Yangmingshan, and the north coast.
After you’ve enjoyed the peak, start heading down the other side.
You will soon come a trail junction. Turning left at the trail junction leads you over the east peak.
From the east peak the trail goes down the other side descending gradually at first. The trail then comes to the steeper side of the mountain providing one of the best views in Yangmingshan of Menghuan Pond down below and the grasslands of the cow meadow further on.
From here the trail descends by a long series of short, steep switchbacks. Part way down the trail passes through a small grove of trees in a depression in the mountain then emerges into the grasses again.
After descending from the east peak the trail comes to a trail junction at a radio tower and service road.
Continue straight past the tower walking on the road and you’ll come to a viewpoint at a covered pavilion. (Down below from the pavilion is the Lengshuikeng car park and the cow meadow at Qiantangang car park further on. Bus Small 15 from Jiantan MRT Station stops in the Lengshuikeng car park. Some buses terminate here and others continue on to the Qiantangang car park. Bus 108 stops on the road. Don’t bother looking at the times listed on the bus stops as these are completely meaningless. Note that getting on a bus here on the weekends is very difficult, I’ve waited as long as 90 minutes here. As it is better to start hikes from these places than finish please see my east Yangmingshan and Mt. Shiti guides on hikes through this area of the park.)
From the viewpoint keep walking along the road which leads to Menghuan Pond. The signs here say that this pond has an indigenous species of grass, though it looks like any other grass to me. Nonetheless, the pond is worth the short side trip to visit.
From the pond return back to the radio tower and follow the path down to Qixing Park. The park has a large clearing of grass and more good views.
Continue through the park and out the other side following the trail going down. This trail will soon connect with the trail that came down from between the peaks, turn left at the trail junction signposted for Miaopu Trail Entrance. There is also a covered rest area at the trail junction.
From the junction the trail continues downward and soon comes to another junction, keep going straight here signposted again for Miaopu Trail Entrance.
The trail continues to descend and reaches the Yangmingshan National Park Visitor Center at the bottom which has some displays about the park.
The trail from the centre to keep heading down starts from behind the washrooms, signposted for Yangmingshan Bus Station.
At the end of the trail stairs lead down to an underpass under the road. Turn left after the underpass and walk through another underpass to return to the bus terminal.
Map of the Hike