Tucheng Ridge Hike
Tucheng District, New Taipei City
Introduction: This hike goes over the mountains behind Tucheng over the peak of Mt Tianshang and passes through Tunghwa Park, which is very crowded in April when the Tung Blossom trees and blooming, and to Chengtian Temple. The trails are popular with locals and this is a good hike to do if you don’t want to go out of the city. As this is essential an urban trail expect to be serenaded by old people karaoke music echoing up from down below for pretty much the entire hike.
Access: take bus F601 from Tucheng MRT Station and get off at the last stop (山中湖). Buses are infrequent. The bus is free. This bus is not listed on the map in the MRT station. To find the bus stop go out exit 2, cross the main road and walk to the bus stop on the right.
Length: 10km, 4 hours
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Trail Conditions: stone and wide dirt trails with some short, rocky sections; the hike is well signposted but in Chinese only and there are no trail maps along the hike.
The bus will drop you off at a lake where people like to go fishing.
Follow the track to the back of the lake and keep going straight. The trail along here is made of cement ties.
When the trail makes a sharp turn to the left, take a trail branching off on the right then turn right again at another trail junction a few meters ahead. The turn is signposted in Chinese only for Wucheng Shan (五城山).
The trail, also made of concrete ties, makes a short climb upwards then levels out along the side of the hill.
The trail then changes to a dirt trail with wood-supported steps as it continues its steep climb.
The dirt trail levels out along the side of the hill again and passes an electrical tower.
More wood-supported steps then climb steeply to the peak of Mt Wucheng.
At the top the trail comes a large rest area with benches and a covered seating area. Keep going straight through the rest area and past a flag pole to a cooking shack.
The trail turns sharply to the right next to cooking shack signposted for Tianshang Shan (天上山) and descends steeply on stone steps.
After the descent the trail is mostly flat for a long stretch. The dirt trail follows the now abandoned slippery stone trail. There are several places where unmarked trails branch off the main trail. Keep following the stone trail.
The trail passes several electrical towers along the way. The dirt trail next to the stone trail is actually for a small tractor that is used to service the electrical towers.
Eventually this dirt track will branch away from the stone trail. Stick with the stone trail when it does. Stone steps climb up past one more electrical tower.
The stone steps continue their steep climb. At the top of the steps there is a short, flat rocky section.
This is followed by a short, steep, rocky climb to the peak of Mt Tianshang.
On the peak there is a viewing platform and good views on rare, clear days. This peak gets very crowded when the Tung trees are blooming.
From the peak take the wooden steps down to a rest pavilion then fork left.
The rocky trail descends steeply from the peak.
The path then levels out for a bit and goes along the side of the hill.
More steps bring you down to a rest pavilion at a trail junction. Keep going straight here.
Rock-cut steps climb upwards over a small, rocky peak then down the other side on stone steps.
This is followed by another short climb up on stone steps and past more rocks.
Stone steps lead back down the other side and the trail comes to a picnic area with a shack and stone tables.
More stone steps descend from the picnic area.
The trail changes back to concrete ties and passes a junction with a dirt trail. Keep going straight here.
After the junction the concrete ties make a short climb then come to another trail junction. Fork right at this junction.
The trail leads down to a road. Turn right at the road and walk along it for a few hundred meters.
The road passes and outdoor café with a wooden patio deck which makes for a great place to stop for a rest, however they don’t have an English menu and the staff can’t speak English either.
Keep walking along the road from the café past a couple of small parking lots until you come to a trail branching off on the left hand side under a white gate.
This trail leads down through Tunghwa Park and is also very crowded when the tung trees are blooming. Shortly after the start of the trail fork right and keep following the stone trail.
The trail goes over a short wooden bridge then makes a sharp left turn past some karaoke places. You’ve likely been listening to the singing coming up from here for a long time now. The trail descends, sometimes with stone steps and sometimes with wooden ties, along a small stream.
This trail ends at another road. Turn left at the road and follow it for a few hundred meters to Chengtian Temple. The temple, with its subdued architecture and landscaped gardens, offers a refreshing contrast to the garish and OTT decorations that are usually seen in Taiwanese temples. This temple is also one of the busiest temples in the Taipei area. Walk through the parking lot and cross the terrace in front of the main hall with its fantastic triple Buddhas.
Then take the stairs going down from the terrace and the path passes in front of another building with a small garden in front of it.
Walk in front of the building and the path leads away from the temple passing under a yellow and red gate.
From the gate a stone trail leads away from the temple passing numerous small monuments on the way down.
This trail ends at another road. Cross the road here then look for some steps going down next to the public washrooms. These lead down to a stream and a fish-viewing boardwalk trail which follows the stream. Follow this trail downstream until the end.
When the wooden trail ends turn left the intersection, then right at the next intersection. Follow this road under the freeway ahead and on to Yongning MRT Station.
Map of the Hike