Tucheng

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.

bus schedule from Tucheng MRT Station, the times on the left are for buses to the start of the hike

bus schedule from Tucheng MRT Station, the times on the left are for buses to the start of the 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 Hike

The bus will drop you off at a lake where people like to go fishing.

lake at the bus stop

lake at the bus stop

Follow the track to the back of the lake and keep going straight. The trail along here is made of cement ties.

trail going away from the lake

trail going away from the lake

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).

turn right here, then immediately turn right again

turn right here, then immediately turn right again

The trail, also made of concrete ties, makes a short climb upwards then levels out along the side of the hill.

trail to MT Wucheng

trail to Mt Wucheng

The trail then changes to a dirt trail with wood-supported steps as it continues its steep climb.

climbing up Wucheng

climbing up Wucheng

The dirt trail levels out along the side of the hill again and passes an electrical tower.

dirt trail to Wucheng

dirt trail to Wucheng

More wood-supported steps then climb steeply to the peak of Mt Wucheng.

climbing to the peak

climbing to the peak

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.

Mt Wucheng peak

Mt Wucheng peak

The trail turns sharply to the right next to cooking shack signposted for Tianshang Shan (天上山) and descends steeply on stone steps.

turn right here next to the cooking shack

turn right here next to the cooking shack

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.

leading away from Mt. Wucheng

leading away from Mt. Wucheng

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.

dirt track following the old stone trail

dirt track following the old stone trail

passing an electrical tower

passing an electrical tower

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.

trail to Tiannshang

trail to Tianshang

The stone steps continue their steep climb. At the top of the steps there is a short, flat rocky section.

rocky section of trail

rocky section of trail

This is followed by a short, steep, rocky climb to the peak of Mt Tianshang.

climb to the peak to Tianshang

climb to the peak to 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.

Mt Tianshang peak

Mt Tianshang peak

From the peak take the wooden steps down to a rest pavilion then fork left.

fork left here from the peak

fork left here from the peak

The rocky trail descends steeply from the peak.

trail going away from the peak

trail going away from the peak

The path then levels out for a bit and goes along the side of the hill.

trail leading away from Tianshang

trail leading away from Tianshang

More steps bring you down to a rest pavilion at a trail junction. Keep going straight here.

rest pavilion, keep going straight here

rest pavilion, keep going straight here

Rock-cut steps climb upwards over a small, rocky peak then down the other side on stone steps.

 

climbing away from the rest pavilion

climbing away from the rest pavilion

This is followed by another short climb up on stone steps and past more rocks.

going past some rocks

going past some rocks

Stone steps lead back down the other side and the trail comes to a picnic area with a shack and stone tables.

picnic area

picnic area

More stone steps descend from the picnic area.

going away from the picnic area

going away from the picnic area

The trail changes back to concrete ties and passes a junction with a dirt trail. Keep going straight here.

keep going straight here

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.

fork right here

fork right here

The trail leads down to a road. Turn right at the road and walk along it for a few hundred meters.

go down to the road and turn right

go down to the road and turn right

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.

café on the road

café on the road

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.

turn off the road here

turn off the road here

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.

fork right here

fork right here

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.

Tunghwa Park trail towards Chengtian Temple

Tunghwa Park trail towards Chengtian Temple

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.

Chengtian Temple

Chengtian Temple

Chengtian Temple's main hall

Chengtian Temple’s main hall

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.

Chengtian Temple

Chengtian Temple

Walk in front of the building and the path leads away from the temple passing under a yellow and red gate.

leaving Chengtian Temple

leaving Chengtian Temple

From the gate a stone trail leads away from the temple passing numerous small monuments on the way down.

trail going away from the temple

trail going away from the temple

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.

fish-viewing tral

fish-viewing trail

fish-viewing trail

fish-viewing trail

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

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