YMS Gold Mining Tr.

Eggplant Valley Gold Mining Trail/XiaoGuanyinShan Ridge Hike

Yangmingshan National Park

This hike follows a stream up a valley on the northern slopes of Yangmingshan, makes a steep climb out of the valley, goes along the top of the XiaoGuanyinShan ridge, and finishes at the Erziping car park.

Access: take bus 876 from Tamshui MRT Station to the Houdian (後店) stop. The bus leaves at 9:30.

Trail Conditions: rough dirt trails, bridgeless stream crossings (you’ll likely need to get your feet wet), short rope sections, very steep climb to the top of the ridge.

This hike should only be done if it has not rained on the northern slopes of Yangmingshan for a couple of days. The steep climb is impossible to do in muddy conditions.

Long pants should be worn for this hike as plants with thorns along the ridge can cut legs.

There are no signs or trail maps.

Length: 10km, 6hrs

The Hike

From the bus stop it is about a 3km road walk to the trailhead. There are public washrooms in the small park across the road from the bus stop. See the map at the bottom of this page for how to walk from the bus stop to the trailhead. The trail starts to the left of a water tank. There are no signs marking the start of the hike.

trailhead

The trail starts easy enough, passing through some bamboo and soon coming to a clearing beside the stream. There is ruined house here.

clearing and ruined house

From the clearing the trail follows along the stream and soon comes to the first rocky stream crossing.

trail following the stream

first stream crossing

Now following the right bank for a while, keep going straight at a trail junction.

trail junction, keep going straight upstream

Continuing further along the right bank for a while, the trail then crosses a tributary stream at the top of a small waterfall.

hiking upstream

crossing a tributary stream and the top of a small waterfall

Now above the main stream again, the trail crosses it in front of another small waterfall.

second main stream crossing front of a small waterfall

At the top of this waterfall the trail crosses the stream again. From here the trail makes repeated crossings as the valley becomes narrower and the hillsides steeper.

crossing again at the top of the waterfall

After a few more crossings the trail comes to the gold mining area. Passing a mine entrance on the other side of the stream, the trail climbs up alongside a small waterfall.

crossing yet again

climbing alongside a small waterfall with ruined mining building behind it

After the waterfall the trail passes the foundations of a ruined building on the other side of the stream, then crosses the stream behind the building. The wide clearing here makes for a good place to stop for lunch.

crossing at the ruined mining building

having lunch at a clearing in the ruined mining building

After the building the trail zig-zags up high above the stream, then becomes very narrow as it goes along the steep hillside. There is a sheer drop to the stream below along here making for a slightly hair-raising stretch of trail. Down below the stream plunges over a couple of small waterfalls.

zig-zagging up above the stream

Back at stream level, the trail makes a crossing, zig-zags up, and crosses yet again, this time while having to duck under a fallen tree.

another crossing

stream crossing with fallen tree

Crossing yet again in another few minutes, the valley begins to open up as the vegetation thins out. The trail goes through some bamboo grasses then crosses the stream one last time at the spring, where the brown colored water seeps out of the ground.

last crossing at the spring

The trail heads away from the stream along the hillside through bamboo grasses and shrubby trees, then begins the steep climb out of the valley with the aid of ropes.

going away from the stream

rope climb

After the ropes go straight at a trail junction, continuing the steep climb. From the junction it is about 20 minutes of very steep climbing through the bamboo. There are no ropes here, just grab handfuls of bamboo the help pull you up.

steep climb through the bamboo

Near the end of the climb a large boulder with a shrubby tree provides for a nice viewpoint.

boulder near the top

At the top of the climb the trail turns right at a small clearing.

at the top of the climb

From here the trail goes along the top of the ridge, going over several peaks, heading towards the military radar and communication towers. Fork left at a trail junction.

fork left here

The trail dips down, then back up over XiaoGuanyinShan north peak.

trail along the ridge

north peak

The trail dips down again then back up to XiaoGuanyinShan peak with the military radar on it.

trail along the ridge going towards the radar and towers

The trail passes beside a building on XiaoGuanyinShan peak, then makes a short descend to get around the restricted military area.

XiaoGuanyingShan peak

The trail along the hillside here provides for great views of Qixing (Yangmingshan’s highest peak with its volcanic vent on the side of the mountain).

trail along the hillside going around the military area

Just before the end, the trail goes through a grove of Japanese cedars then ends at a road beneath the towers.

going through a grove of Japanese cedars

From here walk down the road, continuing straight at a T-intersection.

walking down the road

Just after the intersection turn off the road onto an unmarked trail to hike to XiaoGuanyinShan west peak, or continue on the road if you want to skip this peak.

turn off the road here for the west peak

It takes about 15 minutes to hike from the road to the peak. At first the trail goes through a tree grove, then cuts through more bamboo. The trail gets increasingly rocky as it gets closer to the peak.

trail to the west peak

trail to the west peak

The west peak is a rocky peak with more great views.

XiaoGuanyinShan west peak

From the peak return back to the road (the trails are too difficult to descend on). Keep walking down the road until you come to another unmarked trail.

WARNING: at the end of the road is a pack of about 30 large aggressive dogs. It is advisable to turn off the road here, especially if you are hiking alone.

Turn off the road here, then turn left at a trail junction after a few steps. Follow this trail going down, going straight at another trail junction.

going down the road again

turn off the road here

Turn left at a trail junction with a kiln and this trail will end at a parking lot.

turn left here

From the parking lot, walk up the road to the Erziping car park to catch the bus if you are hiking on weekends (or catch the bus from this first car park if you are hiking on a weekday). From Erziping get on a bus that has Erziping only for its destination (weekends only) in order to avoid the long nauseating ride around Qixing.

Map of  the Hike