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
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.
The trail starts easy enough, passing through some bamboo and soon coming to a clearing beside the stream. There is ruined house here.
From the clearing the trail follows along the stream and soon comes to the first rocky stream crossing.
Now following the right bank for a while, keep going straight at a trail junction.
Continuing further along the right bank for a while, the trail then crosses a tributary stream at the top of a small waterfall.
Now above the main stream again, the trail crosses it in front of another 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Near the end of the climb a large boulder with a shrubby tree provides for a nice viewpoint.
At the top of the climb the trail turns right at a small clearing.
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.
The trail dips down, then back up over XiaoGuanyinShan north peak.
The trail dips down again then back up to XiaoGuanyinShan peak with the military radar on it.
The trail passes beside a building on XiaoGuanyinShan peak, then makes a short descend to get around the restricted military area.
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).
Just before the end, the trail goes through a grove of Japanese cedars then ends at a road beneath the towers.
From here walk down the road, continuing straight at a T-intersection.
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.
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.
The west peak is a rocky peak with more great views.
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.
Turn left at a trail junction with a kiln and this trail will end at a parking lot.
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