by Robert Minor
TAIPEI HIKING SERIES:
Taipei's Yangmingshan National Park is home to wonderful hiking trails and a few easy peak hikes that can keep hikers busy from 2-6 hours. The tallest peak is Mt. Seven Stars which stands at 1120meters and offers amazing city and coastal views of Taipei and northern Taiwan.
There are several routes up to Seven Stars once you arrive at the Yangmingshan Visitor Center. This article is about the most difficult and steepest route called the Miaopu Trail.
The worst thing you can be is underprepared for a hike up Yangmingshan. Be aware that the weather in Taipei City could be milder/warmer than that on a 1,000meter peak. Also, weather can change quickly, so temperatures may drop and rain may come. Here are a few things to bring along:
-1-2 liters of water. Stay hydrated. Especially during the hot and sunny summer days.
-some snacks like fruit, bread, cookies, or nuts
-a hat to keep off the sun
-a wind breaker or raincoat to put on at the peak to keep your sweaty body warm. (also in case of rain)
-during the winter, a fleece or warm, long sleeved top for warmth
-a small towel to wipe your head and face
Taking a bus is the easiest way up to the Yangmingshan National Park Visitor Center which is where we will begin our hike. On weekends, the road up Yangmingshan is closed to car traffic unless you have a resident permit. Therefore, buses rarely hit any kind of traffic and the ride is relatively quick.
Your easiest route for a bus is to take the Red Line MRT to the Jiantan Station. Once you exit Jiantan, look for 2 buses. The Red 紅30 or the 208. These buses go straight up the mountain stopping at mulitple stops along the way. You want to get off at the final destination called "Yangmingshan". You will see a Starbucks and 7-11 where you can get some water and snacks for the hike. From here you will start your walk.
From the Taipei Main Station, take bus 260 to Yangmingshan.
Once off the bus, get on the road and start heading up a few minutes. You will see a sign on the right and a stone path. It is abouty 700meters to the Visitor Center from here.
Once you are on the path, you will start to see signage that leads to the Visitor Center. It is an easy walk uphill. Keep going until you get to the center.
The sign below shows distances for an easier, yet longer, circular walk up to Seven Stars (Mt. Qixing) and back.
Below, the Yangmingshan Visitor Center. Head inside to get a map and ask any questions if you have them.
In the front of the YMS Visitor Center, you will see the sign below. You will follow the directions to the Miaopu Trail. Walk along the path for 100 meters.
As you approach the trailhead, you will see this small pavilion on the left. This is the "Boy Scouts" bus stop.
The buses below all stop here. They are minibuses which run routes along the Yangmingshan road.
On the right you will see a map and the Miaopu Trailhead. Get ready, because you will be starting to go up soon.
Looking at the map, you will follow the blue line up to the Qi Xing (7 Stars) East and then Main Peaks.
Signage and distances are very clear from here. You will see breakaway trails to other parts like the Qixing Park. Remember to keep on the Mt. Qixing Main Peak path.
One nice thing about hiking in YMS is the trails are clear. Many of them are stone walkways and stairs. Be aware, though, that on wet and rainy days, these stairs can be very slippery. Step carefully.
The Miaopu path starts to go up. This a more strenuous trail. The walk gets steep and goes up the west side of YMS. Expect to walk like this from 30-60 minutes depending on your fitness and speed.
Below, some parts are quite steep. You gain altitude quickly.
After a good long walk up the stairs, you will finally come to an flatter portion of the trail. You'll see the tall bamboo grass growing along the sides which means you are getting up high. The east peak and main peaks are now nearby....Continue to PART 2 OF SEVEN STARS PEAK HIKE
TAIPEI HIKING SERIES: