Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes at an amble, however this was one of those walks that felt a lot longer than it really was, (probably because it was totally unplanned).
Difficulty: 3.5/10 – the trail itself isn’t at all challenging (except for a couple of uphill sections which might test the unfit), but the signs can be a little confusing, in some areas they’re good, in others they’re not at all clear.
Water: 0.8L was enough for a cold day.
Shade: patchy – I’d burn in the summer.
Mobile network: mostly ok with a few dead areas.
Enjoyment: It was nice to set out without a real plan for a change, this area has so many interconnected trails (lots of which public transport access at both ends), that it’s possible to just go out there and see what you can do.
This map was in the park where we started our walk (in the green triangle) and it was usefully accurate – we were able to refer to it at points where the sign posts failed us. The route we took follows the numbers to the red triangle.
Just a short walk from Xihu MRT station a small park marks the start of jinmian shan/金面山 hiking trail, (also sometimes called gold side mountain). We went on a weekday so I was able to fill my water bottle up with hot water from the nearby public library before setting off. The path goes up the stone steps on the right.
Straight away we encountered a signpost with none of the options we were aiming for, up seemed most likely though so we went in the direction of lunjian pagoda (論劍亭), there’s a cave just to the right of these steps but it’s sadly rather full of rubbish. It’s a steady climb up rocks/steps for a while punctuated by places of interest – after five minutes we arrived at a small briefing platform where we watched planes take off from Songshan airport behind a foreground of small industrial buildings. Five minutes after the viewing area we came upon a sign explaining that the area still bears the marks made by a Qing Dynasty quarry.
Then less than five minutes beyond the quarry we encountered our first real junction, the path on the right which seems to continue on towards the pavilion but we went left through the shelter and out the other side.
There are a couple of smaller, unmarked paths joining the path we were on but we stuck on the same route until the next signposted junction.
This double-signposted T-junction is point one on the map, the right path goes up towards jinmian shan, this was our original loose plan but having got a bit of the feel for the route we decided to adventure a bit further as the jinmian shan walk seemed pretty short and we thought we could go further. (If you’re interested in doing jinmian shan you can find a description of the walk here). So instead we headed left which was signposted as going towards Jinlong rural road and the National Palace Museum.
The path goes up and down a little, we encountered a pair of rather down-on-their-luck seeming stray dogs on one of the up sections and I would hazard a guess that there’s quite a few of them in the area judging by how much dog poo we had to avoid and how many dog-sized tunnels in the undergrowth we saw. This is clearly a frequently travelled trail but it seems that it’s not so loved, the state of the steps was a little rough, this doesn’t make it difficult to walk though.
About an hour and 1.2km after we reached a junction where the road does a sharp turn left to go towards Neihu road, straight on towards dalunwei shan and right to…somewhere. We kept following the signs to dalunwei shan.
Just a few minutes beyond the previous junction we arrived at a mountain shelter with a resident cat and a dog, (and a woman who had walked up to feed themselves). I’m pretty sure this was point two on the map as the left-hand path went towards Neihu, we followed the paved path to the right and fortuitously came across a second mountain shelter with two toilets. (Fortuitously as I had been holding something in for a while.)
The path crosses a road (point three on the map), and goes immediately up the other side.
Ten minutes later there’s a second road crossing, (point four on the map),this time the path runs parallel to the road on a clearly marked ‘hiking trail’/footpath. The view on the right opens up a little giving you a clear view of where you’ve just come from.
After passing a small shrine the path crosses the road and heads up again, just beyond the road there are two more small shrines, it seems this area is somewhat crowded with deities. Both shrines on the path are attached to mountain shelters but one of them seems a lot less maintained than the other so perhaps the people just moved a bit.
At point five on the map we decided to keep heading for dalunwei shan so we went left, (it would also be possible to go right to daluntou shan and I imagine there’s also transportation from there). This is one of the starred points on the map which means it has a small information stand with small metal etchings which can be used to make crayon rubbings.
Just beyond point five the signposts disappear, I think the paved nap probably is a shortcut to the road, but we wanted to go to the peak so we took the small path on the left
About ten minutes in, the path splits off to the right up some small stone steps, it’s only a short climb up here to the top.
The top of dalunwei shan has been colonised by abeis and amas into a large area of pavilions, benches, shelters and some exercise equipment, the view to the southeast is mostly obscured by trees but to the northwest we could make out Tianmu and the surrounding area. We also met an older, Pokémon-hunting woman who seemed confused about which way to go, she ended up cross-crossing paths with us all the way down.
Once ready to head down we went left from where we’d arrived at the peak – the left hand path is where we came from, we continued straight down the paved path so it would have been a left turn.
The path descends quickly to a tarmaced area, (a sign at the trail head later told me that it is part of an old industrial road).
We ignored the left turn and headed straight to the next junction.
At some point along this section we encountered these rather meanacing beasts lurking in the undergrowth, it seems they are remnants of the industry that once occurre in the area.
After checking the map at this junction we took the path going right – it was signposted as going to Zhongshe Road and we knew we could catch a bus from there.
Sure enough, the trail opens out at a bus stop, we crossed the road to wait and in less than two minutes we were on the 255 going back towards Shilin.
How to get there
Google maps address: 內湖清代採石場, 114, Taipei City, Neihu District, Lane 136, Section 1, Huanshan Rd – there’s some scooter parking at the entrance but you’d be better off parking near a central MRT station and using public transport.
If you want to do the walk in reverse the address at the other end is: Da Lun Wei Shan Bus Stop, near No. 105, Section 2, Zhongshe Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, 111
GPS location: N25 05.316 E121 34.075
Public transport: this one is perfectly suited to using public transport, it’s an easy 15-20 minutes walk from Xihu MRT station, (if you go for an afternoon walk you might want to check out the cooked food market just outside exit 1 of the station). The map below can give you some idea of the route to the trailhead.
My new words learnt on this walk were:
- 我可以吃或不吃 / wǒ kěyǐ chī huò bù chī / I can eat or not eat
- 原來 / yuánlái / original
- 博物館 / bówùguǎn / museum