Neishuangxi to Keelung City Boundary via Jieliao Long Trail


By the time I got around to walking this, my Taipei Skyline Trail journey had been put on pause again for another few months. It seems like every time I have a solo day off, the weather up in the north has been miserable, and my partner has been so busy with work that I don’t want to drag her away from her much-needed sleep on our shared day off together. However I finally couldn’t wait anymore and was in desperate need of a serious leg stretching, so this past Sunday we were up with the dawn chorus and headed to Fengguizui to start section five of the TSLT. This was actually our second time walking this route, and maybe that also accounts for why it had taken me so long to get around to it, in the intervening five years, this walk had been mythologised as:


That first time we had started at the Keelung end, meaning that there was more climbing to do, and worse than that, it seemed like we must have been the first people to walk the trail in weeks because we were walking face first into spider webs every step we took. I never even bothered writing about it back then because that’s how miserable it was. Thankfully it seems like things have changed since then (or maybe I’m remembering it as being worse than it was), because this time it was far more enjoyable.

DISTANCE: 14.8km including the walks to each from the bus stops at the start and the end.

TIME: 6-7 hours – It took us about 6½ hours with only one proper rest stop.

TOTAL ASCENT: Around 260 metres, the descent is far more significant at 640m. (The route starts at 500m elevation and descends to 100m.)

DIFFICULTY (REGULAR TAIWAN HIKERS): 4/10 – The distance is the primary difficulty-adding factor, but additionally it’s either mostly uphill or mostly downhill depending on which way you walk it – both of which are challenging in their own ways. Also, it has been very muddy (and slippery) both times we walked it.

DIFFICULTY (NEW HIKERS): 5-6/10 This isn’t a difficult walk, it’s just punishingly long if you have tender feet. I walked it in reverse at some point during my first year here and it knackered me for quite some time.

SIGNAGE: If you read Chinese then the signage is pretty good. There are TSLT signs at almost all intersections and most alternative routes have handwritten signs to tell you where they lead. If you don’t read Chinese then it would be a bit harder, although not impossible. There are frequent 台北天際線 signs and stickers, so as long as you can read those and a map then you’ll be fine.

FOOD AND WATER: I drank about 1L on a wet day with temperatures around 25°C, and we took fruit, nuts, and a breakfast shop sandwich. Salt candy also helped give my legs an extra boost at times.

SHADE: The trail section is very shady, but there is a pretty long stretch of road walking that I would have wanted an umbrella for if I’d been doing it in strong sunlight.

MOBILE NETWORK: Mostly ok, but weak in patches (Chunghwa beat Taiwan Mobile in terms of how well it did).

ENJOYMENT: This isn’t my favourite section, (not so many views, not a whole lot of variety), but if you’re looking for a very quiet hike then this might be something you’d enjoy. This time we only saw one other hiker on the trail, and last time we saw no one at all. It’s also a pretty decent leg stretcher.

SOLO HIKE-ABILITY: This doesn’t present much of a big risk for a solo hiker so long as you’re comfortable not seeing another soul all day. But because of this remoteness, just make sure that you’ve got your backups in place and someone knows where you are.

OTHER: Gloves and a hiking stick came in very handy here. I’d also recommend long trousers since you’re often brushing up against the ferns.

ROUTE TYPE: Point to point.

PERMIT: None needed.


OPTIONS TO EXTEND THIS ROUTE: If you’re up for even more of a challenge then you can tackle the entire Jieliao Long Trail (界寮縱走), which runs from Yuanshan up to Fengguizui and then from there on to where we finished on the edge of Keelung.

Jump to the bottom of this post for a trail map and GPX file.


Numbers by photos refer to the GPS coordinates at the end of the post.

If you caught the bus up, then you’ll need to take the road heading uphill from Fengguizui bus stop. Just keep following it past the steps heading up to Fengguizi until you find this signpost at a sharp bend.

On the way up to the trailhead we passed large numbers of people out and making the most of the morning’s almost ok weather. Hikers, runners and cyclists filled the mountain roads, and I was expecting to find the trails similarly busy (that wasn’t the case at all). Teresa has been really tired and busy with work of late, so in a slight compromise, we decided to get up a little later and do the walk so that we ended in Keelung. This meant that we didn’t need to catch the early bus to Keelung City boundary and instead could just scooter to the start without having to worry about return bus timings or the fact that there would be large numbers of people trying to board the minibus down from Fengguizui. There were three chattering aunties limbering up at the trailhead and I fully expected them to set off along the Taipei Grand Hike (the first kilometre of this walk traces the same route taken by the TGH), but after several minutes one of their friends joined them clutching a bunch of freshly picked greens and they all just walked down the road together. So it was that we set off in the mist and the quiet all by ourselves. The trail cuts straight into the woods here on the apex of this bend. (1)

Almost straight away we came across the first side trail, a new route leading up to a nearby peak, then a second diverting across the stream on the right. At both junctions just continue to head straight on the more defined trail. 

At a clearing, we passed the first of a couple of old dwellings along the way. There isn’t much left to mark it save for a couple of walls.

The path climbs gently beside a creek, and there are obvious signs that some recent trail maintenance work has been done. It has the light touch of the folks from Thousand Mile Trail Association: stone has been collected from the surroundings and fitted into steps and drainage ditches using only other stones to keep everything in place. It was only obvious that it was new because of the disturbed earth around it, but within a few months, it will look as it it has been there for decades.

The trail emerges onto Wuzhishan Industry Road very close to the assortment of coffee shops and food stalls that have gathered on the road’s high point to serve the multitudes of cyclists who pass through. Turn left and head up towards the enticing aroma of coffee and grilled snacks, this is where you will part ways from the Taipei Grand Hike. Where all the stalls are there is another junction, keep left and head up once more.

The weather was a little grim at this point and we stayed for about 15 minutes debating whether or not to turn back. The forecast had said there was a possibility of rain early on, but that it should pass by mid-morning, and so we decided to continue. At the next road junction take the righthand fork.

We passed under the archway leading into Wuzhishan Military Cemetery, and after consulting the map, decided to take the lower road on the right. (2)

There are multiple possible routes that’ll get you through the cemetery to the trailhead on the far side, but there are also a number of looping roads that would mean having to walk extra distance, so it’s worth paying attention at each junction. Go left at this section junction, leaving Zhonger Road (中二路) to join Zhongyi Road (中一路). Follow Zhongyi Road until it merges with Zhongxiao Road (忠孝路) and then take a right and stick to the upper edge of the cemetery for a while.

The road takes you past a white obelisk (國民革命軍陣亡將士紀念碑) dedicated to fallen soldiers, then turns downhill. Head towards the blue-roofed cemetery building and continue to follow Xiaosan Road (孝三路). At the next road junction keep right on the lower of the two roads.

We passed a toilet block on the right shortly before this next junction. Cut through to the right onto Xiaowu Road (孝五路), then follow it left in the same general direction that you were already heading. (You’re nearly out of this vast cemetery now, I promise!) Then keep an eye out for this track on the left leading away from the road. There are both TSLT and Jieliao Long Trail markers nailed to the ground, follow them up the track and around the very top edge of the graves.

After half an hour we were finally able to escape the cemetery and get back to the feeling of having soft earth under our boots. (3)

The trail started off very pleasantly, far wider and less overgrown than I had expected, although rather muddy.

We soon passed another trail joining on the right. Continue straight over. (If you head down the path on the right and follow it over a road then after about 1.5km it will take you to the summit of Xin Shan – a highly recommendable walk if you’ve never been before.)

We arrived at our first peak of the day to a wall of white. Yourui Shan (友蚋山), also called Wutu Shan/烏塗山), has views over the northern coast in clear weather, but we could barely see further than ten metres.

We stayed at the peak briefly to readjust laces and have a drink before setting off again once more. Almost as soon as you leave the summit clearing there is a junction. Take the trail heading straight over/slightly right. (The path on the left is signposted as heading down to Wututan/烏塗炭.)

The trail dips and climbs its way along the ridge, and it becomes noticeably (although not unpleasantly) narrower beyond the last junction. Until this point, we had been able to slip between the shrubbery, but here we found our trousers growing damp from the rain-soaked ferns.

We passed another junction, this one I couldn’t work out where the trail on the left went, but from the map it seems like it should also head down to Wututan. Regardless, it’s easy to ignore that and just keep following the TSLT and Jialiao Long Trail signage straight over.

Another twenty metres further and we came across the first of three electrical pylons. The trail cuts straight under the struts and out the far leftmost corner.

I think this stretch would probably offer some impressive coastal views on a clear day, but there was little to see in the cloud. When I turned back to check on Teresa’s progress I saw that the pylon had all but been swallowed up in the thick soupy whiteness.

Another junction back among the trees offers a side trail that will take you towards Baxian Road (保險路), ignore it and continue to follow the TSLT signage.

As we followed the ridge line, I was intrigued to find this moss-clad low stone wall. Somehow it entirely evaded my attention the first time that we walked this route. It’s not exactly clear what it’s function would have been. It’s too long to be part of a house, besides the area of flat land would be far too narrow. Perhaps it’s farming related, although that also seems odd given its location. It’s also possible that it could be one of the many fortifications built in the hills around this area during Taiwan’s less stable past. Or maybe none of the above.

The trail follows the ridge until it’s intercepted by a road, and you’re spat out on a junction. Emerge from the trailhead and take a left turn following the directions towards Wanli (萬里). Stay on the road for about 50m until you see another trail heading up into the trees on your right. (A TSLT has been nailed to the wall on the left side of the road just opposite the turn-off.) The road was far drier than any of the trail had been so we took advantage of it to down packs and pause for some snacks. As we were doing so, we were passed by the only other hiker that we saw on the trail all day, a solo woman in her fifties perhaps. I thanked her for going ahead to clear all of the spiders webs away for us, and she laughed, saying she was probably too short to get rid of them. (4)

Not long after leaving the road we found ourselves at a crossroads. Head straight over here and walk past the second pylon. In the drizzle we could hear the hissing crackle of electricity in the air above us.

A very short distance beyond the pylon is the next peak: Qifenliao Shan (七分寮山). There are two peak signs, one of which originally had the elevation at 230m, (since corrected to 443m), and another saying that it sits at 430m above sea level. (The mapping app I use disagrees with all of these and places it at 467m.)

The next point of interest is a deep cylindrical pit on the right side of the trail. It’s been fenced off to prevent unwary hikers from slipping in, and a sign pinned to a nearby tree says it’s a wild boar pit trap. I doubt there are still people hunting them up here, but they do roam this part of Taiwan.

Quite suddenly the surrounding greenery changes, the mixed forests of earlier suddenly being replaced by slender stalks of bamboo.

We came down to another four-way junction. The trail here passes straight over, then climbs up slightly to the right.

But before you head over, it’s worth checking out the flat area of the saddle. Somehow we managed to walk past this entirely oblivious to its presence the first time, but there are the remains of an old house here. You can just make out low walls under the creeping plants, and by the rear of the structure there is an old rice milling stone. Towards the northernmost edge of the clearing we also noticed a stone indicating that this is the site of a feeder spring for Masu Stream (瑪鋉溪).

Leave the saddle via a steep climb, it’s worth double-checking that you’re on the right track and still following the TSLT signs.

Not too far from the clearing, the previous mixed forest foliage replaces the bamboo once more.

I was starting to get tired around this point, so we stopped briefly on the summit of Kaiyanjian Shan (開眼尖山) for more snacks and drinks. If you’re planning on taking a significant rest stop, this would probably be a good location (if a little far into the hike), it’s a large clearing with plenty of space to sit and spread out. If it were more interesting, it might even make a good campsite.

From Kaiyanjian Shan, the trail tracks down to another junction. Keep left here. (The righthand trail heads to join up with Dahua San Road (大華三路). I remember taking a miserable break here on our first attempt to do this walk.

More bamboo groves dot the trail as it makes its way towards the final peak of the journey.

Pass another junction on the right. I forgot to take a photo of the sign, but it looks like this heads to another summit before joining a stream and tracing that down to join the road. Either way, ignore it and continue to follow the TSLT signage ever onwards.

I think it was from about this point on that the walk became almost entirely downhill, and with the day’s damp weather that meant we were doing a lot of rope-assisted sliding. Somehow we both managed to reach the end of the walk without having had a nice little sit down in some mud, but I don’t know how.

The weather also made for a heavy, almost atmosphereless atmosphere. The cicada song and bulbuls that had soundtracked our earlier efforts had been replaced by almost total silence. The only sound was that of the light rain dripping through the layer of leaves. We passed one side trail on the left which I didn’t photograph. It is very clear which way the TSLT goes though, since the side trail is faint.

Take a left at the junction here and keep on heading downhill. The trail on the right will take you up to Sanjie Shan (三界山), the end summit from which Jieliao Long Trail takes its name. Last time we did actually climb to the top, it only takes a couple of minutes, and if the weather is clear it’s probably worth it. But we decided to skip it on this occasion. That was probably a smart choice because just as we were getting ready to start walking again, the rain started up in earnest. What had been a persistent drizzle finally tipped over into actual rain and we decided to pick up the pace.

The following 500m were muddy and done without much talking. I think we both just wanted to focus on putting one foot firmly in front of the other and getting back to civilisation without being coated in mud. Again I think there was a turning that I failed to photograph, but once more it was very clear which way to go. The trail drops down to join a stream, and here you need to turn right.

Almost as if by magic, the rain seemed to stop the very second we left the woods. Even more bizarre, the ground here was dry! We finally got to enjoy a little bit of a view too, in the distance it’s possible to see Keelung Islet standing on its own in the ocean.

A well established trail takes you down as far as the final pylon…

…and then from there, you’re following dirt tracks. Big red signs here warn people against entering the area that we’d just come from due to the risk of landslides.

Turn left onto the track towards the sound of traffic, then left again onto the road. (5)

Keelung Municipal Boundary bus stop is right by the trailhead, but depending on when you arrive and where you want to go, you might find it better to walk another 8-10 minutes to the left until you arrive at the New Taipei Municipal Boundary bus stop.

For us, it made sense to head to the latter, so we dashed through the rain (which seemed to be following us) to find the stop. It’s the second stop with the same name that you’ll pass (the one beside a temple complex), and weirdly placed so that you can’t see it until you’ve passed it and turn back. We had barely been waiting more than two minutes when the 1815 came hurtling around the corner and we made a final sprint through the rain to climb onboard.


Google Maps address: If you want to drive yourself to the trailhead then you can head for Shuangxigou Historic Trail. There is space for a few scooters right at the trailhead, and some car spaces a little further down the road on the right as you’re heading up. At the far end, there is probably space to park a scooter relatively close to the trailhead, but I’m not sure about cars. You will probably find it easier to use public transport for this one.

GPS location:

  1. Fengguizui trailhead – N25 07.850 E121 35.930
  2. Entrance to Wuzhi Shan Military Cemetery – N25 07.705 E121 36.470
  3. Exit from Wuzhi Shan Military Cemetery – N25 08.380 E121 37.435
  4. Trailhead at road crossing – N25 08.670 E121 38.585
  5. Keelung Boundary trailhead – N25 09.710 E121 41.355

Public transport: On weekends and holidays, I strongly recommend that you do the walk in the same direction that we did, since there is always a very long queue for the minibus back down, and passengers boarding at Fengguizui (which isn’t the first stop), don’t always manage to get on.

  • The M1 (市民小巴1) service will get you to Fengguizui bus stop, and you’ll need to follow the road up a little from there. It is a scheduled bus service leaving from Jiantan MRT Station. There are just a handful of buses each day, and on weekends you have to arrive at the first stop a good 2-30 minutes early to be sure of a seat.
  • To return from Keelung Municipal Boundary you can either wait at the bus stop right by the trailhead to catch the 790 (which will take you to Keelung train station), or the 953 (which heads to Da’an District). Or, if you walk a little further to the similarly named New Taipei Municipal Boundary stop where you can catch the 1815 which will take you directly to Neihu or Songshan Districts)

Further reading: If you’re interested in doing the whole of Jieliao Long Trail you could take a look at these guys’ video. They ran it in reverse, and it diverges from the route I took between Wuzhi Shan and Fengguizui.


GPX file available here on Outdoor Active. (Account needed, but the free one works just fine.)

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