time: 2 hours – at our most leisurely Sunday afternoon pace.
difficulty: 3.5/10 – there’s nowhere to get lost, it’s really short, the only difficulty here comes from the steps and the unevenness of the stone surface. I saw a toddler doing it though so really there’s no excuse.
water: I think I drank about 600ml on a hot spring day
shade: not really – we had sporadic cloud cover but even with that I used an umbrella to keep the sun off.
mobile network: excellent
enjoyment: 7/10 – the views you get here are a great pay off for a relatively easy climb, just don’t expect to have the place to yourself.
The start of the trail is an unassuming marker and some steps leading up from the choked road. Straight away the trail passes a few graves, they’re a little different to others I’ve seen in that the urns seem to have been placed in small alcoves cut out of the rock. At the first of several platforms there are some benches and a kind of obelisk marking the start of the trail proper.
There are a couple of paths branching off but we stuck to the main steps on the way up.
If you turn to look back you can see Ruifang District’s 9th Cemetary, Jiufen and on the left, the strange knob of Teapot mountain.
This is a really popular path and there were plenty of people all the way up.
The view is really rather lovely – if you look at the hills just to the left of teapot mountain you can see the flues from the abandoned copper works.
As the top of the third pavillion comes into view, you’re getting near the top.
Keelung mountain is perhaps not the most impressive peak I’ve climbed – the top has a couple of masts, plenty of information boards, benches and a pavillion. When we went we were surrounded by people taking selfies and editing selfies on their phones. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this walk for me was seeing places I had walked before from another angle. I remember seeing Keelung mountain from the ridge up behind Teapot mountain and thinking that it looked rather large – in reality it’s not nearly as difficult as the walk I did on that day but the views are magnificent.
As we were heading down we took a right turn along a smaller path. The signpost indicated that both routes went back to the mountain entrance but the path to the right was about double the distance of the steps.
Despite being less populated and longer, this path was easy to walk and it treated me to my first glimpse of an elegant five-lined skink and we also crossed paths with a bamboo partridge which clucked and chucked in the most charming way.
On the way down there are a couple of decks for you to stop at and enjoy the view. Shen’ao harbour is on the spit of land making up the far edge of the bay, behind that is Qidou mountain/hill and slightly to the left we could just make out the three chimneys of a power plant. Continuing on down, the path rejoins the stone steps not far from the entrance and from there it’s a quick walk to Jiufen old street for some refreshments.
how to get there
google maps address: 山尖路觀光步道, 224, New Taipei City, Ruifang District, 山尖路
GPS location: the trail entrance is at N25 06.715 E121 50.870. We parked below the town itself and walked up in order to avoid both the traffic and the carpark ing costs we parked on the road around N25 6.796 E121 50.555.
public transport: bus 1062 to Quanji Temple departs from Liu Gong Zun Park bus stop and goes directly to Jiufen, it’s a few minutes walk from the bus station to the trail. It should take around an hour and cost about $100. If you go on the weekend or on public holidays be aware that there will be a HUGE queue for the bus back so you’d be better off going and coming back earlier.
My new words learnt on this hike were:
- 野(菇) / yě (gu) / wild (mushrooms)
- 我印象中 / wǒ yìnxiàng zhōng / some hybrid of ‘in my mind’, ‘as I remember’ and ‘ I have the impression that’
- 放假(還有上班) / fàngjià (hái yǒu shàngbān) / day off (and still have to work) – we went on a Sunday and this was Teresa’s reaction to seeing a dog ‘busy working’ in a shop. I have learnt ‘day off’ more than once before but I keep forgetting.
- 愛心 / àixīn / love heart
- 裝傻 / zhuāng shǎ / Google tells me that this means ‘foolish’, but the way I heard it being used was more like an adjective form of ‘pleading ignorance’ or pretending not to know.
- 排隊 / páiduì / queue