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Bitou Cape Trails: Where the Sun, Mountains, and Lighthouse Meet in a Short Coastline

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: August 21, 2020
Last Update: April 4, 2021
Bitou Cape infographic
Bitou Cape infographic
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Note: In August 2020, New Taipei City government announced that Bitou Cape Lighthouse Trail is closed for good due to the danger of the steep slopes and fragile geologic structures. This news released after I almost finish this post. I still want to show people how beautiful this area is, and I’m sure you can see most of it from Bitou Cape Valley Trail. Please stay safe.

Table of Contents:

About Bitou Cape and Bitou Lighthouse

Bitou Cape or Bitoujiao

Bitou 鼻頭 in Chinese means the tip of your nose. From Google Map, it looks quite pointed. Bitou Cape is the northeastern cape of Taiwan and you can find all kinds of Coastal erosion landforms here, especially cliffs, sea caves, wave-cut platforms.
Bitou Cape
Screetshot of Bitou Cape from Google Map
There is an elementary school at Bitou Cape and there is a spot next the school wall where you can see the sunrise and sunset at the exact same spot.
Bitou Cape Map 2
A closer look at the shape of Bitou Cape

Bitou Cape Lighthouse 鼻頭角燈塔

Bitou Cape Lighthouse was built in 1897 during Japanese Occupation. The old lighthouse was an iron hexagonal structure, but It was destroyed in WWII. In 1971, it was rebuilt and transformed into a concrete white tower. Due to the fragile landscape and falling rocks because of weathering, the trail to Bitou Cape Lighthouse is closed for good and the lighthouse is not open to the public.
If you are interested in lighthouses in Taiwan and want to visit those that are open to the public, please check the Maritime and Port Bureau’s lighthouse website for more information.

How to Get There

Option 1: Take Kingbus 國光客運 1812 at Taipei Railway Station

Take Kingbus 國光客運 1811 or 1812, and you can find the ticket booth near North 1 Exit at Taipei Railway Station. You can queue up at the bus stop, but it’s better to get a seat number at the ticket booth first to ensure you’ll have a seat during summer. The bus driver told us that they will let passengers with the seat numbers to get on board first. If the bus is full, you’ll have to wait for the next one. It takes around one and half hours to get to Bitoujiao Stop 鼻頭角站.
Bus 1811
Bus stop near Taipei Railway Station

Option 2: Take Keelung Bus 791 at Keelung Train Station

Or take train to Keelung Train Station, take Keelung Bus 791 to Fulong direction and get off at Bitoujiao Station.
Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping, Mt. Canguanliao, and Mt. Nanziling
Keelung Train Station

Option 3: Take Gold Fulong Shuttle Bus 856 at Rueifang Train Station

You take this Taiwan Tourist Shuttle at Rueifang Train Station, old Fulong Shuttle Bus 856. If you take this one, you get off at Bitou stop, which is very close to Bitou Cape and you will see Bitou Harbor first.
After you get off the stop, you will see Bitou Fishing Harbor 鼻頭海港 on your left, and the sign to Bitou Elementary School 鼻頭國小 in front of you. You can take the overpass next to the bus stop to get across the road to reach Bitou Road 鼻頭路 to get to either of both places.
Please note that Kingbus 1811 or 1812 doesn’t have many buses in the late evening, so you have to go to Bitou Stop near Bitou Service Area and a temple on Bitou Road to take Keelung Bus 基隆客運 791 or 886 if you want to spend more time here. But please also bear in mind that 791 might come once in an hour in the late evening, and 886 stops services after 4 pm. There is also a 7-11 convenience store if you need food and drinks before you get back.

Peaks to Reach

The highest peak among those trails is 118 meters (387 ft) above the sea level, but I didn't go there on both my trips. You get to see the wonderful coastal views on the ridgeline.
See the map and itinerary first
Or read the challenging Bitou Cape Lighthouse Trail first

Bitou Cape Valley Trail: The Easy Trail to See the Unique Geological Formation and Sunrise/Sunset

There are several trails at Bitou Cape, but the most popular one is Bitou Cape Valley Trail, which is only 1.1 km (0.68 miles) long, but you still get to see the amazing coastline in Northeast Taiwan.
Bitoujiao-flyover
Bitou Cape flyover is next to the bus stop
After getting off at Bitoujiao Stop, you will see a overpass next to the bus stop. Take the overpass to across the road and then take the right. After a few minutes, you will see Bitou Elementary School.
Bitou Elementary School: Taiwan lilies were planted in the front door.
Bitou Elementary School: Taiwan lilies were planted in the front door
There's a striking picture near the front door of this tiny elementary school. Many small elementary schools in Taiwan are located in special places, and Bitou Elementary School is one of them. Before the pandemic, visitors were allowed to enter the school on the weekends.
Bitoujiao: a striking bird's eye view of Bitoujiao
A striking bird's eye view posted next to Bitou Elementary School
Our guide told us that there’s a spot near Bitou Elementary School that can allow you to see the sunrise and sunset on the same day. I might try to see both someday.
Bitou Elementary School campus and you can watch sunrise and sunset exactly here.
Bitou Elementary School campus and you can watch sunrise and sunset exactly here
You will find the trail next to the school easily. I’ve been here a few times and I didn’t have a GPX, which is fine. Just follow the trails and people.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail: the beautiful ridgeline
Bitou Cape Valley Trail is easy to hike. You can see Keelung Island on the left.
If you want to see the unique rock formations created by Mother Earth, you can follow the signs and visit Geological Attraction Area. For some unknown reasons, I missed the entrance at least three times. But you can always see those amazing rocks along the northeast coast highway.
Bitoujiao: beautiful geological formation on the shore
Bitou Cape: beautiful geological formation on the shore
After passing Bitou Elementary School for a while, you'll find a public toilet and several pavilions to take a rest. There’s also a small detour on the right if you want to get closer to the coast from a cliff.
Bitoujiao: a small detour to a cliff
A small detour to a cliff
Back to the trail and you will see two trails, one going up to the ridgeline, which is the Valley Trail, and the one on the right to the Bitou Cape Lighthouse. The trail to the lighthouse is closed for good.
Bitoujiao: trail fork to the valley trail and lighthouse trail
A trail junction to the valley trail and lighthouse trail
I was lucky enough to hike there but I don’t recommend this trail after I panicked on several scary slopes. I'll explain more later in the challenging section.
Bitoujiao: signing saying the lighthouse trail was closed
Bitou Cape: signing saying the lighthouse trail was closed

Beautiful Ridgeline Hike to See Northeast Coast of Taiwan

Even so, the views on the Valley Trail are already stunning enough. You get to see the ridgeline winding on several hills from both sides. When you stop at the pavilion and look on your left, you will be amazed by the fjord like mountains.
Bitoujiao: the beautiful valley trail on the ridgeline
The beautiful ridgeline on Bitou Cape Valley Trail
When I first visited here many years ago, I didn’t know what I was looking at. After hiking around this area several times, I'm thrilled that I’m able to recognize some of those hikes. You can click Mt. Teapot and Mt. Keelung to read my posts about hikes to those peaks.
bitou-12-fjord-like-mountain-names
View of the fjord like coastline in the northeastern Taiwan from Bitou Cape Valley Trail
There is an old marine base on the hill, but now it's been transformed into a tourist spot, called Tingtao Camp 聽濤營區, meaning listening to the waves. After May 1st, 2020, you can go there to have a cup of coffee and enjoy the beautiful views.
Bitoujiao: old military camp on the left
Tingtao Camp
I could also see the trail I took and the big cave I rested during my last hike in 2019 from the ridgeline of the Valley Trail.
Bitoujiao: looking at the queue from the top
Looking at the small queue from the top
After admiring the views at the last pavilion, I took the wooden stairs going back to Bitou Harbor.
bitou-37-wooden-steps
Took the stairs back to the harbor
You can also start your hike from this side. There’s a temple, Xinxing Temple 新興宮, and signs for you to follow the trail. I will suggest you start your hike from Bitou Elementary School, because you can have some local food after your hike. Nothing much to eat near the school.
Bitoujiao: another trailhead near Xinxing Temple 新興宮
Another trailhead near Xinxing Temple
If you want to continue your next destination, you can turn left here. Just follow the road and you will get back to the bus stop or visit other places nearby.
Bitoujiao: get back to the bus stop
Get back to the bus stop
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Bitou Cape Lighthouse Trail: Not for People Who Are Afraid of Heights

When I took the Lighthouse Trail, I started from Bitou Elementary School. I have to warn you that if you start from the school, you will end up with the rock-climbing like hike and I hope you have a strong heart.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse
Bitou Cape Lighthouse
Bitou Cape Lighthouse Trail was still open when we hiked there in 2019.
bitou-16 trail to the lighthouse
Trail to the lighthouse
As I said earlier, the first section of the trail was easy, just strolling on the trail to enjoy the view. When we reached the lighthouse, we climbed up the hill behind the lighthouse. This hill was very steep and there wasn’t much for you to grab. I decided not to reach the top and stayed in the middle to take photos.
Bitoujiao: climb up the hill behind the lighthouse
Climb up the hill behind the lighthouse
To my delight, the views from the hill were so striking. I got to see the ocean and the geological park on my right, and Mt. Keelung and Juifen on the left. I’m sure it would be a 360° view on the top, but I was content staying there.
Bitoujiao: breath-taking coast in northeastern Taiwan
Breathtaking line in northeastern Taiwan, Bitou Cape
The white Bitou Cape Lighthouse with the deep blue sea in the background was astonishing, and it looked like a pearl being wrapped by a blue velvet. You can also get a bird’s eye view of the rock formation on the seashore. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos. I only shot one shaky video. But if you think the view from the video is amazing, it will be at least 100 times better if you get a chance to be there.
I also saw the trail we were going to take next. The deep blue sea and vivid green layers of hills made me excited and wonder what we would see next. Please remember that the trail was very narrow. It would be very dangerous if two hikers try to pass with each other at the same time. I can understand why the local government wants to close this trail.
Bitoujiao: narrow trail
Narrow trail ahead

Queueing up on the Trail

It was a gorgeous sunny day in autumn when we were there, and no wonder so many people wanted to hike on the trail. The steep slope also made the ascending/descending much slower. At some points, we had to stop and waited. Thus, we got a traffic jam. This is one of the things sometimes you have to endure when hiking in Taiwan.
Bitoujiao: queuing to descend
A long queue waiting to descend
At this section of the trail, you need to grab the rope to get down the slope. While waiting in the queue, I looked up to see how far we had gone. I was amazed by the incredible job done by Mother Nature.
Bitoujiao: looking at the ridgeline from the cave
Looking at the Valley Trail on the ridgeline from the big cave on the Lighthouse Trail
We found a place to have lunch after the queueing. Sitting here and enjoying the beautiful rocks was a great delight. There was a rock in front of us and it looked like a penguin standing up.
Bitoujiao: a rock that looks like a penguin
A rock that looks like a penguin
I guess this photo is the best example of what "people mountain people sea" looks like. It's normal to have so many people on the trails if you hike on the popular ones in Taiwan. Since we are all stranded in Taiwan because of Covid-19, there will be more people on the trails.
Bitoujiao: a very crowded trail
People mountain people sea
While sitting there, you can also get to see what the waves did on the rocks over the millions of years, although those may not be good for people with typophobia.
Bitoujiao: a rock that might trigger trypophobia
A rock that might trigger trypophobia
After lunch, we hiked on the rock shore, which wasn’t difficult at first. There were so many spectacular rocks, and we took as many photos as we could. Then, we reached the slope.
Bitoujiao: stunning rock seashore
Stunning rock seashore

Breaking Down on the Trail

It’s not easy to describe how scary the slope was without pictures, but I was too scared to take any, because I was trying to get down safely. Basically, it was almost impossible to find a footing to place your feet safely, and there wasn’t any strong trees or rocks for you to grab, only some fragile grass.
Moreover, I had to look down to find my footing to descend, and all I could see was how terrible it might be if I slipped. After several attempts, my frustration grew bigger and bigger and it reached to a breaking point.
Bitoujiao: descending a scary slope
I went back to the trail near the scary slope and took this photo in April 2020.
I was surrounded by many guides and they knew I was scared. They tried to encourage and assure me it was safe to go, but I didn’t believe I could make it. Then they offered their hands to help. However, I was so scared that I would drag them down with me if I fell off the slope. So, I panicked. The fear of height and endangering other people’s lives took over me and I got stuck there for several minutes. At that time, it felt like forever.
Bitoujiao: descending a scary slope
One more photo of the scary slope
Finally, I crossed the scary slope in one piece, and I was able to take a photo to show how scary it was when a small group of people were trying to get down but decided to turn back. I wish I had done the same thing, because what was waiting for me was even scarier.
Bitoujiao: descending a scary slope
This one was taken right after my embarrassing moment in October 2019.

Another Blow

When I thought I finally passed the most difficult part, another trial was awaiting me. I saw the those rocks I had to pass. The guides told us the technique to descend was to extend your arms and legs among those rocks like the Spiderman. If you are not used to rock climbing, this one will be difficult, at least for me.
As you can imagine, this was not a proud moment for me, and I could sense the two guides who were trying to help me were losing patience. I don’t blame them at all. They had given a warning before the trip, and I didn’t know it was that terrifying.
Bitoujiao: another scary descending
Two little boys successfully getting down. Those kids were tough.
After the last scary rock climbing, we passed through some huge and beautiful sea cliff caves. The following photos were taken in April 2020. I was still in shock and frustrated from the scary climbing. You will get to Bitou Beach Park soon after those caves to finish your hike.
Bitoujiao: big sea caves formed by the waves
Huge sea cliff caves formed by the waves
Although I was embarrassing myself on that day, I still got to see the most stunning views. The striking hills and tortuous trail spanning across them, not to mention the superb weather made this so remarkable. All the embarrassing moments were still worth it.
Bitoujiao
The trail is very beautiful but also very narrow. You must proceed with caution.

Bitou Cape Beach to See Cliff Caves

There's an unofficial trailhead next to Bitou Beach Park. There is not trail path on this side and you have to check the tidal waves before you visit. Some tourists were swept off the beach and got drowned. The local government considered to close off this trailhead. You are responsible for your own safety if you take this one.
Bitoujiao: turn this way to see the big caves
This is a shortcut to see the big caves
Although the shore is dirty, the magnificent sea cliff caves still stand out. The cliffs have been eroded by the sea for millions of years and those are like a masterpiece. When I visited here again in April 2020, I wanted to get a closer look at those caves. So, I stayed at the caves a little longer to admire them before moving on.
Bitoujiao: big sea caves formed by the waves
Impressive sea cliff cave near Bitou Harbor
While walking on those big rocks, I noticed there were so many plastic bottles on the shore. I didn’t recall there were so many plastic bottles when I hiked here last time. After a closer look, those were washed up from the ocean. There were too many to be cleaned up. So sad...
Bitoujiao: marine debris
Marine debris
It didn’t take long for me to reach those slopes that made my legs shaking. There was a big group of hikers trying to descend.
Bitoujiao: brave hikers descending from the rocks
Those scary rocks were not a big deal for those brave hikers.
After taking enough photos, I decided to call it a day. The weather wasn’t as good as my previous trip, and it was going to rain. But I was still very happy to visit Bitou Cape again.
Bitoujiao: looking at the trail from my last hike
Beautiful hills on Bitou Cape trails

Thoughts about This Hike

Although Bitou Cape Lighthouse Trail is closed for good, some hiking groups still take hikers to go there. I don’t recommend you take this one because it’s really dangerous. I was lucky to have several guides to help and support me.
bitou-40 a special spot near Bitou Cape Lighthouse
A special spot near Bitou Cape Lighthouse
Other than that, Bitou Cape is a wonderful place to visit and you can take the Valley Trail without making your heart skip a beat.
Bitoujiao: old military camp will be open to the public
The old military facilities near the valley trail
Not just for hiking, Bitou Cape is also a place for people to go fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling. Please expect a huge crowd if you go snorkeling in summer.
Bitoujiao: enjoy snorkeling
Bitou Cape is also a popular place to enjoy the ocean in summer
Since the trails in Bitou Cape are short, you can visit nearby attractions like 龍洞 Longdong. Longdong is also a popular destinition for rock climbing. There is a pedestrian path in Bitou Tunnel and it’s not too far to walk there from Bitou Cape. There is a hiking trail in Longdong, too.
Bitoujiao: nearby attractions
Taking a bus trip to see the northeast coast of Taiwan used to be one of my favorite things to do.
Another attraction is Juifen. You have to take the bus and get off at Shueinandong 水湳洞 and enjoy the mining culture and more trails in Rueifang.
Bitoujiao: nearby attractions
The map shows you the nearby attractions to visit
The northeast part of Taiwan is my favorite place to visit, because the coastline is so spectacular. Before I started hiking seriously, I took the bus here just to see the amazing coastlines. If you can stay in Taiwan for a longer period of time, you definitely have put this part in your itinerary. If you hike here in summer, please remember to protect yourself from the sun, because there's not much shade on the trails.
Bitoujiao: view of Shueinandong from the bus
A look at the old mines from the bus. This was taken near Suinandong 水湳洞 bus stop.
If you come to the right seasons, from April to September, you will see many Formosa lilies or Taiwan Lilies here. Please check out the Facebook of Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Administration for the latest news.
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Map and Itinerary

Group Hike or Solo Hike:
My first hike was with Taiwan Mountain LOHAS Association (LOHAS) on October 6, 2019
My second hike was a solo hike on April 11, 2020.
I decide not to put the GPX of the lighthouse trail since it's closed. As to the valley trail, it's very easy to get around by following the stairs.

Based on my hike on the valley trail I took on April 11, 2020

09:30 Got off bus
09:36 Arrived at Bitou Elementary School
09:38 Reached at the point where you can see sunrise and sunset at the same location
09:48 Went to the small cliff to take a look
09:55 Saw the sign of Bitou Cave Valley Trail at the junction to the lighthouse
10:00 Reached the entrance of the military camp
10:08 Reached the pavilion
10:14 Looked down at the big cave where I took a short break from my hike on the lighthouse trail
10:29 Reached the sign at the junction to Bitou Fishery Harbor and to the pavilion
10:30 Reached the pavilion
10:34 Got back to the junction and headed to the harbor
10:41 Arrived at the sign of the other trailhead
10:45 Arrived at Xinxing Temple
10:47 Arrived at Bitou Beach Park and headed to the coastal trail
10:53 Saw the arrow painted on a dolos
10:56 Reached the big caves and took photos
11:05 Arrived at the bottom of the scary slope and stayed there taking photos
11:31 Got back to Bitou Beach Park and called it a day
Total Time: 2 hours and 1 minutes, including breaks

Recommended Blogs and Resources:

Chinese only:
Mark Choo: 東北角諸角頭小山
Hiking Biji: 鼻頭角步道
English posts:
Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Administration in Taiwan
Foreigners in Taiwan: Bitou Cape 鼻頭角
Foreigners in Taiwan: Long Dong 龍洞
Josh Ellis Photography: Bitou Cape (鼻頭角)

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Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping, and Mt. Canguanliao
Mt. Keelung
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