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Complete Guide to Hike Mt. Keelung Main Peak and East peak in Jiufen

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: July 2, 2020
Last Update: November 27, 2022
Mt. Keelung is the shortest trail near Juifen Old Street. Moreover, the coastal and mountain views on the peak are stunning. It's easy to hike, and you can also hike to the east peak. Therefore, I suggest you take advantage of this hike when visiting Juifen and Ruifang in Taiwan.
Mt. Keelung infographic
Mt. Keelung infographic

Table of Contents:

About Mt. Keelung: Listed No.1 on 10 Gold Ridgelines

Mt. Keelung 基隆山 is also known as Mt. Chicken Coop 雞籠山 because its shape looks like a chicken coop. But the pronunciation of chicken coop in Chinese is exactly the same as Keelung. Mt. Keelung also has a third name, called Beauty with Big Belly Mountain 大肚美人山, also because of its shape that looks like a big-bellied beauty lying down there.
Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping, Mt. Canguanliao, and Mt. Nanziling
Mt. Keelung is on the left. Does it look like a chicken coop or a beauty with a big belly lying down?
From a geologic perspective, Mt. Keelung Main Peak and East Peak belong to the Chilung Volcano Group (aka Jilong or Keelung Volcano Group), formed about one million years ago.
It's inactive now, so there's no need to worry about the eruption. What made the Chilung (Keelung) Volcano Group different from other groups in Taiwan was the majority of the Chilung (Keelung) Volcano Group consisted of Dacite. Long story short, Dacite was why Jiufen and Jinguashih were full of gold and copper ores in the old days. I'm not a geologist. Please let me know if I need to correct anything here.
You can find gold ore on the trail near Gold Museum.
From the historical perspective, Jiufen and Jinguashih experienced mining booms because of the gold and copper ores. As a result, they established their unique culture, which makes the whole so memorable and nostalgic, and has become a top-rated tourist attraction locally and internationally.
Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping, Mt. Canguanliao, and Mt. Nanziling
Old chimneys spiraled across the hills in Ruifang.
From a hiker's perspective, there are so many fantastic trails with spectacular mountains and ocean views, Ruifang District (where Jiufen and Jinguashih are located) is heaven for hikers.
01 Looking down at Mt. Keelung and Mt. Teapot from Mt. Banping
Looking at Mt. Keelung and Mt. Teapot from Mt. Banping
As to Mt. Keelung Main Peak and East Peak, this trail is listed No. 1 on Gold Ridgelines Hikes, and the trail is right next to Jiufen, which makes this hike more appealing. Like Mt. Teapot, another very famous hike in Ruifang, you can take the challenging or just the easy part.

10 Gold Ridgelines 黃金十稜

10 Gold Ridgelines, a list of beautiful hiking trails in Ruifang, New Taipei City, was established by a famous hiker and author, Mr. Lin Tsung-sheng 林宗聖.
1 黃金一稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 1
Mt. Keelung Ridgeline: from Mt. Keelung to Mt. Keelung East Peak
2 黃金二稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 2
Chimney Ridgeline: from Mt. Teapot, via abandoned mine chimneys to Mt. Shuinan ridge
3 黃金三稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 3
Mt. Teapot Ridgeline: from Mt. Teapot to Mt. Banping and turn to Mt. Cao
4 黃金四稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 4
Fukan (Overlook) Ridgeline: from Juchi (Zigzag) Ridge 555 Peak on Mt. Banping to Huangjin (Gold) Pond
5 黃金五稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 5
Jianlong Ridgeline aka Stegosaurus Ridgeline: from Juchi (Zigzag) Ridge 381 Peak to Mt. Banping Suiba.

Warning: this trail can be dangerous. Don't hike here when it rains or if you are afraid of heights.
6 黃金六稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 6
Juchi (Zigzag) Ridgeline from Mt. Banping 713 Peak to Mt. Suiba.

Warning: this trail can be dangerous. Don't hike here when it rains or if you are afraid of heights.
7 黃金七稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 7
Mt. Nanzilin Ridgeline: from Mt. Cao left junction to Mt. Nanzilin
8 黃金八稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 8
Mt. Shitikeng Ridgeline: from the right junction of Mt. Cao to Mt. Shitikeng
9 黃金九稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 9
Mt. Bitou Ridgeline: from Mt. Nanya to Mt. Bitou
10 黃金十稜 Gold Ridgeline No. 10
Longdong Ridgeline: from Mt. Hemei to Longdong Bay

How to Get There

There are several buses to the trailhead. My favorite and recommended one is to take Keelung Bus 基隆客運1062 from Exit 2 MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station 忠孝復興捷運站 and get off at Jiufen Old Street Stop 九份老街站. After getting off, continue to walk for about 300 meters, and you will find the trailhead of endless steps to Mt. Keelung Mian Peak. You can find toilets on both sides of the road.
Other options:
Take Keelung Bus 788 from Keelung Train Station or Ruifang Train Station and get off at Geding Stop 隔頂.
Take Bus 965 from Banqiao Train Station or Ruifang Train Station and get off at Geding Stop.
Keelung Bus 1062 bus stop near MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station
Keelung Bus 1062 bus stop near MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station

The Easiest One: Take Mt. Keelung Main Peak Only

GPS coordinates of Mt. Keelung trailhead: 25.111772, 121.847430
After getting off at Geding Stop, you walk back toward Jiufen a few meters and see the trailhead with a sign. If you take this one, you follow the endless stone steps and go all the way up. There are 3 pavilions (the last is your destination) to take a short break and enjoy the mountain views.
03 Trailhead of Mt. Keelung
The easy hike: trailhead of Mt. Keelung trail
Some might argue that taking endless stone steps is challenging, and I agree. But if you don't hike regularly or are unfamiliar with the jungle-like terrains in Taiwan, I still recommend you to start from here, and you won't get lost as long as you keep going up. All the efforts will pay off when you get to the top.
04 Hiking up to Mt. Keelung
Many stone steps to Mt. Keelung Main Peak
When you finally get to the top, which takes around 30 minutes, you'll see the last pavilion and a small square in front of it. This is your hiking destination, the peak of Mt. Keelung with a height of 588 meters (1,929 feet) above sea level, and there's a Class 3 Triangulation Stone.
05 Summit of Mt. Keelung
Mt. Keelung Main Peak is a popular tourist attraction
You can take your time, watch the surroundings, and be amazed by the mountains and the ocean if the weather is gorgeous. In the following photo, you can also see Keelung Islet 基隆嶼 on the right.
06 Keelung Island in the distance covered in haze
Keelung Islet in the distance is covered in haze.
After you think you are ready to go, you can take the same stone steps back to the main road and walk to Jiufen or the nearby Gold Museum and other tourist attractions.
07 Take the same trail back to Jiufen
Take the same trail back to Jiufen.

From Main Peak to East Peak but Not Recommended

If you decide to continue the hike, you need to find another trail entrance next to the main peak's electric power lines. When you take this trail, the grass on both sides can be very tall, but the trail is relatively easy to find. You can feel you are descending, and you will see a big rock slope.
08 Entrance to Mt. Keelung East Peak
Entrance to Mt. Keelung East Peak
I took this one when it was drizzling. When I saw the steep slope, I thought my heart skipped one beat, but my friend and I kept going. Hiking on this trail during the rain is not fun. Therefore, if the weather is wet, please turn back.
09 Not fun to hike when it rains here
Not fun to hike when it rains here
Even though it's not raining, it might still make you cringe a little bit just by looking down the slope. I didn't take a photo from the top down during both my trips because I got panic and just wanted to move on as soon as possible. Of course, there are ropes for you to grab, but looking down the slope will make you uneasy if you aren't comfortable with the height.
10 Be careful when climbing here
Be careful when climbing here.
Just take it slow and make sure your hands hold on tight with the rope, and you should be fine. During my first attempt to get down the slope, I slipped, and my friend later told me that she saw me hitting the rock. Luckily, my hands were still holding the rope tightly, and I had a small bag in front of my chest, which absorbed some impact for me.
11 Climbing up looks easier than descending down the slope
Climbing up looks easier than descending the slope
When you get down the steep slope, the trail becomes relatively flat and easier to hike, and you will see a hill with a tree near the peak, which is called 485 Peak 485 峰. As you can guess, it's 485 meters (1,591 feet) above sea level. Standing here, you get to see how far you've gone, and you can also see Mt. Keelung East Peak from here.
12 485 Peak
485 Peak
After you are ready to leave 485 Peak, Mt. Keelung East Peak is pretty close. You will see a trail junction, and please take the one straight if you want to go to the east peak. The one going downhill will take you back to the other side of the trailhead. Unless the weather isn't good, I suggest you go to Mt. Keelung East Peak. The views there are even more impressive than the ones you see on the main peak.
13 Looking at Mt. Keelung East Peak
Looking back at Mt. Keelung East Peak
After you finish the east peak, the sightseeing is over and what's waiting for you is the challenging jungle hike. I'll explain more in the following.

The Hard Core One: from East Peak to Main Peak

After I took this hike from both ends, I highly recommend you to take this one. After you get off Geding Stop, you will see a pavilion-like bus stop building and a stone step trail going down. Take this one, and you will see the sign before another stone steps.
25 Bus stops at Geding in Reifang, Taiwan
Geding bus stop from Google Maps
After this, you get to walk on the regular road again. Unfortunately, this trailhead isn't that obvious compared to the other one, and you'll see a road junction, and you have to take a left to get to the trailhead.
26 Take this to the trailhead of Mt. Keelung East Peak
To the trailhead
Once you see the trailhead with many plastic ribbons, the jungle trail is waiting for you. Although it's like a jungle, the trail is easy to find. There are many plastic ribbons on the trees left by other hiking groups. Follow those ribbons if you can't find the trail.
GPS coordinates of Mt. Keelung East Peak trailhead: 25.115219,121.852747
16 Trailhead to Mt. Keelung East Peak
The trailhead to Mt. Keelung East Peak
However, there are many rocks, and the terrain is intertwined with tree roots from this side, and it's very steep and very slippery on several sections. Having a pair of yarn gloves with you is better because you need to grab the ropes or tree roots from time to time.
17 Many steep slopes from this side
Many steep slopes from this side
There's nothing much to see in the woods. All you can do is keep going and look forward to seeing the view when you get to the peaks. If it's raining, it will be more challenging to hike on this trail, not to mention the slope climbing part later.
18 More steep slopes to the east peak of Mt. Keelung
More steep slopes to the east peak of Mt. Keelung
Once you get to the ridge, you will see a trail junction. Take the right one, and you'll arrive at Mt. Keelung East Peak very soon. The views on the east peak were more striking than those on the main peak and 485 Peak, but this may be because this was what I first saw after taking the treacherous trail.
But, no matter what, the views are spectacular. If I hike here again, I'll stay on the east peak for at least 30 minutes. Because I was with a group, I moved on after taking as many photos as possible.
19 Amazing view on Mt. Keelung East Peak
Terrific views on Mt. Keelung East Peak
While on the east peak, you can see 485 Peak and Mt. Keelung Main Peak ahead of you, and the steep grade of those peaks is quite impressive. So take your time to climb those slopes. However, if you think your fear of heights kicks in, please don't hesitate to tell your guide or hiking mates and ask for help. Local hikers are very friendly when you need their help.
You can see the Yinyang Sea from Mt. Keelung East Peak.
Climbing up those rock slopes might be slightly easier than going down, but it was still scary. I could feel my arms and legs were very tight when trying to grab the rope and find my footing. My pose might also look funny, but I didn't real
21 Looking at Mt. Keelung
Looking at 485 Peak and the main peak from the east one
Finally, I got up safely, but I also used up all my strength. We still had to go uphill, and I was already huffing and puffing. The views on 485 Peak were also excellent, and it was worth the effort.
22 On Peak 485
View on 485 Peak surrounded by mountains and ocean
The main peak was still ahead, so we continued our hike. After going through tall grass, we reached the main peak. It was already crowded because of the excellent weather, and we could finally take a long lunch break.
23 Panorama view on the summit of Mt. Keelung
Panorama view on Mt. Keelung Main Peak
It takes less than 3 hours to finish those peaks from the difficult end to the easy one. So if you are okay with height and want to take a challenging but short hike, this one is definitely for you. After you leave the trail, the bus stop is very close. I was able to catch the bus right after I finished my hike.
24 Taking the same trail back
Back to Jiufen

Thoughts about This Hike:

This hike is excellent for people with tight schedules. You can go hiking to Mt. Keelung Main Peak, and visiting Jiufen and Jinguashih later is not only doable but also lets you make the most of it in one day.
Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping, Mt. Canguanliao, and Mt. Nanziling
Beautiful sunset in Jiufen
For those who want to take a challenging hike and see the fantastic views only in northeastern Taiwan, starting your hike from the Mt. Keelung East Peak side to the main peak is highly recommended. However, if you take this route, please be cautious when climbing up the rocks.
19 Amazing view on Mt. Keelung East Peak
View on Mt. Keelung East Peak
There are also other ways to take on this hike. For example, some hikers start from the trailhead near Lian Dong Elementary School 濂洞國小 and hike to Mt. Keelung East Peak and then the main one. This route is short but more intense than just doing the east peak and the main one. I haven't tried this one yet, but I might try it in the future.

Map and Itinerary

Group Hike or Solo Hike: Group hike with 新北市山岳協會 THMA
Date of Hike: November 17, 2019

Route map for Mt-Keelung-Main-and-East-Peaks by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

Click the Menu in the map to download, print, or share the map.
Click timer to change the speed to meet your condition.
Due to GPS accuracy setting, there may be some difference between my GPS tracking and the exact distance. Please check the infographic above for more accurate data.

Based on my hike on November 17, 2019

09:00 Started the hike. The guide took some time to explain the trail.
09:23 Reached the trailhead to Mt. Keelung East Peak
10:11 Reached the first big slope
10:20 Reached Mt. Keelung East Peak
10:58 Arrived at the second big slope
11:06 Reached 485 Peak and took photos
11:30 Reached Mt. Keelung Main Peak and had lunch
11:47 Got down from the stone steps
12:00 Reached the trailhead and bus stop
Total time: 3 hours, including breaks

Recommended Blogs and Resources:

Chinese only:
Mark Choo: 九份山尖路基隆山觀光步道
Hiking Biji: 雷霆峰步道(基隆山東峰、黃金一稜)
Waytogo: 基隆山稜
Keelung Mountain

Related Posts on Taiwan Hikes:

Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping, and Mt. Canguanliao
Bitou Cape Trails
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