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Mt. Yuan to Daxi: A Ridgeline Hike between Sanxia and Daxi Old Streets

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: December 8, 2020
Updated on: April 25, 2021
Mt. Yuan from Sanxia to Daxi
Mt. Yuan from Sanxia to Daxi
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Table of Contents:

About Mt. Yuan Long Distance Trail and Taipei Skyline Trail 環大台北天際線

This is an easy trail that lets you start from one of the famous old streets Sanxia Old Street 三峽老街, and ends near another one, Daxi Old Street 大溪老街, in northern Taiwan. You basically hike on the ridgeline among several mountain peaks. When the weather is good, you get to see the beautiful mountains and Taoyuan Tableland.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: Sanxia Old Street in Taiwan
Sanxia Public Market in Sanxia Old Street
This trail is also part of the section 9 of Taipei Skyline Trail 環大台北天際線. The total length of Taipei Skyline Trail is 250 km (155 miles), and this idea was brought up by a famous hiker and author, Mr. Fusen Huang 黃福森, who has over 40 years of hiking experience, in 2016. This skyline trail connects 12 popular trails, and hikers can choose the ones they like to hike.
There are many lists of trails in Taiwan, like 100 Peaks, Xiao Baiyue 小百岳 (Little 100 Peaks), Tamsui-Kavalan Historical Trails, Taipei Skyline Trail, etc., and they are extremely popular in the local hiking communities. Some hikers will pursuit finishing some or even all of them. Those are personal preference. Choose the trails you like.

How to Get There

  1. 1) Take Bus 908 at MRT Jingan Station and get off at Sanxia Elementary School Stop 三峽國小站
  2. 2) Take Bus 910 at MRT Xinpu Station and get off at Sanxia Elementary School Stop 三峽國小站
  3. 3) Take Bus 916 at MRT Yongning Station and get off at Sanxia Elementary School Stop 三峽國小站
  4. 4) Take Taoyuan Bus 9103 either from Daxi or Sanxia and get off at Miaofa Temple 妙法寺
If you start from the Sanxia side, you go through Sanxia Old Street and you head to Nanran Park (Indigo Dyeing Park) 藍染公園. You'll see the trailhead with a big map.
If you start from the Miaofa Temple, you need to get to the entrance of the trail from Miaofa Temple side at 24.8977806, 121.3074073.

Peaks and Places to Reach

Mt. Yuan: 鳶山, also called Mt. Fudekeng 福德坑山, 321 meters (1,053 feet). There’s a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the peak.
Mt. Wushifen: 五十分山, 296 meters (972 feet)
Mt. Wutuku: 烏塗窟山, 283 meters (928 feet)
Mt. Niangzhikeng: 娘子坑山, 238 meters (781 feet), no view
Sanxia Colorful Cliff Wall: 三峽彩壁, a beautiful cliff wall with different orange colors and becomes popular in the past few years.
See the map and itinerary first

Watching Ridgelines on the Way to Mt. Yuan

GPS coordinates of Mt. Yuan: 24.93332, 121.36842
GPS coordinates of Miaofa Temple: 24.8941316, 121.3088729
GPS coordinates of the entrance to the trail from Miaofa Temple side: 24.8977806, 121.3074073
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: map at the trailhead of Mt. Yuan in Sanxia
A map of the trail at the entrance of the trailhead I took

Starting from the Unusually Quiet Sanxia Old Street

After getting off bus, I went through Sanxia Old Street to Nanran Park (Indigo Dyeing Park) 藍染公園, a cute tiny park to get myself ready. I went across the road and found the trailhead. I walked on Yuanfeng Road 鳶鋒路 for a while to Yuanshan Memorial Bell 鳶山大鐘 and started the real trail.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: Sanxia Blue Dyeing Park
A small but cute park to remember the old industry, indigo dyeing business, in Sanxia
While walking on Yuanfeng Road, the layers mountains from Mt. Xue Range kept me company.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Layers of mountains from Mt. Xue Range in the distance
There was a pavilion close to Tzuhui Temple 慈惠堂. It would be so relaxing to have a cup of your favorite drink to enjoy the mountain views there.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Layers of mountains from Mt. Xue Range in the distance
Then, I reached another pavilion on my right side, and I stopped there for a few minutes to overlook the highway and Taoyuan.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
View of Taoyuan
It didn’t take long for me to reach Yuanshan Memorial Bell 光復紀念鐘 at Yuanshan Park. This bell was built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Taiwan being liberated from Japanese Occupation. There was a public toilet if you have to go before your hike.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Yuanshan Memorial Bell and you can find public toilets here

An Annoying and Unwelcome Tag Along (Warning: A Rant)

It wasn’t difficult to find the entrance. There was a big sign telling you where you were. When I got there, there was already a small group of hikers. I figured I might get stuck behind them if I continued, so I found a place to sit and finished my breakfast, which turned out to be a mistake.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
A map and the numbered mark. There are many marks on the trail.
While I was having my breakfast, a short guy who seemed to be a few years older than me approached me out of nowhere and asked me whether I saw a big group of hikers. I replied no. He then proceeded to explain to me how he was late and missed the group. While I was wondering why he needed to explain his being late to me, he asked me again: where are you going? As seemingly nice as I could, I replied. Then, he caught me off guard: I’ll go with you.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
A group of hikers made me decide to finish my breakfast first
I was like, what the heck? I didn’t say you could go hiking with me. You didn’t even bother to ask for my permission. He was ruining my solo hike. I could feel my heart was cringing, but you can tell he wasn’t an experienced hiker from his equipment, even though he was kind like bragging that he had been hiking for almost 30 years.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Although I had to take care of an unwanted tag along, I tried to pay attention to the trail as much as I could.
This kind of hikers is very common in Taiwan. There are so many hiking groups and hikers really don’t have to learn how to read maps, navigate or even bring stoves. Furthermore, many hikers who have finished the 100 peaks still don’t know how to read maps or pitch tents. They hire porters to carry food, tents, sleeping bags for them. Porters will arrive at the campsites or cabins in advance to get things ready. Those hikers probably can’t carry much in their backpacks.
Songluo Lake: porters prepared our meals
This is an example of porters helping hikers prepare food and tents. Photo taken at Songluo Lake
However, there are also hikers who carry everything on their own. They study the trails and have well-prepared plans before their trips. They are also physically fit and fully aware of the risks they might be facing.
Mt. Baigu - 100 Peaks hike in Taiwan: a challenging hike to enjoy the rugged terrains and beautiful views
Hikers who carry their own things to enjoy the trail. Photo taken at Siyan Pond near 100 Peaks, Mt. Baigu
Back to my tag along. He was very slow, and he told me to slow down for him. I really didn’t have to let him go with me, but I was concerned what if he got lost. He even didn’t bother to bring his phone. Whenever he met other hikers, he would ask whether they had saw the group. I was rolling my eyes every time he did that: What’s the point? You are too slow to catch up with them anyway.
Because of him (let’s call him Uncle Slow), I forgot to take photos of the entrance of the trail, and I had to check on him from time to time. Sigh...

Try to Enjoy As Much As I Can with Uncle Slow

I reluctantly took Uncle Slow to continue our hike. We were not the only people on the trail. When we reached Changchunlin 長春嶺, a platform-like small hill with gorgeous views, I went around to take photos. Then, I turned back to look for Uncle Slow. When he finally saw me, he was a bit agitated and thought I abandoned him. He had no idea how much I wish I did.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Layers of mountains in the distance from the platform
We saw a sign saying we were heading to Fudelin 福德嶺. We basically hiked on the ridge, so we either got to see the mountains on one side or overlook the buildings in Taoyuan on the other.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
We reached Fudelin
Then, we arrived at Mt. Yuan 鳶山, 321 meters (1,053 feet), also called Mt. Fudekeng 福德坑山. There wasn’t much view here. Uncle Slow wanted me to take a photo of him and send him via Line, a popular messenger app in Taiwan like WhatsApp. If you are curious, I never send the photo to him because I don’t want to. Sorry for not being sorry...
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Mt. Yuan, also called Mt. Fudekeng
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A Detour to Beautiful Cliff Wall and Mt. Wushifen

After Mt. Yuan, I saw a sign pointing to a direction to Yongan Temple 永安宮, but I never got there. With a big burden/distraction like Uncle Slow, I missed many details and didn’t take as many photos as I'd like to on the trail.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
There are junctions on this trail, but it's well marked. I still missed Yuanan Temple.

Plotting to Get Rid of Uncle Slow

Here, we met a group of hikers coming from Miaoli 苗栗. I had a chat with them and learned that they planned to see the Sanxia Colorful Cliff Wall 三峽彩壁 and turn back from Mt. Wushifen 五十分山. I wasn’t planning to see the cliff wall because there were so many people, but I changed my mind at the last minute. Uncle Slow didn’t want to go because he was already out of breath.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Hikers leave a sign pointing to Sanxia Colorful Cliff Wall
In fact, it took only a few minutes to get to the cliff wall. It wasn’t big but the colors were stunning. According to a hiker’s post, the colors were caused by Lichens. The vibrant colors were truly impressive.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
The cliff wall isn't big but still worth taking a look.
When I got back to where Uncle Slow was, he told me that he didn’t want to go to Mt. Wutuku 烏塗窟山, and he wanted me to pick him up after I got back from Mt. Wutuku. Since when I became his personal guide taking his request???
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Heading to Mt. Wutuku and Mt. Wushifen
So, I started plotting to get rid of him. Many hikers are friendly and willing to help other hikers in need. I have to admit that I'm not that friendly, but I don’t think Uncle Slow is a responsible hiker, either. He didn’t do homework and he WAS LATE. It wasn’t my responsible to help him since he was not in danger, and my patience was wearing thin.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Reached Mt. Wushifen
When we reached Mt. Wushifen 五十分山, 296 meters (972 feet), also called Mt. Yuan 鳶山 (two Mt. Yuan???), I told him we took a break here. The view on Mt. Wushifen was great, even though it was crowded there. But I was happy to see the crowd because I told Uncle Slow that the following trail was long, and it would take him much longer to finish. So, I asked him to go with those hikers.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
The view on Mt. Wushifen is great and the area on the summit is big enough to accommodate many people
I could tell Uncle Slow wasn’t very pleased, but that wasn’t my concern. He had ruined my hike and I decided enough was enough. After taking photos, I said goodbye to him, hoping never to see him again. Finally, my solo hike had begun.

Enjoy My Solo Hike Again to Mt. Wutuku and Mt. Niangzhikeng

The following trail was steeper than the previous section, but still easy to hike. And most importantly, I felt much better without Uncle Slow. I could make my own pace and really enjoyed being alone. I started paying attention to my surroundings and mountains in the distance.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Beautiful fluffy clouds on the top of the mountains
I took my time to have a long lunch. When I was having a lunch break, I met a huge group of hikers. Those hikers were the group hike Uncle Slow intended to join, but not my concern now. I let them go first, but I knew I would eventually meet them again.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: lunch break
I took my time to enjoy the trail coffee
After my one-hour lunch break, I headed to Mt. Wutuku, 烏塗窟山, H283 meters (928 feet). Like Mt. Yuan, there wasn’t much view to see there. So, I resumed my hike to the next peak.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Peak of Mt. Wutuku
It was late February, and the sun made the trail so pleasant to hike. Before reaching Mt. Niangzhikeng 娘子坑山, I went through a road that cut the trail in half. I met those group hikers again, so I followed behind them. The GPS Coordinates to enter the other half trail are 24.908180, 121.319764.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
The trail to Mt. Niangzhikeng was cut in two by a road
On the side of the road, I saw a cherry blossom tree. The hot pink color of the flowers was brought out more intense by the chilly blue sky. No wonder many people enjoy viewing cherry blossoms so much.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: cherry blossom on the trail from Sanxia to Daxi
A beautiful cherry blossom on the side of the road
After connecting to the trail to Mt. Niangzhikeng, the trail became more complicated because of several junctions. It was good that I followed those group hikers so I didn’t have to navigate which one I should go, but I also kept my distance from them.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
There were many junctions after crossing the road to the dirt trail. The guides in the group cut down a plant and placed it to let other hikers know the left one was the way to go.
While hiking on the trail, I saw a lake through the lanky betel-nuts trees. That was Yuanshan Weir 鳶山堰 built for water supply for 2 million people and irrigation, located between Sanxia 三峽 and Yingge 鶯歌.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: Yuanshan Weir through betel nuts trees on the trail from Sanxia to Daxi
Yuanshan Weir provides water supply for 2 million residents around here

I Almost Got Lost

When we reached Mt. Niangzhikeng, 238 meters (781 feet), I saw those hikers were queueing up to take photos with the Control Point. I sat behind the trees waiting for them to finish.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
My last peak on this hike, Mt. Niangzhikeng
Finally, I was alone again. I took my time to take photos and enjoyed the sun. It was quiet and warm, which was my favorite moment on the trail. I was thinking about following them, but I brushed the idea aside because I wanted to enjoy my solitude. I saw where they were going, so I followed the same direction later, which turned out to be a big mistake.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Enjoying this amazing view quietly by yourself is a great delight, at least for me.
According to my GPS map, there was only one trail, but for some unknown reason I thought I saw some junctions. I made several wrong turns, but still couldn’t find the right one. I started to panic, but I also knew that I wasn’t far from the exit of the trail.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
It took me a while to find the trail I needed to go.
I think it took me more than 10 minutes to find the right trail. I still have no idea what was going on, but I was happy that I found my way out. The trail connected to a road and a residential area. Then I reached Miaofa Temple 妙法寺 in Daxi, Taoyuan, and took the bus close to the temple. Please note that Bus 9103 comes everyone hour. It took me almost 45 minutes to wait for the bus to come.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: Miaofa Temple on the Daxi side
The other trailhead is next to Miaofa Temple in Daxi

Thoughts about This Hike: When Nature and Old Streets Meet

This is an easy and pleasant trail to hike. Although there are several junctions on this trail, there are also many signs, marks and maps with English texts to help you navigate. It's still recommended to have a GPS with you just in case.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
Great weather with the mountains in Syue (or Xue) Mountain Range
If there aren’t many people at the Colorful Cliff Wall, you can spend some time to see the details on the wall.
If you want to visit Daxi Old Street, take Taoyuan Bus 9103 on the Miaofa Temple side and you can get to enjoy the street food and old buildings. But 9103 is the only bus near Miaofa Temple and it takes one hour to wait for the next one to come.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: Sanxia Old Street in Taiwan
Sanxia Old Street in the early morning without many tourists
If I do this trail again, I will start the hike from Miaofa Temple in Daxi instead. After you finish the hike, you can get to Sanxia Old Street right away and there are many buses going to Banqiao and MRT stations.
Mt. Yuan to Daxi: an easy trail from Sanxia to Daxi to see the layers of spectacular mountains and visit famous old streets after the hike in Taiwan
The road next to Miaofa Temple
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Map and Itinerary

Group Hike or Solo Hike: Solo hike
Date of Hike: February 23, 2020

Route map for Mt. Yuan From Sanxia To Daxi by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

Click Menu in the map to download, print or share the map.
Click timer to change the speed to meet your condition.

Note:
My GPS track may not be totally accurate and is for reference only.

Based on my hike on February 23, 2020

07:47 Arrived at Sanxia Public Market and went to the toilet
07:57 Reached Nanran Park (Indigo Dyeing Park) and got my gear ready
08:08 Got to the trailhead
08:13 Walked on Yuanfeng Road
08:24 Passed Tzuhui Temple and took photos at the pavilion
08:33 Reached another pavilion to oversee Sanxia Interchange
08:39 Passed the junction with the sign of Mt. Yuan
08:45 Reached Yuanshan Memorial Bell at Yuanshan Park
08:49 Reached the trailhead of Mt. Yuan and the map with a mark #1. Met Uncle Slow while finishing my breakfast.
09:12 Hiked on the real dirt trail
09:23 Reached a small deck to admire the view
09:39 Saw the timber post pointing the direction to Mt. Fudekeng
09:43 Saw the mark #4
09:49 Reached Fudelin and took photos
10:08 Saw the mark #6
10:26 Arrived at the junction to Sanxia Colorful Cliff Wall
10:31 Reached Sanxia Colorful Cliff Wall
11:02 Reached Mt. Wushifen
11:45 Had a long break to have lunch and rested for one hour
13:06 Reached Mt. Wutuku
13:15 Crossed over the road to connect to the trail to Mt. Niangzhikeng and saww the beautiful cherry tree blossoms
13:21 Saw a trail junction and took the left one
14:02 Reached Mt. Niangzhikeng and waited for the group finishing taking photos
14:19 Resumed the hike but got lost
14:47 Reached Daxi Miaofa Temple on Lane 657, Road Xinyi
14:50 Reached the bus stop across the road but waited for 40 minutes for the next Bus 9103 to come
Total time: 7 hours 3 minutes, including long breaks

Recommended Blogs and Resources:

Chinese only:
Hiking Biji: 環台北天際線第九段:鶯歌至三峽
酸莓: 【新北三峽】鳶山縱走 (福德坑山、五十分山、烏塗窟山、娘子坑山)
夫子: 三峽 鳶山彩壁 福德坑山(鳶山) 登山遊
English post:
Taiwan Trails and Tales: YUAN SHAN HIKING TRAIL (鳶山登山步道)

Other Trails near Old Streets on Taiwan Hikes:

Mt. Wulai to Mt. Datong near Wulai Old Street
Mt. Teapot near Juifen and Jinguashih
Mt. Keelung near Juifen and Jinguashih
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