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Kaohsiung's Spectacular Views on Mt. Qiwei to Lingshan Ridgeline Hike

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: June 16, 2024
If you're in Kaohsiung and seeking a challenging hike with breathtaking views, the Qi Ling Thru Hike, aka the Mt. Qiwei to Mt. Ling Trail, is perfect. Conveniently accessible by public transport, this trail is the final segment of the Yushan Range in Taiwan.
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View from Mt. Qiwei
This stunning ridgeline hike between Qishan (Cishan) and Meinong in Kaohsiung offers breathtaking views of the Yushan Range, plains, and Qishan River. Starting in either Qishan or Meinong, you can later enjoy delicious Hakka cuisine, explore Meinong's rich history, or stroll through charming Qishan Old Street, enhancing your hiking adventure.
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Looking at Mt. Beidawu (3,090 meters), the table-top one on the right, from Mt. Rentou.
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Table of Contents:

Trail Information

Trail Name: Mt. Qiwei to Mt. Ling (Lingshan) Thru Hike or Qi Ling Thru Hike 旗靈縱走 (旗尾山、靈山)
Distance: 10.4 km (6.47 miles), including 3.4 km (2 miles) walking on the road to Meinong downtown because I detoured to see some attractions in Meinong.
Route type: Point-to-point
Days/Hours Needed: 4-5 hours
Total Ascent/Descent: 575 m/577 m
Best Time to Go: All seasons, but it is scorching in summer.
Permits: Not required
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty

Peaks or Places to Reach

  1. Beiqiweinan Mountain or North Qiwei South Mountain 北旗尾南山, 92 meters (301.8 feet). There is a Class 3 Triangulation Stone. No views.
  2. Mt. Beiqiwei or Beiqiwei Mountain 北旗尾山, 112 meters (367 feet). No views.
  3. Mt. Qiwei, Mt. Ciwei 旗尾山, 318 meters (1,043 feet). A Class 3 Triangulation Stone, Mt. Qiwei Stele, built in 1939, and a two-story pavilion can be found at the top. Mt. Qiwei is also listed as No. 72 on the Minor 100 Peaks (Xiao Beiyue) list 小百岳.
  4. Mt. Fumei 福美山, 334 meters (1,095.8 feet).
  5. Mt. Jinzimian or Mt. Jinziyuan 金字面山/金字圓山, 350 meters (1,148.2 feet). Getting to this peak is the most treacherous part of this hike. Please stay cautious when staying at the peak.
  6. Mt. Rentou or Mt. Rendou 人頭山/人斗山, 390 meters (1,279.5 feet). There is a Class 3 Triangulation Stone, and the views are fantastic.

Additional Information:

  1. If you start the hike early enough, you might see the sea of the clouds.
  2. Hikers report many mosquitos in summer.
  3. Many sections are exposed, especially the summit of Mt. Jinzimian. Please prepare proper sun protection.
  4. For a more enjoyable and convenient hike, consider starting from the first trailhead. This route takes you all the way to Lingshan and is also the closest to the bus stop, making it a practical choice for many hikers.

Map/GPX Data

GPX Track From My Hike

This map includes 3.4 km (2 miles) of walking on the road to Meinong downtown because I detoured to see some attractions in Meinong.

Route map for Mt. Qiwei To Lingshan In Kaohsiung-Meinong

Click Menu in the map to download, print, or share the map.
You can see more options after clicking the Play button.
Click timer to change the speed to meet your condition.

Public Transport from the Qishan Side:

Trailhead 1 is closest to the Qiwei Elementary School (Qishan Sugar Factory) stop 旗尾國小站.
Several buses go to Qiwei Elementary School, but taking the express one can save time.
Take E25 Liouguei Express E25 高旗六龜快線 or E28 Meinong Express E28 高旗美濃快線 from Kaohsiung Bus Jiankuo Stop (near Kaohsiung Train Station).
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The Qiwei Elementary School sop
Some E25 Express stops at Zuoyin High-speed Railway Station.

Public Transport from the Meinong Side:

If you start from the Meinong side, you get off at the Leiyin Temple stop and walk around 2 km to Lingshan Leiyin Temple to start the hike.
The routes show only E28 Meinong Express E28 高旗美濃快線 stops at the Lieyin Temple stop 雷音寺站, but I saw E25 at the Leiyin Temple Stop. You should check the routes again before you go.
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The Leiyin Temple bus stop

Details of My Qi Ling Thru Hike

Brief itinerary: Mt. Qiwei First Trailhead ➔ Beiqiweinan Mountain ➔ Mt. Beiqiwei ➔ Mt. Qiwei ➔ Mt. Fumei ➔ Junction to Mt. Jinzimian ➔ Mt. Jinzimian ➔ Back to junction ➔ Mt. Rentou ➔ Lingshan Fude Temple ➔ Linshan Leiyin Temple ➔ Meinong
I first did this hike with LOHAS and hiked to Lingshan on December 3, 2023. I did this hike again on January 12, 2024, by myself and hiked to Mt. Jinzimian.

07:32 I got off the bus and headed to the first trailhead. The sign pointing to the trailhead is visible from the road. When I first did this hike, we started before sunrise. It would be great to see the sunrise from the ridge.
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Follow the sign to the trailhead.
It took only 3 minutes to see the first trailhead.
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Mt. Qiwei first trailhead
This trail is well-marked, too. I saw the marker, 1/59, to Lingshan Lingyin Temple.
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You will see yellow markers on the trail.
Beiqiweinan Mountain, 80 meters, was after the 1/59 marker.
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Beiqiweinan Mountain, no views.
07:45 I arrived at Mt. Beiqiwei, 113 meters above sea level. Since there were no views here, I continued.
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Mt. Beiqiwei
While I took a short break to have my breakfast, I felt I was being watched. My instinct was right.
Those macaques here still keep a distance from humans, but please stay alert when seeing them from the trails, especially when you have food. I quickly shoved the rest of my breakfast in my mouth and left.
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Did you see the macaque's face?
Through the trees, I saw a mountain with a tiny white dot on top: Mt. Qiwei.
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Mt. Qiwei in the distance
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I later know the lower peak on the right is Mt. Jinzimian.
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Climbing on the ridge is fun.
08:37 I reached the steepest steps I've ever encountered in my hikes. I could almost climb those steps with my arms and legs without bending my back, not to mention I had to take several stops to catch my breath.
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The steps also connect to the Mt. Qiwei second trailhead
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I literally clawed to Mt. Qiwei here.
There's a beautiful tree with a great view.
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Gorgeous Views of Beidawu and Meinong Plain from Mt. Qiwei

08:42 I reached Mt. Qiwei, 318 meters (feet) above sea level. The building is a popular spot for the local hikers to enjoy tea time. I sat there to enjoy the magnificent views.
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Mt. Qiwei
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I missed the stele, the left one, again on my second hike. The arrow points to the triangulation stone.
If the sky was clear enough, Yushan could be seen. I didn't see it on my trips, but the distinctive table top of Beidawu Mountain finally showed up this time on the southeast. I savored the views here for about 30 minutes.
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Our hiking guide (left) and hiking mates.
The ridge from here became rougher, but it was fun to enjoy.
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09:50 I reached Mt. Fumei, 334 meters. Very little to see here.
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Mt. Fumei
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The trail is well-maintained.
10:23 I reached the small junction, which was easily overlooked. When I did this hike, I only went to Mt. Dajinzhimian, 364 meters, and returned. When I arrived here for the second time, I saw a person sitting on the small top of the peak ahead of me. My curiosity won, and I decided to explore.
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The junction to Mt. Jinzimian. One of the signs said it takes 40 minutes to Lingshan from here.
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You will see this, Mt. Dajinzhimian, right after the junction.
While descending, I saw a sign warning hikers of the risk ahead. I did think twice because this was very steep. The trail was dry, and the heat made the dust even drier, and I knew why the warning sign was there.
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The warning sign, but this section isn't that dangerous. Just take your time.
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Seeing a hiker sitting on the top made me even more curious about this peak.
After checking my map, I had reached halfway, so I continued. If you do this hike, prepare for the vast descending and ascending later.
11:53 I reached the saddle and met the hikers at the top of the peak. They told me they came from a different trailhead but planned to descend from this saddle and take a different route to return.
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The slope I just descended.
I rechecked my map, and this saddle was also a junction. The thought of exiting the trail from here was tempting, but the peak ahead of me awaited me.
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Close to the top

Mt. Jinzimian: Views of Paddy Fields and High Mountains

10:57 The slope to the peak was steep as well, but it wasn't too bad. I reached Mt. Jinzimian within a few minutes. When I saw the views, I was so happy that I pushed myself to go this far because the views were stunning.
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Amazing view from Mt. Jinzimian
The paddy fields in Meinong and the high mountains on the horizon were other highlights of exploration.
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The ridgeline of this hike.
Although I sat at the top with fear, I felt that I was at the top of the world. Well, close.
There wasn't much space at the peak, and the searing sun was too much to endure. I moved slowly and carefully because it was easy to lose footing. When I saw this peak after I returned to the road, I realized why I was scared at the top.
11:47 I returned to the junction.
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I was impressed by how much this hike could offer.

Mt. Rentou with More Views to Enjoy

12:20 After one more steep slope, I reached Mr. Rentou, 389 meters, and this place is also the end of Lingshan Trail.
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Mt. Rentou.
This place was spacious, with great views on both sides. I turned to the east to look for Mt. Beidawu again, and the landscape didn't disappoint me.
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The great view from Mt. Rentou.
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Looking at the ridgeline from Mt. Rentou
According to the sign, the distance from Mr. Rentou to Lingshan Temple is 1.26 km. The trail is also more accessible from here.
12:41 I reached Lingshan Fude Temple 靈山福德祠, and sometimes you can find water to drink.
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Lingshan Fude Temple
On my first hike, we hiked to Lingshan or Mt. Ling, which is a 20-minute round trip from this temple.
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Lingshan
I didn't go to Mt. Ling on my second hike. Although there were some views from Mt. Ling, I was happy with what I had seen that day, so I headed to the trailhead.
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View from Lingshan
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The rest to Meinong was easy, but cars are not allowed to enter this section after Leiyin Temple.
12:52 I reached Linshan Leiyin Temple 靈山雷音寺. There are toilets, a water fountain, and tap water if you need to wash your face.
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Linshan Leiyin Temple
There are signs about those mountains explaining that this ridgeline is the last part of the Yushan Mountain Range. Technically speaking, you can hike from here to Yushan or Jade Mountain, but this will be the most challenging hike and will require much preparation and bushwacking.
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59/59 marker, but the walk wasn't done yet.
13:03 I arrived on the regular road in Meinong.
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Meinong reminds me of Chishang, Taitung.
You can walk to the nearest bus stop to call it a day, but I was on a mission to visit Meinong. So, I continued to walk to downtown Meinong.
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You can see how steep Mt. Jinzimian from Meinong. The pointed peak is Mt. Jinzimian.

About Qishan (Banana Kingdom) and Meinong (Tabaco Kingdom)

Qishan and Meinong, nestled in the northeast part of Kaohsiung City, are districts rich in unique culture and history. After your hike, take some time to explore these fascinating areas, each offering its own distinctive charm and stories.

Qishan, the Banana Kingdom

Qishan, known initially as "Fanshuliao," was renamed after its highest peak, Mt. Qiwei. The earliest records of Qishan's development date back to the Kangxi era of the Qing Dynasty. Qishan is ideal for banana cultivation, earning it the nickname "Banana Kingdom." Banana farming in Qishan began around 1925.
Qishan is also famous for sugar production. Founded in 1909, the Qishan Sugar Factory was one of 42 modern large-scale sugar factories during the Japanese era. At its peak, the factory produced up to 1,500 tons of sugar daily, laying the foundation for Qishan's early 20th-century prosperity. The factory operated for nearly a century until it ceased production in 2002 due to declining sugar exports.
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Qishan Sugar Factory has turned into a theme park.
Many buildings on Qishan (Cishan) Old Street still maintain the Baroque architectural style. The street food also attracts many tourists.

Meinong, the Tabaco Kingdom

Meinong is Kaohsiung's largest Hakka settlement, with a history of development dating back to around 1698. During the Japanese occupation, tobacco cultivation was introduced, earning Meinong the title "Tobacco Kingdom" in the 1960s, when it had the largest tobacco-growing area in Taiwan.
By 1975, Meinong's tobacco fields covered 2,300 hectares, accounting for a quarter of Taiwan's total tobacco farming area, with nearly 1,800 farming households involved.
However, after the 1980s, Meinong's tobacco industry began to decline due to an aging farmer population, and the golden era of tobacco farming gradually faded away.
If you visit Meinong, try the famous flat rice noodles 粿條. After my hike, I visited several places in Meinong, like Word-worshipping Paper Incinerator (Literature Pavilion) 瀰濃庄敬字亭, Kiu Tiam Gui Fo Fong (a collective space for families in Meinong) 邱添貴派下夥房, etc.
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Both flat rice noodles and Hakka stir-fry are Hakka's signature dishes.
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Word-worshipping Paper Incinerator is a way for Hakka people to show respect for knowledge.
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Kiu Tiam Gui Fo Fong (a collective space for families in Meinong)
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Meinong Tianhou Temple (Matsu Temple)

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