Taiwan Hikes

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Where Sea and Mountains become one: A must-go hike in Taipei and you can do it for free – Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping and Mt. Canguanliao

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: July 2, 2020
Updated: November 28, 2020
Taipei City is a basin sounded by hills and mountains. For visitors who want to go hiking in Taipei, Mt. Qixing and Mt. Elephant (or Mt. Xiang) trails are probably the most popular options. You will see wonderful city views from the summit of both trails. But, if you want to see something totally different, you definitely have to hike Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping, and Mt. Canguanliao trails.
Mt. Teapot infographic
Mt. Teapot infographic
For most people who live in big countries, it’s not easy to see oceans and mountains at the same time. As dwellers on a small island with more than 200 mountains which are above 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) above the sea level, we are privileged to have an easy access to both, especially this one.
Disclaimer: Please note some of the following are based on my personal condition, and I will try to provide the latest and correct information as possible as I can. Please feel free to let me know if I make any mistake and thank you for reading. Please also note that your safety is your own responsibility.

A Hike That Can Turn into a Short, Middle or Long Distance.

The best thing about this trail is you can decide how long you want to hike according to your physical conditions and how challenging you want to experience.
Mt. Teapot is named because it looks like a teapot from certain angles
Mt. Teapot is named because it looks like a teapot from certain angles

How to Get There?

GPX of Quanji Temple 勸濟堂: 25.110376, 121.859446
There are several buses and trains to get to the trail entrance. My favorite and recommended one is to take Keelung Bus 1062 from Exit 2 MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station. The bus comes pretty often, but please make sure the last stop will be at Quanji Temple 勸濟堂, where the loop trail starts.
Hike starts from Quanji-Temple
Hike starts from Quanji Temple 勸濟堂
When you arrive at Quanji Temple, you can get water and go to the toilet before hiking. There are several shops near the temple, but they aren’t open yet if you get there early. So, please bring your trail food and lunch in advance.

Peaks to Reach

Mt. Teapot: 茶壺山 Chahu shan, 580 m (1,902 ft)
Mt. Banping: 半屏山 Banping shan, 714 m (2,342 ft): Class 3 Triangulation Stone (lost)
Mt. Canquanliao: 燦光寮山 Canquanliao shan, 738 m (2,421 ft): Class 1 Triangulation Stone
See the map and itinerary first

The Short One: Round trip to Mt. Teapot

After getting off at Quanji Temple, you can turn to the parking lot. There's a platform close to the parking lot when you go further. Right here, you can see the Yinyang Sea 陰陽海. If you just want to stop here to enjoy the view, it’s totally fine. But there will be more to see if you continue.
GPS coordinates of Mt. Teapot trailhead: 121.8660649 25.1088368
railhead of Mt-Teapot
Trailhead of Mt. Teapot
There is a big rock engraved with the trail name in Chinese next at the trailhead. Just follow the stone stairs. Remember to look back to enjoy the beautiful views.
Looking at Yinyang Sea from the stone steps
Looking at Yinyang Sea from the stone stairs
Continue and you will see the seemingly endless stone stairs. Please don’t get put off by those stairs. I hike regularly, but I still don’t like stone stairs. Starting here, just follow the stone stairs, and there are platforms and pavilions to take a small break.
More stone steps on the way to Mt. Teapot
More stone stairs on the way to Mt. Teapot
After a platform, the stone stairs disappear and are replaced by rocks. Just continue, and you will get to see the last pavilion before Mt. Teapot. You can take a breath, soaking the mountain and sea views here before you head to Mt. Teapot.
Stone steps finally turn to a rock trail
Stone stairs turn to a rock trail
From the pavilion, Mt. Teapot looks like a pile of rocks. If you are not comfortable with height, please stop here. The view from Mt. Teapot is great enough.
Finally reach Mt. Teapot
Finally reach Mt. Teapot
If you want to climb inside, please make sure you have a pair of cotton yarn gloves with you. It takes some effort to get inside the caves. Watch out your head because the passage inside the caves is very narrow and you will bump your head against the rocks.
Bring a pair of gloves with you
Bring a pair of gloves with you
Before you want to grab the rope, please make sure the rope is strong enough to hold your weight. It's very dark inside the caves, and there are big gaps between each step.
Watch out the worn out rope inside the cave
Watch out the worn out rope inside the cave
Once you climb out of the cave, you will get to see the mountain and sea view from a different angle. Please be very carefully here. It's scary to climb on those rocks and one slip can kill you or make you injured badly. Once you finish, you can take the same caves back, and take the same route to the parking lot and visit Jiufeng and Jinguashi.
Looking at Mt. Keelung from the cave of Mt. Teapot
Looking at Mt. Keelung from the cave of Mt. Teapot
From the distance, the look of Mt. Banping's rough ridges might be intimidating, but I think it’s not too terrible.
It can be very dangerous trying to get out of Mt. Teapot cave.
It can be very dangerous trying to get out of Mt. Teapot cave.
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The Middle One: Extend to Mt. Banping

If you still want to explore more, you can exit from the other side of Mt. Teapot and you will see a steep slope going down. After getting down the slope, turn left and you will see Mt. Banping ahead.
Looking at Mt. Banping from the cave of Mt. Teapot
Looking at Mt. Banping from the cave of Mt. Teapot
There is a trail on the left, which will lead to another trail and different trail end. I’ve been to this trail several times and it’s very slippery to get down, and the descending is huge. Luckily, it’s not easy to tell where the detour is so I don’t think you will pick up the wrong one.
Another trail hidden in the tall grass.
Another trail hidden in the tall grass.
The trail condition is a little bit rough and can be slippery compared to the one to Mt. Teapot, but it’s still manageable. It's almost all the way up, but don’t forget to turn around and see the views behind you. At this moment, Mt. Teapot is quite far behind you.
Trail condition changes.
Trail condition changes.
When you continue, you will see a slope of rocks on your left and you continue the trail on the right. Then, you will see a really steep barren slope. When I got there, I was a little bit taken back. I have fear of height, and I was on my own.
Looking back at where I was near Mt. Banping. Mt. Teapot and Mt. Keelung are in the distance.
Looking back at where I was near Mt. Banping. Mt. Teapot and Mt. Keelung are in the distance.
After a closer look, I saw ropes and carved stairs, thinking this should be Okay. It turned out it was. The slope’s bark looked worse than its bite, but you still have to proceed with caution.
The slope to Mt. Banping wasn't too bad to climb.
The slope to Mt. Banping wasn't too bad to climb.
After taking a deep breath, I started my climbing. It was a short one, and I heard people talking on the top. When I got there, I saw two guys already there. Because it was Monday, I didn’t expect to see anyone there.
After climbing up the rock slope, the view is so dramatic.
After climbing up the rock slope, the view is more dramatic.
But after the climbing it was good to see some humans there. When you get to the top, there’s a trail on your left, which leads to Jianlong Ridge or Stegosaurus Ridge 劍龍稜.
More steep slopes ahead
More steep slopes ahead
If you are a hard-core rock climber, this one might be for you. Otherwise, please take the trail on your right. I’ve already Stegosaurus Ridge isn’t for me and that wasn’t what I planned to climb on that day. So, I turned to my right. Here’s a video about climbing Stegosaurus Ridge.
This way takes you to Jianlong or Stegosaurus Ridge 劍龍稜, but this is not for me.
This way takes you to Jianlong or Stegosaurus Ridge 劍龍稜, but this is not for me.
Before I headed to the trail, I knew the weather was great. When I got to the top, the views were spectacular! I was so glad that I took that day off to do the solo hike.
Spectacular mountain view on the top of Mt. Banping
Spectacular mountain view on the top of Mt. Banping
The rock slope might look terrible, but you just take your time, grab the rope or the rocks, and walk slowly. I took many photos and videos here.
More amazing mountain view on the top of Mt. Banping
More amazing mountain view on the top of Mt. Banping
After a while, there were more people on the trail. They took the hike from another trailhead, which was easier to start than taking all the way from Mt. Teapot. The rest of the trail is quite easy, and you will see wooden stairs near the trail head/end. After you exit, you see the sign written in Chinese and English, and there is the trail head if you want to take the easier hike.
Trail becomes easy after you reach the summit of Mt. Banping.
Trail becomes easy after you reach the summit of Mt. Banping
By the time you get here, you can decide to head back to Quanji Temple, which might take less than one hour, and you can see some old relics and shrines on the way back. Or, you can continue the hike like what I did.
Another trailhead to Mt. Banping, the easier one.
Another trailhead to Mt. Banping, the easier one.
GPS coordinates of another Mt. Banping trailhead: 25.096443, 121.866877

The Long One

When you get to the map, there’s a road that can be accessed by cars.
Trail map of Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping and Mt. Canguanliao
Trail map of Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping and Mt. Canguanliao
I took a short break to have simple lunch with the wonderful views in front of me.
Enjoy my lunch with the beautiful view
Enjoy my lunch with the beautiful view
Then I turned to the trail of Mt. Canguanliao. I remember the trail to Mt. Canguanliao was very easy to recognize, but for some unknown reasons, it took me a while to find the trail head.
Looking back at the trailhead of Mt. Canguanliao
Looking back at the trailhead of Mt. Canguanliao
The trail is very easy to recognize and no other trail junctions to fool you. There are some steep rock slopes, too, but you can find it easy to grab the ropes or get a grip on the rocks to get yourself up. When you get to the ridge, the views are amazing.
Mountain view from the trail to Mt. Canguanliao. Mt. Teapot looks so far away.
Mountain view from the trail to Mt. Canguanliao. Mt. Teapot looks so far away.
Last time when I was there, there were many people on the top to take photos with the Class 1 Triangulation Stone, and it was difficult to get a full view. I stayed at the top for a little bit longer and immersed myself in the beautiful nature. All the climbing is totally worth it.
Class 1 Triangulation Stone on the summit of Mt. Canguanliao
Class 1 Triangulation Stone on the summit of Mt. Canguanliao
When you are on the top, you get to see the whole view of Rueifang 瑞芳: Shenao Bay 深澳灣, Mt. Keelung Main Peak and its East Peak , Mt. Banping, Mt. Cao 草山, Fulong beach 福隆海水浴場, the Pacific Ocean, etc., the whole 360-degree view.
The mountains and Ruifeng and Shenao Bay in the distance
The mountains and Ruifang and Shenao Bay in the distance
There’s only one way down. The last time I took this trail, I hiked to the summit from the other trailhead. The trail became muddy and slippery. There were still rocks and trees on your both sides, which makes it easy to get a grip.
The trail becomes muddy and slippery.
The trail becomes muddy and slippery.
After the rocky hills, the trail was replaced by tall grass and became muddier. Take your time to get down, because the slope will become steeper. There are ropes on the trails. When you get here, the views open up. You will see layers of hills, some are natural, and some are man-made, because this area used to be mines many years ago. Martin Scorsese’s historical drama, Silence, was filmed here.
One of the filming locations of movie Silence.
One of the filming locations of movie Silence.
There are also many attractions to visit before you leave, like Jinguashih Geographic Park, Gold Museum, Ruifang Old Street, etc. If you aren’t worn out, you can visit the old street in Jiufen and Jinguashih 金瓜石 to see the historical side of Taiwan.
More attractions to visit after the hike
More attractions to visit after the hike
If you come here in autumn, you will also get to see the blooming silver grass being blown like tidal waves in the air.
Silver grass blooming in autumn
Silver grass blooming in autumn

A Much Longer-distance Hike

If you want to hike more, there are several options. There are so many trails around here and it will take a long time to explore all of them.
Cangualiao Historical Trail used to be the main transportation for military defense in the 19th century.
Cangualiao Historical Trail used to be the main transportation for military defense in the 19th century.
For this one, if you take the trail toward the west, you can hike Canguanliao Historical Trail and you will get to see more relics on the trail. There are more stone stairs on this way, and it’s not difficult to recognize the trail. This way will take you to Mudan Train Station 牡丹火車站, and you can wait for the local train to get back to Taipei City.
Turn this way and you will get to Canguanliao Historical Trail
Turn this way and you will get to Canguanliao Historical Trail
If you want to hike Mt. Keelung, you need to get back to Quanji Temple, and either take Bus 1062 and get off at Jiufeng Old Street Stop 九份老街站. Continue to walk around 300 meters, and you will see the trail head to Mt. Keelung. There are toilets near the bus stop if you need to go.
13 Looking at Mt. Keelung East Peak
Looking at Mt. Keelung East Peak
There are actually two trailheads to Mt. Keelung, and the one with endless stone stairs is the easy one. If you’ve taken the previous trail, I would suggest you to take the stone-step one, because the other trail is much more difficult than trails to Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping, and Mt. Canguanliao, and there are several really steep bare-rock slopes, and I wouldn’t recommend you to hike there alone. There’s a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the summit of Mt. Keelung and the views are wonderful, too.
19 Amazing view on Mt. Keelung East Peak
Amazing view on Mt. Keelung East Peak
Other than those trails, there an extensive network of trails in Rueifang and Jiufeng areas. That’s why you can find many free guided hikes, and this is definitely my favorite town to hike.

Some Thoughts about This Hike

There are so many things to do in Taipei, but if you want to put the nature, the amazing views, the adrenaline, the history, the food, shopping, etc., in just one day, this is definitely the one you cannot miss, and it’s very easy to get there by bus and do it yourself.
The ridge line if you hike Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping and Mt. Canguanliao starting from the left.
The ridge line if you hike Mt. Teapot, Mt. Banping and Mt. Canguanliao starting from the left.

Map and Itinerary

Group Hike or Solo Hike: Solo hike
Date of Hike: December 16, 2019

Route map for Mt-Teapot_Mt-Banping_Mt-Canguanliao 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:
Due to GPS accuracy setting, there may be some difference between my GPS tracking and the exact distance. Please check the infographic above for the more accurate data.

Based on my hike on December 16, 2019

08:55 Arrived at Quanji Temple, went to the toilet, and got ready for the hike
09:14 Reached the trailhead of Mt. Teapot
09:30 Reached the first pavilion
09:41 Arrived at the observation deck and took photos
09:52 Reached the second pavilion before Mt. Teapot
10:00 Arrived at Mt. Teapot
10:07 Sat next to the triangle Rock on Mt. Teapot
10:13 Got out of the cave on Mt. Teapot and headed to Mt. Banping
10:18 Reached the junction to another trail
10:40 Reached the rock slope before Mt. Banping. Took a short break.
10:45 On the top of the rock slope, which was also the junction to Jianlong Ridge (Stegosaurus Ridge)
11:00 Reached the summit of Mt. Banping and took photos
11:26 Reached another trailhead of Mt. Banping. Took a while to find the trailhead to Mt. Canquanliao
11:45 Lunch break
12:13 Headed to Mt. Canquanliao
12:30 Reached the rock slope
12:40 Reached the summit of Mt. Canquanliao, Class 1 Triangulation Stone, took a rest and took photos
13:00 Reached the dirt slope
13:16 Reached Ganzaidian Ruins, which was near the shooting location of the movie Silence
14:20 Got back to Quanji Temple
Total time: 5 hours 25 minutes, including breaks

Recommended Blogs and Resources:

Chinese only:
Mark Choo: 無耳茶壺山、半屏山、燦光寮山--無敵環線
Hiking Biji: 半平(屏)山登山步道
Hiking Biji: 無耳茶壺山步道
Waytogo: 燦光寮山
Waytogo: 燦光寮山
Tony Huang: 燦光寮山.半平山
Tony Huang: 金瓜石.茶壺山賞秋芒
English posts:
BANPING SHAN AND TEAPOT MOUNTAIN LOOP (半屏山/無耳茶壺山O型)
TEAPOT MOUNTAIN (茶壺山)
Jiufeng Old Street 九份老街
Ruifang Old Street 瑞芳老街
Elephant Trunk Rock (Shen'ao) 象鼻岩(深奧)
Teapot Mountain (無耳茶壺山)
Tour Attractions from Gold Museum website
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