Located in the picturesque Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園), those who venture will be rewarded with sweeping views overlooking Taipei.
Mt. Qixing (七星山), literally “Seven Star Mountain,” is the highest point in Taipei, with its main peak standing at 1,120m above sea level. Getting there from the city is pretty straightforward… if you know what bus to take (scroll to the bottom of this page for more details on transportation). It takes about an hour from Taipei Railway Station, which really breezes by.
When you arrive at the park, you’ll yourself at the Yangmingshan Bus Station. To make things easier, get off at the last stop, which is just after the Starbucks. There are a few signs around (that can be a little tricky to spot), but you’ll want to head over to the Yangmingshan National Park Headquarters Visitor Center, which is where the hike will officially begin.
The path to the Visitor Center is a little bit of a walk (about 10 minutes from the bus station), and can be quite confusing as you’ll find yourself walking up random stairs and down paths that run adjacent to the roads.
The Visitor Center itself isn’t that special, but the red-roofed building is a nice place to recharge while you figure out your hiking route, as is the Science Shop and Cafe next door. Grab a map at the front desk for more information on the walking trails in the area. If you need to use the bathroom before you set off, this is the time to do it as there are no washroom facilities once you leave this area until you finish the hike and get back to the Yangmingshan Bus Station.
The Mt. Qixing Hiking Trail (Miaopu Entrance) is where you begin — when you see stairs, it means that you’re on the right path. The trail to Mt. Qixing is about 80-90% stairs, but it’s completely shaded with tree cover and there are a few benches along the way where you can rest.
At the top, you will be given two choices: go up to Mt. Qixing East Peak or Mt. Qixing Main Peak. If you have the energy, you can go explore Mt. Qixing East Peak, but we opted to go directly to the Main Peak as it was on the way to the exit—Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑).
From Mt. Qixing Main Peak, follow the path on the other side to go down towards Xiaoyoukeng.
The descent is pretty easy, but you’ll find that there is no tree cover. However, the sun is bearable later in the day.
The terrain here was created through volcanic activity, which also means that you’ll smell sulfur in the air.
As there are various gases coming out from the rocks, you won’t want to linger around the area for too long.
When you reach the road at the end, there is a bus stop for shuttle bus number 108 to Yangmingshan. Chances are that there will be some people waiting there already, so it’s hard to miss. There are seats on the shuttle, which takes about 20-30 minutes, but don’t be surprised if you have to stand.
Quick walking statistics (approximations):
From Yangmingshan Bus Station to Visitor Center: 10 minutes
From Visitor Center to Mt. Qixing Main Peak: 1.5-2 hours
From Mt. Qixing Main Peak to Xiaoyoukeng (exit): 30 minutes
From Xiaoyoukeng to Yangmingshan Bus Station (via shuttle bus): 20-30 minutes
How to get there (Yangmingshan Bus Station):
Bus #260 from Taipei Railway Station
• The bus stop itself is right outside MRT Taipei Main Station, exit M2
• Runs from 6:ooam-10:30pm, with buses every 7-10 minutes during peak hours, and 10-15 mintues during off-peak hours
• Takes about one hour from start to finish
Bus #230 from MRT Beitou Station
• Runs from 5:30am-10:45pm, with buses every 30-45 minutes
How to get back:
At the end of the trail, catch the shuttle bus #108 from Xiaoyoukeng to Yangmingshan Bus Station (20-30 minutes), where you can then get a bus back into the city.
• Yangmingshan National Park website