Yangmingshan National Park is a mountainous area in Taipei and New Taipei, known for its volcanic activity, hiking trails, wildlife, waterfalls, hot springs, and sulfur vents. It is definitely worth a stop on your trip to Taipei.
The area known as Yangmingshan now was formed by volcanoes about 700,000 years ago, forming many mountains about 1000 meters or less in northwestern Taiwan. The park still features active volcanoes, vents, and hot springs.
The original name of the area was Caoshan (grass mountain 草山). During the Qing Dynasty, the area was used to harvest sulfur, and many of the hills were burned to help catch sulfur thieves, Qingtiangang likely being one of these areas.
Sulfur mining started in the Qing Dynasty by a British mining company who first obtained the rights to mine here in 1897. In 1927 during the Japanese era, Yangmingshan was made as the first national park in Taiwan, then known as Datunshan National Park Association.
The area around Qingtiangang to Lengshuikeng was made into a ranch for water buffalo, and grass from Japan was planted here for them to graze.
In 1950 after the ROC took Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek renamed the park after the philosopher Wang Yangming, and called the area Yangmingshan.
The KMT kept the ranch at Qingtiangang and continued to maintain it. They also built bunkers here and kept a garrison of troops.
In 1985, after resolving many land disputes, Yangmingshan National Park was officially designated as a national park in the ROC era.
Due to its easy accessibility from Taipei and many natural attractions, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Taipei City. Most visitors come on weekends, and it has parking lots and a visitor's centers throughout the park.
The visitor's centers are open from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. However you can visit the park 24/7.
Free entrance into the park
(car parking 30-50 NT， scooter parking 20 NT)
When to Go:
Silver Grass Season: Mang Grass season goes from September to November. During this time you will be able to see silvery grass all over the mountain tops around the park.
Cherry Blossom Season: Cherry blossoms can be seen in the park from February to late March.
Snowfall: Once every few years it can snow here from December to February. The snow usually only lasts a day or two and melts away quickly.
Best Weather: In my opinion the best weather is in the summer when constant rain makes the air cleaner, and summer mornings are usually clear. Be sure to start hiking in the morning for the best views and sunshine, as afternoon thundershowers are common.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: From Taipei, take provincial highway 2A north to the park, where you can see the main attractions such as Zhuzihu, Qixingshan, Datunshan, Qingtiangang, etc. There are many parking lots, but car parking is limited on weekends and the number of cars allowed up the mountain is also limited. There is also paid scooter parking.
On weekends this place can be packed, and cars can be backed up for up to an hour or more, so consider taking a scooter or bus.
By Bus: From Beitou MRT Station, Take Little Bus 19 (小19), or another bus to the park.
See below for a map of places mentioned in this blog:
I have been to Yangmingshan countless times. The first time I went was with my parents. At the time I knew nothing about the park, just that the Lonely Planet guide has a huge section dedicated to it. We went the hardest way up Qixing Mountain from Miaopu and had to give up halfway because it was too tiring. I regret that trip so much because there are so many other amazing places in the park that are much easier to get to. From this blog I hope you will at least get a general idea of what there is to see in this park and you can better use your time when your family visits Taiwan on their only trip to Yangmingshan in their lives.
See our drone footage above for an overview of most of the main attractions in the park.
Below we have listed the main attractions to the park and links to complete blogs on each area. Visiting just one of these areas can take an entire day. Be sure to give yourself enough time, a few days at least, to visit all these locations. Let's get started.
Zhuzihu is a small valley in Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園 Yángmíng shān guójiā gōngyuán, in Beitou District of Taipei City) between Qixing Mountian and Datun Mountian. The valley is especially fertile due to the rich volcanic soil and abundant rain, and the entire area is full of recreational farms which have become popular tourist destinations. You should definitely stop by on your trip to Yangmingshan...(read more)
Datunshan in Yangmingshan National Park (aka Datun Mountain) is the considered the only active volcanic peak in Taiwan, and the island's only stratovolcano. This along with Turtle Island are the two known active volcanos in Taiwan. The area is also an important ecological area with protected species. Currently access to Datunshan is closed to motor vehicles, but you can cycle or hike to the top. There is a large viewing platform that has great views of the Taipei Basin and the sunset...(read more)
Xiaoyoukeng in Yangmingshan National Park is a large volcanic steam vent area with hiking trails, fumaroles, sulfur deposits, and natural hot springs. Even though the name means "small sulfur hole," it is perhaps the largest and most easily accessible volcanic steam vent area in Taiwan. One could say that it is the Yellowstone of Taiwan. It is a quiet a pleasant stop on the mountain and worth a visit on your trip to Yangmingshan...(read more)
Qixing Mountain 七星山
ixingshan in Yangmingshan National Park (aka Qixing Mountain, Cising Mountain, Chising Mountain, or Seven Star Mountain) is the considered the highest dormant volcanic peak in Taiwan, and the highest point in Taipei City. The area is also an important ecological area with protected species. There are a few paths to the top with varying difficulty, and it offers great views of the Taipei Basin and the sunset...(read more)
Qixing Falls 七星瀑布
Right after the Xiaoyoukeng Parking Lot, you will reach Qixing Falls, which is the most accessible waterfall in the park. It sits right next to the road. The falls are so named because the run right off of Qixing Mountain.
Lengshuikeng in Yangmingshan National Park is a small area with hiking trails, natural hot springs, waterfalls, and wildlife. Even though the name means "cold water hole," the water here is not cold, and there are plenty of hot springs around including a public hot spring bath house. It is a quiet a pleasant stop on the mountain and worth a visit on your trip to Yangmingshan...(read more)
Qingtiangang Grassland 擎天崗
Qingtiangang in Yangmingshan National Park is a large grassland that lays on top of an old lava terrace. It is famous for the water buffalo that congregate here to graze, and is one of the most popular areas in the park. Besides enjoying views of wild water buffalo, there are also many hiking trails and historic trails nearby. Overall it is a family friendly destinations and one of the most popular attractions in Taipei City...(read more)
The Dayoukeng Crater in Yangmingshan National Park is the biggest sulfur vent area in Taiwan, and would likely be the first place to spew lava in the event of a volcanic eruption. This along with Turtle Island are the two known active volcanos in Taiwan. The area was also an important historical sulfur mine. Currently access to Dayoukeng is closed, but you can fly a drone hear with a permit...(read more).
Chungshan Building 中山樓
You may recognize the Chungshan Building from the back of the 100 NT dollar bill. Originally built as a meeting place for the now defunct National Assembly, the building is now rarely used for events. The fact that is the only building in the world built right on top of a sulfur vent means that it is hard to maintain, and many parts of the building are under constant repair. However it is full of precocious art and beautiful architecture, and it is open daily for tours...(read more)
Price: 80 NT
Tour times are 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 3 PM daily and the tour lasts about an hour and a half. I highly recommend it. Be sure to get there about 10 minutes early.
Be wary that for some national holidays the building is closed to the public.
Longfeng Valley Hot Spring 龍鳳谷溫泉
Longfeng Valley in Yangmingshan National Park is a large volcanic sulfur hot spring area with hiking trails, steam vents, sulfur deposits, and large natural hot springs. Longfeng Valley remains as a mostly untouched natural pool that retains its natural beauty without man made structures surrounding it. It is a unique and interesting stop on the mountain and worth a visit on your trip to Yangmingshan...(read more)
Lover's Waterfall 情人瀑布
Another easily accessible waterfall in the park is Lover's Waterfall, right across the street from Sulfur Valley.
Sulfur Valley 硫磺谷
Sulfur Valley (Liuhuang Valley) in Yangmingshan National Park is a large volcanic sulfur hot spring area with hiking trails, steam vents, sulfur deposits, and large natural hot springs. Sulfur Valley contains a trail that circles the area, and also has a free public spring to soak your feet in. It is a unique and interesting stop on the mountain and worth a visit on your trip to Yangmingshan...(read more)
Jingshan Recreational Area 菁山遊憩區
Near the Chungshan Building, you can check out Jingshan Recreational Area, which has a hot spring resort, campsites, hiking trails, and great views of the surrounding area.
See the photo gallery above for more pictures of the area.
Erziping Recreational Area 二子坪遊憩區
Erziping is a small area beneath Datunshan that has some nice hiking trails around nearby ponds and forests and has great views of the surrounding mountains.
The Road Down to Shilin (Pingjing St) 下去士林之路 (平菁街)
When I say the road down to Shilin, I do not mean provincial highway 2, I am talking about Pingjing Street on the south side of Mt. Qixing, where there is a residential area with many resort style houses and also some satellite dishes. It is a nice place to enjoy the scenery and cherry blossoms in early spring. See the gallery above for more photos.
The Road Down to Wanli (N. 28 Highway) 下去萬里之路 (北28公路)
The road down to Wanli (North 28 Highway) starts from Fengguizui (風櫃嘴) and heads down toward Wanli District. There are some nice views here and not many people travel this way.
The Road Down to Sanzhi (101A Highway) 下去三芝之路 (101甲)
The road down from Datunshan to Sanzhi (Highway 101 A) is also beautiful. Along the way you can see amazing views of the ocean, cherry blossoms, as well as sights in nearby Tamsui such as Wuji Tianyuan Temple (無極天元宮). For more about this temple, click here.
The Road Down to Jinshan (Yangjin Road)下去金山之路 (陽金公路)
Another beautiful road leads from Xiaoyoukeng to Jinshan District on the north coast, also known as provincial highway 2A or Yangjin Road. There are many great views of the area from this road. Further down in Jinshan, you can see many hot spring hotels that use hot spring water from the mountain, and there are also a few roadside wild hot springs that you can soak in.
China Cultural University 中國文化大學
Another great place to see views of the Taipei Basin from Yangmingshan is China Cultural University. You can see many great views just from the road side at the back of the school. There is also an old American Military dependents village nearby that has been converted into a myriad of hipster cafes and restaurants.
Roadside Markets 路邊市場
Around the mountain especially near Zhuzihu and Pingjing Road there are many roadside vegetable markets to check out.
Flying a Drone in Yangmingshan National Park 在陽明山國家公園飛空拍機
In order to fly a drone in the park, you need to apply at least seven days in advance online here. The application needs to be in Chinese, and requires dates of flights, takeoff locations, etc. After you receive the approval letter, you need to call in advance, and then on the day of the flight you need to visit the nearest visitor's center and they will give you a vest. Certain areas are always off limits, so make sure you study in advance. Most national parks have similar requirements now.
Places we missed:
We will be sure to update this blog in the future. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more of our guides to Taiwan coming soon!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.