The Huangdidian Trail (aka Huangdi Temple Trail) is a magnificent mountain hike in Shiding District of New Taipei. The trail features ladder climbs, rope climbs, and rock climbs with the aid of ropes, and the top has a vertical drop on either side. There are also great views of Taipei and the surrounding area.
The rock formations that form the Huangdidian hike formed as sediment under the ocean millions of years ago, and was later uplifted thanks to the collision of the Eurasian and Phillipine plates. The rocks are mainly sedimentary and are part of the same formation that forms the special rock formations on the northern coast around Keelung, and the waterfalls in Pingxi.
Huangdidian gets its name from the Tianwang Temple below (天王廟) which is also known as the Huangdi Temple (皇帝殿). The Huangdidian trail climbs up Huangdidian Mountain, which has three peaks, the highest of which is 593 meters above sea level.
Recently rope railings were installed at the top of the mountain to improve safety. Even so, the hike is still really scary.
4.5 KM, 300 meters of elevation gain
About three hours total
Moderate, there are some rope climbs and ladder climbs up sheer rock face, and sheer drop-off on either side with little protection from falls in some places. Also the trail can be quite steep in some places.
How to get there:
By Bus:Take Bus 912 from Taipei City Hall, then switch buses at Wanfu Bridge. Take Bus 666 to Huangdi Temple station, and the trail head is about a 15 minute walk up the hill.
By Car/Scooter: Take highway 106 past Shiding Old Street, then turn left on a small road Marked "Huangdidian." There is a temple with a bunch of yellow lanterns in front of it.
Please see below:
For a full view of the trail, check out our drone video below:
If you take the normal way to Huangdidian, after passing Shiding Old Street coming from Taipei, you need to take a left right before Yuzhi temple (玉旨堂):
It's hard to miss because of the yellow lanterns. Go all the way up the road and you will come to the trailhead.
We have been to Huangdidian Trail once. Unlike most people, we went up the north side of the trail, past the Buddhist Monastery (佛光寺). The reason I chose this route is because I rode my scooter up to the monastery steps (up some very scary mossy leaf covered mountain road), which saved me about two hours of walking on the normal well traveled trail on the south side.
The steps up to the monastery were super steep and long.
There is also a track here for carrying building materials up to the monastery.
You can see how mossy the steps are here.
The monastery here looks unfinished and kind of sketchy.
Buddhist symbol, not swastika, in the wall.
When I got to the entrance, there was a lone monk there meditating. He was very nice and offered me a walking stick and I accepted. Little did I know the walking stick would be pretty worthless on this hike.
Really gheeto public toilets.
Pile of trash near the monestary.
And from the monastery, the trail goes through this! I had to double check with the monk to make sure this was the trail.
After a tough walk through the woods, which involved some rope climbs. I left the walking stick behind. I needed both hands on the ropes.
At the top of the hill, the trail meets up with the other main trail. Now the hardcore rock climbing begins. JK, there was just this little section, it wasn't too bad. The real hard core stuff is on the main peak.
From here you can go back to the regular trail-head or go to the east peak.
Sign pointing back to the main trailhead.
View from the top of the East peak.
Here I flew my drone where there was some open space.
There are rope holds all along so it was not too scary.
At the top of the mountain the wind was strong and there were a flock of birds eating all the bugs being flung up into the air.
Another look down toward Freeway 5.
A look back at the main peak, with the Taipei 101 visible in the background.
Looking at the main peak with the Buddhist Monastery below.
A better look at the unfinished Monastery.
View of the most impressive rock face of the trail via drone.
Another view from above via drone.
It was scary flying a drone here because of all the birds. I think they were taking advantage of updrafts in the wind pushing bugs above the mountain, and feasting on them. They were also making a whistling, screeching sound, which I wish I recorded. It sounded kind of like a mechanical, alien screech. Maybe it was echolocation like bats. I wish I knew what kind of birds they were. Maybe whistling thrush? I'm still confirming this.
Anyway I was very conservative in my drone flying because the birds were getting really close as you can tell from the video. Luckily no birds or drones were harmed in the making of this blog.
View of Freeway 5 through Shiding via drone.
Looking south toward the Main Peak, and Shenkeng in the background.
Another view toward Taipei.
Looking at the mountain villages west in Shiding.
Looking north toward Pinglin.
Looking northeast toward the east peak. The Huangdidian mountain is basically one solid slab of sedimentary rock.
Coming back toward the main peak.
Closer look at the signs.
Rock path toward the main peak.
I had every intention of climbing the main peak *cough*, but this was just a little too much past my comfort zone, especially with carrying a baby on my back. I had already seen what I wanted to see and got some drone footage, so I called it quits there. Maybe I will tackle the main peak another day when I am alone or when my kid is grown up.
Wonder what the view from the main peak looks like? Go ahead and find out for yourself!
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.