The hike up Datunshan (大屯山) is one of the lesser known, but certainly not completely off-the-beaten track, hiking trails in Yangmingshan National Park. It takes a bit of time to get there via car or bus, but the paths are relatively quiet and easy to follow.
During the Qing Dynasty and early Japanese colonial era, much of the land around Datunshan was cleared to make way for tea plantations and for the making of charcoal to fuel factories in the city. Later on in the Japanese colonial era, in order to bring back the natural landscape and water sources, the area was designated as a protected forest, and much effort was made to reforest the mountains. What you’ll see today is well-maintained hiking paths with superb views, even on a windy, rainy day!
We recommend first heading up on the Erziping Trail, then coming down on the Datunshan Trail (named Mt. Dutan Trail on some signs), as doing it the other way around will involve a much steeper initial climb. The Erziping Trail, actually Taiwan’s first accessible outdoor trail, gradually climbs up around the western side of Datunshan, through a forest rich in a diversity of plant life. You’ll eventually reach the Erziping Recreation Area, a surprisingly open spot of terrain with a few information boards containing interesting snippets about the history and ecology of the area. The trails gradually get more challenging as you head around to the top of Datunshan, but the views up top should be an excellent reward for all your efforts.
Time required: 3-4 hours
How to get there
The easiest place to start the hike is at the Erziping Visitor Center. The Erziping bus stop is on routes 108 and 108 Shuttle, which come and go from the MTC Bus Yangmingshan Stop in central Yangmingshan. There are usually a few buses an hour, but be sure to check the route on Google Maps before heading off.
From Erziping Visitor Center, head up the signposted Erziping Trail. The shortest route to Datunshan is to take a left turn after the Erziping Recreation Area, but there are a few detours that you can do to extend your trip. These are all easy to follow, as English maps along the way explain your various options. Once you are up Datunshan, you can continue down, where you end up near the Saddle Station bus stop, also on the 108 and 108 Shuttle bus routes.
Official website: ymsnp.gov.tw