Qixing Mountain (七星山), also known as Qixingshan, is Yangmingshan’s tallest mountain, rising to a height of 1,120 meters. A popular hike, done as a day trip from Taipei, the summit offers spectacular views over the mountain range north of the capital. In good weather you’ll have a 360 view of the whole of Yangmingshan National Park.
The Mt. Qixing Main Peak-East Peak trail takes hikers from the northern end of the mountain’s ridgeline, via a diverse range of ecological zones, to a quite visually different southern end. The north end gets strongly affected by the yearly monsoons, so is mainly grassland, while the southern end is covered in deep broadleaf forest with a high diversity of wildlife. You’ll also come across landscapes with volcanic features, such as sulfur crystal formations and steam vents.
Afterwards, many people will head to a nearby hot spring, such as Lengshuikeng Hot Springs at the end of the trail. While the hike is easy to follow, with lots of English signage and maps, it’s a slightly challenging accent. You’ll deserve a good soak in a hot spring bath after it.
Time required: 2 to 3 hours
How to get there
The trail for Qixing Mountain can be started in various locations. If you want to start as high up as possible, begin on the northern end at Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑). From Taipei Station, take the red line of the Taipei Metro to Jiantan Station (9 minutes), then take the 1717 bus all the way to Xiaoyoukeng Service Center (1 hour, NT$120 in total). If the 1717 is a while away, check Google Maps as there may be alternative routes via Yangmingshan Bus Terminal.
There are two other spots to start or end the trail. Most interesting is to head down on the southeast end to Menghuan Pond (夢幻湖) and Lengshuikeng (冷水坑), with the 108 bus route stopping at both and the more frequent S15 making stops at Lengshuikeng. Route S15 takes you right back to Jiantan Station (15 minutes, 45 minutes). Miaopu (童), the trail entrance on the south end, also has buses to/from Jiantan (50 minutes, NT$50). Bus route 108 can also take you to Beitou, with a change of bus required at Yangmingshan Bus Terminal (MTC Bus Yangmingshan). There is also a 7-Eleven convenience store near the bus terminal if you need any drinks, snacks or a cheap meal.