This is another excellent day hike that can be done in a day from Taipei. I’ve been to Huangdidian 皇帝殿 three times now and were it not for Wuliaojian 五寮尖, this would be my favourite Taipei hike.
The hike starts in the small town of Shiding 石碇 on the 106之. Shiding used to be a bit drab but the old street has recently been renovated and now has a small open square with a fountain, outdoor cafe and several small restaurants, stalls etc…
There are a number of places to start this hike but i think the best place is next to the temple in Shiding (who’s name escapes me, will try to find out!). When you get to Shiding continue through the town but don’t cross the bridge. Instead continue to the left and make another left to go up a hill and through a red temple gate (see the picture above). The trail head is about 200m up from the gate on the right and is signposted.
The beginning of the trail sucks. It’s pure stairs that go up and up and up. The only thing that keeps you going is the view which gets better and better. After a while we reached a fork in the road and took a right to start the hike for real, again this spot is signposted.
From here the trail is rough and there are lots of ropes and ladders however the trail is very easy to follow and there are nearly always other people around. The views are fabulous and we picked a great day to be in the mountains. Not much haze, plenty of sunshine and it was cool enough so when we stopped to rest we could actually stop sweating!
Along the way the are 5 sets of steel ladders to negotiate. The longest set is probably 30m long and climbing up and down them is great fun.
Also there are steel chains. The first one is easy to climb and because of the foot holes cut into the rock the chain is actually unneeded. However at the second one you’re faced with 2 choices. A rope and easy climb to the right or straight up the middle via the chain. It starts off easy but as you approach the top the chain gets really heavy and trying to make the last 5m is a knackering but fun challenge!
From the last chain we continued along the ridge, enjoying the views and finally after about 3 hours we made it to the east peak of Huangdidian. We stopped here for some food and a rest and then headed back the way we had come.
About 400m back from the east peak there is a turn to the left that leads down to a paved path. We turned left at the bottom by the road and followed that all the way back to the 106之. From here it’s about a 30min walk back along the road to Shiding.
It is possible to take a bus to Shiding, the 666 goes from Jingmei MRT or Muzha MRT. Bus info can be found here.
There are lots of places to get snacks and water in Shiding.
On weekends Huangdidian can be quite crowded but there’s plenty of room for passing so it isn’t too much of a problem.