Teapot Mountain on Taiwan’s north coast has to have some the most amazing views you can get for a day hike from Taipei City. The hike begins in the rejuvenated Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park. I remember visiting this area years and just thinking how depressing it was, but it’s now fully open and makes for a nice place to visit especially in the morning when the crowds aren’t too bad.
We walked though the park passing one of the reopened gold mining tunnels and then crossed a curved bridge before steeply climbing up towards the road. The beginning of this hike is quite deceptive, but the stairs and road disappear as soon as you reach the base of the ‘teapot’.
You climb up towards the mountain on fixed ropes and then finally into and through the teapot, coming out on its southern side. It’s a great climb and the shade that the rocks provide is a welcome relief from the heat of the exposed trail.
Once out of the teapot the trail heads towards Banping Mountain and its rocky ridgeline. In the winter the part isn’t too bad, but with a summer of growth, the silver grass was as tall as us and our arms were covered in scratches – long sleeves and trousers are highly recommended!
The views from Banping Mountain are exceptional. Keelung Mountain, pictured behind Teapot Mountain, shoots up from the ground. I assume it’s a former volcanic judging by the shape. On this particular day we could way up the coast past Yeliu and all the way to the easternmost peaks of Yangmingshan National Park.
From Baping the trail turns eastwards following the ridge before finally dropping down onto a road. There are loads of options from here. Turn left and then right about 50m down the road to head up to Caiguangliao Mountain. Beware the climb down on the otherside is treacherously muddy on wet days and even on this clear day, we saw an ambulance and fire crew heading away from that area with a presumably injured hiker.
Turning right, you can head either to Jinguashi via the gold eco park or Jiufen, we carried on to Jiufen reasoning that there would be more beer there!
In the summer the sun and heat on this trail are brutal. Cover up, bring plenty of sunscreen and water. Winters in this part of Taiwan or notoriously wet and the exposed nature of the walk can leave you feeling pretty cold. Bring a fleece and be prepared for rain.
Trains run regularly from Taipei Main Station to Riufang where you can get a bus or a fixed rate taxi to Jinguashi. The bus stop moves on weekends. Come out of the train station, turn left and head down the road 200m.
There are a number of buses running to and from various parts of Taipei. Use google maps to work out the best way for you to get there.
Not many places to buy supplies in Jingushi so stock up before getting there.
I’d recommend giving Caiguangliao Mountain a miss on rainy days. Too much potential for injury!