Julie Taiwan 43 Comments

Hiking Teapot Mountain was a fantastic experience. This hike would end up being our favorite in Taiwan as it had all of our favorite elements: stunning scenery, rock scrambles, steep ascents that required basic rock climbing skills, and an almost deserted trail. We saw hardly anyone else on this hike leaving us to wonder where everyone was. Why don’t more people know about this?

I had discovered this hike a little over a year while researching things to do in Taiwan. It came as a surprise to me that Taiwan has so many great hikes. Many of the best trails take hikers to high altitudes and require at least a guide and sometimes even an overnight stay on the mountain. On this trip, we kept things simple, limiting our hikes to single day trips that we could do on our own.

Teapot Mountain

Teapot Mountain was perfect for us…a hike that could be accomplished without a guide but had plenty of challenging sections to keep things interesting. If there are no dirt trails, giant boulders to climb over, and hair-raising views to the valley below, Tyler and Kara are bored out of their minds.

Hiking Teapot Mountain

Hiking Stats

Distance: 4.25 km (2.6 miles) round-trip
Starting Elevation: 300 meters (1,000 feet)
Highest Elevation: 730 meters (2,400 feet)
Total Elevation Gain: 500 meters (1,650 feet)
Difficulty: Moderate

Teapot Mountain Elevation Profile

Elevation profile

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

 

Finding the Trailhead

Finding the start of the hike was a bit tricky. The only information that I had to go off of was another person’s blog with a few photos describing the hike. Just in case there are others out there interested in doing this same hike I will provide some more detailed directions with photos. Hopefully, this will keep you from wandering around and wasting time like we did at the start of the hike.

The hike starts at the Jinguashi Gold Ecological Museum. We parked in a small parking lot on a hill just above the main entrance. Parking is free and the parking spaces were motorbike sized so our car took up three of them.

Walk downhill from the parking lot into the museum. There is now a fee of TWD 80 to visit the museum. A recent reader has confirmed that you need to pay this fee in order to start the hike at the museum.

The museum is an outdoor park containing exhibits, restaurants, and an old mining railroad. Walk towards the back of the museum and up the steps towards the Gold Building. Follow the train tracks to the very back of the park. There are toilets here for a final pitstop before starting the hike.

Gold Building

Jungle

This is the view up to Teapot Mountain and Banpingshan from the Jinguashi Gold Ecological Museum.

Cross over the bridge.

Bridge

On the Trail

Once on the other side of the bridge, turn right. There will be a stone and gravel path that quickly turns into a long staircase. This first part of the climb is very steep. Stone steps take you up the mountain and it is here that you will have your last shelter from the sun.

Gravel Trail

The staircase ends at a paved road. Follow the road up the mountain, taking you to a pavilion for your first views out over the northern coastline of Taiwan. When looking at the coastline, Teapot Mountain will be at your back, the only mountain in the area that is topped with gigantic boulders.

Taiwan View

The Trailhead for Teapot Mountain

After a five to ten minute walk up the paved road you will come to another trailhead. To your right will be a dirt and gravel trail with a sign in English pointing you uphill to Teapot Mountain.

Note: This is a narrow road but there is enough room for several cars to park here. However, it is safer to park your car at the Ecological Museum, pay the entrance fee, and walk up to this spot, rather than parking along this very narrow road. 

Another Staircase

This trail soon becomes another series of stone staircases that terminates at Teapot Mountain. Just before the final climb is another pavilion with spectacular views of the coastline.

Teapot Mountain steps

Teapot Mountain picnic spot

Climbing through Teapot Mountain

The real hiking (and all of the fun) starts at Teapot Mountain. If you want to continue your climb up to the higher mountains you will have to climb through the highest section of Teapot Mountain.

At the end of the trail sits the mouth of a cave. In this small cave there is a hole at the top. With the aid of the provided ropes, climb through here to continue on with the hike. There is no other way around this. It is a relatively easy climb but for bigger people squeezing yourself out of the hole at the top will be the biggest challenge. In order for Tim to fit through the opening he had to remove his crazy heavy backpack.

Climb through the Cave

Once you emerge from the cave you will be standing on the large pile of boulders that forms the top of Teapot Mountain. The views of Taiwan are even better from here and will continue to get better the higher you climb.

Teapot Mountain Trail

We had a hard time trying to figure out how to continue on from here.

There are several routes to scramble over these rocks and onto the dirt trail on the other side. One route was roped off with danger signs and the second route had a large drop down onto the trail that Tyler and Kara would not have been able to manage.

The third route had us scrambling up and over an enormous boulder bigger than a car, then crossing over a drop off down into the cave that could have us featured in a Discovery Channel movie if we made a wrong step. It was a little freaky looking down into the crevice, a tunnel that led down into the dark, damp depths of the cave. With the help of Tim, we made it safely over the crevice and over the boulder, and then we scrambled down over more rocks.

Update: From the comments of people who have recently done this hike, it sounds as if the path through the cave has changed. Now, you may be able to hike straight through the cave, with no need to step over crevices, making this part of the hike safer.

Rock Scramble

Dirt Path

To Banpingshan

From the other side of Teapot Mountain a dirt trail takes you uphill to Banpingshan. This part of the trail is completely exposed to the hot sun. Grasses that are as tall as Tim and I grow very thickly here. The trail was just recently cleared but I have read that these grasses can get overgrown, making the trail hard to follow and rubbing legs raw. Just in case, it would be a good idea to have long pants and a long sleeved-shirt with you if the trail is overgrown.

Teapot Trail

The hike continued uphill on a rocky dirt trail. It was another steep climb but in almost no time at all we had arrived at the final obstacle in our ascent, an almost vertical climb up a rock face. Once again, if you take your time and use the provided ropes it is not a very difficult climb. It looks harder than it really is.

The reward is the summit of Banpingshan and 360° views of Taiwan. We were lucky enough to have an almost crystal clear morning, but by midday the clouds started moving in fast. Out to the west is Taipei, to the north and the east is the coastline, and to the south of us were green, verdant mountains that stretch to the center of Taiwan.

Hiking Teapot Mountain

Almost Looks Like Hawaii

Taiwan Mountains

We were all surprised by the beauty of Taiwan, honestly not expecting to see such stunning mountainous scenery and gorgeous coastline. During the two hours it took to get to the summit we saw only two other hikers. We love it when we have the trail to ourselves.

From the summit we walked west along the upper ridge, using the ropes when necessary. We wanted to enjoy these views as long as possible.

Kara Hiking

Hiking Teapot

The Return Hike

For us this hike was an out and back hike. We walked back to our car the same way we hiked up the mountain, walking through the tall grass, scrambling back through Teapot Mountain, and then stopping for a picnic lunch at one of the pavilions. The entire round trip hike, including lunch, took us four hours. It was an awesome morning and a great introduction into hiking in Taiwan, as from here we continue on to Taroko Gorge.

There are other routes to take you down from Banpinshan, although I am not going to be able to provide detailed directions on how to do this. I know that if you follow the trail west, there is a second trail that ends at Jiufen Old Street, turning this into a point to point hike.

Tim and I could see a second trail that looked like it ended back at the Gold Museum. We chose to go back the way that we knew, not in the mood to be wandering the trails in the hot sun and risking getting lost, although the trail did look straightforward from where we stood. We have also learned that hardly anything is as easy as it looks when you are in unfamiliar territory. Plus, the rock scrambling and climbing through Teapot Mountain is what made this hike so much fun for Tyler and Kara…why not do it again?

Tim Tyler Kara

Tips for hiking Teapot Mountain

Bring lots of water, especially if it is going to be a hot, sunny day.

Wear lots of sunscreen. Most of the hike is exposed to the sun with very little shade.

Don’t forget those long pants and long sleeved-shirt just in case the trail is overgrown with grass.

Have fun!  It’s a gorgeous hike and a ton of fun.

Does this hike look like something you would like to do? Comment below if you have any questions or if you want to offer advice to future hikers. 


Are you planning a trip to Taiwan? Read all of our articles about Taiwan in our Taiwan Destination Guide.

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Hiking Teapot Mountain Taiwan

 

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Comments 43

  1. Your blog was a piece of very useful information. Thank you. I went on this Trail 1/12/2019. Yes for the museum you need to pay to take a tour there, but it’s totally up to you if you want to have a tour at the museum. Unfortunately, when I got to the peak, it was quite foggy so I couldn’t get any nice view :). I am planning on visiting there again soon, hopefully not on a foggy day. And by the way, it was quite easy to get there.
    Take bus 1062 from Zhongxiao Fuxing Station and alight at the very last stop. There is a temple(with a huge statue) at the last stop; the trail begins on the left side of the Temple.

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      Thanks for all of this great info and helping to keep our website updated! I hope you have clear skies the next time you do this hike. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hey, Julie.
    Thanks for sharing your amazing experience. This is an excellent guideline for hiking in Teapot Mountain in Taiwan. I thought this is a great review for traveling in Taiwan. What the thinking level you are? step by step explanation. Are you face any problem to whole family tour in Taiwan? please keep it up and reply my query for traveling assist.

  3. Hello, thanks for the helpful guide! Am planning to hike up to the pavilion by myself, is it manageable? The ropes seems quite intimidating so am thinking to skip that! Are there any other hikers as well when you were doing the hike? Like a popular hiking trail

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      The pavilion comes before the tricky climb up through Teapot Mountain. It’s simple to get to the pavilion on your own, just a steady uphill walk on paved and gravel trails/steps. Beyond the pavilion is the hike through Teapot Mountain and later the climb up the cliff with ropes. It’s possible to do all of this on your own. Having some hiking experience is a good idea in order to get through the teapot and up the cliffs with minimal difficulty. You can hike as high as the pavilion for a nice view and turn around here if you like. You could also go as far as the ropes, take a look at them, and then decide if it’s worth it. When we did this, there was hardly anyone else on the trail (April 2015). It sounds like it’s a busier place now. Cheers, Julie

  4. Thank you for very helpful blog post! We followed it today and we never felt lost. It was almost like a game, as we stopped several times to check the photos and compare them to what we see. Lovely track, the path from Gold museum was being cleaned today as we walked up. The admittion is really 80twd but we got in for free with our student ID. Also the place is probably more popular now, we’ve met lots of people (only some of them really walked up the mountain, many just got out of car, took some photos and left).

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  5. I used this blog for directions yesterday (4th September 2018) and it was near flawless. Follow the descriptions and you can’t go wrong. An excellent hike. Thanks a lot Julie!

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  6. There is no need to go up through the top. I felt much safer going straight through. You go down a bit and then out. Immediately go left using the ropes as you stay close to the mound of boulders. Still a little freaky, but I would not have been able to go on if scrambling down from the top was the only way!

  7. My husband and I hiked this yesterday. We read several blogs before hiking which were very helpful. Thank you! However, nowhere did I read that you can actually just park just below Teapot mountain. Here… 224 Unnamed Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City.
    We thought we had to enter through the Back of the gold museum. Of course, that does make it a round trip. But if you can have a taxi drop you off at the Teapot mountain trail, you could either have your car at the shrine or else get a bus at the gold museum at the end. It took us 7 hours with a half hour walking to the gold museum (a few wrong turns), missing our turn from the stairs in the Gold Park, fear of heights during the rock scrambling parts, and a little heat exhaustion at the end….All slowed us down. However, it was beautiful and we’re glad we did it!

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      Wow, we didn’t know about this other entrance, but I guess it makes sense, since we hiked right along a main road for a little bit.

  8. Hi!

    So I read this post before going to Taipei and it was very useful, thank you very much!
    It was a bit crowded at the beginning, but after the boulders we didnt see many people.
    We didnt turn back though and kept hiking since a very nice taiwanese guy told us that if we kept going right every time, we would reach the Gold Musuem, our departure point. Turned out he was right and this way seemed far easier that climbing down some of the ropes we climbed up.
    We even found a little place surrounded by trees which was ideal for a rest from the heat.
    It took us 4,5h round trip and we took it super slow,.

    Anyways I hope this can be of use to someone. This is a super great hike!

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  9. Hello! My friend and I read your page before doing the hike this morning. It was very useful, thank you so much! 🙂

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  10. Thank you so much for your informations! That helped me a lot! It was one of the best hiking in my life! Buuuut so hot! You really need to wear a hat and long sleeve, wow I never burned like that, but it worth it! You can also sleep in the temple close to the mountain for 300$twn!

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      Sleep in a temple…that sounds cool! I’m glad you had a good hike. And thanks for the tips! Cheers, Julie

  11. Hello, I love to read about your hiking experience there at taiwan.
    I will be staying a night there at Jiufen area. Just wanna ask if it is wise to do this in an early afternoon ?
    Is it advisable for a person who have little experience in hiking to do this hike?

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      Yes, you can do this hike in the early afternoon. Just be aware that during the summer months it can get rather hot midday so keep that in mind. The trail can be hard to find at times (which is one of the reasons we wrote this post). Plus, climbing through the “teapot” can also be a little tricky. It’s not too difficult, but some experience helps. You can do this with little hiking experience but I would recommend that you don’t do this solo. Cheers, Julie

  12. Thanks for sharing this! I am planning to travel solo to Taipei. Do you think it is fine to hike to bapingshan solo? also how easy is it to follow the trail? I am just afraid I will get lost alone.

    Thank you

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      Hello Rico. We felt very safe throughout Taiwan. I think it is fine hiking Banpingshan solo (I would do it). The trail is easy to follow, once you find it after the few twists and turns from the Gold Museum. Cache this post on your phone (or print this post) so you can follow the directions. Once you get onto the series of stone staircases the trail is very easy to follow. Cheers, Julie

  13. We just did the hike today! My fella and I treated it like a teambuilding exercise! Ha! Great description! We found everything no problem! Not sure what a wonderful-family you have, we took about 6-8 hours! Great time, though. Super cold, blowy winds atop of Banpinshan. We couldn’t go too far either way.

    Team is stronger post hike! Thanks again!

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  14. Hello!
    Thanks so much for this description! I walked the trail this weekend using your blog instead of a map and found the way without any trouble, haha. I recommended and linked your post on my blog, for readers to check it out if they want directions on how to get there, I hope that’s okay?

    Quick update on how the trail looks in 2017: the entrance is still free, you still just walk into the museum and go through. The top changed a bit and now the best way is to go through the teapot to the other side of the cave, then up, then there’s a way on its side. No need to step over crevices, haha. From what I see in the photos, the last climb also changed a little – the middle rope was not there! The climb starts easily, but in the middle there’s a large gap which can be very difficult and actually dangerous for short people – it feels like there’s a “step” missing.

    Anyway, thanks again, the hike was really fun!

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      It probably took about an hour to reach Teapot Mountain. It took us two hours to get to the top of Banpingshan. In total, including a stop for lunch, the hike took 4 hours. – Julie

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      When we did this hike, we did not pay anything. I believe the Gold Museum is a separate attraction in the Gold Ecological Park that you can pay to enter. To do this hike, we walked right through the Ecological Park (without being charged a fee) to the trailhead. Cheers, Julie

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      You can take the train from Taipei Main Station to Riufang and then take the bus to the Gold Ecological Museum. You can also take a bus from Taipei to Jinguashi. We rented a car and stopped at Teapot Mountain on our road trip around the island.

    2. I think I saw that the Bus 1062 towards Ruifang picks up from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT stop and goes directly from Taipei to the gold museum (金瓜石(黃金博物館).

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  15. Yikes! This was quite an adventure. Looks treacherous to me, but I know from experience that you all can handle it. Thanks for Tim carrying all of the supplies during your treks and for Julie lugging the heavy camera everywhere!

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