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中正山 (Zhong zheng shan)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:02

I love to use Google Earth to find the destination of my next hiking or biking trip. It's not that there are not enough places to go without having to resort to the Internet, but quickly jumping there to see whether the view is good and what the road or path looks like can filter out the disappointing ones and save the precious weekends. :-)

A few weeks ago I was trying to find a good spot that had a view of Taipei but was still easily reachable by public transportation. 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park) has plenty of nice hills and mountains but most of them are poorly connected to bus or metro.

One of the closer ones immediately stood out: 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). It promised to have a good view of the whole city, all the way down to Taipei 101:

So, we did a little research, found how to go there and off we went, armed with my trusted GPS logger, the camera, and way too little water.

Just so you get an idea where our hike took us, here's the bird's eye view:

The yellow arrow is 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), our main destination. The red one is 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak), the place we figured we could go if we had enough energy left (which we did).

The green arrow is hovering over 七星山 (Qi xing shan), the highest mountain in Taipei. And, finally, the blue arrow is pointing at 大屯山 (Da tun shan), which is said to have one of the nicest sunsets in Northern Taiwan, something we had been able to confirm on a previous trip.

There you go, so much for the maps. Lean back and enjoy the photos. (But don't lean back too far, otherwise you won't be able to reach your mouse. ;-)


The entrance to the entrance to the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail). The real entrance comes a little later, this is a sort of pre-hiking trail that saves you from taking the car or scooter because it's easily reachable with public transportation from the 新北投 (Xin bei tou) MRT station.

The entrance to the entrance to the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail). The real entrance comes a little later, this is a sort of pre-hiking trail that saves you from taking the car or scooter because it's easily reachable with public transportation from the 新北投 (Xin bei tou) MRT station.

A map of the entire hiking trail and its closer surroundings. (Click here for a bigger version.)

A map of the entire hiking trail and its closer surroundings. ([local:/gallery/data/zhong-zheng-shan/images/original/20100801-112618_MR3231_D90.jpg Click here for a bigger version].)

Another reference photo, but a useful one ... This map shows the distances between the points, not only to 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), but also to other mountains such as 大屯山 (Da tun shan).
(Click here for a bigger version.)

Another reference photo, but a useful one ... This map shows the distances between the points, not only to 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), but also to other mountains such as [local:/gallery/albums/da-tuen-shan 大屯山 (Da tun shan)].
([local:/gallery/data/zhong-zheng-shan/images/original/20100801-112703_MR3232_D90.jpg Click here for a bigger version].)

The initial section of the hiking trail is rather flat with the occasional flight of stairs (and mosquito).

The initial section of the hiking trail is rather flat with the occasional flight of stairs (and mosquito).

Now, this is the real entrance to the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail) on 登山路 (Deng shan road). Luckily, as it should be for any decent hiking trail entrance, it is fully equipped with a convenience store. :-)

Now, this is the real entrance to the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail) on 登山路 (Deng shan road). Luckily, as it should be for any decent hiking trail entrance, it is fully equipped with a convenience store. :-)

The second part of the trail is pretty steep and mostly stairs. It really takes it out of you on a hot day, especially since the forest somehow doesn't make the air feel cooler.

The second part of the trail is pretty steep and mostly stairs. It really takes it out of you on a hot day, especially since the forest somehow doesn't make the air feel cooler.

In this hut people used to burn timber to produce coal.

In this hut people used to burn timber to produce coal.

Taking a rest in the shade.

Taking a rest in the shade.

One of the many interesting butterflies in the area.

One of the many interesting butterflies in the area.

The beautiful panoramic view from the top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). At the far right you can recognize 淡水 (Dan shui) and the mountain on the left is 觀音山 (Guan yin shan).

The beautiful panoramic view from the top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). At the far right you can recognize 淡水 (Dan shui) and the mountain on the left is [local:/gallery/albums/guan-yin-shan 觀音山 (Guan yin shan)].

On a clear day you can see the whole city of Taipei including Taipei 101.

On a clear day you can see the whole city of Taipei including Taipei 101.

七星山 (Qi xing shan), literally translated "Seven star mountain", is the highest mountain in of the 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park). We had climbed it before and had a hard time seeing something. Apparently clouds hanging around its peak are a common phenomenon.

七星山 (Qi xing shan), literally translated "Seven star mountain", is the highest mountain in of the 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park). We had climbed it before and had a hard time seeing something. Apparently clouds hanging around its peak are a common phenomenon.

Luckily there's a two-story lookout platform on the top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), otherwise it would be hard to see something because of all the trees.

Luckily there's a two-story lookout platform on the top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), otherwise it would be hard to see something because of all the trees.

Ivy on top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). If you look closely you can even see Taipei 101 in the background.

Ivy on top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). If you look closely you can even see Taipei 101 in the background.

When we arrived and while we were taking a break we saw a lot of people coming and going. We thought that was odd since we had only encountered three people on the whole way up. What's more, none of them seemed to be working up a sweat.

The solution to this little puzzle was this sign at the top of the mountain. Apparently, for lazy people, the peak is also reachable by way of a 500 meter walk from the parking lot!

When we arrived and while we were taking a break we saw a lot of people coming and going. We thought that was odd since we had only encountered three people on the whole way up. What's more, none of them seemed to be working up a sweat.

The solution to this little puzzle was this sign at the top of the mountain. Apparently, for lazy people, the peak is also reachable by way of a 500 meter walk from the parking lot!

With plenty of time but limited water supplies we wanted to explore the area a little more, so we turned to this map of the 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park). (Click here for a bigger version.)

With plenty of time but limited water supplies we wanted to explore the area a little more, so we turned to this map of the 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park). ([local:/gallery/data/zhong-zheng-shan/images/original/20100801-141017_MR3297_D90.jpg Click here for a bigger version].)

Two 大鳳蝶 (Great Mormons) hanging on a branch over the hiking trail couldn't be bothered by the camera ...

Two 大鳳蝶 (Great Mormons) hanging on a branch over the hiking trail couldn't be bothered by the camera ...

This is where we left the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail) and took the small trail to 大屯西跟南峰 (Da tun shan west and south peaks).

This is where we left the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail) and took the small trail to 大屯西跟南峰 (Da tun shan west and south peaks).

When we reached this grassy area we were very happy we had long pants and even wished for long sleeves. The trail is mostly grown over since this trail is natural and doesn't see a lot of hikers.

When we reached this grassy area we were very happy we had long pants and even wished for long sleeves. The trail is mostly grown over since this trail is natural and doesn't see a lot of hikers.

Back in the forest without grass to worry about.

Back in the forest without grass to worry about.

At this little crossroads the path to 大屯南峰 (Da tun shan south peak) splits off. It's actually a very short detour but we were short on water, so we decided to save it for another day and head right to 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak).

At this little crossroads the path to 大屯南峰 (Da tun shan south peak) splits off. It's actually a very short detour but we were short on water, so we decided to save it for another day and head right to 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak).

And off to 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) we go ... Shortly after this point the trail becomes very steep.

And off to 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) we go ... Shortly after this point the trail becomes very steep.

But the climb is well worth it. The view back towards the city is very nice.

But the climb is well worth it. The view back towards the city is very nice.

This trail is definitely easier to climb up than down.

This trail is definitely easier to climb up than down.

From the top you can see the grassy area from before.

From the top you can see the grassy area from before.

Just when we got to the top of 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) the fog started wrapping the mountains around us and were already blocking the view eastwards.

Just when we got to the top of 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) the fog started wrapping the mountains around us and were already blocking the view eastwards.

On the way down we came across this shiny dragon fly.

On the way down we came across this shiny dragon fly.

Animals in that area really don't seem to be very shy. Good in case you didn't bring your super tele lens. :-)

Animals in that area really don't seem to be very shy. Good in case you didn't bring your super tele lens. :-)

On one of the maps the way down was given with 90 minutes for something like two kilometers. But when the path kept looking like this and turning into stairs it became obvious that that must have been a mistake. Even with the occasional water or photo break it still took us far less than an hour.

On one of the maps the way down was given with 90 minutes for something like two kilometers. But when the path kept looking like this and turning into stairs it became obvious that that must have been a mistake. Even with the occasional water or photo break it still took us far less than an hour.

On the way down there's a nice view of 觀音山 (Guan yin shan) again.

On the way down there's a nice view of [local:/gallery/albums/guan-yin-shan 觀音山 (Guan yin shan)] again.

We went down just in time to see the sun slowly start to set over the ocean.

We went down just in time to see the sun slowly start to set over the ocean.

觀音山 (Guan yin shan) during sunset.

觀音山 (Guan yin shan) during sunset.

Done at last! After around ten kilometers we had arrived at the 清天宮 (Qing tian temple) exit.

Done at last! After around ten kilometers we had arrived at the 清天宮 (Qing tian temple) exit.

An overview map of the hiking trails. Our trail was the one that is painted in blue; from the 登山路 (Deng shan lu) entrance via 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan) and 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) to 清天宮 (Qing tian temple). (Click here for a bigger version.)

An overview map of the hiking trails. Our trail was the one that is painted in blue; from the 登山路 (Deng shan lu) entrance via 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan) and 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) to 清天宮 (Qing tian temple). ([local:/gallery/data/zhong-zheng-shan/images/original/20100801-171027_MR3398_D90.jpg Click here for a bigger version].)

清天宮 (Qing tian temple).

清天宮 (Qing tian temple).

When you're tired even tiny plastic chairs are welcome while you're waiting for the bus. :-)

When you're tired even tiny plastic chairs are welcome while you're waiting for the bus. :-)

A picture is worth a thousand pound... I mean ... words.

A picture is worth a thousand pound... I mean ... words.

The colorful 新北投 (Xin bei tou) MRT line entering the station. Each car has its own theme, e.g. the hot springs for which the area is famous.

The colorful 新北投 (Xin bei tou) MRT line entering the station. Each car has its own theme, e.g. the hot springs for which the area is famous.

We couldn't quite figure out what the theme of this car was but it certainly brightens up the place.

We couldn't quite figure out what the theme of this car was but it certainly brightens up the place.

This scene was our favorite. Very cute! :-)

This scene was our favorite. Very cute! :-)

  1. Testing pal den says:

    Oh very nice picture, I want to go tommarrow zhongzhengshan

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