We decided to go hiking up in Yangmingshan at Qingtiangang hoping it would be cooler. It was supposed to get very hot during the day in Taipei, 38 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with the humidity index meaning it would feel like 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit.
We picked the Qingtiangang grassy meadows area as the place to go hiking because there were several trails up there that we had not taken, and it is about the highest elevation in Yangmingshan that you can drive up to in a car or bus.
Qingtiangang is a lava terrace formed when the lava from Mt. Zhugao flowed north after its eruption. It is mostly covered with native silver grass and carpet grass planted by the Japanese. Because these higher mountain areas are exposed to a lot of typhoon winds, many trees are not able to grow and thrive here. But grasses do very well. We hiked around the Qingtiangang loop path first.
There is a Tudigong (Earth God) shrine near the beginning of the Qingtiangang loop trail..This Tudigong Shrine was originally located at Lingtounie near Mt. Zhuzi. It was moved from Mt. Zhuzi to its current spot over 200 years ago. On the shrine’s door is the engraved couplet, “Linggao is a blessed place, there are gods wherever one’s head is raised”.
Because of its grassy terrain, in 1934 the Japanese established the Daling Ranch here. They planted carpet grass and the area was used as a pasture for grazing cattle. In 1952 the Republic of China Government set up Yangmingshan Ranch here after the Japanese had left.
Now the ranch is managed by the Taipei Farmer’s Association. The cattle grazing there belong to farmers from the Beitou, Shilin and Jinshan areas and grazing fees are required. The ranch is open from April to November of each year and closed from December to the following March due to the harsh winter weather.
There are also old army lookout towers located alongside the Qingtiangang loop trail.
As we hiked around the loop path, some clouds blew in. Although this makes it impossible to get nice photos of the surrounding mountain peaks, it also drops the temperature a bit when the hot subtropical sun is blocked by clouds. So when we had circled back to the Qingtiangang visitor center, the thermometer was indicating that the temperature was a more moderate 27 degrees Celsius or about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then we decided to walk down the trail to Juansi Falls. As it was almost all downhill, we hoped that we would not get as hot hiking downhill in the hot weather.
There were lots of tall bamboo groves and trees alongside of this trail. So it was shady and cool, but slippery from all of the moss and lichen growing on the stone path.
Juansi waterfall is on one of the tributaries upstream from Neishuang Creek. Water falls from a 20 meter (about 60 feet) high rock cliff in a white, silk-like waterfall. Juansi translated from Chinese means spun silk.
It was a nice waterfall, but nothing extraordinary.
Even though the waterfall is not spectacular, this is a good trail because you can begin it at the high point and hike down, and it is also very shady and cool. But it would likely be too slippery in rainy wet weather, so it is the perfect summer trail hike!