Teapot Mountain. We couldn’t go past it for the name alone!
This was one of the hikes I had most been looking forward to in Taipei, having heard only great things. As with many walks around Taipei it isn’t a long trail but steep and full of adventure. In fact a little too adventurous for me on a rainy day, but more on that later.
The views from the Teapot Mountain hiking trail were some of the best I’ve seen in Taiwan, and that was on a seriously gloomy day too!
If you’re looking for an interesting walk from Taipei, or better still the much nearer town of Jiufen then Teapot Mountain is for you.
The Teapot Mountain Trail
Distance: 4.94km return
We later found out that you can actually start the trail from the 900m to the summit marker but since you’re here I am guessing you’re looking to do it the ‘proper’ way, don’t views always look better when you’ve had to work for them?
This walk is definitely best walked on a dry day if you can. We begun the walk with many ‘be very carefuls’ from locals ringing in our ears which had me a little on edge about the potential slipperiness of the trail following a full day of torrential rain the day before and constant light drizzle as we walked.
How to find the start of the trail
Starting from the Gold Museum in Jiufen keep following signs for the Gold Building, it’s left from the tourist information centre and then up several staircases until you come to the old mining cart tracks.
Follow these for a couple of minutes and then take a left over the bridge (marked on the map below). The Teapot Mountain trail itself is not advertised but if you make an immediate right from the bridge - up the gravel path - you are on track. You’ll pick up signs later.
As with those at Yangmingshan National Park and so many others in Taiwan, yep you guessed it, it’s straight uphill.
You will climb up the stairs for around 10-15 minutes as the aptly named Teapot Mountain appears gratifyingly closer and closer. It’s steep but the steps are well formed except for the odd one or two which are a little rotten but will still hold your weight.
Once at the top of the stairs you will hit a road for the next 600m or so, it continues to be uphill but at a much less steep gradient than the stairs. Within a minute you will hit your first view back on the town of Jiufen hugging the cliff side and glorious ocean views, it’s a gorgeous sight even on a drab day.
The views continue to get better and better as you head further up the road and look out to the rolling hills.
From the little shelter on the road the track will be well signposted. You’ll soon leave the tarmac and hit the track again on the right, there’s a toilet here and enough space for a couple of cars to park if you really want to skip the early part of the trail.
It’s 900m from here to the Teapot Mountain summit and it’s back to our old friend the steep staircase again. There are a couple of fantastic viewpoints or getting your breath back stops along the way!
This section is steep but again the steps are largely in great condition and it won’t be long before you hit the top and the Teapot summit is in reach.
So what makes this trail a little more interesting if you are into scrambling is that you can actually walk inside the cave and squeeze through a narrow whole in the ceiling to sit on top of the teapot itself.
The first section is roped and even though I am quite a cautious walker I could manage without using it - for the ascent that is, for the descent I was definitely grateful for it, especially in the wet and slippery conditions.
I decided not to venture further into the cave as it was just too slippery for me but Joe went in and most others did too with no problem!
Once you’ve squeezed through the narrow hole at the top of the teapot (it is tight enough that you need to take your daypack off first) you can actually continue the walk as a loop track rather than returning the same way - although obviously we didn’t do this one. I like to think I might have done on a dry day though : )
I know from research there are more roped sections along that route though, so if you aren’t keen on that you can just return the same way. It’s really quick heading back because the track is in good enough condition that descending is pretty easy.
Overall I’d say this walk had some of the best views in the whole of Taiwan, and I can only imagine how sensational it would look on a sunny day. It’s definitely worth venturing out from Taipei for and if you happen to stay in the nearby Jiufen, it is right on your doorstep!
Teapot Mountain Difficulty
The actual walk up to Teapot Mountain is not too difficult. Whilst it is steep the trail is well formed and there are plenty of places to sit and take a break along the way.
The difficulty for some people - like me! - comes when you get to the top of the roped section and you are considering squeezing through the hole to get on top of the teapot.
However, we did see lots of people doing it so it depends on your agility. The other thing to note is that you don’t have to do the section inside the cave, you can still enjoy the walk and the spectacular views without this bit so it is a walk that can be enjoyed by everyone as long as you are comfortable with a steady uphill walk of approximately 2.5km.
Read next: Alishan - our favourite place in Taiwan
How to go to Teapot Mountain from Taipei
Teapot Mountain is actually located around 3km outside the town of Jiufen. The quickest way to get there if you don’t have your own transport is by taking the train to Ruifang from Taipei Main Station. We went to Ruifang many times and never actually looked up the time of the trains as they seemed to go every half an hour or so.
There is a local train for $48 TWD ($1.56 USD) or a slightly quicker and fractionally more expensive express train. We got both at various times, one took around half an hour and the other closer to 50 minutes.
Once you get to Ruifang station you are only around 6km from Jiufen Old Street. You can either catch a local bus or take a taxi either to the old street if you want to see this first or directly to the Gold Museum where the track begins.
Here’s the timetable and price list. The taxis from the station have set fares, to Jiufen it was TWD $200 ($6.50 US). We chose this option because it was raining and we just wanted to get there. The journey took around 10 minutes. They might charge fractionally more if you want to be dropped off at the Gold Museum so you can start your walk directly.
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Are you planning to hike Teapot Mountain? Have you done the hike yourself? Let us know in the comments below!