Wuliaojian (五寮尖): THE classic hike in the Taipei area

The most famous part of the trail: the knife-edge ridge at the ‘Phoenix Plume’

The classic loop up and along the whole ridge is described on pages 180-185.

The classic loop up and along the whole ridge is described on pages 180-185.

Nowadays Wuliaojian is one of the most popular of all hikes in the Taipei area, and needs no detailed description here; despite the many times I’ve been there, I never get tired of the place. This is one hike that no self-respecting hiker in the Taipei area can afford not to have in their repertoire, and is a fabulous day out, although it’s also certainly a leg (and arm!) stretcher!

On my most recent visit, Wuliaojian stood in at the last minute when our original plan – a two-day camping trip among the Yunei Stream ancient trees in early November, was thwarted by typhoon damage, and although several of us agreed afterwards that Wuliaojian isn’t quite as memorable and rewarding as the amazing Fengtou Ridge Walk (which I still believe is surely the finest in the Taipei area), it’s still one of the top choices for a day hike within easy reach of the capital, and none of us, I think, were too disappointed with the change of plan.

With growing popularity has come a certain amount of development, but (unlike the main ridge at Huangdidien)  Wuliaojian has so far avoided the indignity of being made ‘over-safe’ by the local authorities. The  ropes and handrails (believe it or not they weren’t there a decade or so ago!) make the most precarious part – the rock called the Phoenix Plume –  much safer than before, and the dangerous network of ropes called the Spider’s Web that once scaled a rockface en route between the Plume and the pyamid-like summit of the ridge has long since been removed in favor of a much safer route.  Make no mistake though – Wuliaojian is still a thrilling hike, a fairly challenging one, and above all, a very beautiful one in clear weather.

Various blogs give details of how to get there, and those with access to a copy of Taipei Escapes book 2 will find a description of a loop route exploring the whole ridge  starting on page 181. Failing that, the trailhead is pretty easy to find. Take bus 807 from Sanxia towards Xiongkong (熊空), get off at Hozuo Bridge (合作橋) and follow the other hikers up the trail next to the bus stop, beside the large yellow sign!

The start of the climb…

Gaining the ridge

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On the Phoenix Plume, with the summit behind

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The only way off the Phoenix Plume is down a long and very steep rockface

Lower down the same rockface

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View back to the Phoenix Plume from near the Spider’s Web

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A huge old tree just below the summit

The tiny summit of Wuliaojian

10 thoughts on “Wuliaojian (五寮尖): THE classic hike in the Taipei area

  1. We have 2 ppls would like to join mountain hike wuliaojian. We are looking for any day between June 10 to June 18. Pls provide info and instruction about the available time slots and cost details.

    • Hi Bobby, I’m 99% certain I messaged you about this, but things are chaotic here at the moment. If you didn’t receive any info yet, please let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction. Cheers!

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Wulaiojian can be hiked year-round. July is often extremely hot, so take LOTS of water (at least 2 liters, preferably 3), although most of the hike is in the shade, with only the knife-edges themselves exposed, so you shouldn’t get too sun burnt. Most important – get up there early, and be sure to down early (by about 2 pm) as there are regularly torrential rain sowers in the afternoon, and you shouldn’t be up top when it comes! Have a great trip!

    • Thanks for writing. Hmmm… I think you’d be better off doing some easier hikes, perhaps in Yangmingshan first. Wuliaojian is a long and very steep climb, and you’ll need confidence in scrambling up rock outcrops with fixed ropes. They’re not very difficult, but tiring and need confidence. You could try Huangdidian if you want a challenge, but one that’s easier (and safer if you don’t have any experience) than Wuliaojian.

    • Yes. Wuliaojian isn’t tough for a regular hiker, and as long as you’re reasonably fit, wear trainers or walking shoes with a good grip, and choose a dry day for the hike, it’s safe. You’ll meet lots of other (local) hikers there anyway!

      • Thanks I read it is also near Pingxi Crags – hope 1st week of December is a good time to hike as I will be in Taipei during these days 🙂

  2. Pingxi Crags is the other side of Taipei unfortunately, but easily reached by a bus from the MRT line, and also pretty simple and safe to do alone if you’re careful in a couple of places. Early December is usually great weather in Taipei these years – at the end of the autumn dry season.

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