Yangmingshan // hiking Mount Zhugao

I spent the month of November writing my face off [along with reaching my 50,000 word goal and raising over $250 for the Malala Fund] and did not get nearly enough time outdoors. so today, we're taking a trip to the mountains.

Mount Zhugao is a short hike in Yangmingshan National Park, north of Taipei, that can be accessed from the "buffalo meadows" Qingtiangang Grasslands area. back in October, I met some of my Hsinchu friends on a sunny but windy day to make the climb.

the trail to Mt Zhugao is a branch off the Qingtiangang circular trail. simply walk to the south across the flat meadow then up the stairs to reach it. or if you're up for a longer journey, you can walk around the circular trail to the north and east first.

side note: to get into Qingtiangang area on a weekend or holiday, you may have to wait up to an hour to get a parking spot. they still let the buses in though, so you could park elsewhere and hop the 108 or small 15, OR park at Lengshuikeng and hike over across the suspension bridge [though parking was a bit backed up there too.]

Mount Zhugao is far from the highest peak in Yangmingshan, but it offers some amazing 360 views of the park for a pretty easy climb. Mt Qixing and its multiple peaks dominate the horizon, but the shorter Shamao is also visible, and on a clear enough day you can even spot Taipei 101.

we got into the parking lot about noon, and it took us around 45 minutes to get to the peak. however, we were slow to start and did a lot of stopping and standing. I think half an hour would be a more accurate time. combined with the circular trail, you could do the whole thing in an hour and a half easily.

I'd recommend a trip up Mount Zhugao if you need an escape from the crowds in the grasslands, or simply if you're craving some mountain views.

also: I'm totally starting the #mountainhairdontcare hashtag if it's not already a thing. I've never been the picture-perfectly-put-together kind of blogger. especially when hiking or battling mountaintop winds. but to me, memories are more important than the perception of perfection. so expect more crazy hair to come, especially with all the mountains in New Zealand...

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