Huang Di Dian, the sign reads: The Emporer’s Throne. This hiking trail, just outside of Taipei, is probably my favorite—certainly the most fun—day-trip that I’ve done hiking in Taiwan.
The hike starts in the picturesque town of Shiding. Bus number 666 runs from Muzha and Jing Mei MRT stations directly to Shiding, making this hike an easy one to get to.
The beginning of the hike is the most physically daunting part—Huang Di Dian may be infamous for its vertigo-inducing ladders and rope climbs, but it’s also infamous for the particularly grueling stairs leading up to the actual hiking trail. For over an hour, we slugged our way up non-stop stone steps before even reaching the trail itself.
Finally, when the stairs ended, the real hike began. The stone steps gave way to a muddy tangle of tree roots. It wasn’t long before we were grabbing onto ropes to pull ourselves up slippery steps, or lower ourselves down a steep rock face.
Soon, we came to the first ladder. This one was relatively short, but the metal rungs and rungs hugged the rock and made it difficult to get a hand- or foot-hold on the ladder.
And more ladders, some ascending near-vertical rock faces, and some plunging straight down into the jungle.
Much of the hike is along an exposed ridge line.
A railing has been installed on some of the more narrow and dangerous parts of the ridge. With the wind and slippery ground, having something to grab onto was much appreciated!
The ridge not only makes for a challenging and exhilarating balancing act, but also allows for some stunning views. The hike is in the mountains to the south of Taipei, and the views of Taiwan’s central mountain range are amazing.
Things To Note:
To reach Shi Ding, take the 666 bus from either Muzha MRT or JingMei MRT.
Shiding is worth spending a little time walking around—there is a single, albeit very small, night market street. Tofu,
fried red-bean paste, and various other Taiwanese treats can be found there. The town was an important mining area, and has a few preserved relics, as well as a small museum.
From Shi Ding, there are signs pointing to the entrance of the hike, so it is easy to find.
Get an early start—this hike can be a long one! With the slippery trails, and steep climbs, it’s also not one you want to attempt after dark.
A lot of people bring gloves with them, to help them grip the ropes. You can find cheap, white work gloves at most convenience stores in Taipei.
Guest post by Stephanie Long.