The Yinhe Cave Hiking trail connects to the Maokong Gondola after 2km, which takes only a few hours to walk. While it’s accessible from both ends, we enjoyed starting in Xindian because the beginning is the toughest part due to there being a lot of steps with rewarding views.
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Arriving by bus
The bus to take is the GR12 which departs from Xindian Station and stops quite close to the trailhead. However, there is a bit of a walk to get to the road that leads to the trailhead.
Arriving by taxi
The easiest way to take a taxi to the trailhead would be to take the green line all the way to its southernmost endpoint, Xindian.
From there, get into a taxi and show this address to the driver: 銀河洞越嶺步道. The taxi fare should cost around $150-200. Since it’ll take you straight to the trailhead, we actually recommend taking a taxi.
It’s also a good idea to stock up on food and water before you leave the station since that’s the last 7-Eleven you’ll encounter.
Either by walking from the bus stop or by taxi, you should end up near Yun Yang Temple. It’s a one-way street that you can walk up to access the trail.
The first section is very easy to navigate: just follow the main road. There’s not much to see along the way other than views of the mountain and farmland. After about five to ten minutes of walking, you will come to this rest area where the trail starts. You can get food, water, and access to bathrooms here.
The trailhead is clearly marked – just follow the sign!
As with most Taiwanese hikes, the trail starts with a lot of steps.
They’re quite steep and slippery when wet – shoes with a good grip are strongly recommended so you don’t slip, or trip.
Arriving at the Yinhe Cave
Eventually, you will come to a clearing where you can look up at the main attraction of the hiking trail: a temple built into a cliff, next to a cute waterfall.
It was founded in 1914 and refurbished in 1958. This temple was allegedly once a hideout for someone who led a rebellion against the Japanese during their colonial rule. You can read more about it at the temple.
Whatever its historical significance, the temple is undeniably stunning, and we would argue it should be on everyone’s list of must-see Taipei attractions.
As you can imagine, a sight this beautiful is very photogenic, and there is an abundance of great photo opportunities to be had.
But of course, everyone has the same idea, and plenty comes for the sole purpose of posing for a photo shoot, so lines for photos can be quite long during peak times.
Still, it’s worth waiting to take beautiful photos like this. If you want the perfect shot of yourself gazing into the waterfall, it’s best to bring a friend along to capture angles from the staircase or window. There were solo hikers taking photos too, but they had to ask around for someone willing to take a photo of them.
The cool part is that the steps actually pass behind the waterfall! You can continue climbing for a couple more photo spots until the path goes to a dead end.
Lots of hikers turn back at this stage, having got what they came for – but it’s possible to continue hiking all the way to Maokong.
The trail leading to the MaoKong Gondola Station
There are several more sets of steps to climb, but this section of the hike is quite easy for the most part.
The views are not as rewarding along this section of the trail as the path winds through a forest and farmland, but they’re pretty and enjoyable nonetheless.
When the path forks into two, make sure to follow the signs for Maokong Gondola Station – the path will continue straight ahead.
The path will eventually bring you very close to the top of Maokong Gondola Station. Directions are clearly marked, so just follow the signs and you will find the station very easily.
You can choose to ride the gondola (the cable car) down to the brown line for $180 which includes a $30 deposit. There is also the option to take a bus down the windy mountain roads.
All in all, we absolutely loved this hike. It was easy (for the most part, steps excluded), accessible, and had great views.
If possible, we recommend going on a day that’s not too cloudy since there are mountain views at the temple and a pretty view of Taipei 101 from Maokong Gondola.
For this same reason, we suggest you aim to arrive at Maokong before sunset, so you still have enough light for photos. Also, note that the steps can be slippery after rain, so bring appropriate shoes and make use of the handrails.
Returning back to the bus stop
If you’re ready to leave after the Yinhe Cave, simply go back down the steps upon which you came. The bus stop is just across the road from where it arrives. It’s the same bus (GR12) which will take you to Xindian MRT Station.
It’s so worth it! Just like Elephant Mountain, climbing the steps can be very tiring, but the views are completely worth the effort for the stunning views of a cliffside temple and waterfall.
That said, expect the section of the hike near the temple to be by far the busiest, so you may need to wait to take photos during peak times.
If you’re not in the mood for a big hike, just climb the steps to the temple and turn back once you’ve seen it where you can catch a bus back to Xindian MRT Station.
Will we go back?
Chinese name: 銀河洞越嶺步道
Hours: Open 24/7, but should only be done during daylight (for your own safety)
English address: No. 68, Yinhe Rd, Xindian District, New Taipei City, 231
🗓️ Updated: July 2022 – Taipei.Expats