Looming in the distance of the Old City of Jiufen, is the Keelung Mountain Peak. It towers over the small temples in the valleys below and from the bottom, looks like it dramatically comes out of the ocean. During your whole stay, you’ll see it in your view. It makes you want to climb to the top and see what is over the ridgeline.
The start of the trail is a few minutes walk farther up from the start of the Jiufen Old Road entrance. You can just follow the Jiufen highway road, pass the main center with a 7-11 store and you’ll see it on the left about 400m later.
From there, the trail is straightforward. No more than 30 minutes of climbing well paved stairs. Even a few minutes after starting to climb, you’ll have ascended high enough to see the whole Jiufen town, but beware of the intense Taiwanese heat that combines high humidity and sunny or rainy skies. Bring some water to the top.
There are a few rest points along the way, and we did see a shelter halfway up that had a good area for camping. I’m not sure what the laws are in Taiwan about camping, but I imagine it is relaxed as long as you are off of the main paths. You can read about the history of the mountains and city on the placard signs at this rest stop.
When you get to the top, you’ll really start to get a good view. The green mountains stretch far into the distance. On a clear and sunny day you can even see Taipei 101 at the center of the city. The ocean sits in front of you. It’s very relaxing at the top.
To get to the Mount Keelung Trail, you can head to the Jiufen Old Street and continue upwards for 400m on the highway road. From there, you’ll see the well marked path on your left (oceanside). It’s not hard to miss.
You’ll want to set aside at least a day or two to explore Jiufen, which is an hour and a half outside of Taipei and makes for a good stopover city to explore more of Taiwan.
Outside of Jiufen and the Mount Keelung hike, you can visit the Houtong Cat Village, take a trip to the Bitoujiao lighthouse, or go to Shifen to take a mountain side train ride and see waterfalls.
Just make sure to bring a rainjacket, because it tends to storm during the rainy season, which is summer time.
As a final note, we stayed at the Hey Bear B&B Hostel and this was a good place to stay. Clean, cheap, and located just far enough away to avoid the tourist crowds.