Fall Foliage of the Formosan Sweet Gum
Tour Highlights In autumn on Yangmingshan, the leaves of the Formosan Sweet Gum gradually turn yellow and the yellow flowers of the Farfugium japonicum var. formosanum and the Salvia flava bloom everywhere along the mountain trails, heralding the coming of fall. Each year after September, silvergrass flowers can be seen in full bloom at Xiaoyoukeng, Mt. Datun peak, Lengshuikeng, Qingtiangang, Jinbaoli Trail, and other areas. Although silvergrass is a common plant in Taiwan, the plants in the Yangmingshan area grow surrounded by sulfur gas and have bright red flowers, different from the common white blooms. During the Qing Dynasty, Yu Yonghe, from mainland China, composed this poem while acquiring sulfur in the Dahuangzui area of Beitou: The wondrous and odd shape of the rocks with lofty mounds gushing boiling springs, Angry thunder churns the earth and poisonous fog shakes the mountains, The pine tree in the green stream yearns to be dry while the red grass on the mountain seems to burn, The distant heaving ocean remains in sight; I cook a stone to welcome the deities.
（Note: to “cook stones” refers to the legend that gods and accomplished fangshi （alchemists, diviners, etc.） can sustain themselves on nothing but water and rocks. This thought-provoking piece of literature vividly illustrates the unique volcanic ecosystem of Yangmingshan.
"Wind on Grass Mountain, rain at Zhuzihu and Jinbaoli Trail" is a traditional Taiwanese saying naming the most iconic sights of Yangmingshan. In the early days Jinbaoli Trail was mainly a transportation route. In addition to marriage processions, it was used to transport economic commodities such as fish, tea, sulfur, and even cattle. Jinshan, Wanli, and Shimen are located on the north coast and had bustling fishing industries. Whether caught by hand with nets or with boats, if fishermen wanted to sell their catch in the Yangmingshan or Shilin area they could only take the water route by Tamsui to Shilin or by land on the Jinbaoli Trail. The trail eventually came to be known as "Fishermen’s Trail."
After careful restoration and continual maintenance by the Yangmingshan National Park Headquarters, the trail has been restored but the passage of time and marks made by the original inhabitants are still clearly visible; visitors to the trail will feel as if they are entering a time capsule. Visiting Jinbaoli Trail in autumn, not only can visitors enjoy the view of the sea of red silvergrass flowers on the mountain, the small Tudigong shrine （earth god） by the side of the trail quietly guards over passers-by. The remains of the Hanbing’s house, the stone quarry, the Shanzhufeng hunter’s house, and the Xuyan Bridge are all reminders of the past. Walking along the creek visitors will hear the water gurgle and the insects singing, we can imagine the hardships suffered by those early settlers on this trail forgotten momentarily in the wonder of nature.
- Taipei →Qingtiangang → （0.3km） The Gate → Jinbaoli Trail → Hanbing’s house → Stone Quarry → Shanzhufeng hunter’s house → （1.4km, downhill） Xuyan Bridge → （1km） Shanghuang Creek parking lot （The trail between Xuyan Bridge and Bayan is closed due to landslide. Please turn to Shanghuang Creek parking lot） – Bayan trailhead→（2.4km, downhill） Tienlai community trailhead （Yichong Bridge）
The trail is 6.6 km long. On the sides of this trail, visitors can seen historical sites left behind by earlier settlers, for example the Cuodi, green bamboo, abandoned vegetable gardens, farmland and bridges.Every year after October, the awn or silver grass begin to blossom, making the trail a good place for flower-viewing.Because the trail is quite long and situated on the windward face of the northeasterly winds, we highly recommend that visitors bring warm clothing, rain gear, drinking water, and snacks
- From Jiantan MRT station, take the MTC bus S15 and alight at the Qingtiangang stop.
- From Taipei Main Station, take the Metropolitan Transport Corporation （MTC） bus 260 or the MTC bus R5 from Jiantan MRT station, and then transfer to the Park Bus 108 at the Yangmingshan Main Terminal and alight at the Qingtiangang stop.
- On holidays and weekends, visitors can take the San-Chung bus 111 from Xinzhuang or the MTC bus 109 from Wanfang community and alight at the Yangmingshan stop, then proceed to take park bus 108 from the Yangmingshan Main Bus Terminal and alight at the Qingtiangang stop.
Take the Royal Bus Jinshan-Taipei bus from the Tienlai Spring Resort stop to return to Shilin, Jiantan, and Taipei Main Station.