YangMingShan National Park is located in the north of Taiwan north of Taipei City. The park covers a land area of approximately 11,456 hectares and includes the mountain regions of the PeiTou and ShihLin districts of Taipei Municipality as well as the TanShui, ShanChi, ShihMen, ChinShan and WanLi districts of Taipei County. The entire region is situated in the TaTun Volcanic Range at the northern edge of the island. Elevations of the peaks range from 200 meters to 1,120 meters. The tropic of Cancer that bisects Taiwan is approximately 200 km south of the Park. YangMingShan is located between north latitude 25¢X7` and 25¢X5` and between east longitude 120¢X28` and 121¢X38`. Thus, the park belongs to the subtropical climate. In the summer, the southwestern monsoon from the South China Sea and the equator enshrouds the region in a very hot and wet air mass. The air is humid and it showers often in the afternoons. In the winter the northeastern monsoon dominates. The cold (polar) continental air mass and frontal rains from the Asian continent create dramatic overcast, rainy and oftentimes, chilly weather.
Topography and Geology
Topographically, the TaTun Volcanic Range of YangMingShan National Park dominates the terrain and landscape with features such as craters and the conical mountains. The peaks are steep and the geomorphology is complex. The elevation in the central region of the park (approximately 65% of the entire area) never falls below 500 metres. Ten peaks reach over 700 metres. Around the periphery of the central region, the elevation gradually becomes lower and there are more and more valley plains and terraces. The major ridgelines divide the dormant volcanoes of this region into four groups: 1. The Mt. ChuTze- Mt. HsiaoKuanYin- Mt. TaTun Group; 2. The Mt. ChihSing-Mt. HuangTzuei Group; 3. The TingShan Mountain Range and 4. The WuChiShan Mountain Range. The most striking conical volcano is Mt. ChihSing while Mt. ShaMao and Mt. MienTien are bell-shaped volcanoes. The most easily observed crater is atop Mt. MienTien.
YangMingShan National Park also has many rivers and lakes. The most renowned lakes and bogs (old lakes) are TzuiTzui Valley, HuangTzuei Pool, HsiangTien Pool, MongHuan Lake, ChuTzeHu, NenShuiKeng and TaTunPing. Some of these are crater lakes while others are basins among volcanic peaks. All the rivers begin in the central district and then radiate in every direction. The major ones are the MaSu River (beginning in WuChiShan and flowing northeastward into the Pacific Ocean at WanLi), the North Huang River (beginning in Mt. ChiHsing and flowing northeastward into the Pacific Ocean at ChinShan), the LaoMei River (beginning in Mt. ChuTze and flowing northward into the ocean at Laomei Village), the TaTun River (beginning in Mt. TaTun and flowing westward into the Taiwan Strait in the north side of Tanshui), the South Huang River (beginning in Mt. Chutze and flowing southward into the TamShui River) and the ShuangHsi River (beginning in WuChiShan and flowing southward into the KeeLung River). The steep drops of riverbeds in the central mountain region results in fantastic waterfalls, cliffs and gorges. In the lower land, periphery areas slope gently downstream. Their rate of flow differs directly in accordance with rainfall.
This region’s major volcanic activities ended approximately 500,000 years ago but the traces of volcanism such as sulfur fumaroles and streaming spas are still everywhere. Though the actual acreage of this region and park are small, the topography, geology and landscapes (and consequently living resources) are rich.