Yeuliu Geo Park Hiking Guide / by Josiah Edbrooke

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Yeuliu GeoPark

Hiking Guide

Yeuliu is one of the most famous natural tourist attractions on the north coast of Taiwan, and a bit like YangMingShan, it receives a huge amount  of foot traffic from group tours and organized trips. Speaking from experience I would recommend trying to get there earlier if you are thinking about visiting, or later around golden hour. While parts of the headland can look nice in a harsh light, more often than not, you'll find that is incredibly busy and hard to get any decent shots, what with all the people hanging around. I had the most luck with photos there when I walked as far as I could up to the furthest lookout point. Then I had to wait patiently for golden hour. Most tourist came to take a quick picture and then leave, which meant less crowds for me! 

Getting there is fairly easy, as there are several different numbered buses that go to and from Yeuliu to Keelung. The quickest and most convenient way I found was to take the train to Keelung and then transfer to either the 790 or the 1815. The total ticket price combined with the train I think it costs around 200nt, so top up the MRT card before you go! 

Once at the park you have to purchase a ticket to enter the park to be on your merry way. There are guided group tours if you fancy but that's not really my cup of tea. If remember correctly I think the tickets cost around 40 or 50nt per person. Either way not too expensive really. When I arrived there, I took some time to explore the harbor area near Yeuliu and see if there were any nice pictures to be had. On a calm day the boats and reflections make nice compositions! 

 Harbor reflections. f14, ISO 200, 1/50, 43mm

Harbor reflections. f14, ISO 200, 1/50, 43mm

 Yeuliu harbor. f14, ISO 200, 1/50, 19mm

Yeuliu harbor. f14, ISO 200, 1/50, 19mm

 BnW grunge. f22, ISO 200, 1/25, 15mm

BnW grunge. f22, ISO 200, 1/25, 15mm

Once inside the park I follow then path through the entrance wooded area and various rest stops. The path is very straight forward and easy to follow, meaning very little chance to get lost of stuck. The closer you stay to the beginning section of Yeuliu the busier it will be in my experience. If you don't mind walking a little further the views are far nicer, and you'll be sharing them with a lot less people. The first stop on this mini hike would be The Queen's head and various other stone formations. This is one those landmarks along with Elephant rock that you'll probably see on various tourist advertisements for Taiwan. 

If you are able to find a secluded spot and get a few pictures before someone steps into the shot you'll be doing well. In most of the pictures feature here, I did my best to shoot angles that cut out the enormous crowds of people milling around. That said sometimes they can add to the atmosphere of a picture. The rock formations themselves are pretty fascinating, and make you wonder how in the world they were formed. It reminds me of looking at a funky 90's sci-fi movie!

 framing the headland. f10, ISO 200, 1/100, 33mm

framing the headland. f10, ISO 200, 1/100, 33mm

After you've had enough of the rock formations the best plan is to follow the path towards the furthest tip of the headland. It takes about 30 to 40 mins to get there from the entrance I would say. There are a few steep stair sections, but for the most part it is a beginner friendly hike. You don't need to be uber fit in order to complete an entire loop of the headland is fairly good time. Along the way there are several nice locations for shooting either side of the headland. Something I would recommend bringing are a decent set of ND filters if you are planning on shooting near dusk or dawn time. I imagine that you could get some interesting results with the ocean smoothed out nicely, and rock formations in the same frame. 

 The path towards the headland view point full with people. f10, ISO 200, 1/100, 24mm

The path towards the headland view point full with people. f10, ISO 200, 1/100, 24mm

 The path leading up the the tower and view point. f13, ISO 200, 1/160, 20mm

The path leading up the the tower and view point. f13, ISO 200, 1/160, 20mm

 coastlines. f13, ISO 200, 1/50, 75mm

coastlines. f13, ISO 200, 1/50, 75mm

The path winds along the coastline with a few ups and downs along the way. There are two paths, one leading up the left and a flatter easier path to the right. Both end up in the same location so it doesn't make too much difference which way you go. They have slightly different views of the north coast either way, based on Yeuliu's geographical location. At this point in my hike it was close to midday, so shooting in color was out of the question. The sky was fairly blown out and there was a far too much harsh light around. 

For this reason alone, I ended up converting quite a few of my pictures form this my part of the hike into BnW. Some turned out nicely I though, as the harsh light gave a nice dramatic contrast to the pictures. 

 Looking back at the harbor. f22, ISO 200, 1/160, 150mm

Looking back at the harbor. f22, ISO 200, 1/160, 150mm

 BnW summer day. f16, ISO 100, 1/100, 40mm

BnW summer day. f16, ISO 100, 1/100, 40mm

 a curious onlooker. f13, ISO 200, 1/40, 100mm

a curious onlooker. f13, ISO 200, 1/40, 100mm

The furthest viewing point in Yeuliu provides a nice vantage point on large portions of the north coast, stretching both north and south. If you luck out on a dramatic sky and some clouds to catch the sun, golden hour in this specific spot can be pretty spectacular! 

I staked out my own spot and found the composition I wanted to shoot 30 or so minutes before sunset. This gave me enough to adjust my settings if needed and focus on getting the pictures nice and sharp, instead of running around trying to find a nice angle. I found some success using the tower as foreground marker, and then making use of the mountains to layer the pictures nicely. I was lucky that there was a light mist and a few clouds floating around that were able to catch some of the light also. 

The upside of shooting pictures here was because Yeuliu is far enough away from most of the main cities, the light pollution is at a minimum. Once it starts to get dark, it does so pretty quickly though. I had to wait around quite a bit for sunset, but once it did kick off it came and went in no time.

 the fishermen heading home after a day out at sea. f22, ISO 200, 1/80, 38mm

the fishermen heading home after a day out at sea. f22, ISO 200, 1/80, 38mm

 Airplanes & boats. f22, ISO 200, 1/30, 24mm

Airplanes & boats. f22, ISO 200, 1/30, 24mm

 Summer sunsets. f22, ISO 200, 1/60, 50mm

Summer sunsets. f22, ISO 200, 1/60, 50mm

At this point the sun had already set, so I decided to head back towards the entrance. One nice surprise was the lingering light, which meant I was able to snap some nice silhouettes of the rock formations with no-one around pretty much. It was impossible to get a picture without someone stepping into frame earlier, so being able to get a nice shot of The Queen's head was a welcome surprise. 

On the way into the park earlier, I read that the park closes around 7pm, but that didn't seem to be much of an issue for the fishermen who all came to find and spot on the rocks and start casting their lines out. If you want to shoot here at low light, it seems obvious, but bring a decent tripod for sure! I had to shoot most of my pictures handheld, which meant I was a little limited in exposure times. Yeuliu is a short enough of a walk that I you don't have to worry about packing super light, you can take multiple lens and bits of equipment if you feel the need.

 The Queen's Head. f4.4, ISO 1600, 0.6, 19mm

The Queen's Head. f4.4, ISO 1600, 0.6, 19mm

 Evening lights. f22, ISO 1600, 2.5, 24mm

Evening lights. f22, ISO 1600, 2.5, 24mm

 hello mr moon. f22, ISO 1600, 2.5, 24mm

hello mr moon. f22, ISO 1600, 2.5, 24mm

 hiking home through the brush. f10, ISO 1600, 1/50, 23mm

hiking home through the brush. f10, ISO 1600, 1/50, 23mm

In conclusion, I would say Yeuliu is a nice little beginners hike for those who really enjoy shooting seascapes and sunsets. Just be ready to fight the crowds depending on the time of day you arrive. It can be frustrating being stuck with a bunch of tourists at the entrance, but if you take the extra bit of time to hike a short distance you'll find some nice little quiet spots. 

It's probably best to try and visit here on a weekday, as on weekends it's doubly crowded here. If you catch the light right, there is potential to get some pretty epic pictures though! Hope this guide helps you if you are thinking of visiting here!

Until next time

Sy Edbrooke