One of the best things about Keelung is its abundance of beautiful trails. If you’re in the mood for a walk or a hike, venture out to Lovers Lake Park (情人湖公園). It’s popularity as a wedding venue attests to its allure. At the park’s entrance stands the Ancient Engine, an old train, overlooking a view that is surprisingly gorgeous for only having reached the entryway. Between the entrance and the lake, walk through a beautiful park with ample outdoor shaded seating. Inviting tables offer the perfect opportunity for a picnic (which we took!). I could easily pass an afternoon here without ever reaching the lake!
Lovers Lake is the only highland lake in Keelung and the confluence of five mountain streams. The lake is relatively small (it was once named Big Pond) yet utterly enchanting. A walk around the surrounding lake footpath, which is not to be missed, only takes about a half hour (depending on how many flowers you stop to smell, how many turtles you can spy, and how many pavilions you climb into for views). The lake’s most iconic feature is its suspension bridge, a popular local instagram spot. It is said that if couples walk across it holding hands, it is their fate to be married.
I wanted so badly to jump in (unfortunately swimming here is only for the turtles and the gigantic fish), and had difficulty pulling myself away from the dazzling water. Yet there is so much to explore beyond this little slice of heaven. Lovers Lake Park is the perfect place simply because of how many options it offers. In addition to the lake footpath, there is the surrounding mountain footpath (about 1600 meters) which links to several other local hiking trails. The historic Dawulun Fort is only 200 meters off the mountain footpath (but a steep climb!). The Haixing Trail, about 1000 meters long, will take you down to the coast. This is a trail with a unique history – once called “fish road”, it was used during the Japanese colonial era as a footpath for fisherman to carry their goods to Keelung. If you’re hungry or ready for a swim, from there you can head west to reach Dawulun Beach, where there are some delightful seafood restaurants and cafés (this one is great). If you want to do some more walking, make your way east to enjoy the Waimushan Shore Walk.
We opted for a visit to the nearby Dawulun Fort. It’s a fair number of stairs up, but the views are worth it! Built in the 1800s, it was used for defense during the Opium War (1840) and the Sino-French War (1884). Structures of trenches, barracks, the command center and even restrooms can be seen, their remains testifying to the damage done by American bombs in WWII. If you’re a war history buff, you’re in luck! Keelung is home to many historic forts, see here for a full list.
Walking around the surrounding mountain footpath, featuring gorgeous cherry blossoms at this time of year, you can reach the Observation Tower and Eagle Rock point. The Observation Tower is a rotary tower offering stunning views of the coast, Keelung Islet and the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately I haven’t made it to Eagle Rock yet, which also boasts magnificent views. Spending half a day at Lovers Lake Park just wasn’t enough! I’m already looking forward to my next visit. I hope you feel inspired to make a trip if you’re in the area, or put it on your list for your next Taiwan trip!
The 509 bus goes to Lovers Lake from the Keelung City Bus Station. It doesn’t run terribly frequently, so make sure you plan out your departure/return times in advance. There is the Coastal Keelung Shuttle Bus, T99, which goes to Waimushan (note: I don’t know how frequently it runs/if it changes seasonally). It’s also easy to take a cab or uber. It’s about a 20 minute ride from downtown Keelung which usually runs at about $200 NTD.