Yehliu Geopark, located in the northernmost part of Taiwan, is a unique destination. Here, you can see fascinating rock formations that resemble waves of mud frozen in time. It’s hard to imagine how these rocks formed, but one thing is certain: Mother Earth took thousands, if not millions, of years to create this masterpiece.
If you ask me whether you should visit, I’d say yes, especially if you’re in Taipei. Yehliu Geopark makes for an interesting day trip! The park is a gallery of fantastic, otherworldly rock formations that will surely captivate rock enthusiasts.
Some of the rock formations in Yehliu Geopark have distinctive shapes that will keep you amazed as you explore the area. At the same time, these rock formations are located on a cape, offering dramatic coastal scenery. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here, and I think you will too!
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A glimpse of the breathtaking scenery and amazing rock formations in Yehliu Geopark.
An explanation about the rock formations in Yehliu Geopark
Visiting the park is akin to witnessing the outcome of a scientific experiment based on theories and laws we learned in school. Sea erosion provides the simplest explanation for the unusual rocks in Yehliu Geopark. Over thousands of years, the changing tides and crashing waves have worn away parts of the cape. The softer parts of the rocks were washed away, while the harder, more solid ones remained intact.
But what about the patterns and the strange holes on top of the rocks? These are the result of weathering. While similar to erosion, the factors that cause changes in the rock are mainly temperature, rainwater, and biological activity. The subtropical location of Taiwan makes weathering more likely.
One type of weathering you’ll find in Yehliu is Honeycomb weathering. Rocks that have undergone this process have surfaces that resemble a honeycomb or window lattice. People with Trypophobia might shiver at the sight of rocks that have experienced honeycomb weathering!
What’s even more impressive is that honeycomb rocks are not just a product of weather, but also of organisms. The detritus from these organisms kickstarts the entire process of creating honeycomb rocks. For more facts and detailed scientific explanations, you can visit the Yehliu Geopark website.
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15 Amazing Rock Formations in Yehliu Geopark
Yehliu Geopark features 36 specific spots that the park administration suggests you explore. These locations are all marked on the park maps. You can obtain these maps from brochures available at the visitors’ center. Alternatively, you can refer to the map provided below.
However, if you are going for a rock hunting trip here, I think you only need to see 15. And it’s what I’m going to share with you today. They’re the most famous and intriguing rocks in Yehliu Geopark. Some may puzzle how people named them, and some will make you wonder how they acquired their shapes.
Before you start exploring, don’t forget to take a look at the map. You’ll notice that Yehliu Geopark is divided into three areas. Area 1 is the closest to the visitor’s information center. Area 2 is the low and narrow land bridge that connects the mainland to the tip of the Yehliu Geopark cape. Lastly, Area 3 is the hilly part of the geopark where you can find the lighthouse.
To make your exploration easier, I’ve indicated the areas where you can find the rock formations. This should help you locate them without any hassle. Happy exploring!
The Queen’s Head is the most famous rock in all of Yehliu Geopark, and it’s also the most photographed. Visitors often form long queues to take a photo with the “queen.”
We waited for about 20 minutes to get our photo souvenir with it. Fortunately for us, there were no photobombers in our shot. The rock formation is truly impressive. From the right angle, you can clearly see the resemblance to a woman’s nose and hair.
You can find the Queen’s Head in Area 2 of the geopark.
Ice Cream Rock
Ice Cream Rock is one of the most fantastic rock formations in the park. Just take a moment to admire the twirl! It’s fascinating to ponder how it came to be. In my opinion, this rock’s resemblance is the easiest to distinguish.
What amazes me is how the slim base of the rock supports the heavy upper portion. I hope it remains undisturbed, unlike the unfortunate sandstone pedestal on the Oregon coast. This wonder should be preserved for many generations to come.
You can find the Ice Cream Rock in Area 1 of Yehliu Geopark.
At first glance, I mistook it for an ice cream paddle spoon! Can you picture that? It even seemed to have a small scoop of ice cream on top. However, my imagination was off the mark. They say it’s actually a fairy’s shoe.
Visiting Yehliu Geopark might just be the perfect opportunity to hone our imaginative skills. You can find the Fairy’s Shoes in Area 2 of Yehliu Geopark.
This one is a no-brainer! Anyone who loves chicken legs would likely see the resemblance immediately. The texture of the rock even matches that of a fried chicken’s breading.
What’s even more impressive? The drumstick appears to be served on a plate. It’s quite a sight! I joke that I should never visit here when I’m hungry.
You can find this drumstick rock formation in Area 2 of Yehliu Geopark.
To me, the Candle Shaped Rocks are the most puzzling rock formation in Yehliu Geopark. It’s astonishing how they bear such a striking resemblance to candles!
One part of the rock mimics the wax, while another part represents the flame. The presence of water around the small rock on top of the main body adds to the spectacle. It’s reminiscent of molten wax dripping from a burning wick. It’s truly a sight to behold.
You can find this amazing candle-shaped rock in Area 1 of the geopark. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.
Dragon’s Head Rock
I’m not quite sure why, but I can’t seem to figure this one out. Many people say this rock resembles the head of a dragon. However, others suggest it looks more like the head of a dog.
To me, it simply appears to be an ordinary mushroom rock. My creative mind didn’t quite kick in this time, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I’m confused about the type of dragon they’re referring to. Is it a western dragon or an eastern dragon?
You can find the Dragon’s Head in Area 2 of Yehliu Geopark.
Marine Bird Rock
Unlike Dragon’s Head Rock, I recognized the rock’s resemblance to a bird, but not immediately. Sometimes, Yehliu Geopark really tests our imagination. LOL. If my sister did not tell me, I would not recognize what this rock resembles. If you can’t find it, I’ll give you a clue: The beak of the bird points upwards. You can find the Marine Bird Rock at Area 3 of Yehliu Geopark.
I must say, Yehliu Geopark is home to a multitude of mushroom rocks. They bear a striking resemblance to a wave of mud, frozen in time.
If you venture to the western coast of the cape in Area 2, you’ll find two mushroom rocks. These rocks, humorously, look like a couple having relationship issues. They don’t have a specific name, so they might be a bit challenging to locate. But I’m confident you’ll spot them.
Given that Yehliu Geopark isn’t overly vast, a thorough exploration of the cape should lead you to this “couple” rock. As for the Mushroom Rocks, you’ll find them scattered throughout Yehliu Geopark.
If you have a friend with Trypophobia, you might want to steer them clear of the honeycomb weathering. It could certainly unsettle them. Just kidding!
When I first saw it, I’m not sure how to describe my reaction. Perhaps I was a bit cautious? I had this feeling that something might emerge from the holes at any moment. You can mostly find this rock formation in Area 3 of Yehliu Geopark.
If you possess an insatiable curiosity, the honeycomb rock will ignite it.
Why, you may ask? It’s because this rock is unlike anything on this planet! I found myself questioning its existence multiple times. Upon my first encounter with the rock, I thought it was a colony of tiny creatures. However, that’s not the case.
The Honeycombed Rock can be found in Area 3 of Yehliu Geopark.
In addition to the rocks eroded over thousands of years, the fossils discovered on the cape further attest to the antiquity of Yehliu Geopark. Make sure to examine them before you move on to Area 2, following your exploration of Area 1.
I find myself in disagreement with whoever named it the Pineapple Bun. Doesn’t it resemble a turtle shell more closely? Wouldn’t you concur? If it were truly representative of a pineapple, there should be dots in the center of each division. You can find the Pineapple Bun rock in Area 2 of Yehliu Geopark.
The Peanut Rock is situated near Fairy’s Shoes. It’s a small, amusing rock at the very edge of the coast. Unlike the Pineapple Bun, this rock truly lives up to its name. You must agree with me! It does look like a peanut, doesn’t it? Please, don’t suggest it resembles a bowling pin! You can find this rock in Area 2 of Yehliu Geopark.
These rocks were named “Ginger Rocks” by their discoverer, due to their color and rough surface. I find no reason to disagree. What captured my attention while observing the Ginger Rocks was the striking contrast created by the dark rocks against the lighter terrain. The Ginger Rocks can be spotted in various parts of Yehliu Geopark.
Out of the 15 attractions in Yehliu Geopark, the potholes were not my favorite.
However, I believe they would appear more appealing if the sun were to peek through the clouds. They could provide an excellent photo opportunity for enthusiasts, especially from the right angles, as they can create a stunning mirror effect in a shot. Most of the potholes are located in Area 2 of Yehliu Geopark.
Guide to Visit Yehliu Geopark
If you’re considering a visit to Yehliu Geopark, here is the information you might need for your trip. Click on the topic, and the section will expand to display the answers.
How to Get to Yehliu Geopark?
There are four ways to reach Yehliu Geopark. I recommend making Yehliu Geopark the first stop on your Taiwan trip to enjoy the park with fewer crowds.
- From the Kuo-Kuang Bus Taipei Terminal near Taipei Main Station, board Bus #1815 heading for Junshan Youth Activity Center. Disembark at the Yehliu bus stop. The bus runs every 20 minutes. On weekdays, the first bus is at 5:40 am and the last one is at 11:00 pm. On weekends, the first bus is at 6:30 am and the last one is at 11:00 pm.
- From the Keelung station near Keelung Railway Station, take the express bus heading for Jinshan and Tamsui. Get off at the Yehliu bus stop. The bus runs every 10 minutes, with the first bus at 5:40 am and the last one at 10:40 pm.
- From the Tamshui station near Tamshui MRT station, board an express bus bound for Jinshan. Alight at the Yehliu bus stop. The bus runs every 30 minutes, with the first bus at 5:50 am and the last one at 10:20 pm.
- From National Taiwan University, take the express bus to Jinshan. Disembark at the Yehliu bus stop. The bus runs every 15 minutes, with the first bus at 7:30 am and the last one at 10:10 pm.
If you’re traveling in a group or with family, I suggest hiring a private car for convenience. This will make your trips more comfortable.
How much time do I need in Yehliu Geopark?
Unless you intend to hike both the Big Cuesta, the hill near the park’s entrance, and Gueitou Mountain, the mountain submerged in the sea, you can thoroughly explore the park in half a day.
In our experience, we managed to explore the park in approximately three hours. This duration includes the time spent discerning the shape of each rock, taking selfies, and other photo opportunities.
Where to go after Yehliu Geopark?
Since Yehliu Geopark can be explored in less than a day, consider visiting the following nearby locations to make the most of your trip in northern Taiwan.
Yehliu Ocean World is a hit with kids! They will undoubtedly enjoy the shows featuring intelligent dolphins and sea lions. It’s also a great place for adults, where you can witness the high diving stunts for which this place is renowned.
Jiufen and Shifen are ideal for young adults and globetrotters seeking destinations that nourish the soul.
When is the best time to go to Yehliu Geopark?
Consider visiting Yehliu Geopark between April and May when the northeast monsoon is mild and the climate is generally nice.
During this period, northern Taiwan enjoys clear skies, resulting in less rainfall and enhanced photo opportunities. The strong sunlight casts sharp shadows on the rocks, adding depth to your photographs. Always check the weather before your visit to Yehliu Geopark.
If it’s raining, it might be best to postpone your visit, as the park is less enjoyable in the rain.
Other Things to Do in Yehliu Geopark
In addition to sightseeing and identifying rock formations, Yehliu Geopark offers a range of other activities. If you’re the adventurous type, consider hiking the park’s two peaks. These locations offer scenic views of the sea and the Yehliu cape.
There’s also a leisure park where you can sit, relax, eat, and engage in bird watching. If you arrive early, you’ll likely enjoy the tranquility of the place, accompanied only by the chirping of birds.
The park’s impressive rock formations provide a unique backdrop for creating memorable photos to share with your friends worldwide.
For a different experience at Yehliu Geopark, try Stand-up Paddle Boarding. It’s an enjoyable activity, especially when traveling with friends. You can bond while appreciating the scenic rock formations of Yehliu Cape.
Our Experience in Yehliu Geopark
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the park.
I do wish we had arrived earlier in the day to have more opportunities for photography without any photobombers. Identifying small rock formations can be challenging, especially without a map from the Visitor’s Center. However, one should be cautious about relying on photos uploaded to Google Maps for Yehliu Park, as many do not accurately represent the locations on the map.
In Area 3, you’ll find the Cape Rest Station. They offer Taiwanese milk teas and Cuttlefish Sausages, which could satisfy your hunger during your visit. We took a brief rest there after about an hour of strolling. However, be aware that this spot is frequented by mosquitoes. I received two mosquito bites during our rest.
On a positive note, Yehliu Geopark features well-paved tracks. There’s no need to worry about tripping over rocks or uneven paths. Red lines throughout the park help ensure your safety by preventing falls or slips. The park provided us with a spectacle unlike anything we’d ever seen. The spherical weathered rock, in addition to the famous Queen’s Head, was a highlight of our trip.
One reason I particularly enjoyed the park was the quality time it allowed me to spend with my sister. Traveling has always been a bonding experience for us, and Yehliu Geopark was no exception. We had fun debating which objects matched the rocks and capturing photos of ourselves.
Would I return to Yehliu Geopark? Absolutely, given the opportunity. I would love to see the park under clear skies. I can only imagine how much more spectacular the rocks would look bathed in sunlight.
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