The good thing of working as geologist is, that you discover places, where you normally would not go. Elephant Rock is one those. A colleague and friend showed me this place on the north coast of Taiwan a while ago. At that time we went there during heavy rain and storm, so I had no chance to take photos. Now, on a sunny Sunday, I came back to take some shots.
If you like Yehliu, but you don’t like the enormous amount of tourists there, then Elephant Rock is a good alternative. Here you will find similar geologic features as in Yehliu, but on top of that: a rock arch and a nice view on Keelung Island, on 七斗山 or Badouzi, and 鼻頭山 or Bitou Cape. The Elephant Rock is called in Chinese 深澳岬角 (Shen’ao Promontory) and it is located east of Keelung. The place is well-known by fisherman and locals. It is not so easy to find, the entrance is hidden at the end of the harbour. A few signs showing the direction:
When you reach the end of the harbor, squeeze between these stones…
…walk along the coast, passing a fisherman with his wife…
…nice green, with algae covered stones…
…turn left and climb up the hill, passing a lonely grave.
Once you reached the top, you will be rewarded with this awesome view:
From here turn right and after a few meters: Voilà! Elephant Rock.
When you climb on the head of the elephant, you can enjoy nice views on Badouzi (七斗山)…
…Keelung Island (基隆嶼)…
…and Bitou Cape (鼻頭山) [very small on the right side]
When you go around on top and down towards the eastern side, you will see lots of geologic features similar to Yehliu.
Very impressive is this platform and the wall on the left side. There are many stones waiting to get a name ;)
Rocks with the typical honeycomb weathering stick out of the wall. They look like gargoyles. Besides the rock arch this is the second most impressive part of Shen’ao Promontory for me.
You can also find many trace fossils. Like this one, previous burrows from some unknown crustacean (possibly).
When we were there, the coast guard was watching us.
Close to Elephant Rock in the harbour is a rock formation that looks like it has a face. I will let your fantasy decide how it looks like.
And this is Elephant Rock seen from Badouzi. The small one in the foreground.
Best time to go
Go only during a dry and not stormy day. During rainy days the rocks become very slippery. On windy or stormy days, gusts might blow you easily from the cliff. It is better to come in the afternoon when the sun is low. Then the sun will also be on the landward side giving good light. In the morning and mid day the sun can be very intense, and there is nothing to hide in the shade. It can be a pain to take photos during this time, also the light is not ideal (except you want this kind of light). On weekends and holidays you can expect more people there, but during weekdays this place is pretty empty.
In the harbour are plenty of restaurants serving the freshly catched fish. It’s a great place to have a lunch break or dinner.
Location and how to reach
Elephant Rock is located on the north coast of Taiwan, about 5 km east of Keelung City. The easiest and fasted way to reach it is by car or scooter. Go until the end of the harbor, there is plenty of parking space. By public transport take bus 791 or 1051 from Keelung train station and get off at 深澳發電廠 (Shēn ào fādiàn chǎng) and walk to the harbor. The bus takes about 1 hour.