Millions of years ago, subterranean movements caused a massive collision between the Philippines oceanic plate and the Eurasian continental plate. The resulting pressure spawned violent volcanic activity and lifted the Eurasian plate. Incandescent magma as hot as 1,000 degrees Celsius burst from erupting volcanoes and covered Tertiary sedimentary rock to form the Tatun volcano group in the northern Taiwan coastal region. Part of this group consists of the 20 and more volcanoes at the heart of Yangmingshan National Park, including Mt. Zhuzi, Mt. Xiaoguanyin, Mt. Qixing, Mt. Datun, Mt. Huangzui, Mt. Dajianhou, and Mt. Shamao.
Yangmingshan National Park as we know it today covers mountainous areas in the Taipei City districts of Shilin and Beitou, and in the New Taipei City districts of Tamsui, Sanzhi, Shimen, Jinshan and Wanli. The park's eastern boundary lies east of Mt. Huangtsui and Mt. Wuchih, and it extends westward as far as the western foothills of Mt. Hunglu and Mt. Miantian. To the north it includes Mt. Zhuzi and Tudigong Ridge, while its southern boundary stretches from the southern foothills of Mt. Shamao eastward to Pingdeng Village and Shuangxi. It covers a total area of 11,338 hectares with elevations of between 200 and 1120 meters above sea level.
Looking north from Taipei City, the range of mountains you can see in the distance fringing the Taipei basin from left to right, Mt. Xiangtian, Mt. Miantian, Mt. Datun, Mt. Xiaoguanyin and Mt. Qixing are the heart of Yangmingshan National Park. The park is famous for its unique volcanic geology and topographical sights, with signs of volcanic activity like fumaroles and hot springs everywhere. It's easy to reach from Taipei, just one hour by bus. Due to its accessibility for the people of northern Taiwan, on weekends and holidays the park attracts countless hikers and other visitors who come to enjoy the scenery.
Yangmingshan used to be known as Tsaoshan (Grass Mountain), a term which embraced the whole area of Mt. Datun, Mt. Qxing and Mt. Shamao with its grassy slopes. In Taiwan's early pioneering days, mainland immigrants from Zhangzhou and Quanzhow farmed here. In the late 19th century the area still belonged to Tamsui district, but eventually the Japanese colonial authorities incorporated it into Taipei. Tsaoshan Management Bureau, established in 1945, was redesignated as Yangmingshan Management Bureau in 1950 when the area was renamed.
Yangmingshan at the suggestion of local representatives, in honor of the Ming dynasty philosopher Wang Yang-Ming(1472-1529). Taipei City became a municipality under the direct jurisdiction of the Executive Yuan in July 1967, and in 1968 the Yangmingshan Management Bureau was formally taken over by the Taipei City Government. The name Yangmingshan was carried over when the national park was established on September 16, 1985.