The Traveler’s Guide to Hiking in Taipei
Taipei is a city where you can experience the unique culture, history, and cuisine of Taiwan. While the city offers many historical and cultural attractions alongside bars and restaurants, step outside the city, and you can enjoy a completely different experience. Taipei is surrounded by a diverse and beautiful landscape that includes a stunning coastline, lush forests, and magnificent mountains. Therefore, hiking is a popular activity in this area as it is the best way to appreciate the amazing surroundings. If you want to explore the outdoors during your visit to this location, here is a traveler’s guide to the best hikes in Taipei.
Also known as Elephant Mountain, Xiang Shan is the best hike in Taipei, says Furama. It is probably the best-known trail in the area, and it is a popular hike amongst both tourists and locals. You will need lots of energy to complete this hike, as it is predominantly a long staircase that takes you up the side of a small mountain. Other than the steep inclination, it is an easy hike that is suitable for beginners, and most people complete it in under 40 minutes. The reason this hike is so popular is that it offers some of the best views across the city.
Cha Hu Mountain
Cha Hu Mountain translates as Teapot Mountain. You will find the trailhead in Jiufen Village, which is on the side of the mountain. To reach the trailhead, most people take the bus from Taipei. There are some strenuous sections of the hike, although it is only a short trail. The highlight of the hike is the impressive views of the valley and the Pacific Ocean.
The trail at Jinmian Mountain is not as famous as many of the other trails in Taipei, but it is in a beautiful setting and offers something different from the other hikes in the area. The mountain sparkles in the sunlight, as it is predominantly composed of quartz arenite. Many parts of the trail consist of stone staircases, although there are muddy sections in between the stairs that mean you will need shoes with good traction. At the top of the mountain, you can enjoy panoramic views of Taipei.
Part of the Yangmingshan mountain chain, Qixing Mountain is the tallest peak in Taipei and stands proudly at 1120 meters above the city. There are three separate trails on the mountain, each with a different trailhead. However, all three trials lead to the peak of the mountain, so the choice is yours. The there-and-back hikes take approximately five hours to complete, so you should set aside a full day of your vacation for this hike. Although the elevation of the hike means it is one of the most challenging trails, it is also one of the safest and best-maintained trails in the area.
Peaks of Pingxi
Tour Me Away recommends the trails at the Peaks of Pingxi, which is known for its floating lanterns. There are several trails to explore at the Peaks of Pingxi, and most are short and not overly challenging. Therefore, they are the perfect option for inexperienced hikers who want to explore the outdoors.
Many tourists simply take the gondola up Maokong, but you will miss some of the best sights if you take this option. The trail is not overly challenging, and it takes you through bamboo and forests, as well as over rivers. These are all things that you will not experience if you cheat and take the gondola. At the top of the trail, you can refresh yourself with a treat of green tea ice cream.
Huangdidian is one of the most challenging hikes in the area around Taipei. Not only does it have one of the greatest elevations, but it also involves some rope and ladder climbing. Therefore, it is a hike that only experienced hikers and climbers should attempt. Although there are many challenges along this trail, there are also a lot of rewards. Along the way, you will walk through lush greenery, cover several peaks, and see some quaint farmhouses.
If you enjoy hiking in coastal locations, then the Smart Local recommends the Bitoujiao Trail, as this leads you to a seaside lighthouse. Although it is more than an hour by car from Taipei, it is a popular place to visit for those who are staying in the city. The trail takes you around the side of a hill, and it is paved with stone and lined with railings. It is not a challenging trail, but there are a lot of steps along the way. Most people complete this trail in approximately 2.5-hours.
The main reason that the Sandiaolong Trail is so popular is that you will see three waterfalls during your hike, which are Hegu, Motian, and Pipadong. This trail offers something different from the usual mountain hikes that people enjoy while visiting Taipei, and it is manageable for most people. Those who are experienced hikers may choose to take the diversion at Motian Falls that takes you underneath the cascading water, but this is not a good idea for those without good footwear or those who are not steady on their feet. The trail starts in Sandiaolong, and many people turn back when they reach the last waterfall. However, there is the option to continue a little further, although the trail is rather rough beyond this point.
The Xiaozishan Trail is not one for those who are scared of heights, but it is a hike that adrenaline junkies will love. Some sections of the trail cover muddy crags, while you will need to scale metal rung ladders up the side of some of the peaks to reach the next sections of the trail. Not only will you need a little bravery to complete this hike, but you will also need some sturdy shoes with good traction.