Qixing Shan attracts walkers year-round for its expansive views, bamboo-lined paths and volcanic geology. As Taipei's highest mountain, it is a must-climb for the city's population of avid hikers, but how many of them can say they have climbed it in the dark?
JIUZHUANG SHAN (舊莊山)
Jiuzhuang Shan is a small hill in Taipei’s Nangang District, immediately opposite the campus of Academia Sinica. A wander along the trails will introduce you to a number of distinguished academics who were associated with the institution during their lifetimes.
JIANTAN TRAIL NIGHT HIKE (劍潭山步道夜爬)
There are lots of trails close to the city that offer opportunities for exploring after dark. The ever popular Jiantan Hiking Trail is one such route - although if you visit at night you can expect to have the paths almost entirely to yourselves.
NANGANG TEA MOUNTAIN TRAIL (南港茶山步道 )
If you picture Nangang District in your mind what do you see? The train station? The exhibition centre? The giant software park? I bet you didn’t envision quiet hillsides cloaked with neat rows of tea. This trail offers an insight into a side of Nangang that not so many people know about.
MOUNT ZHONGZHENG TRAIL (中正山步道)
Mount Zhongzheng Hiking Trail makes for a quiet and easy wander in the westernmost reaches of Yangmingshan National Park. Starting just a couple of blocks away from Xin Beitou Station, the trail leads you up through farms and bamboo to a peak with commands wide views over the city.
NEIHU’S PATH LESS TRAVELLED
The hills around Jinmian Shan are crisscrossed with hiking trails of varying degrees of popularity and difficulty. This post details one of the quieter walks that you can do in the area.
FAIRY SHRIMP at XIANGTIAN POOL (向天池的仙女蝦)
Xiangtian Pool is an ephemeral body of water in an old volcanic crater on the northwestern edge of Yangmingshan National Park. It can be seen after periods of heavy rain, and only then for a brief time. As if this didn't make the pool intriguing enough, it is also home to a population of fairy shrimp which spawn in great numbers when the conditions are just right.
SCISSORS ROCK NIGHT HIKE (剪刀石夜爬)
Scissors Rock is up there with Elephant Mountain in terms of its popularity among the easily accessible trails of Taipei. But unlike it's Xinyi District counterpart, this trail in Neihu falls quiet as soon as night settles on the city. Travellers willing to brave the dark will be treated to peaceful city views and maybe even a flying squirrel (or two, or five)
BATTLESHIP ROCK NIGHT HIKE (軍艦岩夜景)
Close to the city, Battleship Rock Trail is an ever popular walk, and on weekends in particular you are likely to find it pretty crowded. But for those who are feeling brave it offers an easy after dark hike and a stupendous night view of Taipei.
Houshanyue is a thoroughly satisfying half-day hike that will satisfy your need for adventure without spoiling your lie-in.
GUIZIKENG TRAIL (貴子坑步道)
Guizikeng Trail is a short and easy walk in Beitou District. In the spring you can see cherry blossom, in summer you can come to enjoy the irrigation canal, and in winter you can round off the day with a trip to the nearby hot springs.
TAMSUI RIVER CYCLE PATH
The west bank of the Tamsui River makes an excellent short excursion. To get the most out of your adventure make sure you leave time to enjoy some of Tamsui's street food and savour the sunset.
BIHU TRAIL (碧湖步道)
This really easy walk in Neihu is suitable for pretty much anyone who can climb a few steps. In the summer remember to bring a towel so you can have a paddle in the stream that runs through Dagouxi Park.
CARP HILL (鯉魚山)
Carp Hill may not be the highest peak in Neihu District, nor does it have the prettiest scenery or most exciting walk. However it’s a good all-rounder and it can lay claim to being the route that I have walked the most. This is my go-to walk for when I’ve just got a couple of hours free and need to stretch my legs. It’s a great little workout, and it also has plenty to make it interesting time after time. There’s a lookout spot with views over Taipei, Neihu’s oldest Buddhist temple, a waterfall and a curious series of hand-crafted miniature landmarks.
DENG FENG CANAL TRAIL (登峰圳步道)
A quiet and gentle stroll along some of the irrigation canals in the hills of Shilin District. This would make a great summer walk for those hoping to escape the city heat.