Walks listed with the most recent at the top. There might be some overlap between moderate and challenging hikes.
The hills sheltering the Pingxi Line are home to countless exciting trails and waterfalls. Perhaps one of the most spectacular amongst them is the many-leveled Youkeng Waterfall.
Lion’s Head Mountain on the border of New Taipei’s Sanxia and Xindian Districts is one of several similarly named peaks scattered across the various counties of Taiwan. This particular lion offers excitement and adventure with a dash of history, and a visit is well worth the trouble of getting out there.
The walk along Wantan Historic Trail and Beishi River Trail is soul-comforting waterside wander between villages in New Taipei’s sorely overlooked Shuangxi District. Bring a picnic and get ready to soak in some gently spectacular scenery.
The stretch of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails that tracks over the hills between Shiding and Pinglin Districts takes you past relics of the coal industry into the heart of New Taipei City’s tea growing region.
TAMSUI-KAVALAN TRAILS: BEISHI RIVER and ZHONGKENG HISTORIC TRAIL LOOP (淡蘭古道中路：崩山坑古道/北勢溪古道/闊瀨古道/放山坑古道/中坑步道O型)
The icing on the cake of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails, this route comprised of five stitched together historic trails shows you some of the most beautiful scenery you can find in northern Taiwan.
This peaceful part of the northern Tamsui-Kavalan Trails traverses the slopes of the valley south of Jinguashi. Along the way you’ll pass deserted mining settlements, a tomb with a tragic tale, (or two, or three, or four), and a now abandoned dam in the middle of the forest.
The stretch of the Tamsui-Kavalan trails leading into Shifen from the south is probably the quietest section of the middle route, but don’t let that put you off. This really has the feel of a functional historic trail, leading you over the hills and across the valley from one village to another. And those who walk it south to north can reward themselves with some snacks from Shifen Old Street.
The first step on the southern span of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails, this walk takes you from Da’an District over the hills to the popular sightseeing spot of Shenkeng Old Street. Depending on you view of the town’s famous stinky tofu this is either a perfect reward for a day of hard walking, or sore punishment.
Ruifang to Shuangxi forms part of the northern road of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails. It passes through several rural communities and is a relatively easy route, since much of it follows established roads. It also passes the famous Jinzibei steele.
This section of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails will lead you through Jiufen and all the way to the sleepy beach town of Fulong. On the way you will get to take a wild wander over some of the less well known trails along Taiwan’s northeastern coast, as well as see traces of a rural way of life that you rarely find close to Taipei.
If you know anyone who isn’t yet sold on the natural and cultural delights of Taiwan, then take them by the hand and lead them to the start of this trail for a condensed highlights-reel version of everything that makes me love this charming island. This portion of the middle Tamsui-Kavalan Trails follows the footsteps of the tea-traders of yesteryear over clear streams and vibrant forests to a mountain top and the coast beyond. Along the way you’ll meet the many gods who they trusted to keep them safe on their travels, and if you’re not utterly smitten with Taiwan by the time you finish, then you don’t have a heart.
Anyone who has hiked in Yangmingshan National Park and cast their gaze across the Tamsui River towards Bali will have noticed the multiple peaks clustered around Guanyin Shan. This trail covers many of those peaks, and is a much more interesting walk than the stone steps that also climb to the top.
Shiding is famous amongst hikers for being the starting point of Huandidian’s dramatic ridge walk, but the area has more to offer than that. Just a ten minute drive from Shiding Old Street you can find the start of Yue Shan Hu Cliff Trail – a fascinating little loop with some spectacular geology and a few traces of the area’s past life as a mining town.
This moderately challenging walk has exciting climbs, some neat geological features, the odd dramatic view, pretty stream-side walking, and even a touch of Taiwan’s industrial history. What’s more, it can accessed by train from Taipei.
The Taoyuan Valley Trail is one of those that’s right up there in all of the listicles outlining the ‘top 10 hikes in northern Taiwan’, and whilst that means you’re unlikely to find solitude in the hills here, the popularity is for good reason. For those who prefer to follow well-marked routes and not stray too far from the beaten path, then the views offered by this trail are hard to best.
A very watery wander along a pretty historic trail in New Taipei’s Shuangxi District.
This is the perfect half-day hike for adventure-seekers who want to explore the many and varied delights of Taiwan’s marvellous northeastern coast.
This has definitely been one of my favourite hikes of the year. The walk starts with a reasonable climb through quiet and multi-layered forests to a peak that remained cool and breezy even in the summer heat. Then tracks down again to follow the playful Zhongkeng Stream as it spills and bounces it’s way through the valley. There are mountain views, grand waterfalls and even swimming holes to be enjoyed along the way. I will be adding this to my list of places to take visiting friends.
Whilst Taipei’s northern and eastern hills tend to get most of the attention, this trail to the southwest of the city has plenty to offer the traveller who strays from the well-trodden trails of Yangmingshan Park. Indeed, as the locals know, Yonghe District has well-trodden paths of its own to explore. This route takes in ancient banyans, views to both the north and the south, all manner of trail types and enough temples to satisfy the very keenest of temple aficionados.
This is the hike that made me fall in love with the trails and landscape of Taiwan. The first time I walked it was before I lived here, and the impression it made ran deep. This trail pretty much has it all: enthralling mountain views, exhilarating ridge walking, invigorating climbs and, (if you’re feeling bold enough), the opportunity to experience that famous Taiwanese friendliness by trying your hand at hitchhiking rather than walking back along the road.
The first hike that comes to mind when thinking of Sanxia District is the ever-popular Wuliaojian trail. But if you’re not feeling up to such a tough climb, you could always set your sights on this not-so-extreme ridge walk.
This loop trail takes you to a wilder edge of Yangmingshan Park that many visitors never see. The first section is a tough climb through quiet, dense forest. The mid section takes you scrambling from peak to peak through a maze of bamboo. And during the final section all your hard work is rewarded as you experience the sheer pleasure of following a delightful stream carving its way down through a luscious valley.
If you’ve ever travelled to Yilan on Freeway Number 5, you might have glanced right just before you entered the first of the long tunnels and seen a tree-coated ridge running towards the west. If you’re like me, that glimpse of intriguingly knobbly peaks and dips might have lead you to wonder what walking possibilities were hidden by the lush green foliage. The answer is the Bijia ridge trail – a strenuous, (but not difficult), and enjoyable trek which offers occasional great views and plenty of fun hiking.
This challenging, but exceedingly fun route leads you from one of northern Taiwan’s most scenic hot spring villages up some steep scrambles with great views over the valley. Remember to bring a towel and you can treat your tired feet to a soak in Wulai’s mineral-rich waters at the end of the hike.
An east coast walk on the wild side – Fumao old trail to Fulong shan follows the contours of the headland through high grass and scrubby forest all the while delivering outstanding coastal scenery and pleasantly challenging terrain.
This historic and very accessible trail will take you over the hills from Dali to Fulong next to an inviting river stream. Better yet, you can look forward to a refreshing swim once you've reached your destination.
A ridge trail which skirts the southern edge of Taipei and takes in a couple of notable temples along the way.
Excitement, adventure, great views, a hidden lake and a wild swimming pool just outside of Taipei. This is a great loop walk with all sorts of rewards for those who attempt it in the warmer months.
An exhilarating (and rule breaking), straddling of the dinosaur’s spine. Not one for the faint-hearted.
This short loop at the edge of civilisation offers a quick getaway from the city.
A very exciting full body hiking experience with great views and challenging climbs.
Fun scramble through a hidden valley just to the east of Taipei.
A chance to test your navigation skills as you wander through hillside farmland.
This is currently an unpaid side passion project and I will continue doing it just for the love of it, but of course if you like what I do and feel inclined to chip in a few dollars for transport and time then I would appreciate it immensely. You can find me on either Ko-fi or Buy Me a Coffee.