Xitou is probably most famous for its Japanese folklore inspired monster village, but for those who prefer to escape the crowds, there are lots of hiking trails too. The climb up to Phoenix Mountain follows an atmospheric cloud-cloaked ridge line through towering bamboo forest, exactly the kind of place where you might run into a real mythological creature.

DATUN STREAM TRAIL LOOP (三板橋/竿尾崙山/小觀音山西北峰/大屯溪古道)

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.