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.
When we signed in at the trailhead, the person manning the register said "the mountain is yours today, there's no one else." He wasn't wrong. Mai Ba Lai is never going to lure the crowds in search of Instagrammable views, but it offers another kind of draw: quietness and seemingly endless forest.
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.
This very wild feeling trail leads you up a steep forested ridge through huge bamboo groves, into the domain of wild boars and barking deer, past hunting shelters and the traces of Taiwan's period of Japanese occupation.
An exhilarating and energising trip up to some stupendous scenery. This walk takes in two peaks over 2000m, with stunning views from exposed ridges as well as the hushed calm of old forests.
A strenuous all day-er which is guaranteed to leave you with a healthy appetite. The hard work is worth it for anyone who loves big, old forests.
A many-layered mountain forest trail leads up to an old fortress and a slice of Taiwan's history.
An exhilarating (and rule breaking), straddling of the dinosaur's spine. Not one for the faint-hearted.
You'll enjoy your food (and your bed) very much after this tough climb.
A very exciting full body hiking experience with great views and challenging climbs.