The Lingjiao to Wanggu Trail packs an awful lot into its short length. You get not one, but two waterfalls, a dash of history and a trail that’s both pretty and gentle. It’s also short enough that you can combine it with a visit to some of the other sights and trails along the Pingxi Line.
ALISHAN SISTERS PONDS LOOP (阿里山：姐妹池O型)
Alishan has been a popular destination with tourists for decades, the lure of the mountain air and beautiful forest scenery drawing in the crowds. These days visitors still flock to the park to enjoy the forest, the sunrise and the picturesque little red trains that ply the narrow-gauge tracks through the trees. This trail will take you on a short and easy wander around some of the sights.
TUCHENG TUNG BLOSSOM TRAIL (土城油桐花步道)
Every April and May the mountains around Taipei are cloaked with the white blossom of the tung tree. Getting out to observe this May 'snowfall' is a popular activity amongst the locals, and this trail in Tucheng is one of many places you can go to join in.
TAMSUI-KAVALAN TRAILS: FUYANG ECO PARK to SHENKENG (淡蘭古道南路：富陽自然生態公園/深坑)
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.
MOUNT WU WO WEI (屋我尾山)
At 1796m above sea level Mount Wu Wo Wei is the third highest of the Guguan Seven Heroes. There are two routes to the peak, and since this post details the harder of the two, you can expect to have the peaceful forest to yourself for most of the walk.
YUE SHAN HU CLIFF LOOP (月扇湖大岩壁)
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.
DACUKENG OLD TRAIL (大粗坑古道)
Now inhabited solely by stray dogs, the abandoned settlement of Dacukeng was once a thriving village supported by the profits of the area's abundant 'black gold' - coal. Climb the stairs to see what's left of this community, and then continue of to Jiufen for some well-earned snacks.
HUBAOTAN HISTORIC TRAIL (虎豹潭古道)
A very watery wander along a pretty historic trail in New Taipei’s Shuangxi District.
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.
XIAO XI TOU LOOP TRAIL (小溪頭環狀步道)
What starts of being a bit of a stair master soon gives way to reward you with a tree-sheltered lake, quiet forest scenery, squirrels, and even a couple of views.
YUAN SHAN HIKING TRAIL (鳶山登山步道)
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.