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.
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.