TAMSUI-KAVALAN TRAILS: PINGXI TOU to WAI’AO (淡蘭古道中路:坪溪頭/外澳)

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.

TAOYUAN VALLEY TRAIL (桃源谷步道)

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.

HUANGDIDIAN (皇帝殿)

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.

TAIPEI GRAND HIKE – FENG GUI ZUI TO DAGOUXI RIVERSIDE PARK (北區稜線大縱走 – 風櫃嘴/大溝溪生態治水園)

img_3770 The fourth installment of the Taipei Grand Hike takes you to some beautiful and quiet corners of Yangmingshan National Park, as well as some of the more popular scenic spots in Neihu. The best thing about this portion is that it has an abundance of water, from the natural and charming stream running alongside Shuangxigou Old Trail, to the manmade Sweet Water Lake, and the easily accessible Yuanjue waterfall.