Whilst Taipei’s northern and eastern hills tend to get most of the attention, this trail to the southwest of the city has plenty to offer the traveller who strays from the well-trodden trails of Yangmingshan Park. Indeed, as the locals know, Yonghe District has well-trodden paths of its own to explore. This route takes in ancient banyans, views to both the north and the south, all manner of trail types and enough temples to satisfy the very keenest of temple aficionados.
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.
SANCHONG AND LUZHOU CYCLE LOOP
If you look at Sanchong and Luzhou on a map, they seem to form an island, cut off from the rest of Taipei by rivers and parks. Luckily for the residents of this area, these unbuilt-up spaces house a great network of cycle paths where you can enjoy either a good bit of exercise or a laid back bike ride depending on your mood and energy levels.
BALI LEFT BANK CYCLE PATH
A comfortable and straightforward ride along the banks of the Tamsui river all the way up to Bali. Join the casual strollers and serious cyclists as you ride through parks, past boats yards to Bali old street.
95 PEAK AND NANGANG SHAN THE SCARY WAY (南港山步道2號峭壁)
NOTE: DUE TO A NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS IN THE AREA THE ROPE TRAILS ARE NOW CLOSED. Think the Nangang mountain range has nothing challenging to offer? Think elephant mountain is the height of excitement? Think again. Hidden between the ridge path of the Nangang trail and the network of small paths around the lower reaches, there are a series of more difficult climbs to tackle. This route incorporates the hardest of them all.
ZHI SHENG MAO TAI SHAN (芝生毛台山)
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.
BATTLESHIP ROCK TO XIN BEITOU (軍艦岩往新北投)
You can combine a visit to this photogenic rock outcrop with a not-too-difficult walk to a rather pretty Japanese shrine and end up right next to Beitou's famous sulphur valley.
FENG QI SUNSET TRAIL (鳳崎落日步道)
An easy and leisurely afternoon walk taking in military relics. Bring your significant other and aim to finish the walk around sundown so that you can watch the sunset together as you gaze out over the Taiwan Strait.
QIXING SHAN ROUND MOUNTAIN TRAIL (環七星山人車分道)
This circular route is an excellent way to experience some of Yangmingshan Park's top attractions. Start early and make a day of it to get the most out of this varied walk.
HUTOU SHAN PARK WALK (虎頭山公園)
A gentle and shaded forest park, walk - come here to get a feel for how the locals like to spend family weekends together.
XIN SHAN TO MENG HU AND KEZILIN RIVER POOL (新山, 夢湖, 柯子林天然游泳池)
Excitement, adventure, great views, a hidden lake and a wild swimming pool just outside of Taipei. This is a great loop walk with all sorts of rewards for those who attempt it in the warmer months.
YINHE CAVE and WATERFALL to MAOKONG via EJIAOGE (銀河洞瀑布 / 鵝角格山 / 貓空)
A charming and easily accessible walk which takes in a temple behind a waterfall and panoramic views from Taipei's Maokong gondola. With a couple of route options, this walk is suitable for confident beginners and anyone with more experience.
FUYUAN ANCIENT BANYAN TRAIL (福源山步道)
A quiet and pretty hiking trail just outside of Taipei. Along the way you can enjoy quirks of nature like the thousand year banyan tree and a lily pond half way up a mountain (well, it's more of a big hill really).
DA JIAN SHAN via XIUFENG FALLS (秀峰瀑布/大尖山)
An easy hike with a waterfall and city views in Xizhi District.
ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN, THUMB MOUNTAIN AND 95 PEAK ON THE NANGANG TRAIL (南港山佈道: 象山 / 拇指山 / 九五峰)
Escape the hoards of tourists taking selfies at that most famous of Taipei's scenic views by exploring beyond elephant mountain. This easy route takes you higher to muzhi mountain and 95 peak, all the while offering great vantage points and lots of hidden shrines to discover.