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.
JINGUALIAO FISH AND FERN TRAIL (金瓜寮魚蕨步道)
Nestled away in the tea-growing hills of Pinglin walkers can find the perfect antidote to summer's relentless heat: Jingualiao Fish and Fern Trail. This family-friendly trail meanders alongside Jingualiao Creek, and would be a perfect picnic spot.
XIONG KONG NAN SHAN and YUNSEN FALLS (熊空南山/雲森瀑布)
This has definitely been one of my favourite hikes of the year. The walk starts with a reasonable climb through quiet and multi-layered forests to a peak that remained cool and breezy even in the summer heat. Then tracks down again to follow the playful Zhongkeng Stream as it spills and bounces it’s way through the valley. There are mountain views, grand waterfalls and even swimming holes to be enjoyed along the way. I will be adding this to my list of places to take visiting friends.
BEIDELAMAN GIANT TREES (北得拉曼巨木步道)
Although most of Taiwan’s giant trees are found in remote forests with permit-restricted access, there are some just a short drive out of Taipei which can be seen by anyone willing to make the climb. (And who wouldn’t be willing to put in a bit of effort to visit these venerable old spirits.)
MOUNT DATUN MULTI PEAK TRAIL (大屯主峰連峰步道)
Right on the western edge of Yangmingshan National Park you can find a quieter alternative to some of the park's busier walks. The Mount Datun trail takes in three peaks. Short but strenuous roped sections lead you over the west and south peaks followed by some serious steps up to the main peak, and then a gentle coasting down to finish at Erziping.
BIJIA RIDGE TO ERGE SHAN (筆架連峰)
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.
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.
SANDIAOLING WATERFALL TRAIL (三貂嶺瀑布步)
This trail is one of the most popular day hikes in northern Taiwan, and for good reason. You'll enjoy waterfalls, a shaded walk by a stream and a dash of adventure...and all easily accessible using public transport.
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.
DRAGON TRAIL TO MAOKONG GONDOLA VIA ZHANGSHAN TEMPLE (飛龍步道/政大後山登山步道/樟山寺/貓空站)
A not-too-difficult loop walk where the downwards part of the loop can be done on the Maokong gondola. The highlight of this walk for me was the free tea I enjoyed at Zhangshan Temple.
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.
CAOLING HISTORIC TRAIL (草嶺古道)
This historic and very accessible trail will take you over the hills from Dali to Fulong next to an inviting river stream. Better yet, you can look forward to a refreshing swim once you've reached your destination.
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.