Qixing Shan attracts walkers year-round for its expansive views, bamboo-lined paths and volcanic geology. As Taipei's highest mountain, it is a must-climb for the city's population of avid hikers, but how many of them can say they have climbed it in the dark?
JIANTAN TRAIL NIGHT HIKE (劍潭山步道夜爬)
There are lots of trails close to the city that offer opportunities for exploring after dark. The ever popular Jiantan Hiking Trail is one such route - although if you visit at night you can expect to have the paths almost entirely to yourselves.
NEIHU’S PATH LESS TRAVELLED
The hills around Jinmian Shan are crisscrossed with hiking trails of varying degrees of popularity and difficulty. This post details one of the quieter walks that you can do in the area.
ZHENGHAN TRAIL (鄭漢紀念步道)
Zhenghan Trail is a short and easy trail that would be suitable for almost anyone. The walk climbs to an outlook which has a memorial to a local man and views over Miaoli’s Zhunan District.
MOUNT EGONGJI and MOUNT NIAOZUI (鵝公髻山/鳥嘴山)
Situated in Hsinchu's Wufeng Township, Mount Egongj and its neighbour Mount Niaozui offer a great day's walking. Hikers can take in both dramatic views and photogenic forests on this enjoyable route.
FROG ROCK PARK COASTAL TRAIL (青蛙石海洋步道)
Frog Rock Coastal Trail is a short and easy walk just off the main drag of relaxed beach town, Kenting. As well as a tiny coral beach and coastal views, visitors can explore a beautiful replica of a traditional Minnan style village.
SCISSORS ROCK NIGHT HIKE (剪刀石夜爬)
Scissors Rock is up there with Elephant Mountain in terms of its popularity among the easily accessible trails of Taipei. But unlike it's Xinyi District counterpart, this trail in Neihu falls quiet as soon as night settles on the city. Travellers willing to brave the dark will be treated to peaceful city views and maybe even a flying squirrel (or two, or five)
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.
TAMSUI-KAVALAN TRAILS: BEISHI RIVER and ZHONGKENG HISTORIC TRAIL LOOP (淡蘭古道中路：崩山坑古道/北勢溪古道/闊瀨古道/放山坑古道/中坑步道O型)
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.
TAMSUI-KAVALAN TRAILS: XIZHI to RUIFANG (淡蘭古道：汐止/暖暖/瑞芳)
The northernmost span of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails follows the course of the Keelung River upriver from Taipei almost as far as the coast before veering south towards Jiufen. The section between Xizhi and Ruifang jumps from small town to small town, passing lots of temples and traces of history along the way.
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.
TOP FIVE TRAILS IN TAIWAN IN 2020…
Hikers in Taiwan are spoilt for choice, we have an almost endless number of paths to get our boots dirty on. Here are five of the trails that have proved particularly popular in 2020, as well as five that deserve to be more widely enjoyed.
TAMSUI-KAVALAN TRAILS: PINGLIN to QINGYUN BRIDGE (淡蘭古道南路：坪林/清雲橋)
This section’s use of riverside cycle paths makes it a very accessible stretch of the southern Tamsui-Kavalan Trails. What’s more, this ease of walking doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice beautiful views since the scenery around Pinglin has its own effortless prettiness.
GUANYIN SHAN – NORTHERN CROSS ROUTE (觀音山北橫古道)
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.
PINGXI CRAGS (平溪小三尖)
This is one of the all-time classic Taiwan hikes, and for good reason. Pingxi’s crags rise dramatically from the forest and are the perfect adventure playground for visitors from Taipei.