TOURIST TOP PICKS

For visitors passing through Taiwan it can sometimes be a little bit hard to pick which trails to spend your limited time on. There are many lists with titles like “the best hiking trails in Taiwan” or “Taiwan’s must see walks” and it can feel like there is an overwhelming amount of choice, then once you’ve picked your destination figuring out the logistics can sometimes be challenging. Keeping these two considerations, the trails here have all been picked either because they are already popular amongst tourists, or because I am certain that you’ll leave feeling you had a unique experience, and I’ve tried to only include walks that can be accessed easily by public transport even if you’re not familiar with Taiwan and the languages spoken here.

MOUNT WUFEN (五分山)


Mount Wufen is a rewarding half day hike in northern Taiwan’s Pingxi District. Ideal for Taipei-based day trippers looking for a scenic walk, this trail will take you up through lush forests to an open grassy ridge with expansive views over the many-layered hills of Pingxi.

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.

MIAOLI’S LION’S HEAD MOUNTAIN (獅頭山)


Lion’s Head Mountain in Miaoli is just one of many peaks scattered across Taiwan to be named due to its resemblance to the King of the Jungle. What sets this particular lion apart from the others is its enduring role as a site of spiritual significance. Dotting the mountain’s slopes visitors will find a proliferation of temples, some of which have been open to worshippers for over a hundred years.

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: 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.

HOUSHANYUE (猴山岳)


Houshanyue is a thoroughly satisfying half-day hike that will satisfy your need for adventure without spoiling your lie-in.

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.

CARP HILL (鯉魚山)


Carp Hill may not be the highest peak in Neihu District, nor does it have the prettiest scenery or most exciting walk. However it’s a good all-rounder and it can lay claim to being the route that I have walked the most. This is my go-to walk for when I’ve just got a couple of hours free and need to stretch my legs. It’s a great little workout, and it also has plenty to make it interesting time after time. There’s a lookout spot with views over Taipei, Neihu’s oldest Buddhist temple, a waterfall and a curious series of hand-crafted miniature landmarks.

DENG FENG CANAL TRAIL (登峰圳步道)

A quiet and gentle stroll along some of the irrigation canals in the hills of Shilin District. This would make a great summer walk for those hoping to escape the city heat.

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 – MAOKONG (南區茶鄉大縱走 – 貓空)

The closing section of Taipei’s long distance path leads you up into the tea-growing hills of Muzha. There’s a waterfall, one of Taiwan’s top 100 religious sites, (Chihnan Temple), and the opportunity to take a rest stop in your pick of Maokong’s famous tea houses.

TAIPEI GRAND HIKE – NANGANG MOUNTAIN RANGE AND FUYANG BRANCH LINE (南區茶鄉大縱走 – 南港山系/富陽支線)


The Taipei Grand Hike’s southern arm stretches over the peaks of the Nangang mountain range and up to the huge temples and tea plantations of Muzha. In this section, you will experience wonderful views over Taipei, some of the most popular trails in the city as well as some much quieter, less frequented routes. Take in 360 degree views, historic trails, a mountain-side cemetery and a whole load of temples. This walk is a great way to start your Taipei Grand Hike adventure.

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