Hiking is a big deal in Taiwan and with good reason. There are literally hundreds of world class hikes all over the island that attract locals and tourists alike to their stunning scenery.
Being a largely mountainous country, there is no surprise that the hiking here is so good.
It might come as a surprise that a number of these great hikes can be done as day trips from the capital city Taipei. For many of us city dwellers, the idea that we could wake up early and then be hiking in the middle of thick vegetation, high up on a mountain that has stunning views of the city, might seem quite far-fetched, but with Taipei, this is not a dream, it’s a reality.
As a hiker that has explored the best trails that the city has to offer, I decided to let you know my top choice trails that can be done as day trips from Taipei.
Before you set out, don’t forget to pack a good quality rain poncho because the weather around Taipei is always extremely unpredictable.
Top One Day Hikes Around Taipei
1. Wu Liao Jian
This spectacular trail is definitely not for the fainthearted, or indeed, those who might be out of shape.
To get there, you will need to get a taxi or some private transportation out to the starting point by Hezue Bridge, as it is a little out of the way. From there, you start out by walking through thick forests as the trail winds its way gradually upwards. This trail is probably the most technical you will encounter, as often the paths are slippery and in some cases require you to step over trees and other obstacles. There are also a number of quite frightening metal ladders that require you to climb, the largest of which is around 25 meters.
The views from the top are stunning and definitely worth every moment of discomfort it took to get up there.
2. Teapot Mountain & Mount Banping
If you are an aspiring photographer then this is the trail for you.
Located out to the northwest of Taiwan, this trail will definitely require a fairly early start to complete in time. The hike begins and ends at 2 historical towns, Jiufen and Jinguashi, the first of which is a former gold town that was made famous in the critically acclaimed film City of Sadness, while the latter town is part of Jinguashi Ecological Park. The hike winds its way around the wide open grasslands that hug the coastline and yield some amazing views over the Pacific ocean.
There are a few nice spots to catch the sunset if you decide to stick around and more than enough great restaurants in Juifen for you to find a great place to have dinner.
3. Bei Cha Tian Shan
This has to be the most difficult hike on this list, while also being one of the remotest.
You can do 2 different hikes here, the first from Manyueyuan, is a long loop that will take you through some incredible scenery and take you the full day to complete. Another shorter trail, starts in Xiao Wulai and passes through a small section of giant redwoods, some of which are more than 500 years old.
The only drawback to this hike is that you will have to take private transport, as buses are non-existent out here.
4. Pingxi Crags
If you want to test your nerve as much as you want to test your hiking abilities, then Pingxi Crags is the hike to try.
Though the hike is, on the whole, a lot easier than the others featured here, the Pingxi Crags themselves are pretty daunting. Likewise, Cimu Feng (Loving Mother Peak) and Shaozi Shan (Dutiful Son Mountain) can be a little scary, especially for those with a fear of heights.
As long as you are brave enough, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of sprawling mountain ranges and beautiful little temples sleeping in the nearby valleys.
5. The Four Beasts
For spectacular sunset views over Taipei, this is the best hiking trail around.
Comprising of the 4 peaks, Leopard, Lion, Tiger and the most famous Elephant, this trail gives the best rewards for the least effort. For the most part, the trail has been paved, meaning that it is relatively easy for even the most novice hiker. There are lots of ways you can enter and exit this trail, so you don’t need to follow it for its whole length if you don’t want to. For those people who just want the stunning views, you can take the MRT to the end of the red line and simply do the small climb up to Elephant peak to watch the sunset.
For those who decide to do the trail, you will be treated to tonnes of temples, shrines, gardens and even gyms that will have your camera shutter working overtime.