Elephant Mountain And Fairy Footprint: Two Great Hikes In Taipei

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There are a few hikes in Taipei that offer great views of Taipei 101 and the city below.  They are easy and perfect to watch the sunset before heading over to one of the night markets. 

The Elephant Mountain hike and Fairy Footprint Hike are two of those.  Elephant Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in Taipei while Fairy Footprint recieves a lot less foot traffic.  Both are worth doing and a great way to end a day around the city.

Taipei 101 from elephant mountain in taipei taiwan

Elephant Mountain Hike in Taipei (Xiangshan)

The Elephant Mountain hike might be the most popular hike in Taipei.  It’s easy and offers some of the best views in Taipei. 

The best time to go is around sunset so you can see it during the day and at night, but that’s also one of the busiest times to go.  There really isn’t a bad time to go, though.

When I went, we headed up as the sun was going down, so it was pretty much dark when we got to the top.  It was also  kind of rainy and we only saw a couple of other people on the way. 

If you do go when it’s rainy, be careful so you don’t slip on the million steps on the way up.  If you want a longer hike, you can keep going to Tiger Mountain and 9-5 Peak.

Our experience hiking Elephant Mountain in Taipei

We set off from our hostel in the evening so we could be at the top of Elephant Mountain at sunset.

I think we ended up a little behind schedule because all the pictures I have were at night. But that’s ok because it was still beautiful!

It was kind of misty and rainy the whole hike but it was weather I came to expect in Taipei. We took our time on our way up and enjoyed the views.

It was pretty cloudy when we were there and I was a little worried we wouldn’t be able to see anything but the clouds moved enough.

I’m glad we decided to do this and would love to do it again during the day just to see how different it is.

Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain in Taipei Taiwan

Where is the Elephant Mountain Trailhead?

The Elephant Mountain Trailhead is in the Xinyi District of Taipei, just 5 minutes from Taipei 101, 7 minutes from Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, and 11 minutes from Rahoe Night Market.

Consider heading to Elephant Mountain for sunset and Rahoe Night Market after to eat everything.

How to get to Elephant Mountain in Taipei

Take the MRT to the end of the red line at Xiangshan Station in the Xinyi District.  Take exit 2 and walk along the edge of the park. 

You should see a sign when you leave the MRT station for Elephant Mountain or the Xiangshan Hiking Trail. 

The start of the trail is marked with a sign that has Taipei 101 and an elephant on it.  Head up the stairs until you get to the top. You can easily find and follow the trail with AllTrails.


How long is the Elephant Mountain trail in Taipei?

The Elephant Mountain Trail is 0.7 miles round-trip with 446 feet of elevation gain. It’s mostly stairs.

If you’re quick, you can make it to the top in 15-20 minutes.  I would plan for 30 minutes up to be safe and 2-3 hours for the whole trip. 

If you’re going up in the evening for sunset, you may need a little more time, but 2-3 hours should be plenty too get too the top and walk around a bit.

Is the Elephant Mountain trail in Taipei hard?

I don’t think so. It was mostly stairs but they didn’t feel as awful as they did on Teapot Mountain.

Is there a fee for the Elephant Mountain Trail?

Nope! The Elephant Mountain Trail is free, which makes it even better! And you definitely don’t need a tour to hike Elephant Mountain. It’s super easy to do on your own.

Is the Elephant Mountain hike in Taipei worth it?

Yes! This is one of the most popular hikes in Taipei with one of the best views of Taipei 101 and the city. It’s an easy short hike that doesn’t take too long and shouldn’t be missed.


What to bring on the Elephant Mountain Trail in Taipei

You don’t need to bring much.  It’s an easy, short hike.  Hiking boots aren’t necessary, just wear something you feel comfortable walking and climbing stairs in.

Water bottle – Gotta stay hydrated (and sustainable).  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Sunscreen – Because you should always wear sunscreen! I also like the same one but specifically for your face.

Sunglasses – This is a must no matter where you are.

Light Jacket – Because you just never know.  Weather can change quickly depending on where you are, time of day, and season.  I usually use my rain jacket for this.

Headlamp – I tend to carry my headlamp around all the time when we’re hiking, just in case.  It will be helpful if you go for sunrise or sunset on the way up or down.


view of Taipei at night from Fairy footprint
View of Taipei 101 from Fairy Footprint

Fairy Footprint Hike

While the Fairy Footprint hike doesn’t offer as superb of a view of Taipei 101, the view of the city is just as spectacular. 

The Fairy Footprint trail is also known as the Xianjiyan trail and Xianjiyan means fairy rock or immortal rock.  Near the top of the trail you’ll find the Xianjiyan Temple.  This was a nice surprise for use when we went.

The hike takes you into the hills surrounding Taipei and along a wooded ridge.  Take a break at the top to enjoy the views and the temple before heading back down. 

This is another great hike to do around sunset.  It’s a pretty easy hike, but there are kind of a lot of stairs.  The trail continues along the ridge, but we just went back down the way we came up.

Where is the Fairy Footprint Trailhead?

Fairy Footprint is in the Wenshan District of Taipei, about 16 minutes from Da’an Park, 15 minutes from Taipei 101, and 17 minutes from Elephant Mountain. You can easily find and follow the trail with AllTrails.

How to get to the Fairy Footrint trail?

Take the MRT to the Jingmei Station in the Wenshan District and leave through exit 1 or 2.  I believe outside of 1 there is a sign with a map showing where the hike is. 

About a five minute walk from the MRT station, you’ll find the trail entrance along Jingxing Road.


How long is the Fairy Footprint hike?

The Xianjiyan Trail is about 1.2 miles round-trip. It’s about 20 minutes up to the top.  I would plan 2-3 hours for the whole hike so you can relax at the top, more if you want to continue to Wanfang.

Is the Fairy Footprint hike hard?

Nope! Like Elephant Mountain though it’s mostly stairs. But it really wasn’t bad. It has just 367 feet of elevation gain.

What to bring on the Fairy Footprint hike

Like Elephant Mountain, you don’t need to bring much.  It’s an easy, short hike.  Hiking boots aren’t necessary, just wear something you feel comfortable walking and climbing stairs in.

Final thoughts on Elephant Mountain and Fairy Footprint

While the Xianjiyan Trail and Xiangshan Trail aren’t the only two hikes in Taipei, they are two of the best, one popular and one much less so. 

Spend a few evenings admiring the best views of Taipei after a day wandering around the city or nearby towns.  On your way up it almost feels like a little escape from the hustle and bustle of Taipei.


Where to stay in Taipei

Meander Taipei – I stayed here and absolutely loved it! They have dorms and private rooms and it was so good for meeting people without being a party hostel. It’s near Ximending.

Meander 1948 – This is a beautifully modern hostel conveniently located above a 7-Eleven near Taipei Main Station!

Taipei 109 Hostel – This is another nice, modern hostel near Ximending. There isn’t much for a common area so it might not be the best if you want to meet people or socialize.

Star Hostel – This is another beautiful modern hostel near Taipei Main Station. This is a hostel with sustainability practices aimed at reducing waste.

Other Taipei area posts you may like

Spirited Away To The Hills Of Jiufen: What To Do In Jiufen

Yehliu Geopark: Spend A Morning On Mars

Modern Toilet: Taipei’s Toilet Restaurant

Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf + 4 Other Cool Things To Do In Tamsui

Spend An Afternoon at Huashan 1914 Creative Park

7 Ways To Spend One Day In Taipei

5 Of The Best Day Trips From Taipei

Elephant Mountain And Fairy Footprint: Two Best Hikes In Taipei

Everything You Need To Know To Go To The Pingxi Lantern Festival

Hiking Teapot Mountain In Taiwan: A Great Day Hike From Taipei

Have you done either of these hikes?  Do you want to?  What is your favorite hike in Taiepi?

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