Elephant Mountain And Fairy Footprint: Two Best 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.

Elephant Mountain Hike

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.

Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain in Taipei TaiwanTaipei 101 from elephant mountain in taipei taiwan

How to get there

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.

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How long

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.

What to bring

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.

  • Camera – I use the Fujifilm X-T2 and love it
  • Water – The GRAYL water bottle is perfect for travel since it has a great filter
  • Rain jacket or umbrella if it’s rainy – You can pack an umbrella or borrow one from your hostel

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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.

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How to get there

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 walkt from the MRT station, you’ll find the trail entrance along Jingxing Road.

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How long

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.

What to bring

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.

  • Camera – I use the Fujifilm X-T2 and love it
  • Water – The GRAYL water bottle is perfect for travel since it has a great filter
  • Rain jacket or umbrella if it’s rainy – You can pack an umbrella or borrow one from your hostel

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While these aren’t the only two hikes in Taipei, they are two of the best.  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.

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

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