Enjoy the Cool Fall Air Along Mountain Paths Taipei Hiking Trails
Article: Howard Chen
Photos: Li Zhiwei, Taipei City Geotechnical Engineering Office
Living in the urban jungle and working hard everyday? Why not take a walk into nature and relax body and soul now that Fall is coming? Visit a hiking trail in suburban Taipei! The metropolitan area has an abundance of mountain ranges with endless trails. Taipei’s convenient transportation network will get you anywhere, and “Come enjoy a peaceful corner of our city, away from the hustle and bustle” will not just seem like a real estate pitch, but more like a dream come true.
Hike a Trail Into Nature!
People nowadays care about their leisure activities, and hiking is one that is definitely trending. The Taipei City Geotechnical Engineering Office (台北市大地工程處) has analyzed local geographical features and improved hiking trails along many mountain ranges. The hope is to get people uphill and enjoying nature in general while observing the features of each trail in particular. Lu Lichun (呂理昌), who graduated from National Taiwan University’s School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, has contributed many years to Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園) as the Director of the Qingtiangang (擎天崗), Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑), and Yangmingshuwu (陽明書屋) Service Stations. You can call him “a man who dances with nature.” He notes that on the many hiking trails and ancient paths in Yangmingshan, one can find rich ecological resources, such as plants, ferns, butterflies and birds, and also study the local history of human activity. Lu says, “A simple hiking trail is the best starting point for walking into the outdoors.” The trails provide an entrance into nature, while allowing the hiker to know the mountains and this land better.
The Magnificence of Taipei Catches the Eye of Visitors
Unlike some places that are more bounded geographically, the environment of Taipei City has many natural advantages. You can easily take a bus or the MRT and reach mountains in less than an hour. For many, hiking a mountain right in their home city is beyond imagination. In Taipei, however, you get to breathe fresh air in the morning and devour delicious night market food in the evening. It’s a day trip with diverse activities – eating and hiking – without any geographical obstacle! That is what many a tourist would describe as “amazingly crazy.” Hiking along the Xiangshan Hiking Trail (象山親山步道), you see the most beautiful night view of this capital city, while wandering along Shuicheliao Trail (水車寮步道) one gets to enjoy the blooming flowers at Zhuzihu (竹子湖). Jiantanshan Hiking Trail (劍潭山親山步道) tells a tale of human activity and has an historical ambiance, whereas Camphor Tree Trail (樟樹步道) and Zhanghu Trail (樟湖步道) provide views of the local farm scene. Liyushan Hiking Trail (鯉魚山親山步道) and the Yuanjue Temple Trail (圓覺寺步道) both seem like pilgrimage routes. Each of these offers a unique mountain experience. There are bilingual guides and direction signs along these trails, so tourists can enjoy nature easily. Craving more adventure? Why not plan big and have a grand hiking trip that connects several trails? Tackling this challenge, you will experience the sense of achievement that comes with conquering the mountains of Taipei!
When one hikes into the mountains, he or she goes back to the embrace of Mother Nature, where one’s only responsibility is to respect and love the land. Be sure to wear proper clothes (a light long-sleeved shirt, jacket and long pants), and bring sufficient food (bread and dry goods are best) and rain gear. Control your time and keep an eye on the weather. A mountain visit is the fastest way for city dwellers to engage nature in the waning days of autumn.