A Peaceful Heaven Hidden Behind Six Boulders – Xiangshan Hiking Trail
Article Howard Chen
Photos Li Zhiwei
When one mentions Taipei 101, the landmark of the city, the nearby Xiangshan Hiking Trail is often the next thing that comes to mind. With an advantageous location, gorgeous night views, and a reputation rapidly being spread by word-of-mouth, this is the Hollywood Star of hiking trails!
Stepping Out of the Hustle and Bustle but Staying in the City
This “superstar” trail is actually very accessible. The trail ends in Xinyi District’s Zhongqiang Park (中強公園), which locals will tell you is the perfect back yard. It takes less than 10 minutes to walk from there to MRT Xiangshan Station and the YouBike rental station. Such convenience attracts foreign tourists and local visitors alike to come and explore.
The entrance to Xiangshan Hiking Trail is next to Lingyun Temple (靈雲宮) on Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road (信義路). It is easy to recognize day or night. Each of the first flight of steps is just 7 or 8 centimeters in height, making this stage quite easy to climb. When you reach the first fork in the trail, it’s time to choose your “destiny.” The left branch is a flat and easy route leading to the Fireworks Platform (煙火平台) at Yongchun Pavilion (永春亭). The right leads to Six Boulders (六巨石), a popular social media check-in spot. You’ll notice that the height of each step keeps increasing – to more than 25 cm – which makes it seem as demanding as the path into Heaven!
Most evening visitors and people who want a more-challenging hike will choose the path on the right, but those who are just out for a pleasant stroll enjoying nature will take the left one. Both routes offer facilities to meet everyone’s needs. The Camera Platform (攝影平台), the Photographer’s Platform (攝手平台) and the Fireworks Platform offer different angles for taking pictures, but Taipei 101 will always be the star attraction in the viewfinder. You will find a plethora of ecological resources on Xiangshan – especially along the gravel path towards the Fireworks Platform, where you might spot butterflies, such as skippers or swallowtails. With its benches, drinking fountains and sheltering roof – this is the ideal spot for refreshing body and soul.
Check-in Hotspot Gets Prettier by Night
Six Boulders is THE destination for many young people who climb Xiangshan. But to reach it, you’ll need to conquer those steps with their radical increase in height, and your legs might just barely make it! According to the Taiwan Nature Trail Society (中華民國自然步道協會), Six Boulders was formed when a piece of massive sandstone split into six due to thermal expansion and contraction over millions of years of sun and rain. These boulders are not situated on the mountain top, but are blessed with a wide-open vista and few trees to block it. You can look out on the twinkling night lights of downtown Taipei and on the flashing neon of Taipei 101. No wonder it’s a check-in social media hotspot for young people, and a hiking trail with urban charm!
Xiangshan Hiking Trail
Location: The entrance is next to Lingyun Temple on Ln. 150, Sec. 5, Xinyi Rd.
Total length: 1,450 meters
Walking time: About 50 minutes (It varies from person to person.)