Hiking in Taipei: Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain)
Xiangshan (象山, Elephant Mountain – not to be confused with Beijing’s Xiangshan, 香山) is a nice little hike you can do in Taipei without leaving the city. It only takes an hour or two, and the view of Taipei 101 and the city beyond is probably the most famous view of Taipei – chances are you’ve already seen pictures. The starting point is Xiangshan station which is the eastern terminus of Line 2 (the red line), one stop past Taipei 101. Immediately south of the station there’s a fairly long and narrow park called Zhongqiang Park (中強公園):
Walk south all the way through the park and then take this left turning at the end of the park up past the tower blocks:
Xiangshan is clearly signposted from there, just follow the road up and round for a few minutes to the start of the steps (just past the temple):
Once you’re at the steps, you know what to do!
The trail is obvious and well-maintained (mostly consisting of stone steps), so there aren’t really any navigational concerns – just bring enough to drink as Taipei is usually hot and sweaty and the mark-up charged by the drinks vendors at the base of the trail is steeper than the trail itself! This is a very popular hike so it gets really busy on weekends – it’s better to go on a weekday if you can.
Just beyond the 6 boulders there’s a viewing deck from which you get the classic view. From there you can either head back down or continue exploring the trails:
Xiangshan is actually one of a group of four neighbouring mountains named after animals, the others being Baoshan (豹山, Leopard Mountain), Shishan (獅山 , Lion Mountain), and Hushan (虎山, Tiger Mountain). Collectively they’re known as the Four Beasts (四獸山, Si Shou Shan) and are connected by a hiking trail, so you have the option of extending your Xiangshan hike and doing all four. I never got around to doing so, but you can read about it here.
Any comments or questions about Xiangshan? Give me a shout below and I’ll get back to you.
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