Since the completion of the Taipei Metro Xinyi red line in 2013, the popular hiking trail up Elephant Mountain has become even easier to get to. The start of the trail is only a short walk from the exit of the Xiangshan metro station. At the base of the mountain, is a stall that is ran by a friendly old lady, stocking a variety of items that are useful for the hike. Frequent hikers up Elephant Mountain will tell you about their friendship with her.
The 400m checkpoint called the Six Giant Rocks, is the goal for most hikers. Despite many maps suggesting that it takes 15 minutes to reach this point, beginners should probably be prepared for a longer hike. However, even at a slower pace, most people should be able to reach it within 30 minutes. With an elevation of only 181 metres, Elephant Mountain is a highly approachable hiking trail suitable for urbanites.
We prefer visiting the mountain in the early evening hours, for a lovely view of the Taipei basin under both day and night light. Sitting on the giant rocks on the mountain, you’ll witness the beautiful transition of the blue sky gradually turning to an autumnal orange.
At the Six Giant Rocks, there’s also a small path that leads towards the Taipei City Psychiatric Center. This small trail is discrete and not many people know of it – but for those that know, it affords a much clearer view of the Taipei skyline. Like most people, we used to value trips abroad more than local trips, but it’s only when you explore more of Taipei, that you realise how beautiful the city is.
This article is excerpted from the book《Taipei, to-siā》, Chinese – English Bilingual Version. Book link｜https://reurl.cc/e9Ravm