Don’t be deterred by the name Elephant Mountain. A relatively easy climb takes you to the top of a hill that affords panoramic views of Taipei. Nestled among other rolling green hills, Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan Hiking Trail) is indisputably the best place in Taipei to enjoy a sunset over the capital’s skyline.
Evening tours of Taipei usually stop at Elephant Mountain, where—even if you only ascend halfway—you can still enjoy great views of Taipei. The trail is well-lit and supported by handrails. At the summit, there are six giant rocks where you can perch for an epic photograph with the skyline behind you, or walk a little past the rocks and you’ll find a far less crowded viewing platform.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Use plenty of insect repellent before you climb Elephant Mountain, because there are lots of mosquitoes at the top.
- For travelers of a moderate fitness level, it takes about 30 minutes to reach the top.
- This is a must-visit for the best views of the Taipei skyline.
- Take a bottle of water for the ascent. At the bottom of the trail, there is a water fountain where you can refill.
How to Get There
From central Taipei, take the red line on the MRT to Xiangshan station, which is the final stop. From there, the base of Elephant Mountain is clearly signposted. If you want to walk from Taipei 101, you can do so in about 15 minutes.
When to Get There
The best time to hike Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan Hiking Trail) is in the late afternoon, so that you can enjoy daytime city views, see the sunset, and then watch Taipei burst into a thousand lights. During the weekend, the trail can be crowded, so try to visit during the week if possible.
The Four Beasts of Taipei
Elephant Mountain is one of the Four Beasts, a name that refers to the four hills on the outskirts of Taipei. If you’re an avid hiker, you can challenge yourself to do a full-day hike of all Four Beasts: From the mountain summit, a trail continues for a few hours and reveals a Buddhist garden and an entirely different part of the city.