Taiwan’s Best Hikes

Taiwan’s Best Hikes

Hiking in Taiwan is a mood. Even living in Taipei, which is one of Asia’s most exciting and dynamic cities, my friends and I ascend mountains at least as often as we head to bars or restaurants.

This—that you can enjoy some of Taiwan’s best hikes using Taipei as your base—is wonderful. What’s amazing are the hikes you can take if you get out of the capital.

No matter where in Taiwan you plan to travel, or how physically fit you are, reading this list is going to get your blood pumping. Are you ready to hit the trail?

Need help planning your trip to Taiwan? Commission a custom Taiwan itinerary!

Why the Taiwanese Love Hiking So Much

One thing I imagine you’ll notice as quickly as I have is that hiking in Taiwan is not just a distraction, or even a past time. It’s a popular activity for Taiwanese of all physical fitness levels, for those who make a point of going out in nature often as well as city slickers whose definition of “wild” includes bar as often as its does bamboo forests. Everyone hikes in Taiwan—this will become clear to you as soon as you step onto a crowded trail!

The conclusion to draw from this? Even if taking a hike is not among the things to do in Taiwan you imagine you’ll enjoy the most, it will be. To be sure, the list I’ve compiled below targets all sorts of prospective hikers, whether you envision taking a day hike from Taipei, or truly getting out in the wilds of nature, be that during an east coast road trip or high up in the mountains.

My Favorite Hikes in Taiwan

Seven Stars Mountain, Yangmingshan National Park


One of my favorite day hikes from Taipei, Seven Stars Mountain (known as Qi Xing Shan in Chinese) is the main hiking trail of Yangmingshan National Park. In addition to providing an awesome Taipei city view (on a clear day) and an exhilarating hike that lasts around an hour each way, Qi Xing Shan is easily accessible via the Taipei MRT, with direct (and even a few nonstop) bus services from Jiantan and Shilin stations.

Teapot Mountain, Jiufen


I love a good day-trip-within-a-day-trip, especially if it allows me to enjoy hiking in Taiwan. With this being said, it’s arguably better if you can hike Cha Hu Shan (aka Teapot Mountain) early in the morning, after sleeping in one of the rustic B&Bs along Jiufen Old Street. Of course, no matter which tack you take to ascend this towering mountain, the views you enjoy from the top are unbeatable.

Taroko Gorge, Hualien


The good news? I’ve written a comprehensive guide that can help you plan a Taroko Gorge hike. The better news? I’m happy to summarize it here, in case you choose not to click. Specifically, whether you traverse the Shakadang Trail, trek toward Baiyang Falls or simply walk along the easy path to the Shrine of the Eternal Spring, this national park in Hualien County lives up to every bit of hype.

Lisong Hot Spring, Taitung


I’ll be honest: I wasn’t aware this gem in the East Rift Valley would require hiking in Taiwan until I parked my rental car. Don’t repeat my ignorance, which also led me to arrive wearing flip-flops. The Lisong Hot Spring hike, which leads to a colorful hot spring that’s among the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Taiwan, is “inverted.” You start by going down a steep and rope-assisted path; you finish by going back up it. Cruel, but then it’s a cruel world.

Alishan National Scenic Area, Chiayi


There’s a lot of hiking in Alishan (in other words, Alishan National Scenic Area), but my favorite place to trek in the region isn’t actually part of the park. Rather, get off the bus from Chiayi to Alishan in Shizuo, which is where many of Alishan’s tea fields are located. Although most of your uphill climbing will be on paved roads (unless you’re cool trespassing in private tea fields—no judgment), this place is still incredibly beautiful.

Other Amazing Places to Hike in Taiwan

Hiking is not only among the best things to do in Sun Moon Lake (and other natural destinations in Taiwan), but is also accessible from Taiwanese cities besides Taipei. Here are some of my favorite examples:

  • Taipei hikes like the Maokong area and Guan Yin Mountain
  • Liyushan viewpoint in Taitung city
  • Wufengqi waterfall trail in Yilan
  • Yushan National Park in Nantou county

Note that going hiking in Taiwan doesn’t require being bound for a specific destination, or even changing elevation. Taiwanese cities also tend to be very walkable—exercise, after all, is exercise!

Hiking is Just the Beginning

I’m not much of a recreational biker (in my past life in Austin, TX, you see, I cycled as my primary form of transit), so I don’t yet have an article about cycling in Taiwan—I doubt I ever will. In spite of this, Taiwan is one of the world’s top cycling destinations, not only because of its beauty and topography, but because a high level of interest among local people has coincided with an increase in respect for the sport, and the safety of it.

Another amazing opportunities for ecotourism relates to Taiwan’s abundant water. While many of the best Taiwan beaches are more hospitable to surfing (or walks along them) than to swimming, there’s plenty of swimmable freshwater in Taiwan. Most notably, the various swimming holes with Taroko National Park, and others in the general vicinity of Hualien.

Other FAQ About Hiking in Taiwan

Is Taiwan good for hiking?

Taiwan, as one of the world’s most mountainous countries, is absolutely wonderful for hiking. Whether you’re in the heart of Taipei city, or exploring the trails near rural destinations like Taroko Gorge and the Great Rift Valley along the east coast, there’s always a place nearby to get some altitude.

Where else is good for hiking in Taiwan?

Beyond popular Taipei hiking trails on Yangmingshan mountain, as well as Matcha Mountain near Jiufen and Taroko Gorge near Hualien, it’s easy to find places to go for a hike in Taiwan. If you’re traveling in Taiwan and unsure of where to hike, the staff who work at your hotel should have some recommendations.

Where can you go hiking near Taipei?

The Taipei area is actually one of the best cities in the world for hiking. From purely urban hikes like the Xiangshan viewpoint, to the rural trails of Yangmingshan north of the city (which nonetheless feature skyline views), you’re never very far from a great hike while on the streets of Taipei.

The Bottom Line

Hiking in Taiwan is one of the best ways you can spend your time here, but don’t take my word for it. There’s a reason, after all, that local Taiwanese spend so much of their free time on the trails of the country’s abundant hills and mountains. Enjoy easily accessible hikes on day trips from Taipei or other large Taiwanese cities, or explore the more rural reaches of the country (namely, the scenic east coast) and take a walk on the truly wild side. Want a Taiwan trip that perfectly balances urban and natural delights? Commission a custom Taiwan itinerary today!


Subscribe to email updates!


Words, images and design ©2020-2024 Robert Schrader, All rights reserved. Read Privacy Policy or view sitemap.