The first part of the the Taipei Grand Hike has you putting in some serious legwork to make it all the way from the flat land of Guandu right up into Yangmingshan National Park. This section takes in art, grand tombs, an irrigation canal, and many, many steps.
Tucked away behind the National Palace Museum you’ll find the unassuming entrance to this trail. If you’ve eaten your fill of museum exhibits and choose to follow the old stone steps up the hill, then you will come face to face with one aspect of life in old Taiwan which is still very much alive. The historic waterways in this area have been supplying water to the farms here for generations, and what could be more soothing than walking alongside flowing water.
A quiet leg-stretch through the hills and farmland of Guishan township. Come in April or May to enjoy the tung blossom that gives the trail its name.
Egret Hill is probably not on most people's radar, but if you're looking for a place for a family stroll, a lazy day walk then it's definitely worth considering. As well as offering a short and straightforward walk through some pretty trees, the path leads you back to the MRT station via the beautiful Dahu Park.
Although most of Taiwan’s giant trees are found in remote forests with permit-restricted access, there are some just a short drive out of Taipei which can be seen by anyone willing to make the climb. (And who wouldn’t be willing to put in a bit of effort to visit these venerable old spirits.)
What starts of being a bit of a stair master soon gives way to reward you with a tree-sheltered lake, quiet forest scenery, squirrels, and even a couple of views.
If you look at Sanchong and Luzhou on a map, they seem to form an island, cut off from the rest of Taipei by rivers and parks. Luckily for the residents of this area, these unbuilt-up spaces house a great network of cycle paths where you can enjoy either a good bit of exercise or a laid back bike ride depending on your mood and energy levels.