The Elephant Mountain/Four Beasts Mountain trail (aka Xiangshan/Sishoushan Trail) is perhaps the most easily accessible trail in Taipei with perhaps also the best views of the city. This popular and easy hike covers areas of Xinyi and Nangang District, and offers excellent views of the 101 and the rest of downtown Taipei. It should be on the top of your list of places to visit in Taipei.
Elephant Mountain get's its name from the shape of the mountain, which from a distance looks like an elephant. The same is true of the hills next to it: Tiger Mountain, Lion Mountain, and Leopard Mountain. Other peaks on the trail include Mt. Nangang, Thumb Mountain, and 95 Peak.
Elephant Mountain lies at 181 meters above sea level, and 95 Peak, the highest peak on the trail, is 375 meters above sea level.
These mountains lie on the Nangang Mountain Chain (南岡山系統), which starts in Nangang District, and goes through Xinyi District, Da'an District, and Wenshan District of Taipei.
The rock formations that form the Nangang Mountain Chain formed as sediment under the ocean millions of years ago and were then uplifted thanks to the collision of the Eurasian and Phillipine plates. The rocks are mainly sedimentary and are part of the same formation that forms the special rock formations on the northern coast and in Pingxi.
The area also has some coal deposits, and there are a few abandoned coal mines on the mountain.
Currently Elephant Mountain and the Four Beasts trail is one of the most popular trails in Taipei or all of Taiwan. With quick access to the MRT, hundreds of people hike these trails daily.
24/7 (there are even lights on the trail at night)
Elephant Mountain: 1-2 hours 1.5 KM one way
Total of about 160 meters in elevation gain
Full Four Beasts Trail: 4-6 hours 11KM one way (to China University of Science and Technology)
Total of about 350 meters in elevation gain
Easy, although there are many steep steps at the beginning.
How to get there:
By MRT: Take the Red Line MRT to the Elephant Mountain stop. The trailhead is about 500 meters from the MRT station. Just walk along the park to the trailhead.
By Scooter/Car: Drive east on Xinyi Raod in Taipei, and turn right at Xiangshan MRT station. There should be scooter and car parking on the street, but car parking may be hard to find.
Please see below:
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