One of the most famous activities to do in Taipei is to hike up Elephant Mountain for the best view of Taipei 101. It all starts at Xiangshan Station, which is the closest Metro station to the hiking trail and it’s a 12 minute walk to the beginning of the hiking trail. Casually walk past a big park and only near the end of the walk is a slight incline road that leads to the trail head.
At the trail head is a sign that reads “Elephant Mountain” in Chinese and next to it is a set of stone stairs. Make sure you have proper shoes to climb these stairs as some steps could be wet since Taiwan gets a lot of periodic light rain depending on the season you go. We happen to have gone during mid September which was during Typhoon season but we got lucky as it only rained a bit and eventually cleared up for us to ascend.
It will take about 20 minutes of climbing up the stairs to reach the main lookout point. Take your time as some steps are steep and depending on the crowd level, you might have to wait for other travelers to pass. There are various stops along the stairs where you can get a good view of Taipei 101 and the city.
Along the way up, I noticed a break in the trees that offer a clear shot of Taipei 101, so as a typical tourist I took the opportunity to take a picture. As you can tell by the sky, it was a gloomy cloudy day from the morning rain but due to the weather, there were not a lot of tourists so we had all the time in the world to capture our pictures.
Around half way up the trail you will notice giant rocks around the path. You are allowed to climb up it and take creative pictures with Taipei 101 in the background. Even though the crowd level was low during our visit, there were still groups of tourists lining up to take their pictures. We decided to skip it as we were tight on time and proceeded up towards the main lookout point instead.
Once you reach the main lookout area, you are rewarded with the gorgeous view of Taipei and the famous Taipei 101 in the background. There are benches along the sides where you can finally rest and catch your breath while absorbing the amazing view around you.
Take a few minutes to rest up and remember to drink water to replenish your fluids after the exhausting hike, especially in Taipei’s humidity. Once you are ready, it’s time to return back for the easier half of the hike, the descent down the mountain.