Any hike in or around Taipei will take your breath away but we found this hike to be exceptional. Our Neihu District hike in Taipei consisted of beautiful nature, a small waterfall, multiple temples, and an amazing view of Taipei, all within a few hour hike that stretched about five miles (8 km). Some of the best views from hiking in Taiwan.
Using the MRT, take the Brown Line to Dahu Park Station. This was a more expensive metro ride for us since we lived on the opposite side of the city. Tickets were NT$50 per person from Banqiao. Definitely worth it. From Dahu Park station, take exit 1 and you’ll see the signs for the trails.
Follow the sign for the Liyushan/Zhongyongshan trails. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the trailhead. Keep your eyes peeled for the brown trail signs and if you pass Dahu Elementary School you’re going the right way!
Once at the trailhead, keep right and enjoy! This path will take you along a creek full of fish and through a kaleidoscope of butterflies! If you’re walking along the left side of the creek then the path will end at some stairs. At this point hop across the creek and follow the path on the other side.
You’ll cross a bridge and follow the trail to a road and from there you turn right. But a short detour to your left would take you to see the Yeh Ancestral Temple. Unfortunately, the gates were closed when we arrived. There are many temples to see while hiking in Taiwan. So we continued onto the next!
Once you are on the right path you’ll slowly ascend, following the creek on your right side. There are many great spots for pictures, but keep an eye out for the gigantic spiders! Yikes!
You’ll eventually come to a gorgeous garden and rest area with covered picnic tables.
Just a little further to your right is a small waterfall and plenty of rocks for you to scramble on. Keep climbing the steep steps (which are everywhere while hiking in Taiwan) and you’ll see the top of Yuanjue Falls. There isn’t a lot of space to view if from the top so we recommend spending some time soaking it in from below.
Your next stop is Fengbishan Yuanje Temple. It’s a very steep trek to get here but once at the top make sure to grab some photos and enjoy the view…and the complimentary music!
Leaving the temple isn’t hard. Just follow the road down and then you’ll see the trail continue on your right, passing another small waterfall. This next part was a little tricky. You will come to a major road which will have traffic so be careful! This kind of threw us off. You’ll see trails signs pointing to the right, which will take you to Couples Tree and Love Lake (although there’s another way to get there). If you’re wanting just Bishan Temple, don’t follow them! Cross the street and go around the corner, following Bishan road and you will see more trail signs. Follow these!
While hiking in Taiwan, some directions can be confusing.
This part is very confusing because every road at this junction is called Bishan Road! Stay on the main road up and around to Bishan Temple. There are detours but do not venture off the road! We realized we were on someone’s property and things didn’t seem right so we had to backtrack. As soon as you go around the curve you can’t miss it.
So you have a couple options at this point. Hooray for trail options! You can be dumb like we were and go up the long staircase to Bishan Temple, come back down to see the suspension bridge and Love Lake, only to realize the trail continues behind Bishan temple and have to climb the stairs a second time. Phew…
We recommend checking out the suspension bridge and love lake first and then making the climb to Bishan Temple. If you’re hungry or just want to chill there are plenty of cafes in the area. We saw a delicious looking fruit ice cream stand on the way to Love Lake but it was closed. However, several cafes were open for business.
The views from Fengbishan Yuanje Temple were great, but Bishan blew us away. All of Taipei was visible before us. It was a clear day and a cool breeze blew, making this spot a perfect viewpoint.
The temple itself is worth checking out too. Look at that ceiling…
Ok, so you’re leaving Bishan temple, you now have more options! You can venture back the way you came, try out one of the cafes, or hike on to Zhongyongshan. A little over halfway up the stairs to Bishan you’ll find a path with a trail sign that says Mt. Zhongyong. Take it! It’s a little steep but not long. You’ll come out at the top and see a statue overlooking the earth below.
There are plenty of shaded spots for rest and you’ll most likely find some elders hanging around. This is where we chose to eat our lunch and a jumping squirrel seemed really excited about that. One thing we’ve noticed about hiking in Taiwan is that there are plenty of rest stops along the trails.
When departing Mt. Zhongyong you can go back the way you came or walk towards the gazebos and begin your descent along the path to Jinlong Temple. A pleasant surprise is waiting for you just past the gazebos. We’re not sure who uses this area to workout but we found the primitive barbell very amusing.
There’s also a stone path that you can take your shoes off and attempt to cross barefoot (although we kept our socks on). We made it like two steps and then died, but it’s supposed to be great for your feet.
When you’re done with your workout follow the trail and its many, many steps down to Neihu Road and follow that until you get to Jinlong Road. There’s a huge statue on the way as well as Jinlong Temple. Take Jinlong road to the Neihu MRT station and what happens next is up to you. If you’re looking to do more hiking in Taiwan, check out our posts here!