One of my all time favorite hikes/photography locations in Taiwan is The Four Beast Mountains (四獸山) area. Located within Taipei City limits, these trails are an easy escape from busy city life and have amazing panoramic views of Taipei City and Taipei 101.
The trail system includes Tiger (虎山), Elephant (象山), Leopard (豹山) and Lion (獅山) Mountains and is very easily reached from the Taipei MRT system. In fact, the base of Taipei 101 is only a 15 minute walk from the Elephant Mountain trail head.
If that’s not enough, many of the trails are lighted, 24 hours a day!
The 9-5 Peak (Jiuwufeng – 九五峯) is the pinnacle of the Four Beasts Mountain trail system. It’s a mountain that dominates eastern Taipei and rivals even the mighty Taipei 101 in height.
My favorite time to visit the Four Beasts is at night. You almost have the trails to yourself.
Hiking during the day can get a bit crowded, but offers endless interesting sites. There are many rest areas, work-out areas, and home-made meditation areas.
If you venture down some of the dirt paths that shoot off of the main ones, you’re sure to find some ropes to climb. These trails crisscross the whole mountain and could keep you busy for an entire weekend.
Note that the main entrance to the 9-5 Peak trail is a bit difficult to get to. I have some directions at the bottom, but it’s really easier if you have your own transportation. Although you can also access it from Elephant Mountain (I’ll have that blog up in a few days!)
Here is a big photo of a map of the trails.
Below is a Google Map of the area with the trails roughly marked off. Feel free to add photos or information to it. Be sure to click “VIEW LARGER MAP” for a larger image and much, much more specific information:
Check out Hiking Taiwan’s recent post on this area too.
How to get there:
You can take bus Blue 10, 257, 263, or 286 to the Fude Elementary School , then take Lane 251 of Fude Street; or take the MRT Bannan (Blue) Line to Houshanpi Station and then take bus 207 or 263 to Fengtian (Fongtian) Temple. Then follow Lane 221 or 251 of Fude Street.