Hiking the Four Beasts Mountains (四獸山) – Elephant Mountain (象山)

Elephant Mountain (象山) is the most famous of the “Four Beasts Mountains (四獸山)” of Taipei, Taiwan and the most easily accessible.  It’s the third and last article in my series about hiking the Four Beasts MountainsPart one is on 9-5 Peak (Jiuwufeng – 九五峯), and part two is on Tiger Mountain (虎山).

Elephant Mountain is the most popular of the mountains for a good reason.  Being the closest to the city not only means easy access, but it means stunning views of Taipei, especially Taipei 101.

Taipei City and Taipei 101 as seen from Elephant Mountain

While it is a short hike to the viewing areas, I’ll warn you that there are a lot of steps involved in getting there.  If you’re fit, you can make it in 15 minutes.  If you’re not, there are some places to rest with benches and nice views of their own.

Be prepared to climb up lots of stairs!

Be prepared to climb up lots of stairs!

The main area that people go to to relax and look at the city has a few big boulders to climb up on and chill out.

The main viewing area of Elephant Mountain (象山) has a bunch of big boulders that you can climb onto to get a great view of Taipei City.

The main viewing area of Elephant Mountain (象山) has a bunch of big boulders that you can climb onto to get a great view of Taipei City.

Elephant Mountain (象山) is a serene place to relax and blow off the stress of the city below.

Elephant Mountain (象山) is a serene place to relax and blow off the stress of the city below.

Elephant Mountain gets very crowed on weekends, especially as the sun is about to set.  I’ve heard that some nights, people start to stake out the prime viewing spots as early as 4 o’clock!   However, if you hike the trails at night or on a weekday, the crowds aren’t much of a problem.

Dont think youre going to be the first one to take a picture of Taipei from Elephant Mountain!

Don't think you're going to be the first one to take a picture of Taipei from Elephant Mountain!

There are also a few pavilions above that area and you can continue on to Tiger Mountain and 9-5 Peak if you want to make a day of it.  Have a look at the trail map here.

All over the Four Beasts Mountains you can see interesting wildlife and insects.

All over the Four Beasts Mountains you can see interesting wildlife and insects.

Finding the trail head isn’t too difficult.  It’s a mere 15 minute walk from the base of Taipei 101.  Start at the base of Taipei 101, walk one block east on Xinyi Road, make a right onto Songren Road, walk about 3 blocks until you pass the high school on your right, make a left at the next corner and follow the alleyway up and around until you see the entrance.  Have a look at this google map.

The main entrance to the Elephant Mountain (象山) hiking trails.

The main entrance to the Elephant Mountain (象山) hiking trails.

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:

This is part three of a three part series on hiking the the Four Beasts Mountain trails.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Hiking, Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, The Four Beast Mountains, TRAVEL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 59 Comments

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59 thoughts on “Hiking the Four Beasts Mountains (四獸山) – Elephant Mountain (象山)

  1. Pingback: Hiking the Four Beasts Mountains (四獸山) – Tiger Mountain (虎山) « Neil Wade’s Photography Blog

  2. Wow, wow and wow again (each wow is hand made – no copy/ paste!)
    What a great set of photos, the first one is a real jewel.
    Splendid work!

  3. Thanks for this series. Sure, the vantage point for photos is obvious, but it makes taking interesting shots more challenging. Love your 101 at night shot on the main page introducing this entry.

    Since I’m aready using electrons here, allow me to recommend the Flickr page of my buddy T.C. Lin, AKA “poagao” (“naughty monkey” in 台語)

    screen door
  4. Jerry

    I love your works. They are really awesome. And congrats for being chosen by National Geographic.

  5. Pingback: The Four Beasts and others – 四獸山 « Hiking Taiwan

  6. Pingback: Hiking the Four Beasts Mountains (四獸山) – 9-5 Peak (九五峯) « Neil Wade's Photography Blog

  7. Katie

    Hey, I was wondering where you got the trail map? Thanks! Beautiful photos

    • Thanks Katie! Most of the entrances have a map similar to the one pictured. There are also more maps scattered around on the trails, but they’re not usually as good. The best bet is to find an entrance, and take a digital photo of that map…. As far a I know, there aren’t any printed versions available.

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  11. hi,
    I have use your first image and provided a back-link, hope you do no mind.
    If you do, please let me know, and I will remove pic immediately.

    Ii is embarrassing to lost myself navigating the streets (with your google map), and I did not have enough time to climb Elephant hill again :(

    Love your pictures !
    andy (sengkangbabies.blogspot.com)

    • Hi there,
      Usually I prefer if people ask me before they use my images, but I had a look at your site and I think it’s fine. Thanks for the link.

  12. Much appreciated, Neil.. Apologise for going ahead without your prior approval, this will not happen again. Good day.

  13. Pingback: My 7 Links « Neil Wade's Photography Blog

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  15. PW

    Hi Neil! I Googled “Elephant Mountain Taipei” for a friend who just flew in from the US and was delighted to find great instructions and photos to show her from your blog post. Your pictures are amazing and your blog content is so… real. lol. I enjoy reading your blog (during work haha) and hope you’ll create more “instructional/beginner” type of posts for people who don’t know a thing about photography – but want to learn! Thanks – PW

    • Thank you! I haven’t been writing as often lately because I’ve been busy, but I have lots of ideas for future posts.

  16. NY

    Thanks Neil, managed to get to the boulders last week with the directions from your blog. The view was great!

  17. Pingback: Four Beasts Mountain « Blog Archive « Claudia's Treks

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  21. Guru

    Hey Neil & others,
    Thanks a lot for your Maps, guides and pin point street guides.. It really helped to climb up the elephant mountain

  22. Andri

    Hi Neil

    My wife & I will be in taipei the week of July 24th, so this means we’ll have the weekdays to explore this mountain.Question: is it safe to hike at night during weekdays?



    • Hi Andri,
      If you’re worried about people robbing you or anything like that, it’s totally safe. Taipei has to be one of the safest cities in the world for that. The only dangers at that time of year are snakes and mosquitoes. Take a flashlight for the dark areas of the trails to avoid the snakes, and lots of mossy spray for the mossies. (And if you’re really scared of the snakes, don’t be. I’ve been going up there for years at night and have only seen them a few times.)

  23. Hi, I know this is a really old post, but I just wanted to say thanks for this info. We went up Elephant Mountain on a recent trip to Taipei and it was fantastic. So thanks for all the info!

  24. Andri

    Hi Neil

    I just got back from my trip to Taipei. And I managed to find the Elephant Mountain Trail by just using your directions. Thank you very much! Fantastic views up there, on the boulder. We were up from 9-10 and there were still so many people!

    Anyway, just an update, the arc at the entrance of the trail is no longer there.


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  30. By far my favourite hiking trail in all of Taipei. Depending on your hiking level it offers something for all. you can take the easy trails or the steeper ones. For an extra challenge head towards Muzhi Mountain once you get to the top of Elephant Mountain which will lead you to 95 peak. Quite a climb, and named after a General (or other military rank) who made it up there at the youthful age of 95.
    Dean Barnes, Reach To Teach

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  32. Ker Hin Ho

    very nice photos! what settings did you use for the 4th and 5th picture?

  33. Pingback: Taking It Easy in Taipei – Wandering Souldier

  34. soheila

    u know wat i think…..about these pics??????i think u just wanted make me cry with this pretty views…..its incredible

  35. Your description is very detailed. Thanks for the information. I found this hike by following your directions. Great views!!!

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  37. Eddie

    With regards to Elephant Hill, could one reach the lookout point(s) by cab/taxi?
    Thank you.

    • Well, you could get close if you can explain in Chinese to the driver where you want to go. There’s a small temple here: 25° 1.569′, 121° 34.667′ at the end of the road that goes closes to the view points. Go up Fude Street, Lane 221 then make a right at the T. When you get to the temple, walk up behind it, then follow the path to the right. It splits after a few hundred meters to the left and right, both of which have nice view points.

  38. Eddie

    Thank you very much, Neil. Much appreciated.

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  44. Chan

    in cover photo , where you shoot from? sunrise or sunset?

    thank you

  45. Rhett

    great stuff :) went up today. Just did elephant and thumb mts. Awesome photos !

  46. hi, can i hike this place in the day time? I see mainly people do it at night.

  47. Pingback: Dusk at Elephant Mountain – Blue Eyes in Taiwan

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  49. Edmund

    Thanks Neil for all the pointers! I’m planning to got stake out a spot for a good sunset/night photo. Would it be better to take it from Tiger Mountain or Elephant Mountain? I plan to go during a weekday as I do have a disdain for crowds.

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