by Robert Minor
TAIPEI HIKING SERIES:
The Four Beasts of Taipei is a collection of 4 mountains along the eastern part of the city:Elephant Mountain, Tiger Mountain, Lion Mountain, and Leopard Mountain. There is a 2-3 hour circuit that guides hikers into this area and take them over the peaks of Jiuwufeng, Mt. Thumb, and out to Elephant Mountain.
The fun part of this route is that is starts at one part of the city and ends at another. To get to the starting point, get on the MRT Blue line and head to the Hou Shan Pi Station. Walk out of Exit 2.
Keep walking straight until you reach the intersection of Da Dao Road 大道路。Turn left and walk for about 10 minutes until you reach a "T" intersection at Fu De Street.福德街。 Take a left and walk about 50 meters and then bear right down the street. This street is narrow and full vegetarian restaurants and shops selling fresh hot buns and snacks. I grabbed a few hot buns (baozi) for the hike.
Continue down Fude Street until you see the street sign for Lane 221. Take a right here and start to head up.
As you head up Lane 221, the street widens and you will come to an intersection with this sign. DON'T follow the arrow. Instead, TAKE A LEFT here and follow the road for a few minutes to a red sign and the trailhead. There should be a junior high school on your right.. Take the road that winds around the school.
You should see this sign, below, pointing you in the right direction.
Continue to walk along the road. When you see the big red sign reading "Si-Shou Public Forest" (Four Beasts Public Forest), you have arrived at the trailhead.
These stairs are the start of the trail that will take you up and along the ridge. The path to the right of the stairs will take you to some easier routes on the lower half of the mountain.
The trail is very clear. Just follow the stairs. Be aware that on wet days, the stairs get quite slippery.
There are plenty of signs and maps along the way. Look for the animal statues and the carvings in the rocks on the trail.
Flora is very pretty during different parts of the season.
The stone path continues.
You will see these markings along the path. This is telling you the distance to you are 1700 meters from the end of the trail at Elephant Mountain.
A map of the area with some English.
Eventually you will come to this small worship temple. You need to walk up and around it to continue the trail.
We continue up. This is a good hike for those who would like a bit of a workout.
From this sign, you will see you are approaching Jiu Wu Feng. (95 Peak). It's 950 meters away and about 25 minutes.
This trail is very well maintained.
You have arrived at 95 Peak. There is a nice view to both sides looking west and east. From here, you will start to head down towards Mt. Thumb.
A view to the east.
There is a trailhead here for Nan Gang Shan. If you decide to hike it, expect about 50 minutes to get to the peak. Our group didn't do it this day since it was too cloudy.
A of Taipe to the west from 95 Peak.
As mentioned above, it is all mostly downhill from here. Click here for PART 2 of this article (the route to Mt. Thumb and Elephant Mountain)
TAIPEI HIKING SERIES: