Hiking Elephant Mountain for the Best View of Taipei

One of the most recommendable things to do when visiting Taipei, Taiwan is to view the city by hiking up Elephant Mountain.

Elephant Mountain

Hiking Elephant Mountain is free, and it isn’t very difficult at all. It can easily be done as an afternoon activity to catch the stunning sunset over Taipei.

There are many steps up, taking anything around 15 to 20 minutes to see the top views depending on how many breaks you take. When you get to the top, you’ll find it’s well worth the effort – a spectacular and worthwhile view of the city that rivals all other picturesque images of Taipei.

Table of Contents

1. How to start
2. The entrance
3. The preliminary viewing platform
4. At the top
5. Awesome photos & selfie shots
7. Restrooms and clean water
8. Further hiking
9. Staying until nightfall
10. Tips for hiking Elephant Mountain
11. Worth visiting?
12. Information

Xiangshan MRT (exit 2)

How to start

Get off at the Xiangshan MRT station from exit 2. The MRT station is just past Taipei 101 at the very end of the red line.

Directly out in front of this exit, you’ll see the signposts that’ll lead you to Elephant Mountain.

Xiangshan signpost

Follow these signposts toward the Xiangshan Hiking Trail. The restrooms are conveniently signposted in case you need to go before you climb up. Don’t worry, there are also restrooms at the top of Elephant Mountain.

Bottled drinks vendor

We recommend stopping by the nearby Family Mart to stock up on bottled water so you don’t dehydrate in the heat. Taking a bottle up there with you allows you to refill it by the marked drinkable water fountains on the mountain.

If you’ve missed the Family Mart and are without anything to drink, you’ll pass by this little stall that sells cheap bottled drinks.
Arabica Coffee shop

You’ll know you’ve reached the entrance as you’ll spot the unmissable Arabica Coffee shop due to how popular it is. It may even get pretty crowded with exceptionally long queues alongside the road as you get to the trail entrance.

Elephant Mountain entrance

The entrance

Following the signposts will direct you to these steps – this is the entrance.

Hiking Elephant Mountain

And so your hike up Elephant Mountain begins!

Hiking trail (right side)

About a few minutes into the hike, the trail splits into two. Luckily it’s clearly signed to advise you to keep on the right of the steps. It’s easy to miss, and even some of the locals overlook this little wooden sign before realizing their mistake.

Resting area

Resting area

Resting area

Resting area

The steep steps can quickly take a lot out of you, thankfully, there are plenty of seating areas where you can sit and rest every few minutes all throughout this hiking trail.
Preliminary viewing platform

The preliminary viewing platform

You will eventually reach the preliminary viewing platform about halfway up the steps. This platform is an ideal resting place to enjoy the views. Remember, you’re not done yet!

Elephant Mountain sign

When you see this white-painted stone you’re almost there by a few minutes to see the top views. The slab reads, 象山 (‘Elephant Mountain’).
Elephant Mountain (top view)

At the top

Then when you get here… congratulations! You’ve made it, and just check out that stunning view of Taipei!

This view is from the top of the front boulder which is ideal for capturing the cityscape views. In fact, there are 6 boulders at the top where you can climb up to get a better view and some awesome selfie shots.
Six boulders photography

Awesome photos & selfie shots

Six boulders photography

However, depending on the day and how good the weather is, there are likely to queue for these awesome boulder shots.

It’s at these higher viewpoints that many choose to include themselves in their photos.

Second platform (turn left)

If you keep hiking higher, you’ll see the trail starts to split and branch off. Take the left fork to continue heading to a final viewing platform or the right fork to find the restrooms.

Second viewing platform

The third viewing platform offers a different view of Taipei. You can also find a table and seating here, as well as a fountain with drinking water to fill your bottle.

This viewpoint is an ideal place to take larger group selfies as well as an area to sit back and enjoy the city view.

Hiking trail continued

Once you return back to the main path from the third viewing platform, you’ll be met with a few more steep steps to climb. This will take you to Elephant Mountain’s gym and where the restrooms are.
Elephant Mountain gym

The gym is actually well maintained by the local community. There is also shelter here if you feel like taking another respite from those steep steps that gets you here.

The lavatories

Just beside the gym, you’ll find the restrooms. We found them surprisingly clean and hygienic, with sinks and toped-up soap dispensers.
Further hiking

Further hiking

If you keep hiking higher, you’ll see the trail starts to split and branch off. Take the left fork to continue heading to a final viewing platform or the right fork to find the restrooms.

There are also trails leading down the other side of the mountain if you choose to continue for more hiking beyond Elephant Mountain.

Elephant Mountain sunset

Once you make it to the final viewing platform, you’ll find a sheltered area with tables and seating. This is an ideal spot to enjoy the sunset and have a picnic.
Elephant Mountain night view

Staying until nightfall

It is worthwhile to stay until nightfall to watch the city wonderfully light up. The paths are open 24 hours with bright lights that come on to guide you back down the path, so you’re safe to enjoy the Elephant Mountain night views.

Taipei 101 switches off most of its lights at 10pm, so consider that if you’re up for any late-night view shots.

Tips for hiking Elephant Mountain

1) Wear sneakers or running shoes. It’s not a long hike, but it’s steep, so it would be ideal to wear comfortable shoes and clothes.

2) Check ahead with the weather before you climb. The weather can change suddenly, and there’s little shelter up there to get out of the rain. Also, If you want to capture some great photos, avoid any dull, cloudy weather.

3) The trail for the views is short, so you don’t need a guide or a permit. As there is no entrance fee, you can stay as long as you want.

4) It’s less crowded if you go early in the morning on a weekday. If you’re wanting that epic sunset shot, try to stake out your spot before the crowds gather.

Worth visiting?

For sure! It’s an awesome activity, and it even allows you to get in some exercise for the day. You won’t regret the effort, even if you go on a hot and humid day.

You don’t need to be an experienced hiker for this mountain, but it can be tiring if you’re not fit. However, there are many resting points, so you can your time and still be rewarded with some of the best views of the city.

Will we go back?

Absolutely. If we have visiting friends over, Elephant Mountain will be #1 on our agenda of things to do in Taipei with them.

Elephant Mountain

Chinese name: 象山

Hours: Open 24/7, but should only be done in good weather (for your own safety)

English address: 110, Taipei City, Xinyi District

Chinese address: 110台北市信義區

🗓️ Updated: August 2022 – Taipei.Expats

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