Elephant Mountain, one of the Four Beast Mountains in the center of Taipei City, has panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, the city and the natural landscape. It is equally famous for sightseeing in the evening as during daylight hours.
This is one of the oldest geological features in the city, a place where you will find flora and fauna unique to Taipei. Nature lovers will enjoy bird-watching, and views of the cliffs, giant rocks and local fern species. Spot the flying spider-monkey tree fern (Cyathea lepifera), an ecological gem of Taipei City, and the Taiwanese cibotium, once used medicinally to stop bleeding.
The base of the mountain is a short walk from Taipei 101, the city’s iconic tower. Climb the steps to the mountain’s viewing area and admire the sights of Taipei’s three rivers, the surrounding peaks, Taipei 101 and eastern downtown. Enjoy the fresh air and greenery. Stay for a few minutes on the large boulders, spend the entire day relaxing or hike farther up the mountain. Locals are known to walk up the mountain at all times of the day and night. Take a picnic lunch, or have a romantic midnight date and watch the city lights flicker. The climb is intermediate, so bring water for hydration. If you plan to visit after sunset, bring insect repellent.
Trails up the mountain are paved but can, at times, be strenuous and steep. Be particularly careful after rain, as the stairs can be slippery. Allow about an hour to walk to the viewing area and back, or longer if you plan to relax or hike farther.
Elephant Mountain is located in the southeastern Xinyi District and is accessible 24 hours a day with no fees. To get there, take the train to Cityhall Station, or the bus to Yongchun Gang Park. From Taipei 101 or Xinyi District, walk just 10 to 15 minutes to reach the start of the trail. These walking trails have good signage to the top. While the walk can be strenuous, the views are worth the effort. Guided tours are also available.