Taipei is surrounded by mountains and well-maintained hiking trails that make for great Sunday adventures.
XINYI DISTRICT — This is Taipei's equivalent to Hong Kong's Victoria Peak (for better and for worse). Expect long lines and loads of tourists on the weekends, but also expect some amazing views and photo opportunities. The trail is short but steep. In the Taiwan summer it can be a bit gruesome.
Other than city views, this trail has a lotto of smaller trails that lead to hidden temples, some if which may surprise you.
Immortal Rock Trail
WENSHAN DISTRICT — I discovered this spot by accident. There's some stupid rule in Taiwan that says you can only open a bank account at the branch closest to your home. I had just moved so after opening my account I found myself in an area I had never been before. Then I saw a sign for a hiking trail and followed it all the way up.
XINDIAN DISTRICT — This hiking trail is easy to access from Xindian Station. The route there is pretty nice too since you get to cross the suspension bridge and a small traditional market on the way. It's a short way to the top with a great view of the city on once side, and the mountains between Taipei and Yilan on the other.
Jin Mian Mountain
NEIHU DISTRICT — This is a great trail for everybody. It's great for cheerful models seeking that perfect IG shot, cynical photographers escaping their thoughts, and everybody in between. It can get a little crowded at the top, but there are multiple ways up which spreads the traffic out nicely on the trail.
BEITOU DISTRICT — I found this spot because suddenly a bunch of people started posting the same photo on Instagram. Was this place new? Was there something special at the top? Was this place the key to Instagram fame?
Well this place didn't make me Instagram famous, but it did provide some awesome views of TianMu district. The rock formations are pretty cool and the way to the top was not difficult to hike at all.
ZHONGSHAN DISTRICT — Most first-time tourists to Taiwan will likely visit Shilin Night Market, but what they're all missing out on is this epic view of it. They have no idea that this view is only a 30 minute walk from where they're stuffing their faces.
There are two nice clearings on opposite sides of the mountain that are only about 10 minutes away from each other. The shot on the left points northeast. The shot on the right points southwest.
There's also a pretty cool temple where a bunch of old folks chill and work out. It's loaded with equipment and KTV sets. It's an interesting vibe up there especially on the weekends.
YANGMINGSHAN NATIONAL PARK — They said the volcano in Yangmingshan poses no threat, until a lava chamber under New Taipei was discovered a couple of years ago. Oops... It should be fine for now though. You can explore this park without worry.
There are multiple trails for multiple peaks and even a waterfall to see.
PINGXI CRAGS — I had to recommend one hiking spot in Taiwan it would be this one. It's quite easy to get here from MuZha station by bus and you can climb to multiple peaks quicly.