Hemei Mountain (和美山步道) offers an excellent selection of hiking paths, having the awesome combination of being both easy to access and usually not too crowded. While it might not have the same tranquility as a hike further away in New Taipei, such as in Pingxi, it’s generally much quieter than the famous hiking trails in Taipei. If you get up to the top of the mountain, you’ll be greeted with an expansive view of Xindian on one side, and the forested mountains on the other.
The mountain is full of lush vegetation, with well maintained wooden boardwalks and stone tracks, plus a fair number of stairs to climb. Along the way you’ll also come across the odd abandoned building and path from an old theme park, called Happiness Paradise, that closed down a few decades ago, as well as the occasional little mountain temple. Most of the trails are well shaded, with spacious rest areas, so there are plenty of spots to take a rest or enjoy a picnic.
There are various paths around the mountain. To do the main loop, at just over 3 kilometers, head south along one of the eastern tracks, then loop around to the west side of the mountain. Alternatively, it’s quite pleasant to just proceed along the river’s eastern side via the Xindian Old Ferry Trail (新店渡口文學步道), ending up at the ferry pier. From here it costs NT$20 to get a boat back to Xindian. Many people will just enjoy making their own route as they go along though, and there are several other tracks to explore. While it’s usually not busy, you’ll never be far from someone if you need help getting back.
Time required: Usually 1 to 2 hours
How to get there
The nearest station to Hemei Mountain is Xindian Station, at the southern end of Taipei Metro’s green line. If coming from Taipei Station, head to Beimen Station and take the train from there (23 minutes, NT$35).
From Xindian Station, head over Xindian River via the Bitan Suspension Bridge. As soon as you get over to the other side, take the second path up on the left. You’ll see the Chinese characters for the trail above (和美山步道). There is also a handy hiking map on a sign outside with color coded routes, which might be worth taking a picture of to help aid you around the mountain.