|at the peak of Jinmianshan|
It had been raining for the past 3 days since we arrived in Taipei but on our last day, we were granted a short window of dry skies. I took advantage of the good weather by going to the Jinmianshan Trail in Neihu District. As I was staying near Taipei Main station, it was easy to reach by subway (I strongly recommend downloading Google maps and following directions from there).
There are three ways up its peak (this blog served as my primary guide). One takes you to the back of the mountain by car, one is a short, steep ascent, 900 meter long and my preferred option - a long, easy hike on a forest covered trail, the longest of the route at 4.1KM. I wasn't after mileage really, I just enjoy long, easy walks. Unfortunately, my navigation skills had failed me and so I ended up walking by the road and entering the trail from a small parking lot.
|The rope section. A bit daunting but just look at that view!|
There are no fees to be paid and guides required, which is a nice change from hiking in the Philippines where you need to pay for entry fees and guides most of the time.
From here, I begun my stairs ascent. It was already past 2:00 PM and the humidity was quite high. Thankfully, the trees offered shade. Just when I felt like melting from the heat, breeze came. I looked up and saw heavy clouds loomed above. It looked like heavy rain was coming my way so I tried to walk as quickly as I can, but I stopped frequently as there were several beautiful distractions along the way, offering views of the city as early as 10 minutes into the hike.Another interesting feature of the trail worth stopping for is the Neihu Qing Dynasty Quarry, a municipal heritage site. Qing Dynasty is the last imperial dynasty of China which ruled in the coastal parts of Taiwan from 1683-1895 (Source : Taiwan.gov.tw).
It took me about 20 minutes to get to the rope section which wasn't as scary as I imagined it would be. You just have to be careful with your steps as there are sharp rocks along the way and you'll be passing the edge of the mountain.
From here, it's another 15-20 minutes to the boulder peak which offers a 360-view of nearby mountains and the city. I wanted to go to the Scissor rock, a notable rock formation with a flat surface, making it an ideal place to sit. There were only a handful of people when I got there so I picked out a spot to sit and relish the view. It was just a short hike, just as easy as going up the more popular Elephant mountain but in terms of the trail and the view, this has easily won me over.
What a rewarding afternoon hike!