The Xiazhulin Hiking Trail is also known as the Tienmu Trail which was originally part of the Yulu Ancient Trail is easily accessible by taking the MRT to Shilin Station and then catching a bus (220, 601, 16...) to the last stop of Tienmu. From the last bus stop of Tienmu, walk north up the hill to until you reach a mountain of trees. Just to the right you will see a sign saying "Xiazhulin Hiking Trail".
Three kilometres! Oh, this will be easy we both exclaimed. So, at 6:30am on a Monday morning, we took our first steps up the Xiazhulin Hiking Trail. It seems that the Taiwanese have a different idea of hiking to us Australians who generally hike out to the middle of nowhere where we may or may not come out alive. In Taipei anyway the hiking trail is beautifully set out with steps going all the way up the hill.
There are side trails that take you off the stair trail that are clearly marked but we didn't move away from the stairs. We had to get to the top or die trying!
The walk up, even though it was really tiring, was beautiful. The jungle provided natural shade and a bit of extra cooling from the insane Taipei heat and humidity. Stopping every now and then we were able to view Taipei from a whole different angle. Taipei is extraordinary!
Up and up we stair climbed until we reached the old black water pipe of Taipei. Up the top of the hill there is Taipei's original Water Way System that was originally built by the Japanese and now pumps approximately 19,000 tons of water per day to the occupants of Taipei.
At the top of the trail, we got to rest and look at another perfect view of Taipei. During this time, we decided that it was slightly disturbing that older people seemed to be not sweating or having a hard time "walking" this trail like us. We are so unfit!
When we thought it was over, it wasn't. There was more stairs to climb. We kept going until it levelled out and we were walking around the side of the mountain. Unfortunately, we did not see any monkeys although there was enough warning signs to be careful and to not provoke them. They even gave you tips on how to pass the monkeys safely. Nice.
This was the view from the top of the Xiazhulin Hiking Trail.
After climbing up 3km of stairs and walking around the side of the mountain, it was time to get home. We really enjoyed this climb. What we thought would take us no more than an hour to get up and back took us a good two hours of stair climbing. It was hard work!
There is nothing like doing a hard workout first thing in the morning, going home, showering, eating porridge, drinking cups of tea, and not moving off the couch in an air-conditioned apartment for rest of the day.
If you are ever in Taipei, check out the hiking trails that are all over Taipei. They are clearly marked and enjoyable. The Taipei MRT even have a handy booklet on hikes and bike rides in Taipei. Check out a pdf copy of one via David on Formosa's website. Link is a third down the page.