It was the last day of freedom, or as many refer to it Chinese New Year vacation, and we decided to go to Neihu to explore. This is another beautiful route, featuring outstanding Taipei views. It is easily accessible by public transit and the temperature in Neihu fluctuates less YangMingShan park while still offering some good variation in terrain, fluctuating for a total elevation gain of 920m on this 15km run.
Starting at JianNan station, we hiked up WenHu St until we came to a place to duck into the bushes and begin our adventure. The route we choose leading from the road, although it looked well established, it wasn’t. We weren’t far along before we were paving our own path through the brush, heading uphill. The brush wasn’t thick and it was relatively easy to find a way. By the first kilometer we found our way to a well established trail.
For the next 4 kilometers we made our way in a zig-zag, up and down hills going east before reaching Zhongyong Mountain. From the peak of this hill there is another gorgeous view of Taipei; but as the afternoon fog rolled in, it was all but invisible to us. So, we continued nearly a kilometer down the steps and in trying to find another trail, we were sidetracked by a peaceful little garden. By this time the evening mist was rolling in fast, as it normally does in Taiwan, and it added a curious feeling to this mountain side vegetable patch.
After circling the garden a couple of times we exited onto the road and in the direction of Carp Mountain. There is approximately a kilometer of road running here, before turning onto another path. At the entrance of the path, there are a couple of different directions to go, although the crowded cheery blossom route was tempting we opted for the less popular Carp mountain trail. This trail head is approximately 7.5km, or half of the 15km run.
From here there is small loop around Carp Mountain, changing between rolling hills and serious stair work but the peaceful forest and occasional stream make the trip worthwhile. Unfortunately because of the rocky terrain under the path, this section is quite narrow compared with the rest of the route. After 1.3km on the Carp Mt trail, there is a small unmarked bridge going to the right, over the river and onto a dirt path. If you have considered entering a vertical kilometer race (the first of its kind in Taiwan is debuting April 2014), this trail would be excellent practice. The trail is very steep, winding through tree roots, with ropes ready to assist you should you stumble. The starting elevation of this trail is 100m, climbing to 380m in just 1330m of distance, finally reaching KaiYan Mountain. If you have saved some energy, running this 1330m of ascent is an excellent, rewarding, challenging, fun way to end a day of hiking and is the last major incline before heading back to the city.
Upon reaching the summit of KaiYan Mountain, after a quick snack, we turned around to run down toward the city. At the first junction turn left in the direction of ShiKan Mountain and continue downhill, onto a two lane mountain road for 3km before reaching the city and eventually DaHu Mrt station.
Of this 15km trail approximately 35% is dirt trail. The remaining 65% the trail is paved with stones but the majority of the route is quite wide, leaving space on ether side for runners wanting to avoid the slippery rocks. There are no convenience stores along the way so bring your own supplies.