With more than 2,870 people per km², Taipei and New Taipei City are the most populated places in Taiwan. It seems surprising then, that within this concrete jungle there are a wealth of running routes and scenic trails spread throughout. The best running routes, most runners will agree, are ones in which we can lose ourselves in the run, as the ground passes uninterrupted beneath our feet without the hustle and bustle of the city distracting us.
Here are a few of the most accessible, best places to get out and go for a run in Taipei city.
Best place in the city for a short road run – Da’an Park – This place is teeming with joggers circling this large city sanctuary of forest, lake and wild birds. It was designed to act similarly to Central Park in New York, or Hyde Park in London, acting as the “lungs of the city” and providing plenty of space for outdoor activities. Luckily for runners, there is a 2km clay path perfectly circling the outer edges of the park which is perfect for a quick jog any time of the day, you can even leave your running watch at home! This park is also easily accessible, recently connected by by its own MRT station.
Best place in Taipei for a long road run – Riverside Parks – Taipei is fortunate to be encompassed by the Dansheui River on the west, and the Keelung River in the north. Together these two rivers offer Taipei more than 100 km of consistent paths for cyclists, runners and outdoor enthusiasts. These paths are most accessible from Yuan Shan MRT, Taipower MRT (exit 5) or Xindian MRT stations. You can find maps of the Riverside parks (Taipei City Cycling Maps 1&2) here.
Best place for a short/medium trail run – Elephant Mountain – Although the climb from the elephant mountain MRT may seem steep, the views of the city are well worth it. And behind the initial sets of stairs, there is a wealth of trail, paved and unpaved stretching out behind the ridge surrounding Taipei. Here is the GPX map of a trail I ran in the Four Beasts Trail Race, although it does not begin at Elephant mountain, you can easily hop on from anywhere on the four beasts. Elephant Mountain MRT is the easiest way to reach the trails using public transit.
Best Place for a long trail run – Dalunwei Mt, Daluntou Mt – One day, dying for a place to try out our new trail shoes we headed towards Dalunwei Mt and Daluntou Mt. It was easy to get happily lost in the well marked, mostly dirt trails. Take a bus up ZhiShan road to the Taipei ZhiShan Jr High School and follow the signs towards Dalunwei Mt to get to the trails. If your feeling ambitious or particularly ambitious, you could let these trails lead you all the way up to Yang Ming Shan’s 7 Star Mountain. With more than 100 kilometers of trail in Yang Ming Shan National Park, you have only your sense of adventure to guide you. Download a sample GPX map here.
If you would like to know more about following GPX maps, check out my post on how to download and use a GPX map on your (android) mobile phone.