View of 101 from Thumb Mountain
Last Saturday we took a hike up Elephant Mountain in Xinyi District, right about the time Ma Ying-Jiu was in the area (we think his motorcade went by and it was in the paper the next day that he was in the hills around there pretending to do something but really just posing for the cameras in a baseball cap).
It's an easy "hike", very good for someone not quite fit or excited enough to mosey out of town, but who wants some wind-in-the-bamboo and a nice view. Also a fine choice for tourists in town for a limited time and not sure where to get the most bang for their hours nearby.
But I hesitate to say it's really a hike because the trails are so maintained that it's really just a series of hilly sidewalks. Only around Thumb Mountain does it start to feel like real hiking.
The hike is accessible from many points in Xinyi - Songren Rd. (the lanes leading to it anyway) south of Zhongxiao, or Songshan Rd. far past the schools, where it's quiet and residential are two - and if you want to really make a day of it, Muzha and Nangang as well. That whole stretch of hills is connected by some nice trails with fantastic views of the city.
Views of Yangmingshan are also abundant on the way up.
After Elephant Mountain, we detoured down a trail to Thumb Mountain, which has a more rustic path part of the way, and several old tombs and shrines.
The mountains from a vantage point on the way to Thumb Mountain
The late afternoon light was quite lovely. We reached Thumb Mountain at sunset (see first picture).