Xianjiyan offers a neat little hike up to a temple and along a ridge between two suburbs right in the city, accessed by the green MRT line (Wanlong Station) at one end and the brown line (Wanfang Hospital Station) at the other.
It isn’t as serious, high or dramatic as Taipei’s better hikes, but still offers great views and is really convenient if you’re looking for something under 2 hours and not too strenuous. It’s quite a steep climb at the start from Wanlong to the temple, but the rest of it’s pretty gentle.
I’ve done this a few times and have decided to write it up going west to east (from the green line to the brown line), as the opposite direction has already been written up well here. Note the pics on this page were taken on multiple hikes with different devices at different times of day & in different conditions so you’ll see some inconsistencies, but are presented in geographical order as per the text.
Starting from Wanlong Station, come out of exit 1 and immediately double back up this side street towards a small temple:
Cut through the alley to the side of the temple:
And turn left, passing the end of Jingmei market:
Towards the Family Mart:
Then turn right and the trail starts on the left just after the gas station:
Start of the trail:
The first bit of the trail is a steep climb mostly up stone steps:
With a mix of paved trail and raised wooden trails all the way along the ridge, it’s pretty cruisy hiking:
It’s sweaty work unless you’re there in winter, but the views soon start opening up:
Follow the signs for Xianjiyan Temple:
When you reach this pavilion, take the steps down to the left and then right along the paved trail:
This turns into the steps up to Xianjiyan Temple:
The reason this temple’s up here is the rock formation immediately behind it which bears the footprint of Lu Dongbing, one of the Immortals. He left the print of his other foot a few miles south at Yinhe Cave Temple on the other side of the ridge behind Maokong, as explained on this info board there:
The temple gives you some nice views, and hopefully a nice breeze…
Once you’re done checking the temple out, find this path continuing on the other side:
And a short distance along, these steps zigzagging up on the right:
These bring you up behind the rock. Turn right at the top:
Once you’re done there, double back and keep going past the stairs you came up:
From here, you’re just following the trail along the top of the ridge, with regular rest areas and viewpoints:
You can ignore the side trails branching off, until the trail is descending again down steep stone steps towards the east end of the ridge and you need to look out for this dirt path on the left:
It’s not the end of the world if you miss it, but when you get down to the road you’ll have a much longer walk to the station!
Assuming you don’t miss it, you can then just follow the path down to the road at the end:
Turn right and then left on the main road, and it’s a 10-minute walk to Wanfang Hospital Station.
Accommodation: search & book rooms in Taipei (affiliate link)
World Nomads* travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers. If you leave home without travel insurance or your policy runs out, you can buy or extend while on the road.
(This can be an important point, as I once found out the hard way in Bangkok)