Taipei (Taiwan News)--The Tianmu Ancient Trail, an old trail connecting Tianmu to Yangmingshan, provides an easy getaway from the craziness of life in Taipei as well as an alternative way to get to the Yangmingshan National Park. The trail takes hikers right into countryside environments the minute they set foot on the trail entrances.
The best way to get to the entrances of the trail is by bus. Hikers should get off at the Tianmu bus stop and walk to the end of Sec. 7, Zhongshan N. Rd., where the lower trailhead is located, or alternatively get off at the Shanzihou stop on Yangmingshan and walk to the upper trailhead on Aifu 3rd Street.
Hikers taking the trail from the lower end will have to climb hundreds of steps along a large black water pipeline to a rest area where the trail begins to level and the steps are replaced by a gravel trail, where the pipeline continues underneath the gravel surface.
The pipe was originally ceramic and was built in the beginning of the Japanese colonial period (from 1895 to 1945). It was later replaced with a high-pressure steel pipe. The pipeline was part of a second water supply system in Taipei.
The exposed pipeline is 647 meters long. If walkers lean up close to the pipe, they can hear the sound of gurgling spring water inside.
From this level section on, the trail goes along a mountainside where trees are tall and dense and offers expansive views of a rural valley below on one side of the trail. This level section of the trail, which is about 1.5 kilometers in length, offers hikers and joggers a shady and pleasant place to walk or run.
The forest here provides a home for Taiwan macaque, and they often can be spotted along the trail, especially toward the trailhead on the Yangmingshan side.
The total length of the trail is 2.6 kilometers and takes about two hours to hike. When hikers come to the trail entrance on the Yangmingshan side, they should turn right and go along Aifu 3rd Street to the Shanzaihou bus stop, where they can continue on to other destinations in the national park.
The area near Aifu 3rd Street is the site of an expansive abandoned Yangmingshan American Military Housing, a historic attraction that’s also worth visiting.