Hiking in humid summer weather is quite a challenge, but we felt like it’s still better than staying in for the whole weekend. After searching for shaded hikes in the Taipei area, we decided on our Sunday half-day itinerary: taking MRT to Xindian station, hiking to Yinhe Cave waterfall, brunch at Green Cube cafe, 2km hike to Maokong, and tea before taking the gondola down from Maokong.
Getting to Yinhe Cave waterfall trailhead
With public transportation, bus Green 12 line goes between Xindian MRT station and about 10-15 minute walk from Yinhe Cave trailhead. Originally, we planned to take the bus but missed it by 5 minutes. The bus has a fixed schedule and goes about every 1-2 hours. Then we took a Uber to near the bus stop for about $160 and walked to the trailhead.
The cave was discovered in 1912 during Japan colonization era, and a temple was built in 1914 at the end of the trail. The trail was all stairs, and some were a bit steep. It was a quick hike, we got to the temple after about 15-20 minutes. Walking through the cave with waterfall draping down right outside was a cool experience. This trail started getting more popular these years, I’d recommend coming here earlier or during the week to avoid the big crowds winding through narrow stairs taking IG photos.
This was a unique restaurant about a 10-minute walk from Yinhe Cave trailhead. The road was pretty steep, and we were parched when we reached the door of the cafe around 11 am. I’d suggest coming outside of rush hours or making a reservation to have a good table. The restaurant didn’t seem to have AC at the time, but we cooled down very quickly after sitting down at the patio with a mountain view and iced black tea. We were also amazed by the food, and the price was reasonable given its location. After the meal, we walked around the garden with a red brick wall and observation deck, overlooking the mountains and listening to the frogs and birds.
Hiking to Maokong for afternoon tea
After brunch, we walked from the cafe to Maokong for about 2.2km and 40 minutes. The road was well paved and a bit of uphill in the first half, the difficult part was mostly from the heat and humid weather. Quite a few restaurants and tea shops emerged when we got closer to the Maokong cable car station. We went for an afternoon tea break at Maolan, sipping ice-cold tea with a view of the city.
Heading back to Taipei via Maokong Cable Car
Since the Taipei Zoo was closed on the same day, Maokong gondola was not very busy. Taipei citizens can get discounted tickets (cash only) at $50 compared to $120 for adults. We finally got to try the “crystal cars” where the car has a glass bottom. It was fun and scary at times seeing the scenery beneath my feet.
I really enjoyed these half-day trips to spend time in nature and rewarding good food after the hike. Public transportation could limit the schedule a bit, but Uber was convenient and we got to take the gondola back. The summer heat was still a challenge, I can’t wait for cooler weather in two months to go on more hikes!