With over 70% of Taiwan’s main island covered in hills and mountains, the hiking opportunities in Taiwan are bountiful.
Taiwan, is, in fact the island with the highest density of high-peak mountains in the world, boasting 258 summits with an altitude of over 3,000 meters.
In the center of the island lies a mountain range with peaks up to 3,952 meters (Jade Mountain in this case) in altitude, and with trails that wind around this and many other peaks, we take a look at the eight best hiking trails for hikers of all levels in central Taiwan’s Nantou County.
Lu Lin Shan Hiking Trail 鹿林山步道
Lu Lin Shan hiking trail is one of the many trails located in the Yushan National Park.
As a designated wildlife reserve area, the scenery along the path is second to none.
The trail is appropriate for hikers of all levels and is open all year round.
Car: National Highway 3 → Provincial Highway 18 → Alishan → Provincial Highway 18 parking lot 106.1K → Entrance of Lu Lin Shan hiking trail.
Public transport: Take Yuanlin Bus destination Alishan from Sun Moon Lake → Get off at Tatachia Tourist Center → Take the bus to the hiking trail entrance.
He Huan River Hiking Trail 合歡溪步道
Located in Taroko National Park, the winding He Huan hiking trail takes hikers through a hemlock forest along its 3.5 kilometer trail where the He Huan River is home to one of Taiwan’s endemic species – the cherry salmon. The humid climate here provides the perfect condition for the endemic salmon to thrive in.
Car: National Highway 3 → National Highway 5 → Provincial Highway 8 → Lishan Public Health Center → Jieshou alley → Foushou road → Foushou shan farm → Lishing road → Hua Gang summer resort → Turn left after passing the Chi Lai Gu B&B → Parking lot →Entrance of He Huan hiking trail.
The Dream Valley Trail (夢谷瀑布步道)
The highlight of this route is a waterfall striking down from the cliff of rocks. It is a go-to place in summer for families with kids. The trail is a brief 10 minute walk with easy accessibility.
The life cycle of the butterflies in the area lasts from May through July; a real sight to see!
Car: National Highway 6 to Puli → Provincial Highway 14 heading to Ooshen → Follow the road signs to the Song Yuan alley → Drive 2 km and you will see the sign of the waterfall, park here.
Public transport: Take the Nantou bus numbers 6658, 6659, 6660, 6661, 6663, 6664, and get off at the Nanshanxi stop → Follow the road sign to the Song Yuan alley → Walk 2 km and you will see signs for the waterfall → Go through the rose garden → Turn left.
Tian Di Yan Hiking Trail, Song Long Rock Waterfall 天地眼步道, 松瀧岩瀑布
Surrounded by the sequoia forest, this 2 kilometer long trail leads hikers to the opening of the grand cave. The Song Long Yan waterfall splits the cave and the skyline apart, leaving passengers in awe of the strong contrast between the serenity and grand power of nature.
Car: National Highway 3 Zhushan exit → Provincial Highway 3 to Zhushan → County Highway 151 → Shan Lin Xi resort → Take the shuttle bus in the resort to Song Long tribe → Walk for 2.9 kilometers.
Public transport: Take the Taichung / Yuanlin bus heading for Shan Lin Xi resort → Take the shuttle bus in the resort to Song Long tribe → Walk for 2.9 kilometers.
Wan You Forest Hiking Trail 忘憂森林步道
This 9.4 kilometer trail is surrounded by a cedar forest, and is one of the most popular sites visited by hikers in the area. People get to immerse themselves in the fog-filled route and enjoy a 4-hour walk with little to no difficulty.
Car: National Highway 3 to Zhushan → Provincial Highway 3 to Zhushan → County Highway 151 to Lugu → Xitou → Shan Lin Xi freeway → Ren Yuan tea farm.
Public transport: Take the Taichung / Yuanlin bus heading to Shan Lin Xi → Walk for 2 km to the entrance of the hiking trail.
Made up of 99 peaks, the terrain resembles the flaring flames jumping on a range. The hiking trail is well-maintained, and hikers can easily access the top enjoy the view.
Jiujiufong Nature Reserve.
Car: National Highway 3 to Caotun → Provincial Highway 14 to Puli → Turn left at 27.7K to Pin Lin Elementary School → Go right at the crossroad and go straight.
Public transport: Take the long-distance bus in downtown Taichung → Get off at Ping Lin stop → Jiang Xin road → Walk for 900m.
Maolanshan Hiking Trail 貓囒山步道
Get ready to feast your eyes on the scenery of sunrise, tea fields, and Sun Moon Lake! Sat beside the famous Sun Moon Lake, hikers can access the holistic view of the lake from the Maolanshan hiking trail.
It is a well-maintained route appropriate for family and people of all ages. Seasonal changes bring different themes for the hiking experience, and for hikers visiting in summer, the fireflies at night are a sight worth staying after dark to see.
Car: National Highway 1 → Da Ya interchange → Provincial Highway 74 → Provincial Highway 14 → Provincial Highway 21 → Yu Chi → Sun Moon Lake → Entrance of Maolanshan hiking trail.
Public transport: Take Kuo Kuang bus 1833/ Ren Yio bus 6235/ Green Transit 6289/ Nantou bus 6668~6671/ Yuanlin bus 6739 → Get off at Sun Moon Lake stop → Walk along the provincial highway 21 to 63K → Entrance of Maolanshan hiking trail.
Chang Yuan Zun Ecology Trail 長源圳生態步道
This 1.2 kilometer trail is a family-friendly option for hikers of all ages and abilities. The Chan Yuan Zun hiking trail was paved along the stream back in the Japanese colonial era for irrigation.
One of the highlights of the Chang Yuan Zun hiking trail is the dense bamboo forest tailing along the route, making it a relaxing yet surreal hiking experience.
Car: National highway 3 → Zhushan interchange → Provincial highway 3 → Lugu → County Highway 151 → Turn left at the Bamboo Craftsmanship Center.
Public transport: Take Yuanlin bus 6720 from Zhushan to Zhulin → Get off at “Shi Chang Kou” (Market entrance) stop → Walk for half an hour.