Must-see forests in Taiwan?


#21

[quote=“Pingdong”]I loved it! man the flora is COMPLETELY different than what I am used to here around 600-1500m, damn its cool. I am thinking just going there with family to the camping area just to camp with the fam. Its really beautiful, and those rhododendrons are actually trees! I also, for the first time in Taiwan, found some Entada vines. I am really impressed :slight_smile: my legs and shoulders disagree :smiley:

The trail head stops where the road is washed right out by a fairly good size landslide. There is a pole laying on the ground jsut before that and some boulders. Cables are holding up a tree or 2 on the cliff. Same as when you went? We have not had any supermassive rains since morakot in the area though, so I have not seen many new big landslides anywhere.

we took the landslide route to the trail head which is more up/down than the roundabout trail. Its also in the blazing sun which really sucks it out of you. The roundabout trail is lush and covered in trees, far more enjoyable. took us about 1-1.5 hours.

we saw maybe 50 people there, cabin was full.

question for you as you have hiked here far more than I. Is that kind of steep grade with rock pretty common on national trails here? I know the mountains around here are normally like this, but what about elsewhere?

and thanks again for that list, we are chipping away at it :slight_smile:[/quote]

Your enthusiasm is contagious. Yeah, it’s pretty cool as you start climbing up and seeing the whole landscape and natural environment change before your eyes.

As for the rocky parts of the trail, I found Bei a little more rough than a lot of hikes that are as short. But you have to be prepared for anything in the mountains here. A trail could be wide and clear for days and then suddenly you are walking along a metre wide ridge with a 1000m drop on one side and a massive landslide on the other.

Snow Mountain is probably the most straightforward trail. No tricky parts at all. Yushan is straightforward until the last 100m scramble but that’s not difficult. Jiaming Lake is also straightforward. The Holy Ridge or Nanhu are for more experienced hikers who don’t fear heights, falling, death and narrowness.

But many low altitude trails can be equally tricky. Some of the famous ridge walks up north are terribly narrow. Wuliao Jian so much so that they have spikes and ropes on the worst parts (and having done these years ago without them believe me they are necessary - instead of insane the trail is now just crazy :smiley: ).

There’s also the fact that landslides and washouts can damage trails, leaving some tricky rope sections to cross.

Oh, I can’t really understand your point about the trailhead. I know the road was heavily damaged so are you saying you need to walk a few km to get to the actual trailhead?


#22

It’s an amazing place, as my legs start to regain flexibility i am starting to think about going up again, but solo and with much less stuff. food, light, water filter/bottle and a sleeping bag should be all. i really want to go up again lgiht and spend more time photographing plants/animals there, i saw some whacky things there. do you know what animal would be around the 2800m mark, nocturnal, climbs amazingly well, cat size and white/light colour? didnt notice a big tail, but had big eyes. just mentioning it in case someone happens to know exactly what i mean.

Its steep mountains, sure, but i didnt mean that so much as the actual trail is quite steep and much rock scrambling. I dont mind it, i just was not at all prepared for that kind of hike…now i know. prior to doing it i was told people go up there with their kids and its a 2 day hike…so going by the standards i have for the Taiwanese people i know i didnt expect it to be at all difficult hehe, my bad.

the road is out well before parking lot 2. the road is just cut off by a mudslide, it goes right down. you can go through the the slide, which we did going up, but its sunny and hot as anything, very uncomfortable there, no tree cover at all. or there is a trail slightly before the end of the road which is all in the trees and well used. people told us its the same either way, but its not. the slide is not nearly as comfortable walking, i got heat stroke and i think it was due to this part of the hike. maybe Taiwanese people don’t mind heat so much. The police station says 1 hour to take the alternate route around the slide, it took us about that coming back, and about 1.5 going up the slide route. 1 hour not stopping, but there are some pretty things to stop and grab pictures of :slight_smile:

and as usual in the mountains of Taiwan the road up has a bunch of Brugmansia in the wet river areas, nice to pinch a few flowers for a nicer smelling tent, beats sweat smell. Lots of coffee plantations on the way too.

cheers for those suggestions. Snow mountain has been one my wife really wants to get to. Just takes a 3 day weekend to do anything up in north Taiwan coming from here.

couple pics, didnt take many this trip because i wasnt into unpacking to get pictures and i was tired.

Last place to park. Cars can make it, but you will likely bottom out a lot. Easy going on a scooter.

trail

fungus were very happy when we were there.

campsite, and its a well built one. Platforms, water, bathroom, sleeping building…like the hilton in a forest.

one of my favorite taiwan plants…tree ferns and misty fog just make things feel like another world.


#23

Hah, I know that tree:


Beidawushan March 2009 by Mucha Man, on Flickr

It’s funny you mention not really believing the locals when they said it was two days. When it comes to the high mountains, you can usually believe what people tell you. Trail conditions here are so much more rugged that back home and many sections would never be opened to the public. When a trail is closed it usually means it is in horrendous shape so much so that even the aboriginal guys don’t want to do it. :laughing:

I think that animal you mention is a civet. Possibly a flying squirrel.

Looks they have added wood platforms at the campsite. Before you just set up on the ground.

Snow is a lovely hike and no scrambling at all. But the Wuling Four which also begin at Wuling farm (the start of the Snow trail) is a great hike and easier to get permits for. You can also consider Snow in winter, at least to the east peak. No snow to that point but some glorious scenery of the main peak covered. Easy to get permits in winter and you only need two days. To do the main peak you need three.

But hey if Beida is only 20 minutes away you should be up there all the time. When we did it we met a guy who had climbed over 500 times.

My pics if you want to see:
flickr.com/photos/53879542@N … 691985444/


#24

I am looking to do the Fuba trail this upcoming weekend. My plan is to start in Fushan and end in Baling and to do it in one day and spend the night in Baling.

These are the practical matters that are concerning me:

  1. In order to start out early enough, I plan to stay at a hotel in Wulai and then wake up early and head out. Is taxi the only option for getting from Wulai to Fushan? Any hotels in Fushan? How much would a taxi cost from Wulai to Fushan, and would I have to arrange one for around 7am or could I easily catch one?

  2. Once I get to the end of the trail, does it end in Upper Baling? Will there be restaurants, shops, and hotels nearby? I haven’t had much luck finding hotels, only really expensive B&Bs on the web and many are already booked up for this weekend. Are there any cheap hotels in the area that will likely have room for this upcoming weekend?

  3. Is the end of the trailhead near Lalashan far away from Upper Baling? Is it easy to walk from the end of the Fu-ba trail to Upper Baling? About how long will it take?

  4. How can I be sure there will be transportation from Baling to Taoyuan or somewhere where I can easily get back to Taipei? I’ve heard that it can be spotty, or non-existent depending on road coniditions, ie if there has been a land slide.

Any info would be a great help. Thanks!


#25

That’s a really really long hike to do in one day. If you don’t mind hiking into the early evening you could do it.Take a flashlight, rainjacket and some snacks. Instead of walking a further 5kms from the road head at LaLaShan to Upper Baling you could find one of the roofed pavilions in the big tree forest walk section of LaLaShan (probably not allowed but no one will be there after sundown) and roll out your sleeping bag there. Don’t know about hotels. I always camp in the forest.
There are buses from Upper Baling at 9.30 am and 1.30pm to Daxi in Taoyuan County.There might be others. Give Tourist Information Hotline a call and ask them to call Daxi bus depot to check the availability and latest schedule. They’ll be happy to do that for you.
Take your I.D. Card on the way to FuShan. There are a couple of checkpoints. There is no public transport and hitching might be slow early in the morning. Check the weather forecast. This weekend looks bleak.


#26

I’m starting to think it over more, and it seems a little impractical to do my original plan. I think I might try it backwards. That is, head into Baling on Friday night, spend the night, fuck around, see the sights, and then hike down the trail, I’ve heard it’s mostly downhill this way and thus shorter, and maybe fuck around in the Wulai area for the next day or so and then get back to Taipei City.

If I go to Baling, is it only accessible from Taoyuan? Is it accessible from Sanxia? I know there is a U-Bus station in Sanxia, but does any one know if there is service from there to Baling?

Also, I don’t have a tent or sleeping bag. I was hoping to find a cheap hotel. If I stayed at some of these places, a sleeping bag and tent would probably be cheaper. How much would a decent bag/tent combo cost here?

Thanks!


#27

Take the MRT to YongNing station. From there you can get buses to Daxi which go through SanXia. They are about every 30 minutes. At Daxi bus depot, the last stop, there is a bus to Siang Baling at 11.30 a.m. It takes a while to get to Siang Baling - more than two hours, a beautiful ride, and then it’s a further 5kms up the road to the LaLaShan Forestry Park. At Siang Baling you can get off and ask around about accomodation. From FuShan, you can hitch down to Wulai, but it’s a pretty quiet road.


#28

Alternatively, you can catch the Taoyuan Bus Co. Siang Baling bus at 11:00 at the back of the Zhongli train station. The bus stop is here - maps.google.com/maps?q=zhongli&h … 29,0,6.42
The last Siang Baling bus of the day, operated by Zhongli Bus Co., departs from Fuxing Rd. in Daxi at around 13:00. The stop is here - maps.google.com/maps?q=zhongli&h … 08,0,9.87


#29

Just got back from the hike. Holy crap! Hiked well over 20km today. It was about 4.7 celcius (40 farenheit) today, not to mention the rain. I did the trail in five hours flat. By the time I got to the end I was soaking wet from the rain and when I wasn’t moving any more…holy hypothermia Batman! I was the only person crazy enough to be out there today.

One important thing I gotta say is that there ain’t shit in Fushan. It’s 17km away from Wulai. I was lucky that there were some Oba-san and Oji-san singing at an outdoor KTV. I strolled up casually after finishing my cigarette asking to point me in the direction of Wulai. They then said it was 17km away, and I asked if there were any cabs around, and it was a solid no. They told me to wait around for a little while and that they were heading back soon. They were even nice enough to pour me some tea too. While I was enjoying the tea and the KTV singing, I realized that I was chilled to the bone. I told myself this is not the time to go hypothermic and to just wait until I got to Wulai. They had the heat on in the car, thank God, and I got to Wulai and straight to a hot spring sauna.

Pretty awesome trip. Shang Baling was really nice on Saturday, warm, and today it was bone chilling cold. Lalashan was amazing. The trees were mind blowing, as was the scenery. The Fu-Ba trail is quite a treat. Was glad that it all worked out for me. I will make a more detailed post later about doing this without your own transport and no reservations.

Didn’t get to go to the top of Lalashan today, it was too wet and the path going up looked quite trecherous even when it’s dry. Wasn’t even gonna mess with it.


#30

Glad you are okay and enjoyed some of Taiwan’s great outdoors. But yeah conditions in Taiwan are incredibly variable which is why you need to always have warm gear. An umbrella should always be in your pack as gortex is useless in these conditions.


#31

I did carry an umbrella for about 90% of the hike and I was wearing four layers of clothes, plus a scarf and my heavy hiking boots. I wore a t-shirt, long sleeved flannel, sweatshirt and jacket. Still got soaked. And the umbrella only helps so much since my legs got soaked from all the ground level plants that were wet. It started out at my ankles, then my knees, and then up to my crotch and waist. Also, my umbrella wasn’t big enough so my pack was soaked. Probably should have used a damn raincoat.


#32

Yeah i think you need to dress like those guys on those crab boats in the bering sea on tv .


#33

Actually I shouldn’t have said don’t use gortex as in the conditions you were in, cold and wet, it would have helped you from getting soaked through. You need gators to cover your lower legs from getting soaked. Also all material you wear should be breathable. A wool mixed pair of long johns under your hiking pants would have kept you warm if not dry. A wool mix thermal shirt covered with a breathable shirt, a fleece pullover and a light gortex jacket would also keep you warm. Whatever water gets through the gortex is absorbed by the fleece before it reaches the next warm layers. Gortex hat or umbrella round things out.

I have hiked and ridden in heavy rains like this, and emerged warm and relatively dry. That said, it is advisable not to try out long remote new trails in heavy rain. If there had been a washout near the end you would have had to retrace your steps all the way back.

Curious if any of the B&Bs you inquired about would drive you up to the trailhead. The reason I included Magic World in the Lonely Planet guide is that they said they would pick up and drop off hikers if they stayed with them. Is that no longer the case?


#34

Thanks for the info on the gear. I do need to buy some stuff that is more appropriate for hiking in bad conditions. The rain wasn’t heavy yesterday, it was light but steady. Had it been heavy, I would not have attempted the trail.

Did you read my other thread?

I tried calling the number from the Lonely Planet for Magic World, and it was the wrong number. I ended up finding a regular hotel in Shang Baling. B&Bs are too expensive for me.


#35

[quote=“gavmasterflash”]Thanks for the info on the gear. I do need to buy some stuff that is more appropriate for hiking in bad conditions. The rain wasn’t heavy yesterday, it was light but steady. Had it been heavy, I would not have attempted the trail.

Did you read my other thread?

I tried calling the number from the Lonely Planet for Magic World, and it was the wrong number. I ended up finding a regular hotel in Shang Baling. B&Bs are too expensive for me.[/quote]

Yes, I read the other thread. Nice writeup and I’ll make some comments on it later. I did this trail last Chinese New Year with two friends. We spent 3 days though just camping out at the 8.5km mark and doing day trips. Great time.

If it was a light rain and you were chilled to the point of hypothermia yeah you really need some better clothes. That’s serious man. Head to the Taipei Main station area as there is a row of shops with a lot of selection.

Thanks for letting me know that the B&B number didn’t work. Strange as I just checked online and it is still showing as an alternative number.


#36

[quote

If it was a light rain and you were chilled to the point of hypothermia yeah you really need some better clothes. That’s serious man. Head to the Taipei Main station area as there is a row of shops with a lot of selection.[/quote]

Perhaps I was exaggerating but I did feel myself start to shiver once I was no longer moving. I imagine if I had stayed still in a cold environment for long enough it could have developed.

I do need to get some waterproof stuff. There is a shop closer to where I live in Shida on Roosevelt road. I will finally look like a proper hiking oji-san.


#37

I think there is a chance that he would have been soaked from sweat hiking at that pace with a waterproof. While hiking in cold rain I prefer a long sleeve T with rain jacket (with vents) and a warm layer (completely dry) in my backpack.

I wanted to drive over Hehuanshan last weekend and visit Wuling Farm and Taroko but the weather was nasty so I stayed in Chaiyi/Nantou. Still a good weekend.


#38

apparently tons of people are visiting hohuanshan because of snow. traffic snarled for miles.


#39

Well I was camping and that didn’t sound like fun although I had warm enough gear.


#40

I may carry an umbrella and wear a raincoat, but I still get soaked… mainly by my own sweat.

I hate hate hate hiking in the rain…