Erzi Shan (二子山) Hot Springs

Has anyone ever made this trip? - it’s a hot spring buried deep in the Shoufeng river valley west of Xilin (between Fenglin & Shoufeng in Hualien County, past Xilin Elementary School and keep going). There’s no tarmac road, and it’s about 15-20km (?) in, but 4x4 vehicles go in every year at times of low water levels. There’s about 6 or 7 river crossings. I went down there a few days ago with the idea of mtn biking it. The trail was rough but rideable for about 2km, but then came the first river crossing. River levels were way too high to even think about making it across on foot. There were no permit checks, which seemed to say that everyone KNOWS you can’t go up there this time of year.

Googling youtube 二子山 throws up some vids, but it looks like carrrying a mtn bike across slippery rocks would still be rather tricky. Water still looks high.

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This has been on my Taiwan bucket list for years. If you ever want to hike up let me know. I think it’s only about 10km up though.


Everything came together yesterday (weather good, family out of town) - so I threw the bike in the car and headed back up the Shoufeng River. Cycled in the same 2km, but at the point where last year the path had stopped amidst rocks and boulders, now there was a clear bulldozed track continuing along the south bank of the river. This continued easily up the valley for 6km, didn’t have to cross the main river at all. There were a few small fords of side-valley tributaries, but the water was only ankle deep, and I rode through them.

I was so intent on following that bulldozed track that I followed it left up the wrong valley for a further km, where it came to a sudden stop. I scrambled on by foot for 20 min, before realising that I’d come too far. Sat down and had b’fast, and when I got back to the bike there were guys working the guai-shous, extending the ‘road’. Must be something worth extracting up there.

Rode back down to the fork, and there was a 4x4 just parked up there. 5 folks from Yilan, who were off to spend 2 nights at the Hot Springs. “Did I want to come?”
They seemed to know more than me, though they’d also never been here before. I asked them how far up the valley the springs where - “Oh, about 10 minutes”. So off we went.

2 and a half hours (!) and 9 river crossings later, we got there. I did most of it barefoot, they had full backpacks & river boots, and we used ropes across the river - that was necessary, it was waist deep in places, fast and cold. Crossings 8 & 9 (closest to the springs), could perhaps be avoided by some scrambling, but they weren’t that deep anyway. Crossings 2-4 were the deepest and fastest. The springs themselves are great; clean, hot (of course), 2 medium sized pools taking maybe 5 people max in a really nice valley spot, with a large calm section of river right next-door and perfect for swimming, flat raised platform for camping.

The men went fishing, the girls set up camp, and I walked out on my own - took a while as it’s easier to walk barefoot upstream, you’ve got less momentum and can place your feet more easily. There are plenty of sandy sections, and smooth rocks, but also areas of gravel and small stones. A couple of my return river crossings weren’t pretty - ropeless, and I was keeping a camera dry with the strap clenched in my teeth - but I made it.

I’d recommend a minimum of 2 people w. rope & river boots. It’s a full day in/out, staying overnight there would be wonderful, but then you have to carry more.
Will put up some directions and timings later.

Drive thru Xilin 西林, then take the right hand downhill fork, continue to end of road.
From there to where I left the bike ( Google Earth 23°51’30"N 121°22’E): 7.5km, 1 hour up, 40min down.
From there to the springs: 3.5km (2.5 / 2 hrs), take the NW valley and start the river crossings. Continue NW at the next valley fork (23°52’36"N 121°21’40"E).

edit - permits. I didn’t ask at the police station, nor did the camping group. There are no signs saying you need one. Nonetheless, you probably do…

Bulldozed trail - south bank of the Shoufeng River

one of the river crossings

River & Erzi Shan hot springs (the pool is bottom right),

River looks way up since i was there a few years ago. It also changes course year by year and wipes out the track.
Looks like you had fun!

Hi all. I visited Erzishan hot springs in November last year with my partner and it was an absolutely fantastic trip. I heard accounts of another party being turned back by a water crossing so thought I’d provide information on my experience. The directions given above are very useful for finding a starting point. We rode our tiny scooter to a kind of carpark - the road ends before it becomes gravel and there was an abandoned structure/simple concrete building. Then we set out on foot. We crossed the river many, many times, with most being simple, but beginning to get deeper as we headed further up the valley and the river narrowed. We used safe crossing techniques - i.e. holding onto one another’s pack straps, one person moving at a time and the other acting as anchor. It was helpful and I wouldn’t advise inexperienced river crossers to attempt to ‘wing it’. However if you have basic common sense and use caution it should be fine. The last two or three crossings got pretty creative. With one, we went upriver on river right with a slightly sketchy scramble over a rock face, but coming downstream tried river left which actually had a great path up and over a small hill. So if you get to an uncrossable pinch point with a hill on river left, try the hill. Much faster and safer.

Then further up there were one or two crossings with a variety of rockhopping and feeling out different places for shallow sandbanks, and climbing up and over boulders. REALLY fun.

It would have been a far easier time had we been willing to get our bags wet, so consider bringing a drybag of stuff or waterproofing your bag in some way. Then you could swim some crossings when the water’s deep but the current is slow, in some pools.

The hot springs themselves were fantastic. We didn’t see anybody the whole time apart from hearing some 4WD campers when we first arrived. We had the place to ourselves, the springs were perfectly adjustable and so fun to build and play with, and contrasted beautifully with the cold river water. Superb camping, beautiful location. We spent two nights out. A massive highlight was a crack in a wall filled with naturally formed white and purple crystals on the return walk!!! Not gonna say where it was… because I don’t even know :joy: but honestly it was pretty miraculous and one of the more amazing natural wonders I’ve seen in my life.

The trip up took us around seven hours in total - partially walked in the dark and having to figure out how to cross. The trip back took us five hours and we walked it in one go.

Future visitors might want to consider bringing an extra bag to help pack out the trash that past visitors have left. The psrings themselves were clean but we passed one old campsite with the remnants of rubbish and it would be nice to see this area cleaned.

Note: river left and river right refer to when facing the direction of flow: i.e. standing in the river with upstream behind you and the water flowing away downstream in front of you. River left is to your left in this instance.


Does anyone happen to have GPS coordinates for the springs?

Thanks Constance for coming back here :sparkles:.

The ‘pinch-point’ you describe slowed us down hugely on my return trip last year, to the point that we ran out of time to reach the springs. We couldn’t get creative enough to cross the river (or maybe the water was running higher when we were there). The hill to the right is the way to go, although it’s not the obvious route choice.