Hiking - 24th June - Wulai to Ilan

This is a solid day’s hike: 25km approx.

Depart Taipei 5am, be at Wulai trailhead at 6am. Return from Ilan by train.

You would need to be prepared to carry 5l water. I will be carrying my water purifier, but not presuming there will be rivers/streams all the way.

Any comments if you have done this hike previously ?

Any takers ?

Have you done this one before? My first thoughts are that it’s way too hot for this long a hike. Why not save it for the fall. That’s what I’m doing with all our long hikes now. It’s all swimming holes and river tracing now.

Also, 5am is way too early for me to get up, let alone start.

Good luck if you go.

I don’t think there’s public transportation available that early, is there?

How is the trail? If it’s relatively level for most of the way, like the Caoling Trail (14km), then it’s do-able (though a long trek), but if it’s mostly ups and downs, especially over rocks or through overgrown trails through dense, humid jungle, I can’t see completing it in one day. But I’d rather wait until the cooler days of autumn to do it.

Omni’s done it I believe, and trailhacker too. It’s a day hike, but again, not for this time of year for me. This weekend the temps are in the 30s.

I plan on taking a taxi to the start.

I have not done this hike before - the rains of the last X months have put it off until now. I don’t really want to wait for another 6 months to give it a go.

The maps suggest the trail follows the valley all the way, so expect no major climbing, and should be well shaded. The weather at the moment is fine if the trails aren’t too exposed and you keep the fluids up. I hiked from Xindian to Sanxia on the weekend and it was fine.

The things I most need info on is getting to the train after hitting the roads in Ilan - it is still quite a hike down to Ilan proper - are there buses or can one call a taxi ?

Is this the one that goes up the Tonghu valley after Wulai and climbs up over the watershed? That’s some steep climbing. The hike over the watershed is nice but its sawgrass and very open if its a sunny day. The place we came out at the top was a long, long way from Yilan on what looked like jeep trails and open roads.
If this is the hike you’re planning, I think it would be horrible on a hot sunny day.
Also, I think they introduced a booking system on the Tonghu valley road, so that you can only go as far as the police station without booking. That’s probably just for cars, though – a taxi would probably still get in (if they’re still even limiting cars, that is). Its a long way from the police station to the trailhead.

Bring everything you need for a possible unplanned overnight stay in the woods.

The Tonghou trail is a legendary offroad mountain bike trail. It goes from Wulai to Jiaoxi, which is near Yilan. Many a biker has attempted to go over the top and coast down to the Yilan plains on the double track jeep trail (what mt bikers live for), but only a few have succeeded. If you hike it, it’ll be a long hike. But if you ride it, it’ll be challenging, with lots of hiking a bike as you work your way up, but the reward is a very sweet descent, and the bragging right, of course.

There seems to be 2 main trails - one if you cross the bridge in the centre of Wulai and take an dimmediate left; the other if you cross the bridge before Wulai, go through the entrance gate, and follow that road to the end (passing the cable car). Which is the Tonghou Trail ?

Riding it MTB sounds good, maybe something for next week. How do you get your MTB back from Ilan - I hear getting the bike on a train is non trivial.

Perhaps more people would be keen on taking on this trail on MTBs?

[quote=“ac”]There seems to be 2 main trails - one if you cross the bridge in the centre of Wulai and take an dimmediate left; the other if you cross the bridge before Wulai, go through the entrance gate, and follow that road to the end (passing the cable car). Which is the Tonghou Trail ?
The first one you mentioned is the Tonghou trail. The second one you mention I don’t know what it’s called – we call it Monkey Trail on account of we often see monkeys up there. It takes you over and out at the Fushan forest preserve or biological station or whatever its called. You’ll be a very long way from the station. Definitely a hitchhike and there’s not much traffic because again, the forest preserve area is tightly controlled and you can’t get in without a reservation. I haven’t hiked right through but I’ve been in from both ends (oo-er, missus!). Most people I’ve met on the trail have been doing it as an overnighter.

The Tonghou trail on a bike would be sweet indeed – a lovely easy tarmac road for about 15-or-so km (?) with, as I said, limited traffic, followed by some funky singletrack, followed by a murderous carry-the-bike ascent to the watershed (but not really too long), followed by a glorious coast all the way down to the Yilan plain. It’s really really cool to set out from deep-in-the-mountains Wulai and come out on top to stunning vistas of the Yilan plain and the Pacific.

sandman - feel like doing this ride sometime ? sounds bloody awesome !

Feel like? Sure. Capable of? Not nearly so sure. My days of this type of biking are pretty much over. Asphalt is now my friend and I prefer to be on my bike rather than vice-versa. :wink:

Sandman, how sturdy a bike would you need for this?

Can I take a dog with me on this one?

From what I remember its mostly either asphalt (a lot of it broken up) and muddy jeep trails on the Yilan side, but there’s also some pretty technical singletrack that I don’t think you’d be very happy riding on an RTMart special, if that’s what you’re thinking. There’s also a fair bit of carrying involved.

You could probably take a dog. There’s no rope sections from what I remember. Last time I was there, though, there were aborigine pig hunters up there with a pack of around 12-15 hunting dogs. I don’t know what they’d do with a city mutt if they came across one!

Lots of photos here of the trail and description of the crossing (in Chinese):
This guy did it on his Giant hardtail and camped out one night.

I believe the hike is #167 on http://www.tonyhuang.idv.tw

I assume the piccies with lots of people are near the end of the road from Wulai.

Pig hunters - now you are talking. NH - have you got a pig dog or a blue-ie - could really have some fun on this hike !

I’ve always wanted to do this trail and the first time i heard of it was because we happened to hike to the tonghou trail entry last Oct. This time of the year is actually a good time to hike there because you will get to across the river all the time and water gets you cool down. If fall or spring it’d be rainy and a bit cold in the water. After the river part we got into a rain forest sort of area where is muddy and wet and got ferns around. We talked to some hikers and learnt that from wulai to jiaoshi it takes around 4-5hours to finish the trail, then you hit blacktop road where you can call a taxi to pick you up. In fact according to the guy from that police station, it’s a popular trail during weekends, that a few hiking clubs will start it around 7am and do it as a day trip.

I won’t be able to do it this saturday but i’d difinitely like to try it some other time.

ac, did you do this hike? I was chatting with trail_hacker and he said it is about 3-4 hours from the end of the road to the first place on the Yilan side you can get a lift down. He also said there is a teahouse or mountain chicken restaurant an hour down the road where you can ask for a taxi to be called up. So it sounds like it’s not that long a day after all.