This fantastic hike is detailed in Richard Saunders’s wonderful Taipei Day Trips 2. Here are few updated notes.
We took a local bus from Xindian Station. Buses leave for Sanxia at 10 past the hour Mon.-Sat. and 20 past the hour on Sundays and holidays. It takes about 50 minutes to get to the Sanxia bus station via Ankeng Rd. Tickets were NT$50. I’d recommend getting off the junction with Route 3 rather than going all the way into Sanxia. We went to the bus station because we needed supplies. The taxi from there to the trail head near the Hezuo bridge cost NT$200 unmetered.
I saw references on the web to freeway bus service on =http://www.kingbus.com.tw/Kuo Kuang from the ‘Kuo Kuang Main Station in Xindian’ 台汽新店總站, but I had no luck finding that station on the Kuo Kuang web site, nor did anyone at the West Taipei Station or South Taipei Station have any idea what I was talking about. Maybe one of the Xindian tribe members can enlighten us?
A much more comfortable/fast option especially if you have three or four people would be to take the MRT to the new Yongning Station in Tucheng at the end of the line. You can take a taxi from here to the Hezuo Bridge for about NT$450. It will take 20 to 30 minutes depending on traffic. I highly recommend this option–it’s the way I will go in the future. This way also opens up much of the Sanxia area to Taipei people without cars. Do go early though on Sundays. The roads out of the mountains near Sanxia become very congested as all our friends from Taoyuan drive back home in the late afternoon/early evening.
Richard’s directions are very clear. I suggest bringing gloves to avoid rope burn on the many rope-assisted scrambles you will be doing up rock faces. The first 80 minutes is straight up and a good work out. People with low fitness levels can make it but give them plenty of time and rest frequently. It gets a lot easier.
Richard mentions a red sign at the first junction where you should stay right. That sign is largely rusted away and you can barely see that it was once red. Instead there is detailed trail map on a white sign. This is location 4. It’s 30 minutes from here until just after Phoenix Plume Ridge (Location 5.) From here, it is another 30 minutes to Location 6 where you can turn right and go down to the road to finish the short route (another 30 minutes). We did the short route in a very leisurely 3.5 hours.
Between 5 and 6 there is another (even more) exciting ridge walk. Stay to the left to do this. If Phoenix Plume Ride was enough excitement for you, stay to the right and there is a pleasant path that skirts the base of the ridge safely.
This an amazing hike–hard to believe you can have an adventure like this just an hour outside Taipei. This is for anyone who thinks that all hikes in Taiwan are a ride to a parking lot and ramble along concrete pathways and steps.
You don’t want to be out on these slippery, steep trails in the dark even with a light. Make sure you have one if you leave in the afternoon. Some mosquitoes–bring repellent.
Richard says the trails are not suitable for kids or dogs. I saw both on the trail and everyone seemed to be having a good time . The Taiwanese do have a greater tolerance for risk though… I’d say kids 10 and up are probably OK.
He’s kind of limiting the bus routes to Sanxia … from Yongning MRT station you have about 4 routes going to Sanxia … 705, 706, 812, 916 (freeway bus), 46 to Erjou that’s near the fork on route 3 south and the road to Wulioajian, right on the fork there is convenience store and taxis are plenty. It would be 5 minutes from there and maybe 100 NT$. That’s actually in Dapu borough.
Thanks–I was too tired when I got to the station to check on buses. In any event, the advent of Yongning Station is very important for those who like the outdoors because it puts the entire Sanxia area within striking distance.
Feiren, the route the bus from ShinDien MRT station to SanShia takes also has a lot of side roads running into the hills on the south side where there are some interesting paths to various peaks. A few of them have occassional buses, but going by motorbike would save a lot of time.
Incidentally, it only took me a couple of hours to get to Miaoli the other day, and from there or Toufen there are buses to places like Nanchuang or Dahu not far away that are close to various mountains. This last weekend I hiked to BeiKungShan, a 2,000 meter approx. peak south west of KwanWu by catching a bus to Miaoli, another to Dahu, and then a combination of taxi, hitching and walking on a long Forestry Road. With one’s own wheels it would be a lot faster and more convenient, of course. Especially with crap weather in the north and east coast as far down as Hualien, I think Hsinchu and Miaoli County are better for outdoor activities at this time of year.
I discovered a new road up there on New Year’s Day. It is the route Bei 109. You can take it across from the Sanxia-Xindian Road to the Fo Shan Temple and then join the road that goes to Manyue Yuan. The road is reduced to a narrow concrete path in a few places and I wouldn’t recommend it in if it has recently been raining heavily. I might go back and do the route by bicycle when I am feeling more energetic. (I went by motorcycle yesterday).
There is another shortcut across to Manyue Yuan from Chengxi (just near Sanxia on the Sanxia-Xindian Road). I am not sure of the route number, but the road is fairly easy to follow. The valleys on both these routes have very few houses and the area has a remote kind of feeling even though they are very close to Taipei.
I haven’t done the Wuliao Jian hike yet, but it is on my list of places to go. There are lots of great things to see and do in and around Sanxia. Have a look at my Sanxia photo set at flickr and Sanxia photo gallery.
Is there a bus number, or is it one of those numberless jobs?
(Sounds like an awesome hike btw. Thanks.)[/quote]
It was a numberless job. You catch it on the left after exiting the turnstiles. I’m sure someone at the MRT ticket office can point you in the right direction. I’m a little more concerned about people finding their way once they get to Sanxia. Guess you could PM Belgian Pie, or failing that here are the Chinese characters to print out and show a taxi. There are also buses from the station in Sanxia. You want the Xiongkeng/Lelegu Route (往熊空線/樂樂谷). It’ll be a bit slow with all these buses. Bring a book.
Chung, I’m not sure where XiaKeLo is. Do you have the Chinese characters you can post up? As far as the route I took goes, the lower BeiKung Old Aboriginal Path that branches off from the road has a large sign saying the route to KwanWu in Hsinchu is impassable due to landslides. The forestry road above it that I took, however, goes quite a ways upriver beyond the BeiKungShan trail head turn off. Far enough in fact to have splendid views of DaBaJienShan and the subsidiary peaks leading off from Snow Mountain and even the sinister looking Radar Station on LehShan overlooking Kwanwu.
If you are referring to access to this area by road, car drivers can go via Dahu (Miaoli County) or DongShing (Taichung County).
Thank you Feiren and Incubus for the Chinese characters. So…Chung, if they are indeed correct about the place you mean, then a route from Dahu to Qing Chuan and beyond would not be possible via the BeiKung Aboriginal path unless they renovated it. If you really want to go from Dahu to Qing Chuan (the last village in the valley and the start of the ‘Stone Deer Trail’), then you can go to Taian hot springs by road from Dahu, climb over the mountains to the north (there are two paths to choose from), come down to the small settlement of Luchang, carry on down the road (County Road 21) in the direction of NanChuang for about 8 kms, then take a right turn up a small road (Road 37) that will go on for about 10 kms up and into the next valley and put you on the Chutung to Qing Chuan road somewhere near Wufeng.
P.S. Sorry for going off topic and deviating from the Sanxia area in this thread!