Must-see forests in Taiwan?


#1

I am a nature person and I have been around to many of the common Taiwanese tourist areas. But was wondering what are some of the must see forest (meaning not concrete nature house type things) areas in Taiwan? Especially that are very unique to Taiwan. I always enjoy a good bamboo forest walk, and the “jungles” are pretty sweet too (once you get used to never beating mosquitoes) but looking for more.

Which areas have you been to that you really enjoyed, and why did you enjoy it so much?

Hikes, deep mountains are of course OK, i like isolated. I go into the mountains a lot, but generally not on trails, so many trials i have never explored (I am in the south). But I would like to start having more direction than just “see a peak and find if there is a way to get to it”.


#2

[quote=“Pingdong”]I am a nature person and I have been around to many of the common Taiwanese tourist areas. But was wondering what are some of the must see forest (meaning not concrete nature house type things) areas in Taiwan? Especially that are very unique to Taiwan. I always enjoy a good bamboo forest walk, and the “jungles” are pretty sweet too (once you get used to never beating mosquitoes) but looking for more.

Which areas have you been to that you really enjoyed, and why did you enjoy it so much?

Hikes, deep mountains are of course ok, I like isolated. I go into the mountains a lot, but generally not on trails, so many trials I have never explored (I am in the south). But I would like to start having more direction than just “see a peak and find if there is a way to get to it”.[/quote]

I hear and read there are some great areas in northern Taichung. Unfortunately, I have not had the time or energy to explore for myself yet, so I am unable to make specific recommendations.


#3

I love the He Wei Big Trees (赫威神木群) that are above Manyueyuan in Sanxia. It takes a while to get there, but it’s manageable in a day if you get an early start and bring a flashlight for the hike back. Unlike many of the Big Tree areas of Taiwan, this is undeveloped and takes effort to get to.


#4

The white banyan forest in Zhiben Forest Recreation Area.

The old cypress trees at Shang Baling (you can walk up to them from Fushan near wulai on the 18km Fuba Trail). The old trees at nearby Ma-Kou Ecological Park.

The jungles of Wulai.

The subtropical forests along the Walami Trail in Taitung, one of the best preserved such forests in all Asia.

The bamboo forests around Ruili.

The subtropical forests along the Nanao Old Trail in Nanao.

The mixed forests at Daxueshan.

The mixed forests at Taipingshan.

The pine and hemlock forests along the way to Yushan. Actually there is a belt running down the center of Taiwan above 1800m or so that is pure hemlock and pine: never been cut.

The juniper forests on the back side of Snow Mountain.

The mixed forests along the trail to Nanhudashan. Gorgeous lower forests of maple, oaks, and kiwi, with stretches of huge cypress, pine and hemlock further up.

Fuyuan Forest Recreation Center is supposed to have the best intact camphor forests but I was not impressed.

The tropical forest along the Jinshuiyin National Trail from Fangliao down to dawu in Taitung. One of the best preserved tropical-subtropical areas. Only place I’ve ever seen a pangolin.

Back side of Yushan on the way to Batonguan has a sublime fir forest where the 30m tall trees grow straight out of the cliffs.

Basically any long hike in the mountains will take you through some gorgeous forest and the higher you get it will be untouched. You’ll start in a subtropical mixed forest (evergreens and deciduous trees), move into a cypress, pine and hemlock realm, then higher into fir and finally juniper the last tree species before reaching the alpine region.


#5

Fantastic!!! Only seen a couple of those, but now I have a great list to work on :slight_smile:

For those of you living up north, is it really busy during Chinese new year in these types of places? Down here its beyond busy and you cant even bend over without bumping someone, even in the mountains in many areas. I only ask because the northern parts are not so easy to reach from Pingdong on a normal 2 day weekend i imagine.

wait, you got to see a pangolin??? that is just beyond freaking cool! Are they fast or slow enough to get shots of in the wild? That would make my year seeing one of those little critters!

also is there a reason cannot recognize posts anymore?


#6

They’re slow, tasty and not afraid of people. That’s why they’re so hard to find.


#7

[quote=“Pingdong”]Fantastic!!! Only seen a couple of those, but now I have a great list to work on :slight_smile:

For those of you living up north, is it really busy during Chinese new year in these types of places? Down here its beyond busy and you cant even bend over without bumping someone, even in the mountains in many areas. I only ask because the northern parts are not so easy to reach from Pingdong on a normal 2 day weekend i imagine.

wait, you got to see a pangolin??? that is just beyond freaking cool! Are they fast or slow enough to get shots of in the wild? That would make my year seeing one of those little critters!

also is there a reason cannot recognize posts anymore?[/quote]

As Chris said, they are slow. The one I saw waddled across the road, then stopped when he saw me and strolled over. Came within a meter, checked me out, then continued on his way. I’ve posted pics on Forumosa.
viewtopic.php?f=93&t=85996&hilit=pangolin

During last Chinese New Year I and two friends did the Fuba trail and camped along the way for two nights. We saw a handful of people on the trail and none at the campsite. In general no, trails are not full or busy. Just too many and well, the weather up here is cold and rainy much of CNY so people are not into camping. But we had glorious weather.

In the high mountains the cabins may be full but the parks limit the number of hikers per day to a reasonable amount. Do a long trail like the Southern Section II and you will likely be alone half your days.

There are also a lot of trails, like Bilu Shan which are great but not popular. You can also camp which gives you a better chance of getting some privacy.


#8

Oh yeah, have you done Beidawushan? Closest high mountain to you and very cool as you go through a couple forest zones quickly. There’s a cabin but also a campground in the old hemlock trees. You can have a lot of people of there and it still feels empty. Also if you can go midweek you will be alone for the most part.


#9

There are quite a few nice little walks in Pingdong. I assume since you live there you’ve covered these already, but in case you haven’t, I’ve listed the Kending 10 below:
1.Laofo Shan 老佛山 - waterfalls, ancient bishopwood trees, tropical jungle flickr.com/photos/chungliguy … 046973142/
2.Piyi Shan 埤亦山 - mixed forest with fantastic ocean views, and a brutal shirt-destroying screwpine maze flickr.com/photos/chungliguy … 4046973142
3.Lilong Shan 里龍山 - wonderful mixed forest overlooking the Bashi Channel; highest mountain near Kenting
4. Jioupeng Shan 九棚山 - hill walking above the military outpost in Joupeng; fine views of Gangzai dunes
5 Gaoshi Bishopwood Trees 高士茄苳神木 - the largest bishopwood tree in the world? album.udn.com/community/img/PSN_ … 9815_1.JPG
6. Lanren River Trace 欖仁溪 - short stream trace near Manzhou
7. Mudan Shan 牡丹山 - mixed tropical forest
8. Gaoshifo Shan 高士佛山 - mixed tropical forest
9. Nanren Lake 南仁湖 (currently closed for trail repairs)
10. Dashanmu Shan 大山母山 - mountain behind Nanwan; fine views of the entire South Cape. This is a great spot to ponder the folly of MacKenzie’s charge.
Bonus: Banana Bay Escarpment 香蕉灣


#10

Lala shan. I liked it. I’m sorry if someone already mentioned it earlier.


#11

Not to nitpick, but I thought I’d point out that when most people use the term “Lalashan” they are actually refering to the park with the ancient trees on the lower slopes of Tamanshan. Lalashan is to the west of the park on the other side of the Kala River. :bow:


#12

Xitou and shanlinsea above from there are very nice for a stroll. Taipingshan is similar to alishan but less crowded, very scenic and atmospheric often covered in mist at too.


#13

Not to nitpick, but I thought I’d point out that when most people use the term “Lalashan” they are actually refering to the park with the ancient trees on the lower slopes of Tamanshan. Lalashan is to the west of the park on the other side of the Kala River. :bow:[/quote]
Yeps. I forgot. I meant the whole region. The drive back, was wonderful, I recall. Cypress, no maple kind of trees :doh: . I forget. :blush: I just remember a road, that was awesome for miles.


#14

Yes,the northern cross island highway is amazing. And the hike to Lalashan from Fushan is amazing as well- a near-pristine mature forest, quite unlike any others I have seen in northern Taiwan.


#15

[quote]
As Chris said, they are slow. The one I saw waddled across the road, then stopped when he saw me and strolled over. Came within a meter, checked me out, then continued on his way. I’ve posted pics on Forumosa.
viewtopic.php?f=93&t=85996&hilit=pangolin[/quote]
Man, that is so cool, and quite sad. I am pumped to see those little guys. im guessing the higher up populations hibernate in winter? great pics, simply amazing!

I am leaving for that one tomorrow after work. I live about 20 mins away and have never done it, that just seems so wrong. But correcting that mistake as long as there is no super heavy rains like we have been having on and off lately.

[quote]There are quite a few nice little walks in Pingdong. I assume since you live there you’ve covered these already, but in case you haven’t, I’ve listed the Kending 10 below:
1.Laofoshan 老佛山 - waterfalls, ancient bishopwood trees, tropical jungle flickr.com/photos/chungliguy … 046973142/
2.Piyishan 埤亦山 - mixed forest with fantastic ocean views, and a brutal shirt-destroying screwpine maze flickr.com/photos/chungliguy … 4046973142
3.Lilongshan 里龍山 - wonderful mixed forest overlooking the Bashi Channel; highest mountain near Kending
4. Jioupengshan 九棚山 - hill walking above the military outpost in Joupeng; fine views of Gangzai dunes
5 Gaoshih Bishopwood Trees 高士茄苳神木 - the largest bishopwood tree in the world? album.udn.com/community/img/PSN_ … 9815_1.JPG
6. Lanren River Trace 欖仁溪 - short stream trace near Manzhou
7. Mudanshan 牡丹山 - mixed tropical forest
8. Gaoshihfoshan 高士佛山 - mixed tropical forest
9. Nanren Lake 南仁湖 (currently closed for trail repairs)
10. Dashanmushan 大山母山 - mountain behind Nanwan; fine views of the entire South Cape. This is a great spot to ponder the folly of MacKenzie’s charge.
Bonus: Banana Bay Escarpment 香蕉灣[/quote]

cheers for that! now my wife can see where I’m talking about, she always says my pronunciation using pinyin may as well be Japanese she doesn’t get it :doh: i get this feeling only use foreigners can understand pinyin.


#16

I don;t think people on this forum use pinyin, they just use whatever random characters they think approximates the name of the place when they hear someone say it. I know pinyin and bopomofo and I still cant undersand or find the names of placces people write in this forum (:

Chinese characters are always best, as place names tend to be romanised using what are essentially random english characters. The street signs for the street sign use a different english name in different sections, some of the versions are so weird they do not conform to any current or past government official romanisation standard what so ever.


#17

amen, my tiny town has 4 different English spellings on signs that i have seen.

well, got back from Bei da Wu Mtn…can say it pretty much whipped our asses. Will certainly plan things MUCH lighter next time!


#18

amen, my tiny town has 4 different English spellings on signs that I have seen.

well, got back from Bei da Wu Mtn…can say it pretty much whipped our asses. Will certainly plan things MUCH lighter next time![/quote]

Hah. Yeah it is a steep trail. How did you like it? And how far down the road from the trailhead do you have to start now?


#19

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:


#20

[quote=“Pingdong”]

[quote]There are quite a few nice little walks in Pingdong. I assume since you live there you’ve covered these already, but in case you haven’t, I’ve listed the Kending 10 below:
1.Laofoshan 老佛山 - waterfalls, ancient bishopwood trees, tropical jungle flickr.com/photos/chungliguy … 046973142/
2.Piyishan 埤亦山 - mixed forest with fantastic ocean views, and a brutal shirt-destroying screwpine maze flickr.com/photos/chungliguy … 4046973142
3.Lilongshan 里龍山 - wonderful mixed forest overlooking the Bashi Channel; highest mountain near Kending
4. Jioupengshan 九棚山 - hill walking above the military outpost in Joupeng; fine views of Gangzai dunes
5 Gaoshih Bishopwood Trees 高士茄苳神木 - the largest bishopwood tree in the world? album.udn.com/community/img/PSN_ … 9815_1.JPG
6. Lanren River Trace 欖仁溪 - short stream trace near Manzhou
7. Mudanshan 牡丹山 - mixed tropical forest
8. Gaoshihfoshan 高士佛山 - mixed tropical forest
9. Nanren Lake 南仁湖 (currently closed for trail repairs)
10. Dashanmushan 大山母山 - mountain behind Nanwan; fine views of the entire South Cape. This is a great spot to ponder the folly of MacKenzie’s charge.
Bonus: Banana Bay Escarpment 香蕉灣[/quote]

cheers for that! now my wife can see where I’m talking about, she always says my pronunciation using pinyin may as well be Japanese she doesn’t get it :doh: I get this feeling only use foreigners can understand pinyin.[/quote]

This is a great thread. so many places to go hiking especially focused in the south. :smiley:

Part of the problem with your pronunciation is that the sometimes misspelled places don’t have the tones listed. My chinese is terrible and whenever I tell my students where I went on the weekend I also have to give them approximate geographic areas (not their strongest skill) and other towns nearby.