Bottom line: Only open for buses. No cars are allowed and the information center has not been notified if or when cars will be allowed. I have no info about motorcycles or bicycles.
Decided to drive up and try to reach Lishan. Reached Guguan Visitor Center 谷關遊客中心 and got the current status. They clearly display that no one speaks English and they have a phone number displayed that you can call for English information. Might be a good idea to call in advance. Phone number 0800011765
Construction is happening on two small strips for shops with a Family Mart and 7-Eleven. Other shops yet to be filled.
Tip: Skip 7-Eleven and go to Family Mart. Family Mart has a huge outdoor sitting area. Neither one has restrooms but near Family Mart has some port-o-potties. And it’s much closer walk to the information center which also has restrooms.
Two buses I saw allot are 207 and 850. Also local buses in area.
I used to drive a scooter up and down that road all the time when I lived in Tainan - camped at the top five or six times. Absolutely gorgeous. Mind you, I’m not sure how they’re planning on keeping it open. A precarious road to say the least.
The problem seems to be that… it keeps breaking. They fix here and there and then this other part collapses. Still I want to do this road again and hopefully from side to side and camping somewhere, why not.
Currently I think it’s open for cars with reservation. Some days ago I cycled to the gate from Taichung, and passed it. No-one stopped me. I just wanted to see what happens and turned around after 10m - because for a European that clearly looks like a closure for cars only :-). Maybe the guard was asleep. It was already 15:50 so after the opening times which are around the morning AFAIK and I was pretty pressed to make it back to Taichung before sunset.
Actually if you take the bus, can you load bikes on that road?
(not serious alternatives below should they stop you at the inspection booth. If you don’t understand some humour stop reading)
Take a mountainbike and descend onto the road by doing a long trip from Qingjiang Farm.
Alternatively though longer - carry your bike up from shortly before Guguan via Malunshan and Baigushan
Mind - the pathes partly aren’t too suitable, and you have to climb to over 3300m.
Do river tracing to Maling Hot springs - 500m before your reach the hot springs there is a path going up from there to the road, seems some locals who have road access use it for easier access to Maling hot springs - that way they can walk there within around 45 minutes instead of 2:30 hours. Even though it’s only around 6km - it’s quite demanding - especially if you carry your bike. Best done when it rains a lot - then you can have some upstream swimming training
Now as both above isn’t too suitable with a bike, here is the better alternative.
Just don’t be a pussy - you can do the highway 8 above with way better views than down in the valley - cycle up Daxueshan, and just follow the ridge to Xueshan and drop down to Huanshan. 95% of that trip is well rideable with good technical skills and a suitable enduro bike. It’s only 3500m ascent and 4000m descent from Daxueshan visitor center where you can sleep the night. 60km. That’s a nice day trip, isn’t it? Also not bad as a trailrunning training. Your next ultra will be more strenuous.
Now here comes the Danny Macaskill part. You can skip the 100ntd entrance fee that they ask on the road to Daxueshan by taking the short hike via Shaolaishan. Best be a hero and show the locals how to ride Yuanzui too. I mean if you wanna ride the ridge, best start the ridge as early as possible, right? I’ll definitely give you a thumbs up if you ride down Yuanzui and post it on youtube.
Yeah I have only done the “above” ridge on foot, that way finding my favourite vertride MTB trail of Taiwan. But it’s clear that it would be beautiful. It’s a shame they don’t open up on good weather days. Meaning 2 days no rain over 10mm or 7-10 days no significant rain then open up. Or secure it accordingly, many roads in the European Alps suffer from worse geology, and only shut down for the 2-5 torrential rain weeks that come every year.
Because it surely isn’t safe after 50-100mm of rainfall. But in the dry season the road should be as safe as many others right now. Missing flexibility as usual in Taiwan.
And it’s somehow a shame they open for Cars with reservation but not for bicycles or scooters/motorcycles - could put a mandatory helmet for bicycles and open up for bicycles going uphill only early in the morning plus tell them need to be out by 16:00 or else if noticing being too slow turn around and leave again at guguan. There are enough safe options to open up more.
(so if you decide on dodging the checkpoints - easiest by going a bit through the jungle/forest - be sure to do it when it’s dry. After heavy rain that road is far from safe. This is a road that could be open like 200 days a year in my opinion).
well I have local friends who told me it’s rather easy to get the permit without much - like sleeping a night in Lishan and they accepted that for the permit to go up/down once. It’s been like this for 2? years. Some google reviews mention permits around 2 years back.
Reviving the topic to see if there has been updates about the constructions/progress or anything else besides the usual public transportation options or permits for workers/people who live there?
Didn’t really think much of it at first but since I’ve been doing hiking more and more these days it’s a bit exhausting to have to drive all the way around to Nantou-Hehuan Mountain-back up towards Lishan/YiLan to do some BaiYue mountain hikes.
Mostly wishful thinking on my part, would just save my friends and I a lot of time going to and from certain hikes if we could just head up the 8 from Guguan to Lishan, especially for our one day hikes, go up a day before and sleep a for 5-7 hours then finish hike in day and drive back to Taichung.
As beautiful as Hehuan mountain is, it kind of loses it’s luster after seeing it so many times and just wanting to get back home and relax…granted on the return trip I’m happy when passing through Dayuling…feels like the start of finally going back home and getting closer to my nice soft bed back home.