Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hehuan Mountain's Best

Hehuan (or sometimes ‘Hohuan’) is one of Taiwan’s best high mountain hiking areas. Being so accessible, sometimes we forget how high it is - how many good hikes are there - and how good the the views usually are.
  • Located in the center of Taiwan, with some luck you can have views of both Snow Mountain and Yushan by just turning your head 180 degrees.
  • Less than 2 hours drive, from the end of Freeway 6 at Puli, or from world-class Taroko Gorge.
  • The well-maintained road, makes this a great way to cross the island - slowly please!
  • Various accommodation options not far away.
Best hikes - from very easy to fairly tough.
Shihmen Mountain. By far the easiest of Taiwan’s ‘Top 100’ peaks. Everyone must stroll up this one.
Hehuan Main Peak. Even easier, can be great for sunsets.
Hehuan Jian (Pointy). A fun climb, up and over.
Hehuan East Peak. More like a proper ‘Top 100’.
Xiao (Small) Cilai. A different feel, some forest, some ‘Sound of Music’ spots.
Hehuan North. Really feel you are climbing a mountain.
Hehuan West. A full day (and night maybe) of great hiking and climbing.
Bilu. A perfect overnighter.
Also: Cilai, Pingfong, and Yangtou nearby... 

Bilu summit.

Looking towards Taroko.
Picnicing on Small Cilai
Coming down Hehuan North

Songxue Lodge...well for a few weeks a year anyway, sometimes.

A couple other points:
  • Stick to established route, feel free to reprimand those that wander of - tramping the vegetation.
  • The highest point that you can drive at Hehuan (and Taiwan) is ‘Wuling’ Pass. This has nothing to do with ‘Wuling’ Farm, the trailhead for Snow Mountain hours drive away!
  • Enjoy some of Taiwan finest endemic birds and plants at close range. Feel free to contact me (Richard) if needing help in touring Hehuan etc.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Top Taroko Gorge Hikes

My (current) 5 favorite Taroko Gorge Hikes:

Located on the east coast of Taiwan, Taroko Gorge has lots of great sights to enjoy. As well as the very easy stuff, there are several superb hikes starting from the main part of the gorge.

The Vertigo (Jhuilu/Zhuilu) Trail. 3 to 8 hours.

Dali-Datong Villages. 8 hours to 3 days.
Jhucun-Meiyun Villages. 6 hours to 2 days.

Tienxiang to Baiyang Waterfall. 4 to 7 hours.

Wenshan to Lyushui. 5 hours to 2 days.

Top tip: Have a bicycle waiting - freewheel back to your guesthouse!

And 5 easy strolls:

Eternal Spring Shrine. Remember the nice 30 minute loop up and around.

Lyushui-Heliou. 30 pleasant minutes on a trail with a bit of everything.

Swallow’s Grotto, or Tunnel of Nine Turns. 20 minutes very easy strolling - if/when open.

Tienxiang Temple. Various stunning views 10 minutes hike up.

Shakadang Trail. 20 minutes can become several hours next to this lovely river.

My comprehensive guide book to Hiking in Taroko Gorge is coming out in Christmas 2012. Of course, in the meantime, I can set up the required logistics for all these trails. Richard

Now arranging Taiwan trail running packages. 

Click here for more photos: 
Remember, conditions in Taiwan’s mountains are always changing. Recently: Loose rocks above the Swallow’s Grotto. Final concrete bridge before Baiyang Waterfall badly damaged. Take care, have fun, be sensible!

...and sorry for this horrible blog making me lose my hair!