TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--Besides hot spring hotels and the Wufengqi Waterfall, Jiaoxi in the northeastern Taiwanese county of Yilan is equally famous for its hiking trails that are sure to reward hikers with physical and spiritual benefits.
The most challenging trail in Jiaoxi is unequivocally the Marian Hiking Trail located above the Wufengchi Waterfalls. To take on this trail, take a train and get off at Jiaoxi Station, then take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus to the Wufengqi Scenic Area stop, where the trail head is located nearby.
Visitors can start hiking by visiting the waterfalls first or go directly to the entrance of the trail on the bank of the Dezihkou River.
The first 1,000 meters of the trail is a gravel road that takes hikers to a magnificent Catholic church overlooking the town of Jiaoxi. After passing the church, the trail is a gently sloping path until the starting point of the final and most natural section of the trail at the 4-kilometer mark.
This section of the trail, which is 1,600 meters long, first runs through dense forest along the cascading upstream valley of the Dezihkou River and then zigzags steeply up to St. Marian Hut on the ridge, located 884 meters above sea level. It was legendarily said that Mother Mary once appeared at the end of this trail.
St. Marian Hut
At the end of the trail is a statue of crucifixion of Jesus Christ as well as the St. Marian Hut, which provides hikers a good place to rest.
The views on the ridge line, which forms the boundary between Yilan and New Taipei City, can only be described as awesome and certainly rewards all the hardship hikers endure during the grueling uphill climb.
The total length of the trail is about 5.6 kilometers and hikers should plan a whole day for the trip.