A hike to Taoyuan Valley in northeastern Taiwan uplifts your body and mind

A hike from Daxi (大溪), Yilan County to Taoyuan Valley deepens my belief that one should look no further than Taiwan for beautiful places to visit.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—A hike from Daxi (大溪), Yilan County to Taoyuan Valley deepens my belief that one should look no further than Taiwan for beautiful places to visit.

There are two enchanting vast natural grasslands in northern Taiwan, with one being Qintiangang Grassland in Yangmingshan National Park, and the other being Taoyuan Valley, which is located on top of a range along Taiwan’s northeastern coast and much bigger than the former.

There are several ways to get to Taoyuan Valley, including through the entrance off the Caoling Historic Trail, the entrance near the Dali Visitor Center about 800 meters from Dali Railway Station, and the entrance at Daxi Riverside Park, about 800 meters from Daxi Railway Station.

I drove there yesterday (Sept. 16), so I parked my car at the parking lot at the Daxi entrance, which is located at the kilometer mark 123 of Provincial Highway No. 2. Those who come by train should get off at Daxi Station and walk 800 meters northward towards the downtown area to the entrance. There is a roadside post that indicates the Taoyuan Valley Trail entrance.

Currently there is a construction work near the trail entrance, but visitors should go around it and continue.   

 

The trail stretches approximately 5 kilometers and passes the peak of Mt. Fanshuliao at 456 meters above sea level. It is tougher than all the other trails because it is the steepest. Hikers get occasional breaks as the trail levels off or drops down briefly, then rises again.

However, the hardship is more than rewarded as the trail passes through natural forests where hikers can enjoy cooling shade as they savor the expansive and relaxing views of the Pacific Ocean at nearly every turn of the trail. This is a perfect place to enjoy an invigorating "green shower" and a mildly challenging mountain walk. 

Views of the Pacific Ocean along the trail. 

Views of the Pacific Ocean along the trail. 

A view of the trail. 

Another specialty of the trail is that there are numerous rest spots along the trail with stone chairs and tables for visitors to take breaks.

A pavilion at one side of the trail. 

Slopes flatten near the top of the ridge, where the Taoyuan Valley is located. Taoyuan Valley consists of a wide swath of grass-covered slopeland that stretches about three kilometers and offers 360-degree views that include Turtle Island and the layered peaks of the Toucheng and Gongliao areas. The expansive vistas of  Taoyuan Valley uplift the spirits of all who enter here. 

Near the grassland. 

I went up to the highest point at the grassland and looked out to the surrounding hillsides and the Pacific Ocean below.

The Taoyuan Valley grassland

The Taoyuan Valley grassland

A view from the top of Taoyuan Valley  

The hike from the seaside to the Taoyuan Valley grassland above the mountain took me about 3 hours, including rests, and about the same time back.

Some visitors continue to hike on the Caoling Trail, which links the Caoling Historic Trail with Taoyuan Valley and takes them down to Dali, Yilan on the east side or to Fulong or Gaoliao in New Taipei City on the west side. The undulating 4.5 km trail is somewhat barren as it stretches through the grassland and passes over the peak of Mt. Wankengtou, which at 617 meters is the highest point in the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area.  

A view of the Taoyuan Valley Caoling Trail

I chose to take the same route back down to Daxi, where I bought some seafood at Daxi Fishing Port.

Daxi Fishing Port

As I was leaving the village, I saw a road sign which says “Honeymoon Bay,” which is a popular place for surfing. I was planning to go swimming there before going home, but as it was getting dark, I drove home directly.