TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--The Wangyou Valley Trail (忘憂谷步道) is one of the most scenic trails in northern Taiwan. The Chinese name of “忘憂谷” literally means “the valley of forgetting about worries.” But there's some truth in it as visitors are often so overwhelmed by the magic-like sea views around this place that they have no time to worry about other things.
I drove westbound on the coastal Provincial Highway No. 2 on Saturday (Sep. 23) afternoon and visited the Elephant Trunk Rock at the back of Shen'ao Fishing Port (深澳漁港) as a side trip. It’s an impressive rock formed by sea erosion that looks like a giant elephant. The entrance to the rock is located at the far right corner of the fishing port. Once passing the entrance, keep walking along the seaside for about six or seven minutes to the famous rock.
After taking a few photos, I headed for Badouzi, where the Wangyou Valley Trail is located, just a couple of kilometers from Shen'ao.
After passing the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology, I continued driving a couple of hundred meters and then turned right on Badou Street at a busy intersection and followed the signs to the trail entrance at the top of a seaside ridge. As the parking lot at the trailhead was full, I turned my car around and parked it at the free parking lot that belongs to a Mazu temple on the hillside. I climbed a few flights of stone stairs to reach the trailhead.
The trail basically follows the ridge of a short coastal range. As the temperature was still high around 3:30 p.m., I took a rest at a shady place below the trailhead until 4:30 p.m. There are many scenic lookout points along the trail to appreciate the breath-taking views, which include Heping Island and Badouzi Fishing Port (八斗子漁港) to the left, the sea off the coast of Jiufen and Jinguashi to the right, and Keelung Islet in between. Below the trail are some marvelous landforms on the seashore caused by sea and wind erosion, where visitors were seen frolicking and playing the sea water.
There are a few deserted forts that indicate that this place was once used as a strategic location for military purposes. Now visitors like to sit on top of them to feel sea breezes and appreciate ocean views.
Hiking on the Wangyou Valley Trail can be completed in one hour, but most visitors spend longer as they stop often to pose for pictures.
After coming back from the trail, I continue to walk along an asphalt road on the other side to 101 Highland, the highest point and the best place in the area to enjoy panoramic views of the sea, mountains and fishing ports.
A 500-meter trail from the top of the highland leads down to Eco Park(復育公園), Chaojing Park (潮境公園) and out to the coastal highway.
To visit Wangyou Valley Trail, take the train to Ruifang Station, transfer to the Shen’ao Line, and then take the train to Haikeguan (NMMST) Station. Visitors can also take buses 1812/1811 from Taipei Main Station and get off at Badouzi. To the Elephant Trunk Rock, take the same buses and get off at Shen'ao and walk to the Shen'ao Fishing Port. Visitors can either find Badou Street and follow the signs to the trailhead, or enter from Chaojing Park on the other side, go up to 101 Highland and down to the trailhead. If you take a train to Haikeguan Station, the latter is recommended.