Wantan Historic Trail abounds with natural scenery

Go before it becomes overrun with visitors


TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Wantan Historic Trail (彎潭古道), part of the centuries-old Tamsui Kavalan Historical Trails (淡蘭古道) connecting Taipei and Yilan, abounds with natural scenery, and despite its remoteness, it is one of the most worthwhile places to visit in Taiwan.

There is, however, a conundrum: While natural, peaceful, scenic locales should become better known so that more people can enjoy them, if they become too famous, they will soon be overrun by tourists and lose their original appeal.

The Wantan Historic Trail, which hugs New Taipei City’s Pinglin District (坪林區) on one side and Shuangxi District (雙溪區) on the other, fits into this category. Many people who have visited the trail harbor the same ambivalent sentiments and feel fortunate that they were able to experience it before visitors began arriving in droves.

The trail has two main entrances: one located at the Sansuitan Earth God Temple (三水潭小土地公廟) on the Pinglin (坪林) side and the other in the community of Wantan (彎潭) on the Shuangxi side.

Having one's own transportation is the most convenient way to get to either entrance. Even though New Taipei City Bus F815 runs from the Shuangxi railway station to the community of Wantan, its services are scant.

The 4.5-kilometer trail meanders along the Wantan River Valley, and many portions of the trail go run along terrain that is slightly higher than the riverbed. During the hike, the river's clear running water is visible most of the time.

Also visible along the trail are waterfalls and multitudes of plants, including tall trees providing much-needed shade from the summer sun. Set in such a remote environment, the trail is blessed with serenity, and those who set foot on it feel peaceful and spiritually rewarded.

The Wantan Historic Trail is a hidden treasure of Taiwan.

(All George Liao photos)