TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The thrilling hike along a secret path at Bitou Cape (鼻頭角) on Taiwan’s northeastern coast is an awe inspiring experience.
While Bitou Cape Hiking Trail is well known to the general public, the secret path was opened by intrepid trailblazers a couple of years ago. Originally, so the story goes, it was a path used only by nimble goats that grazed on the cape’s hillside.
The Bitou Cape Hiking Trail basically traverses the cape, from Bitou fishing port or Bitou Elementary School, and ends at the other side.
However, the secret Bitou Cape trail starts in Bitou Coast Park, on the seashore near the port, where snorkeling is popular. It then heads up to Bitou Lighthouse before connecting with Bitou Cape Hiking Trail.
Walk past the coastal park and along the bottom of the cliff bordering the coastal park. Here you should be able to make out a path, occasionally marked by arrow signs on blocks.
The first part of the path goes up and down along the rocky bottom of the seaside cliffs, which protrude into the sea to form part of the cape, passing a couple of sea caves. But beware of high tide when part of the trail can become inundated by seawater.
When the path meets the seawater, th trail begins to go up the cliff. Look up the cliff and to the right, where there are ropes to help hikers up the cliff and continue a rather thrilling walk along the cliff side. Here the path is narrow with the sea about 30 meters below at some points – but the views are unparalleled.
Follow the path to a short cliff where ropes are again available to help hikers climb up the cliff. On top of the cliff, there is a fork, with the right fork leading to a camouflage-painted military compound. Take the left fork to Bitou Lighthouse and the scenic lookout, where visitors can behold the immensity of the ocean below.
Walk past the lighthouse, which is not open to the public, and follow the path to connect with the popular Bitou Cape Hiking Trail. This takes hikers back to the fishing port along a steep ridge, or to Bitou Elementary School, on a flat seaside trail. The entire hike can be completed in two hours.
(George Liao photos)