Taoyuan Valley Hike: Trail Views and Dasi

Taoyuan Valley Hike Panorama 4

View the large

After I had gotten out of the forested area full of butterflies, I made my way to the higher elevations of the trail. I started on the Caoling Line of the Taoyuan Valley [桃源谷步道草嶺線]. This section is 4.5 kilometers [~2.8 miles] and gives some great views of Taiwan’s mountainous northeast coast.

Mountains

The area is a beautiful grass-covered slopeland. Luckily the weather wasn’t hot when I went. It also gets quite from the wind up there.

Taoyuan Valley Hike Panorama 2

View the large

One of the signs stated that because of trampling from cows and people, the soil has become so compacted that long rooted trees cannot grow here. Also, the high winds prevent trees from growing over five feet.

Mountains

At this point, hikers have the option of taking the 3.5 kilometer [~2 miles] Shihguanyin Trail [石觀音線步道] or the 5 kilometer [~3 miles] Dasi Trail [大溪線步道]:

Fork in the road

I chose to take the longer trail.

Sign

The trails have distance markers every 0.5 kilometers, so you can be constantly reminded of how much you wish you took the shorter trail.

Trail

Before I knew it I was atop this trail’s tallest peak: Mt. Fanshuliao [蕃薯寮山] at 456 meters above sea-level:

High point

Trail Pic

Trail pic

I had packed a lot of food for the trail, but I was starving by the time it was over. From the end of the trail to the train station I think I walked the longest distance possible in Taiwan without seeing a single 7-11 or Family Mart. I did however find a small mom and pop store which sold snacks and refreshments.

Dasi

An abandoned Catholic church:

Abandoned Catholic church

Dasi Train Station:

Dasi Station

These two guys were doing a few renovations to the station. They kept me company during the time spent waiting for the train. In this picture one of them is giving the internationally recognized hand gesture for, “He’s crazy”.

Two guys

One last pic of the train station. I usually like to take a lot of pictures of old train stations, but I was too tired to this time:

Dasi Station

Other posts in this series:

14 thoughts on “Taoyuan Valley Hike: Trail Views and Dasi

  1. Hi Jeff,

    My frens and I hope to go to caoling trail and taoyuan valley on the same day , issit possible?

    Can you advise us on the following:

    1. How to get to taipei to either Taoyuan valley or caoling trail?

    2. How long it takes and how much it will costs?

    3. And from fulong station, how do we get to caoling trail? How long it takes?

    4. And from which station, how do we get to taoyuan valley? How long it takes?

    5. Can caoling trail be linked to taoyuan valley, and we complete it within a day ? and then back to taipei?

    Regards, Jill

  2. Hello, I’m not Jeff, but I’ll field your questions.
    1 and 2. You can take a train from Taipei to Fulong Station to get to the Caoling Trail, costs about $100NT and takes maybe an hour and a half on the slow train (check the train schedules to see if they have a faster one when you go).

    3.At Fulong Station you’ll immediately see signs pointing to the right direction, it’s about a 50 minute walk from Fulong Station to the Caoling Trail (and the sights are gorgeous). The Caoling Trail hike takes about 3-4 hours.

    4. To get to the Taoyuan Valley the closest stations are Dali or Dasi, I would suggest Dali because it is a little more tourist friendly in terms of signage and information, It’s a few stops past Fulong and about the same price, the faster trains don’t stop there so you’ll be stuck on the slow one for the ride. The Taoyuan Valley hike (the path I wrote about) takes about 5-6 hours

    5. The Caoling Trail does link to the Taoyuan Valley near the Tiger inscription. If you were to walk from Fulong to Dasi to see both the Caoling Trail and the Taoyuan Valley in one hike wow, good luck. I don’t know when the last train out of Dasi station is, but you are looking at a 20+km walk start to finish (station to station). The Caoling Trail was a breeze for me, the Taoyuan Valley trip was a bit more tiring. I think the two combined would be a killer. Try the trip from Fulong, once you get to the fork which leads to the Taoyuan Valley ask yourself if you feel you are up to it. Can it be done? Of course! Do I suggest doing so? No.

  3. Fabulous photos!

    Were there a lot of other people on the trail, or was it really that empty? I dream of being able to hike for a few hours without seeing more than a few people, but that has never happened over here. 🙂

  4. Hi Bryan, yes it WAS that empty. About halfway through the trail I took a fifteen minute break. When I got up to start walking again I saw two people in the distance behind me. After about 10 minutes I had lost sight of them, they were the only people I saw on the entire hike. I am sure that wouldn’t happen on a weekend.

  5. Hi Todd,

    I am interested in doing the hike (Taoyuan Valley) that you are talking about. Can you give me directions of how to get there?

    Thanks so much,

    Ruth

  6. hey Todd,
    Nice Blog.. you can really make some amateur like me to fall in love with trails in taiwan..!! actually i just landed here a month back to work with a company.. am from india.. would like to start out with some short trails say 3~4 km in and around taipei.. Please suggest if possible. I am currently in Sanchong city which is in Taipei County.

    There is one trail near 101, I’ve seen directions boards for it. How is it ?

    Thanks anyways,

    akbar

  7. Ruth – Take the train to Dali station (better check the schedule.. the faster trains don’t stop there and I’m not sure how often the slower trains leave), from there walk to Dali Tian-Gong Temple [大里天公廟], next to the temple is a Dali Visitors center on one side and the opposite side of the temple you should find a sign pointing you to the Caoling trail [草嶺古道]… take the trail up the mountain and you will see a sign pointing to the Taoyuan Valley.

    Akbar – Welcome to Taiwan… the trail you are talking about with the signs near 101 is Elephant Mountain… it provides nice views of Taipei City… I haven’t walked it, but I have walked the nearby Tiger Mountain Trail which is also part of the Four Beasts Mountain Public Forest [四獸山市民森林]. I would suggest both of those and Xianjiyan Hiking Trail as all them are pretty relaxing.

  8. Thanks a lot for this great blog. I rarely leave comments on blogs but the quality of your reports and dedication in replying to all the comments you get truly deserve recognition!
    Thanks to you I can organize hikes and visits all around Taipei in the short time given to me in this very nice country.

    Bravo again!
    Olivier, new in Taiwan.
    PS: I’ve officialy added you as one my favourite bookmarks.

  9. Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.

  10. Pingback: Destress signal, part the third (end) « The Frothy Tome

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