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Alishan Secret Spot for Sunrise – Zhushan Footpath

2021/04/22
Zhushan Footpath in Alishan National Forest Recreation Area mainly connects Zhaoping Station, Zhaoping Park, Zhushan Forest Road, and Sunrise Viewing Lot. It’s the major route for a sunrise hike. 

The entrance to Zhushan Footpath is close to Zhaoping Station. Go uphill via the steps by following the clear direction signs and lights along the way; after passing by the Taiwan Plelone Formosana Story House and The Alishan Salamander Exhibit Hall, the trail enters the forestation of hundred-year-old Taiwan Cypress . Tourists can enjoy exclusive forest bathing because Zhushan Footpath for Sunrise has played a very low-profile role and has had a high-quality secluded atmosphere since the small train became the major form of transportation for tourists.  
 
Zhushan Footpath

The trail goes uphill with a gentle slope, and after the first 1 km, it connects with the Zhushan Forest Road covered with asphalt. However, tourists shouldn’t worry about hiking with passing vehicles because the road has turned into the best route path exclusively for tourists and the Tourist Bus to access the observation of the natural ecosystem. Continue for another 15 minutes, and hikers can reach Zhushan Station, the highest railway station in Taiwan. The Zhushan Viewing Lot is right in front of the station. However, this is not the end; please take the right way for another 20-minute walk to reach the Mt. Ogasawara Viewing Lot with its 360-degree view. This place is usually packed with people; however, it’s a spot for people to wait for the sunrise and cloud sea in a relaxed way. At the same time, you’ll be surrounded by the magnificent landscapes of the Central Mountain Range, the Yushan Range, and Alishan Range – the best spot for the sunrise.

It is suggested that people who worry they can’t move fast enough or prefer not to walk in darkness take the Zhushan Small Train to go uphill; after watching the sunrise, they can walk in a leisurely manner downhill along Zhushan Forest Road and Zhushan Footpath. That’s a route for experiencing the pleasure of riding the forest train as well as observing the sunrise and cloud sea. If they feel fatigued while hiking, hikers can stop for some tea at “Mountain Ali Tea No.35,” which is hidden near the Alpine Botanical Garden, and enjoy a quiet moment in the forest. If lucky enough, you may find the king of the mist, the Mikado Pheasant, searching for food! 

Zhishan Forest Road
 
It is suggested that people who are confident in their hiking ability can pay a visit to Duegaoyue Station. During autumn and winter, the Reddening Maple forest that is next to the wooden trestle will turn from yellow to red. When strolling among the falling red leaves, you can feel a romantic atmosphere. Although it takes 3 hours to finish the round trip of the Dougaoyue Trail in the neighborhood area, it’s rated as an easily accessible hiking route. However, on the return trip, it takes another 40–50 minutes to walk from Duegaoyue Station to Zhaoping Station. Tourists can take the Alishan Electric Tourist Bus at Zhushan Station as the transportation back to Zhaoping Station or the Tourist Service Center. Remember to evaluate your personal strength on the tour of the forest experience! 

The facilities of Zhushan Station, which was built a long time ago, do not meet the current requirements of local tourism in Taiwan. Therefore rebuilding started on October 14, 2020, and the duration is estimated to be 17 months. At present, the Zhushan Line for sunrise will stop at Duegayue Station, which is near the Duegaoyue Viewing Lot with a wide view for a good scenic spot for sunrise. You may walk for 1 km from Duegayue Station to Zhushan Viewing Point and Xiaoliyuan Viewpoint to watch the Alishan sunrise and beautiful landscape. The hiking route takes about 20–30 minutes.

Zhushan Station
 
If you prefer not to take the small train uphill, taking Alishan Zhushan Line Tourist Bus for the sunrise is another option. The updated bus schedule will be posted one day before departure; tourists can reserve the tickets in advance or buy the tickets at the site, but only the tickets for the current day. For more information about the operation of Alishan Electric Tourist Bus, please go to http://www.jc-evbus.com.tw/jiacheng/service.aspx?id=1 for inquiry. The service phone is 0800-263520.

【Basic Information】
  • Location :Alishan Township, Chiayi County
  • Altitude :2,270 – 2,488 m
  • Road Condition :Stone steps, forest path, and wooden trestle
  • Length :2.8 km for one way
  • Difficulty Rating :Easy (suggested for people with better hiking strength)
  • Best Season to Visit :All year round
  • Spotlight Attraction :Sunrise, sunset, cloud sea, and middle and high altitude birds. 
  • Hike Duration :3 hours and 20 minutes (roundtrip)
  • Route :Zhoping Station (Zhushan Footpath Archway) → Zhushan Forest Road→ Zhushan Station (Sunrise Viewing Lot) → Xiaoliyuan Viewing lot→ Return via the same route
  • Notes :The Zhushan Footpath is located in the mist of a high mountain at the altitude of 2,000 meters. The beginning section is more slippery. Although there are lights along the way, tourists should walk carefully with a flashlight and wear sports shoes to avoid falls.