Yuanzuishan Trail is well-known for its steep cliff, especially the near vertical rock ridge wall which makes visitors experience the true meaning of “harder going downhill than climbing up.” If you’re an adventurous person, it’s the must-do trail for you.
Mt. Yuanzui stands at 2,180 m above sea level, and is located on the forest road in the Heping district of Taichung toward the Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area. Along with Shaolaishan and Xiaosyueshan in the Xueshan Range, it got its name from the sharp stone on the summit resembling the shape of the beak of the Kite bird. With dangerous road conditions and a rugged cliff, the trail has a total length of 3 km. Starting from the entrance at the point of 27K, the initial section is a gently rising path with steps going uphill. After passing the fork road of Mt. Hengling and Mt. Yuanzui, the trail goes straight up over a boulder pavement with tree roots. The forest landscapes vary from the cultured forest, natural broad-leaved forest to coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest, including forests at middle and high altitudes.
Besides the rich landscape variation in the forest, visitors can see Taiwan’s unique species of flower called Yushan Rhododendron on the final section of the trail at the edge of a cliff. Every year in April and May, the flower season, Azalea blossoms decorate the summit with pink and white colors. Those Azaleas growing on the bare rock surface are more attractive with their wild nature than those on the plains. You’ll need your hands and feet to climb the last section. Take a deep breath on each careful step and hold the rope tightly on the way uphill, and you will make it up the vertical rock wall. When you arrive at the summit, take in the 360-degree panoramic view of the Xueshan Range, the Yushan Range, and the Central Mountain Range which you can make out in the far distance on sunny days.
Although Yuanzuishan Trail is not a long-distance hiking path, you can feel the excitement all the way. Especially going downhill from Yuanzui E. ridge, you will feel that it is more dangerous than climbing up due to the fact that there is no flat surface to stand on. You will have the instinct to use a crouching position and turn around to back all the way downhill. Follow the “Three-Point Rule” to climb down carefully. That’s the moment you strongly experience the true meaning of “harder going downhill than climbing up.” The trail is recommended to people who are adventurous and enjoy challenging hikes. The trail not only brings you excitement but it is also beyond your imagination about Taiwan’s mountain forests.
【Basic Information 】
- Location：Heping District, Taichung City
- Altitude：1,796 – 2,180 m
- Road Condition：wooden steps, a primitive mountain path, a ridge of a cliff
- Length：3 km
- Difficulty Rating：intermediate to difficult
- Best Season to Visit：all year round
- Spotlight Attraction：forest landscape variation, Taiwan Alpine Rhododendron in April and May
- Hike Duration：3.5 hr (round trip)
- Route：the entrance of Mt. Yuanzui Trail (at the 27K point of Dasyueshan Forest Road/ pavilion (turn into a rocky road)→Mt. Yuanzui → the sign of 1.7K point toward Shaolaishan (take a right turn and continue to the point of 27.3K) → the point of 27.3K of Dasyueshan Forest Road→ the entrance of the Mt. Yuanzui Trail (at the 27K point of Dasyueshan Forest Road)
- Most visitors start mountaineering from the entrance of Mt. YuanzuiTrail: in order to avoid meeting up with the returning groups of climbers on narrow cliffs, it’s suggested to take the branch path on the way back from Mt. Yuanzui for a smooth and safe walk downhill.
- There’s a cliff with a rope hanging off the cliff; it’s not an easy challenge for beginners and people who are afraid of heights.