Any one of Taiwan’s top six secret forest trails can lead you to explore unique attractions in the forest.
A Water-Friendly Secret Land: Daloulan River Ma’an Ancient Canal
This trail is at Fushan Tribal Village in Wulai District, New Taipei City. It is also known as Fushan Ma’an Ancient Canal. With a length of just 1 km, the trail follows a flat canal by the bank of the Daluolan River with old tall trees on both sides, providing good shade and making it a family-friendly hiking trail. The most impressive feature is the refreshing and healing sound of the flowing water. Visitors can also enjoy the purest natural foot spa. Although it’s a short trail, various animals and plants live in the ecosystem, and the ancient canal has a strong sense of history. After you have finished your hike, you can stop by the Atayal Tribal Village.
A Secret Land in Alishan: Shuishan Trail
This trail is inside Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. Not only green scenery but also the landscapes of the old railway and thousand-year-old giant trees create an atmosphere of calm and tranquility. When you hear the wind whispering in the trees, you can feel the vital power of the forest. Hiking along the old railway tracks, visitors will find an old trestle bridge at the end point. To see the largest giant tree in the recreation area, Shuishan Giant Tree, visitors need to hike up the stone steps for another 200m. Because it’s deep in the forest, it is a less-visited destination, making this secret attraction a hidden land in the recreation area.
A High-Mountain Secret Land (Hehuan North Peak Trail)
Hehuan North Peak is at an altitude of 3,422 m, making it the tallest peak in Hehuanshan and the most challenging hiking trail. The most attractive highlight is the famous tree on North Peak, the Yushan Juniper, and Yushan Cane can be seen everywhere, giving the impression of an Alpine grassland. Above the ridgeline, there is a panoramic view of the distant mountains; on a sunny day, you will be able to make out the Central Mountain Range and Syueshan. Every year in April and May, the high-altitude azaleas (Rhododendron) highlight the beauty of this high-mountain secret land. Due to the high altitude, visitors should keep themselves warm; if you experience any symptoms of altitude sickness, don’t go any higher.
A Challenging Secret Land: Yuanzuishan Trail
At an altitude of 2,180 m, Mt. Yuanzui is at the forest road to Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area in Heping District, Taichung. Together with Shaolaishan and Xiaosyueshan, it is a part of Syueshan. It got its name for the sharp stone on the summit resembling the shape of the beak of the Kite. There are dangerous road conditions and rugged cliffs, making it a short but extremely challenging trail. As it involves rock climbing and descending off a vertical drop with a rope, this trail is only recommended for adventurous people. It is a trip through Taiwan’s mountain forests that is beyond your imagination.
An Adventurous Secret Land: Coral Reef Trail
This trail is inside Kenting National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan’s only well-kept uplifted coral reef forest ecosystem. The most attractive highlight is the geological landscape of coral reef limestone caves, including a stalactite cave called “Fairy Cave” which is a must-visit attraction for adventurous visitors. This is the world of the sea on the land. Hikers on this trail will discover surprises hidden in this magnificent coral reef.
A Healing Secret Land: Maple Forest Trail
Maple Trail is inside Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area. It’s a wide path to the maple forest, bird-watching platform, forest park, and Aowanda Suspension Bridge, which is the most popular attraction in the area and the only way into the pine forest. Hikers on this mountain trail will be surrounded by the sounds of birds and bugs everywhere. The most beautiful scene is the relaxing and healing sight of the sunlight falling through the trees in the forest. Far from the crowds, in this magnificent landscape you can find wonders everywhere including the cherry garden in spring, the waterfall area in summer, the maple areas in fall and winter and a fabulous bird watching platform all year round. Following the breeze and the dancing shadows, visitors can slow down their pace and stand, sit, or lie down along the trail. The maple trail is really a secret reclusive place that brings relief to your five senses.