Taking the old mining town of Shifen as its starting point this section of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails takes you up towards Mount Wufen before plunging down into shady valleys on its way to Nuannuan. There are some lovely scenes to enjoy along the way including a bright red trailside temple and a spectacular ravine.
The icing on the cake of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails, this route comprised of five stitched together historic trails shows you some of the most beautiful scenery you can find in northern Taiwan.
The southern stretch of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails starts from the historic centre of Wanhua and heads through urban parks and market streets on its way to the edge of the city.
The most southeasterly section of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails hews close to Beiyi North Road as it winds its way over hill and stream into the hot spring town of Jiaoxi. Aside from the always popular Paoma Historic Trail, you can reasonably expect to have the path all to yourself for long stretches.
The first stretch of road leading out of Shenkeng isn’t much to write home about, but the rest of the journey soon makes up for it. The sound of water accompanies you for most of the way, as the trail sticks close to first Jingmei Stream, then Wutuku Stream, going against the flow as you head away from Taipei.
The northernmost span of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails follows the course of the Keelung River upriver from Taipei almost as far as the coast before veering south towards Jiufen. The section between Xizhi and Ruifang jumps from small town to small town, passing lots of temples and traces of history along the way.
This peaceful part of the northern Tamsui-Kavalan Trails traverses the slopes of the valley south of Jinguashi. Along the way you’ll pass deserted mining settlements, a tomb with a tragic tale, (or two, or three, or four), and a now abandoned dam in the middle of the forest.
The stretch of the Tamsui-Kavalan trails leading into Shifen from the south is probably the quietest section of the middle route, but don’t let that put you off. This really has the feel of a functional historic trail, leading you over the hills and across the valley from one village to another. And those who walk it south to north can reward themselves with some snacks from Shifen Old Street.
This leg of the journey ties up the northern, middle and southern routes on their route into the centre of Yilan. Along the way you can stop to take in some grand coastal scenery, soak up the sun at the surfer beach in Wai'ao, visit Toucheng's historic old street and dip your toes in Jiaoxi's hot spring waters. Although it may not seem like the obvious place to go for a stroll, those who do walk this way will certainly find plenty to keep themselves interested.
The first step on the southern span of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails, this walk takes you from Da’an District over the hills to the popular sightseeing spot of Shenkeng Old Street. Depending on you view of the town’s famous stinky tofu this is either a perfect reward for a day of hard walking, or sore punishment.
This part of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails has two unique claims to fame, not only does it have the oldest original section of path, but it also overlaps with the route that the Japanese took when they marched from Yanliao to modern-day Taipei in 1895.
Hikers in Taiwan are spoilt for choice, we have an almost endless number of paths to get our boots dirty on. Here are five of the trails that have proved particularly popular in 2020, as well as five that deserve to be more widely enjoyed.
Much of the original Tamsui-Kavalan Trails have been swallowed up by Taipei's urban sprawl. In this section you follow the course of the city's subterranean train tracks past some of the old factories that spurred on the development of the railway network, past grand historic temples, and on towards Keelung River.
This stretch of the northern Tamsui-Kavalan Trails connects the relaxed beach town of Fulong with the fishing villages of Shicheng and Dali. On the way it takes you past the old Caoling Tunnel, and perhaps even follows the route taken by Wusha - the immigrant credited with being ‘the pioneer of Yilan’.
Ruifang to Shuangxi forms part of the northern road of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails. It passes through several rural communities and is a relatively easy route, since much of it follows established roads. It also passes the famous Jinzibei steele.