If you've ever travelled to Yilan on Freeway Number 5, you might have glanced right just before you entered the first of the long tunnels and seen a tree-coated ridge running towards the west. If you're like me, that glimpse of intriguingly knobbly peaks and dips might have lead you to wonder what walking possibilities were hidden by the lush green foliage. The answer is the Bijia ridge trail - a strenuous, (but not difficult), and enjoyable trek which offers occasional great views and plenty of fun hiking.
Think the Nangang mountain range has nothing challenging to offer? Think elephant mountain is the height of excitement? Think again. Hidden between the ridge path of the Nangang trail and the network of small paths around the lower reaches, there are a series of more difficult climbs to tackle. This route incorporates the hardest of them all.
Zhi Gao Zhen is a small canal in Wuri that draws water from Fazi River to irrigate farms in Nantun, Wuri and Dadu. The shaded and well-paved trail stretches from Wuri to Dadu District and with the sound of the water playing as backdrop music, it is a gentle trail, perfect for a weekend stroll with the family. If you have a little more energy, you can turn it into a loop by adding a short scramble up to a low overlook with views over Changhua.
This challenging, but exceedingly fun route leads you from one of northern Taiwan's most scenic hot spring villages up some steep scrambles with great views over the valley. Remember to bring a towel and you can treat your tired feet to a soak in Wulai's mineral-rich waters at the end of the hike.
This little there-and-back in Puli township would make for a perfect romantic afternoon stroll. Start from the top and head down for a lakeside wander and maybe a coffee before making your way uphill in time to catch the sunset as it plays out over the city below.
For those wishing to experience all of Taiwan in a short time, you could do a lot worse than trying out this loop. As a microcosm of Taiwan it covers almost all the bases: grand temples, spectacular mountain scenery, aboriginal culture, bustling old streets and well crafted tourist experiences, (and of course sharing the road with motorists who view traffic rules as optional).
A short, simple, there-and-back type of trail which takes you to two reasonably tall waterfalls. Bring the bug spray and a small picnic to enjoy a comfortable afternoon listening to the soothing sounds of water and paddling in the pools under the falls.