Words by Li Chiao-chi, Yen Yong-chin Translated by Anna Yang Photograph by Li Pei-hsuen Photos provided by Fushoushan Farm, Taichung Travel Net, Chu Yen-chang
Taichung is home to a sweeping, diverse terrain that is perfect for family-oriented nature outings. Whether your preference is biking along a greenway, hiking or camping, the natural scenery and settings will help you escape from busy urban living. This summer, enjoy some relaxing explorations with Mother Nature!
With the arrival of the warmer months of summer, many of us may feel more like lazing at home in the comforts of an air-conditioned room, perhaps watching TV or browsing on our cellphones instead of being out in the sun.
However, it is still possible to have lots of fun outside in Taichung, even if it’s quite hot, if you choose the right venue. For example, biking along the city’s greenways and walking on forest paths are both relaxing leisure activities. If you want to spend more relaxing moments with your family members and bond with them, these options are definitely better than staying home by yourself and your electronic gadgets.
When it comes to summer outings, many people immediately think of Beitun District’s Dakeng Scenic Area, also known as “Taichung’s backyard”. Here are 12 hiking trails, ranging from 100 to 800 meters above the sea level, with each route varying in length and variety of beautiful scenery. All this makes hiking here perfect for anyone wanting to boost their fitness and/or enjoy a simple outing with family and friends.
Houfeng Bikeway was built over a former mountain railroad line and takes bicyclists on an scenic ride over the majestic-looking Hualiang Steel Bridge and through the tranquil countryside to scenery along Dajia River’s banks. If you would like to get away from the summer heat, an excursion to Fushoushan Farm south of Heping District’s Lishan (梨山) is a great choice. The attractive natural environment here offers a relaxing environment for exploring many facets of nature. If you truly want to get away from the city, this farm is also Taiwan’s highest camping site, allowing you to spend a few eventful days surrounded by the great outdoors.
Take your family on trip to one of these outdoor destinations this summer and experience Taichung’s best leisure locations. Enjoying the breezes with some exercise is a wonderful way to welcome the season!
Venue #1: Hiking in Taichung’s ‘backyard garden’
Dakeng’s 12 Hiking Trails
Taichung’s Dakeng Scenic Area has 12 hiking trails that offer different challenges. Enjoy the pleasant summer weather with a walk or hike while embracing nature!
For novice hikers or those with young children, the No.9 Trail next to Dakeng’s 921 Park is recommended, as it’s conveniently near parking lots (Jingbuku Parking Lot or 921 Park Parking Lot). This trail is also not as steep and visitors can enjoy a variety of trees–including acacia, bamboo and tung trees–along its route, together with nice breezes and sweeping city views when they reach to the top.
- To help avoid wasps and other insects, don’t use perfumes or wear colorful clothing.
- If you see a hornet or wasp’s nest while hiking, stay away and do not disturb it.
- Do not hike in bad weather and take safety precautions.
Venue #2: Bike along steel-beam bridges and enjoy splendid views
Houfeng Bike Path
This bike path, built on top of a former mountain railway line, is 4.5 kilometers long. However, if you combine it with the intersecting Dongfeng Bikeway, you can experience a total route of 18 kilometers. This bikeway crosses Dajia Xi (river) and riders can enjoy the views and sensations of crossing the Hualiang Steel Bridge and traveling through the century-old former railway Tunnel No. 9. Thanks to its greenery-lined, tree-shaded route, this bike path is a very popular site among visitors and was voted as one of Taiwan’s top 10 bikeways.
Venue #3: Enjoy star-filled overnight stays at the high-mountain ‘Apple House’ Fushoushan Farm
In the past, the government dispatched retired soldiers to cultivate a new farm on Fushoushan (Fushou Mt.) and, with the passage of time, this spot has now been transformed into a leisure farm, occupying a total area of about 670 hectares. Visitors appreciate the blooming flowers during the spring, come to escape the heat in the summer, pick fruit in the autumn, and enjoy the views of the snow during the winter. Every season in Fushoushan Farm offers a variety of scenes. Thanks to its 2,000-meter elevation, visitors can not only relax in more pleasant temperatures during the summer, but also enjoy its fruit trees, ever-changing sea of clouds, and a recently-promoted “apple-shaped camping shelter”. Visitors only need to bring their sleeping bags to enjoy this fun, romantic-feeling structure, which is well-equipped and decorated with artists’ beautiful fluorescent wall murals, making it idea for a one or two night stay.