Taoyuan Valley Trail – 桃源谷步道

For those looking for spectacular views of mountain and ocean, the Taoyuan Valley Trail is a perfect day trip from Taipei. This trail will take hikers to Taiwan’s east coast and along the edge of the coastal mountains where these rugged, yet peaceful mountains meet the Pacific Ocean. While there are a number of connecting trails that make up the Taoyuan Valley Trail network, this area was formerly known as “Da Niu Pu” (大牛埔) or “Bang Cowboy Mountain” (綑牛仔山).

Views from the Taoyuan Valley Trail are endless.

Many years ago, farmers used the grasslands to allow their cattle and water buffalo to graze here. This hike is beautiful and stunning year round, as the grasslands, mountains and oceans are really charming. Getting out here from Taipei in one day is a great way to spend a day on one of the northeast’s best trails.

Water Buffalo on the Taoyuan Valley Trail have become famous instagram stars for those hiking in Taiwan.

Hiking Route Information

While, there are in fact many routes to the Taoyuan Valley, including the Caoling Line, Neiliao Line, Stone Guanyin Line and the Daxi Line, this Parkbus Taiwan event will be taking the Daxi Line.

  • TOTAL HIKING DISTANCE – 12km
  • TOTAL HIKING TIME – 5-6hrs

Taoyuan Valley Trail (Daxi Line) 5km – The first section is just over 3 kilometers walking in the woods, climbing Fanshuliao or “Sweet Potato” Mountain (蕃薯寮山). From here hikers will go up the ridgeline for another 2 kilometers arriving in the grasslands of the Taoyuan Valley. The whole journey ascends nearly 3,000 stone steps and more than 500 meters. It’s a rewarding thigh burner! Once we have gotten to the top, we will connect with the Caoling Line heading northeast. There is a washroom, but no drinking water available on this section of the trail.

Taoyuan Valley Trail (Caoling Line) 4.5km – This section is approximately 4.5km in length and traverses the ridge line of the coast mountains. The trail here is wood or stone stairs with some compact soil areas. Generally quite comfortable hiking with moderate to heavy winds off the ocean and lots of sun. There are few shaded areas along this section of the trail. Please bring hat and sunscreen. There is a washroom, but no drinking water available on this section of the trail.

The Caoling Line of the Taoyuan Valley Trail is stunning and a photographers dream with rolling horizons.

Caoling Historic Trail 3km – Connecting from the Taoyuan Valley Trail to the Caoling Historic Trail at an observation deck with stunning views of Turtle Island and the Pacific Ocean, hikers will continue down the switch backs towards Dali. A small cafe is located about 1km from the end of the trail and offers juice, coffee, light snacks and other refreshments. Washrooms and drinking water is available at the cafe and at the visitor center at the end of the Caoling Historic Trail.

Places of Interest

Taoyuan Valley – Where the Buffalo roam. The grasslands continue for over 3km along a picturesque ridge line between Neiliao Mountain (內寮山) and Wankentou Mountain (灣坑頭山) on the northern reaches of the Snow Mountain Range (雪山山脈). When hikers arrive at the top of the grasslands take in the stunningly beautiful 360 degree views of this section of Taiwan’s northeastern coastline. In fact, there is more to see too, including the famed Turtle Island (龜山島) off the coast, and the mountains of Pingxi District (平溪區) to the west. 

Caoling Historic Trail (草嶺古道) –  Originally built over 130 years ago, by the Qing Dynasty, to be the only land link connection between Tamsui and Yilan. Now, the only remaining section of trail spans from the Fulong Beach area, through the mountains and plains to Dali, on the coast in Yilan. The current section of trail is about 10 kilometers long, making for a beautiful day in the Northeast Coastal section of Taiwan.

The Caoling Historic Trail is famed for its Silvergrass swaying in the coastal winds.

Dali Visitor Center (東北角大里遊客中心) – Stop in and check out this impressive visitor center provides with interesting information on the area’s culture and history, such as insight into the local area known as the Lanyang Plain. At the center’s plaza, there is a replica of the ancient tiger inscription of Caoling Historic Trail. Visitors are encouraged to make rubbings of the inscription here. The Caoling Historic Trail Silver Grass Hall on the second floor takes the famous silver grass as its theme. It gives a comprehensive introduction of the plant’s population here, the relevant natural ecology, and how silver grass can be used in everyday life, including its potential for being used as biofuel.

The Dali Visitor Center has some unique exhibits on local culture and ecology. Source.

Dali Tiangong Temple 大里天公廟 – Located adjacent to Dali Train Station and Visitor Center is Dali Tiangong Temple. The temple was first built in 1836, with the main god being the Sky God. The villagers wanted to build this temple as a place for carrying on the souls of those who have passed. Rebuilt over the eyars it took its final form in 1904.

Flora and Fauna – Yilan County gets some of the most rainfall in Taiwan and the forests, ferns and the inhabitants reflect this climate. Wet, humid (during the summer months) and forested mountains create habitat for a large variety of flora and fauna (aka plants and animals!). While this is a fairly popular hiking trail, larger mammals have been spotted in the area, including Formosan Macaques (please don’t feed them), mongoose as well as squirrels, a variety of amphibians, reptiles and birds. The famous Water Buffalo will

Published by Parkbus Taiwan

Parkbus Taiwan is a solutions-oriented tourism initiative aimed at connecting city to nature through reliable, reservable and responsible transportation options.

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