Tonghou Traversing Trail – 桶後越嶺步道


The Tonghou Traversing Trail (桶後越嶺步道行) was first built and used as a migratory pathway for trade and hunting by the indigenous Atayal people. During the Japanese colonial era, it was expanded into a forest trail for logging and to facilitate operations to control the local indigenous peoples. Now used as a popular hiking trail in Taiwan, the Tonghou Traversing Trail is located at the end ridge of the Snow Mountain Range and at the junction between Wulai District in New Taipei City and Jiaoxi Township in Yilan County. The altitude of this trail ranges between 450 and 730 meters.

For those of you that have been to Neidong National Forest with Parkbus or spent time exploring Wulai District, you’ll know that this area accumulates a lot of rainfall, is humid and gets hot in the summer time. The area is located in a subtropical zone, meaning is surrounding forests reflects this a lush jungle with a dense underbrush of giant ferns and diverse song birds.

The forest road leading to the Tonghou Traversing Trail in Wulai offers spectacular views as well!

As we mentioned, the Tonghou Traversing Trail is a famous historic trade and hunting route traditionally used by the Atayal People. There are in fact two other historic including Happen Traversing Trail 哈盆越嶺古道 and the Fuba Traversing Historic Trail 福巴越嶺古道 between Wulai and Lalashan in Taoyuan. The Tonghou Traversing Trail 桶后越嶺古道 is a long hike, but the trail is not technically challenging. The first 12km are mostly flat and on a hard surfaced forest road (桶後林道) managed by the Hsinchu Forest Bureau. The remaining 6.8km is the actual Tonghou Traversing Trail. The guests will hike a total of 19km from drop off in Wulai to Yilan County. There is no public transit to the trailheads on either side. This point-to-point trail or thru hike is a perfect Parkbus Taiwan destination. We’ll take care of the transportation, so you can enjoy a day out on the trail.

Hiking in Taiwan is a very accessible activity with many hiking routes located within a short transit ride from major urban and sub-urban areas. Then there are hiking experiences in Taiwan that are remote and difficult to get to. Getting to the Tonghou Traversing Trail is difficult without your own vehicle and hiking along the Tonghou Traversing Trail gives hikers access to one of the more remote regions of Northern Taiwan.

Hikes/Trails & Points of Interest:

Hikers joining a Parkbus trip will start this trip from Wulai and there is essentially one hike that encompasses the Tonghou Traversing Trail. The trail itself is only 6.8km long, but the forest road connecting to the trail is 13km of scenic walking along a valleys edge with views of rivers, mountains and jungles.

Behind the Barrel Forest Road 桶後林道 (13km / 2.5-3hrs)

This hiking experience begins at the 0km marker of a forest road in the remote Xiaoyi village in Wulai District of New Taipei City. Guests will be dropped off at 0km marker and walk 1km to the park gate. No admission fee is required. The Forest Road winds its way down the valley following the curves of the Tonghou River. The roads is a single lane road (no vehicles) and a mix of hard surface and compact soil. The trail continues to hug the mountain side and offers beautiful views of the valley and river. The elevation on this part of the hike is moderate and gradual with a total gain of about 200m. The road gradually becomes level with the river until hikers arrive at a small concrete building belonging to Taipower (See image below). This is close to the trail head of the Tonghou Traversing Trail. This section of the trail should take hikers 2.5-3 hours to complete.

The Forest Road ends at a small concrete building next to the Tonghou River. A great place to stop and rest.

Tonghou Traversing Trail 桶後越嶺步道行 (6.8km / 2.5-3hrs)

After reaching the trailhead, this section of the trip will be hiking along a more traditional hiking trail in Taiwan. Compact soil, stone steps and a few man-made bridges and trail infrastructure. There are some semi-steep sections with ropes to support hikers, but this route is not technically challenging. This is a beautiful hike through a lush jungle along a very picturesque and winding river with lots of opportunities to grab lunch by the river and go for a swim to cool off before hiking the final stretch of this trip.

The terrain and elevation varies, but the forest and trail during this section offers hikers a great diversity of landscapes and ecosystems. Continuing upstream the stream gradually gets smaller. There are a few sections that take hikers away from and reconnect to the stream. One such section features a large metal stairway section as seen in the image below.

Interesting man-made trail features give this rout diverse experiences. Source

The Parkbus event will have hikers reach the end of the Tonghou Traversing Trail and continue for a short distance longer to the bus pick up location. The Tonghou Traversing Trail section of the route should take between 2.5-3hrs with time to rest for lunch and cool off near the river. If you plan on relaxing for longer periods, please be advised to monitor the time and hike at a pace that allows for this.

The trail features a mixed terrain under a shaded canopy. A perfect way to end this day out hiking in Taiwan.

For a full description of this section of the trip, please visit Anusha’s blog about her experience.

Final Forest Road (3km / 25-45mins)

After reaching the end of the Tonghou Traversing Trail, guests will descend the final 3km towards the designated bus pick up location. This section of the trail is compact soil surface and a double track road. It’s not suitable for most vehicles so we will coordinate pick further down the trail. This section is not shaded, but offers beautiful views across Yilan County and out towards Turtle Island.

Note: Hikers signing up to this hike should be comfortable walking long distances and have the capabilities to navigate off-road terrain with some elevation changes. Please consider your own skills against the description of the trails above including distance and terrain. If you have any questions, please contact Parkbus Taiwan to discuss further.

Parkbus Taiwan offers direct and convenient transportation from Taipei to nature across Taiwan. If you’re looking for opportunities to explore Taiwan’s great hiking sites and outdoor destinations, be sure give this service a try.

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.

One thought on “Tonghou Traversing Trail – 桶後越嶺步道

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: