The trail from Ruili to Fenqihu is one of the the best trails to see Taiwan’s famous bamboo. Beware though that there are a couple of steep sections of trail that go on FOREVER. I definitely prefer going up steep parts than down them though.
Hikers will need to arrange transportation from both ends of the trail or hike just a portion of it and return to their vehicles/bus. My recommendation is to hike the Ruili portion of the trail along with the Taihe side trail. This was by far my favorite part of the hike.
How to get there – The Ruili trailhead is on county road 166 near the intersection of county road 162 and 166. It is located at a sharp bend in the road with a large mapboard of the trail. The Fenqihu trailhead is located on county road 169 up the hill from Fenqihu. There are some rock steps that come down to the road but no marker for the trail.
Mass transit – Bus 7315 leaves Chiayi at 9:15am and returns at 1:15pm if you return to the trailhead. You could also hike to Fenqihu which has more bus options including a 5pm bus (7302) back to Chiayi or a 3:43 bus (7322) back to Chiayi. Verify these timetables before your trip.
The hike – Hiking from the Ruili side is fairly straightforward. The trail rises at a moderate rate until the Taihe junction. My favorite part of the hike is the loop to Taihe and I would recommend this if you have limited time. IT IS STEEP though. It goes up 200 meters in <1 km (counter clockwise loop) but the scenery is great. At the end of the loop there is a pavilion and a path that continues to Taihe. The loop continues almost exactly where you left the woods and returns to the junction on a much gentler grade.
After the junction, the trail to Fenqihu is almost as steep as Hero Slope but the ascent is much longer going up 300 meters in a little over 1.5 km. I didn’t expect this and it was an exhausting hike up to the top. Once at the top there are several trails and roads but signs (some small) point you in the right direction.
I think coming up Fenqihu would be confusing. There were many trails, roads and intersections. Some were marked while others were quite vague. Good luck if you go that way.
Google Maps Link – Ruili Trailhead N23.543326 E120.683341 Fenqihu Trailhead N23.505831 E120.693783
Date visited – 6/18/2016
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