Jianxibao’s giant Red Cypress trees are often overlooked by nearby Smangus or Lalashan but they might be better than both and less traveled. There just happens to be a stunning stream that is crossed twice on the hike but at the end of the day you will only remember the giant trees and the mossy forest.
The hike: It is an easy 8.3 km hike on the main hiking loop (Loop B) past the waterfalls. The hike leaves from the main parking area on a dirt road and quickly becomes a forested path. At 1.6 kms Loop A splits off from the the path and heads uphill to some additional giant trees and eventually Dulongtan (Poison Dragon Lake). That is a difficult (really difficult) but outstanding hike in itself. Loop B continues straight and at about 2.5 kms the path splits again. This is a loop and it doesn’t matter which path you take. Overall this is an easy hike with very little elevation gain. If you have an additional day (and good weather) it is highly recommended that you hike all the up to Dulongtan (5.4kms one way and 800 meters of elevation gain).
How to get there: Take Hsinchu hwy 60 from Jianshi all the way to the end. Near the end the road to Smangus turns left down the hill but the road to Jianxibao continues for almost 10 more kms. You will need to arrange an overnight stay because this is really far away from anything (other than Smangus).
Other info: 50/150/200NT fee for parking (scooter/car/large vehicle) – We stayed at a lovely reasonably priced guesthouse (035847715/0358477168 Chinese required) near Jianxibao.
GPS coordinates: parking lot – N24.55407 E121.29310 – Dulongtan N24.53447 E121.28432 – Waterfall N24.54087 E121.29694