Shikeng (#10 hole) Hot Spring 十坑溫泉 is one of the coolest natural hot springs in Taiwan. Limestone colors the pool opaque white but the oddest part is the brilliant green micro-organism where the hot spring trickles down the rocks.
Shikeng Hot Spring isn’t easy to reach though. First, you will have to drive on an awful road with signs in Chinese telling you the wrong direction. Then, you need to hike 18 km round back to the hot spring. 4×4’s (real 4×4’s with lift kits) have made the walk fairly easy though. The only downside is that the hot spring can get quite crowded on a weekend. I thought there vehicles were awesome but didn’t like that they set up camp <5 meters away from the hot spring.
Qikeng (#7 hole) Hot Spring is located near the trailhead and is also nice but potentially more crowded. There is a nice waterfall (maybe 4 meters) near Qikeng Waterfall that could be relaxing on a hot day. About half way to Shikeng Hot Spring is a 60+ meter waterfall but it will be dry most of the time. Shisankeng (#13 hole) Hot Spring is 3 more hours upstream.
How to get there – Turn east in Baolai at the 7-11 and follow the road as it turns to the left going past a temple. It turns a few more times and then heads uphill. Go straight on this road until Xiaoguanshan Road turns left. Follow Xiaoguanshan Road around one switchback and then turn right instead of taking the switchback.
This is where the road conditions quickly deteriorate. Cars should expect to bottom out on small rocks and there are a couple of steep sections that are difficult to get up but we drove a car and saw many cars at the trailhead.
Follow this mostly paved but sometime gravel road until you reach a rock with Qikeng Hot Spring 七坑溫泉 painted on it in red paint. The arrow points left but that road is no longer accessible due to numerous landslides. Go right and the road twists through a farm. The farm is near the end of the road and just after the farm is a steep switch back down to a parking lot. Scooter can 100 more meters down the road as the point that the road truly becomes awful. This is among the worst roads that I have driven my car on in Taiwan and I rarely don’t try to go down roads.
You cannot access the riverbed with a vehicle here.
The hike – Follow the trail down the riverbed where an old dead tree still stands to mark your exit when you leave. After that follow the riverbed upstream to Qikeng Hot Spring (about 1 hour) or all the way to Shikeng Hot Spring (3 hours at a steady pace). The small waterfall shortly after Qikeng Hot Spring is a nice sight to check out particularly if it is hot. The dry waterfall is a little past the halfway point and there is a chance that the valley might still be accessible after a light rain. Overall the valley isn’t that exciting but the hike is easy on the 4×4 road back to Shikeng Hot Spring. It is common to camp at Shikeng Hot Spring and
Date visited – 3/12/2017
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