Zhenshan Mountain Trail was a stunning hike at the little known (to me) Guanwu Recreation Area. Guanwu Recreation Area is most well known as being the trailhead for Dabajianshan and I enjoyed Guanwu Waterfall Trail but I loved hiking Zhenshan. I was initially disappointed by being teased by an obstructed view of Zhenshan Waterfall but the rest of the trail was incredibly beautiful.
In addition to the 3 day trek of Dabajianshan and Zhenshan, you can also hike to Guanwu Waterfall and the Kauishan Giant Trees. You can do Guanwu Waterfall and one of the other dayhikes in a single day but it would be difficult to do more than that.
How to get there – Go down Hsinchu county road 122 all the way until the end of the road. This is a long, slow drive with many single lane parts but the road is mostly in good condition and offers amazing views along the entire way. After entering Guanwu Forest Recreation Area go left at a Y junction past the police station and visitor center. Continue following the ever smaller (but good) road until come to a large parking lot next to some villas and what looks like a closed restaurant. Zhenshan shares a trailhead with Guanwu Waterfall Trail but you walk south from the parking lot.
The hike – The hike now includes almost 2km on the Dalu Forestry Road (closed to cars) to reach the trailhead. Almost immediately you pass a junction for the bird watching trail option coming back from Guanwu Waterfall. Shortly after that you pass a trail junction to Honeymoon Bluff which also connects to Kauishan Giant Trees Trail. Dalu Forestry Road remains closed after the Zhenshan Trailhead.
The Zhenshan Trail splits into a loop about 100 meters from the Dalu Forestry Road. I took the left side of the loop but it might be easier to take right side of the loop and end a nice pavilion next to the waterfall that you can’t really see or access. The trail to the right is a long and well graded natural path up to the summit. Near the top there are unofficial markers to an additional peak and A LOT OF yellow tape from park officials blocking it. At the top there are numerous 3000 meter peaks to see but I was surrouned by fog (quite awesome actually). If you choose to complete the loop there will be a lot of stairs down to an old forestry road. The forestry road is about 1 km long and is a great option for those that want the scenery without ascending 300 meters to the summit. At the end of the forestry road portion of the trail (near the start of the loop) there is a nice pavilion above the hard to see Zhenshan Waterfall.
Mass transit – Not possible
Date visited: 1/16/2017
Other blogs – Riding to Guanwu with Tales of a Wannabe Vagabond