The cedar forest on the Giant Tree Trail
Xitou Recreation Area is a beautiful place with numerous hiking trails. Consistent with most of the national recreation areas it is crowded on weekends and has well built trails that are accessible to most hikers. Overall there must be about 15-20 kms of trails that crisscross Xitou.
Rating and length – easy – 3-20kms depending on which trails you take – Fenghuangshan (Phoenix Mountain) will be the longest and most difficult taking at least half of the day (I have not hiked it yet)
The hike – there are 10-15 trails that are 500m to 3kms long to choose from in the park. Most of the trails are relatively flat and short but Fenghuangshan will require some effort since you climb the mountain to the east of the park. I enjoyed the Giant Tree Trail through the center of the park. There is also a skywalk that gives an interesting point of view (22.6 meters above ground).
How to get there – Turn off of the 3 freeway onto Highway 3 and start following signs to Xitou Forest Recreation Area. After 2-3 kms on Highway 3 turn left onto Nantou 151. Follow this until you get to Xitou Forest Recreation Area. Turn left off of the main road and then turn left into the main parking lot. Expect the traffic to be awful on a weekend. It is also possible to get to Xitou by bus departing from Taichung HSR station or from Taichung train station. Take the bus headed towards Shanlinshi and get off at Xitou.
GPS – N23.676470, N120.796467
Cost – 200/adult 100/car
Date visited – 11/9/2014