Weiliaoshan is located just outside of Maolin and is an excellent hike within easy driving distance of Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Tainan. Overall the trail is well maintained but it is a natural trail with rock steps and it would be very slippery if it started raining. The trail has some excellent moments such as the pictured grove of trees and scenic views (if clear) of Maolin and the western plain of Taiwan but imo it is best used as a hard training hike. It climbs 1275 meters in about 8.5 km and gets quite steep at the end.
Rating and length – Strenuous – 17 kms (8 hours) round trip (the km posts say 9+ kms to the top)
Accessibility – paved roads and a well built trail – very slippery in the last 3 km if it rains
How to get there – The hike starts just outside of Maolin. Turn south off of Hwy 27 and almost immediately there is a steep road on the left side. Park on the east side of 185.
The hike – The hike starts up a concrete road and it shortly becomes a dirt road. The first junction on the trail leads down to a bridge inside Maolin Valley (another possible entrance). Stay on the dirt road instead of turning left. At the next junction turn right instead of going out to an overlook. The trail continues up a dirt road going past a small break area with a junction to Dajin Waterfall. A couple of kilometers later the trail passes another break area with a spring (water that needs to be filtered/treated might be available).
Near the 6km marker the trail changes from an old dirt road to a steep and rocky natural trail. Because of the increased difficulty there are frequent break areas and views of the western plains and Maolin Village. Guanyun Gazebo is the most popular picnic area and there might be 10-20 Taiwanese hikers making tea and snacks here on a weekend afternoon. The actual summit is enclosed in trees and is a little anti-climatic but there is a good viewing area about 1/2 km before the summit.
GPS data – trailhead N22.879533 E120.645373 – summit N22.857104 E120.676272
Date visited – 3/28/2016
Other blogs – English in Taiwan’s guide to Weiliaoshan