Chinese Hemlock Trail is a short trail through old growth forest that just gives you an idea of what you will find at Taipingshan. Despite being short it is quite difficult due to the steepness and being at altitude.
Rating and length – strenuous – 2 hours – 3.6 kms round trip from the visitor center – 300m elevation gain
How to get there – there is really only one road to Taipingshan and you can’t turn off of it. It will take about 2 hours to go all the way up to Taipingshan Villa from Yilan. There is a large parking lot at the checkpoint to Cuifong Lake. You will likely need to park there and walk half a km down to Taipingshan Villa visitor center to begin your hike.
The hike – It is actually only a 1.1 km hike each way but there is an additional 0.7km walk to the trail from the visitor center. The park map is sufficient to use on the trail. From the visitor center simply walk up the endless steps to the small temple. From there continue on the ancient forest trails (a boardwalk loop) until you intersect with the Chinese Hemlock Trail. The trail is slippery but very easy to follow. It’s also all uphill so take plenty of rest breaks. At the end of the trail you emerge on a lookout platform with views of Dabajianshan (really far away) and the central mountain range.
Entrance cost – 200/person on weekends and 100/car (discounts for children/seniors/weekdays)
Other info – the small tourist train to Maosing and 2 other hiking trail is not operating (Dec 2014) and it’s unknown when it will be repaired. Additional hiking can be done at Cuifong Lake. A permit (apply day of) is required to enter the Cuifong Lake area.
GPS – Taipingshan Villa Visitor Center N24.492457 E121.536726