The Taiwan Beech Trail follows an old train track (not visible) and the hike is really easy due to the 2% max grade that they used for old train tracks. For a long section of the trail you can step between stumps with metal grates on them signifying that this is one of the rainiest areas in Taiwan. The first 2.5 km is really easy but after that the trail leaves the old rail line and descends about 100 meters of elevation. The first part is an excellent hike for children and many children will be able to do the entire trail.
Rating and length – easy – 7km (3 hours) round trip
Accessibility – excellent roads and a well made trail that everyone can hike
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. You will need to fill out a permit (apply day of) at a checkpoint near Taipingshan Villa before driving back to Cuifong Lake. There are several parking areas near Cuifong Lake and a parking area near the Beech Trail. You can park at any of these spots and do the hikes in this area.
The hike – The trail goes down an old rail line and there is practically a 0% grade. It is likely a very wet trail during most of the year and they have placed short stumps with iron grates on them that you can step between and stay dry (or at least drier). There is an old historic logging cabin along the trail. It doesn’t look like much but it is accurate of logging life. A little after the 2 km mark there is the only remnant of the old train tracks but the tracks along the Jiancing Trail are much better. The best part of the trail is the descent through a beautiful forest before continuing along a ridgeline to the end. The end is a big overlook into the Nanao Valley with some beech trees.
Entrance cost – 200/person on weekends and 100/car (discounts for children/seniors/weekdays)
GPS data – trailhead N24.509209 E121.610270 – trail end N24.506689 E121.629624
Park website – Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area
Date visited – 4/3/2016
Other nearby places – Cuifong Lake – Wangyangshan – Chinese Hemlock Trail – Jiancing Trail – Maosing Trail and Sandie Waterfall (both closed – 2016)