Taiwan offers some great hiking at the base of the central mountain range but there is some truly special areas in the high mountains. The Nenggao Trail is one of my six mountains trails that are at the top my list to hike. I have already hiked Yushan and now I can check the Nenggao trail off of that list also. The Nenggao Trail is one of few trails that crosses completely over the central mountain range connecting Nantou County to Hualien County. The Nenggao Trail not only contains amazing forests, a 200 meter waterfall and a mountain cabin but it also connects to a vast network of spectacular mountain trails in central Taiwan. To the north a hiker can connect to Hehuanshan, to the south a hiker can exit at Aowanda and to the east a hiker can reach Hualien.
But the trail is much more significant historically than that. It was originally built by the Japanese before WWII to control the local aboriginal tribes and to exploit Taiwan’s great forests. Unhappy with this Japanese interference the Sediq aboriginal tribe attacked a Japanese sporting event killing over 100 people (The Wushe Incident). The Japanese responded swiftly and crushed the rebellion with its far superior military. Seediq Bale was a recent Taiwanese blockbuster movie and more in depth reading is available (The Wushe Uprising).
Our hike was much more pleasant than that. Taiwan Adventures provided a first class trip and there was great weather all weekend.
There are two major landslides that need to be crossed on the way to Tianchi Cabin. These landslides closed the trail for a long time after they occurred.
Rebecca and Evangeline hike on the well maintained trail. Most of the trail is easily graded all the way to Tianchi Cabin.
The central mountain range extends to the south as far as the eye can see.
Cynthia, Rebecca and I admire Nenggao Waterfall in the misting rain.
There are 88 bunk room spots available at Tianchi Cabin. There is also a large camping area but they don’t restrict how many tents are allowed. Without restriction this results in a very busy area on the weekends and considerable impact on the area. Hopefully this is addressed in the future.
The evening started with a chilly drizzle but the sunset was quite spectacular.
We woke up at an absolutely ridiculous time to summit Cilai South Peak at sunrise. We were unfortunately joined by an army of Taiwanese hikers (shown later).
There are numerous mountain trails crisscrossing this area giving hikers numerous hiking opportunities.
Martin went through one of the occasional pine sections of the trail.
Cynthia emerges from an overgrown spot on the trail.
I have long been completely frustrated by the standard Taiwanese hiking mentality. This is a clump of at least 100 hikers that marches as a unit and this is common. At least we were going the other way when we saw them.
Looking south planning future trips.