The mountains of central Taiwan are remote and beautiful. Some friends and I recently made a two day hiking trip to the old NengGao Historic Trail 能高越嶺古道. Starting near Puli 埔里, Taiwan, the Nenggao hiking trail is a long but relatively easy ascent to the “Spine of Taiwan”… the high mountain “Backbone” that runs north to south through its center.
Most of our trek was cool (perfect for hiking) and foggy (not so perfect for seeing the nice views), but we had a good time and saw some interesting things, so I thought I’d share.
The Neng Gao Hiking trail follows an old road built by the Japanese to help fight the Aboriginal resistance in the early part of the 1900’s. They built several garrisons along it, and a few remain either in ruins or have been rebuilt as hiker cabins. The trail was later used by the Taiwanese to help build their cross island power lines and is kept in good shape so that they can service those lines.
What’s great for us, is that this trail crosses some of the most beautiful and remote mountains that Taiwan has to offer. The trail is also a relatively easy hike, without any particularly steep parts or the need of any rope work. It’s also one of the easiest trails to follow and has informative signs along the way to tell you about the history of the trail and the flora and fauna found there.
Most of our hike was clouded in… um, clouds. The fog and mist rarely let way to the beautiful scenic views that we had hope for, but on the bright side, it was nice and cool and actually made for some dramatic pictures.
We crossed several suspension bridges along the way and saw a few beautiful waterfalls.
When we got to the top, we were met with some ferocious winds and more clouds. We found a nice spot, relatively protected from the wind, just a few meters below the ridge line and made camp. The next morning, we awoke to more mist and clouds but set out for the South Mountain Peak anyway. Reaching the top, our view was still blocked by the clouds, but it was still interesting to walk on “The Spine of Taiwan” and wonder what we might be able to see on a cloudless day.
For all the practicalities, another view on the hike, and some great photos, go over to Stu’s Hiking Taiwan.