The Dakeng mountains and trails are the most popular spot for Taichungians to visit when they need a quick outdoor getaway. Unfortunately over the past few years it has gotten so popular it has turned into a mountain market.
However, about twice as far and twice as beautiful is Guguan. Guguan is home to the Seven Hero mountains, hot springs, and Baxianshan National Forest Area. Last weekend I was lucky enough to revisit Tangmadan trail. The trail head is accessible from the 281 bus and takes about two hours from the Taichung High Speed Rail Station, plus about 20 minutes of walking to the start from the nearest bus stop, lucky for me I was able to convince a co-worker with a car that she needed to come with me.
We started around 7:30 AM, I remembered that the first kilometer of the trail was rough, a steep uphill. I didn’t remember how rough. We used ropes and roots to scramble our way up to the pavilion at the .9 mark where we took a rest.
From there, the trail splits in a four kilometer loop. One way leading to the peak and one leading to the Songhe Waterfall. We decided for the sake of time (and injury) to pursue the waterfall and then return the same way instead of completing the entire loop.
In the spring the trail is nicknamed “Butterfly Valley” and we did see many types of butterflies and lush green foliage after last months plentiful rain.
The waterfall itself is beautiful and accessible you can walk right down to the river, however swimming under the waterfall itself is not permitted or recommended. Upon arrival we stuck our feet for relief in the freezing cold water.
After a rest and a snack we headed back up the trail, the way up to the main trail loop was a lot more difficult, switchbacks are always more difficult going up. We thought the initial kilometer that was a staggering slope, would be easier going down. It was just as challenging, if not more, since I was trying to baby my knee.
The trip took us about five hours in total. A simple but challenging day hike easily accessible from Taichung city.