Here at US Outdoor, we believe that nature should be experienced in as many different places as possible. Each new place brings a cultural perspective to continue building our relationship with the outdoors. This is the story of our team member hiking with family who live across the globe.
The summer of 2018 I was in Taiwan visiting with relatives. Living in a country on the opposite side of the globe means my schedule in Taiwan is always packed with new experiences. Taiwan is a small but beautiful island, and there are so many hiking options to choose from.
Last summer, my cousin took me to Hualien, a county on the edge of Taiwan. Hualien offers many parks and mountains to hike through, and each one is a stunning example of why Taiwan should be on the avid hiker’s to-do list. We started the day off at the Sioulin Township, a coastal region. Parking was very close to the entrance of the trail, perfect for people like me who end up forgetting a water bottle or sunscreen in the car. Minutes into starting the hike, the trail revealed platforms to view the scenery of the ocean and cliffs coming together. I was shocked when I stepped to the edge of the viewing platform. I had never seen such blue water outside of commercials. The word azure is cheesy in nature–yet that is the word I would pick to describe the ocean lapping at the sand. The beach hugs the cliffs, separating the dark, bold green of the forested cliffs with the bright blue of the warm ocean (surfers should also grab their gear and head to Taiwan–the water is actually warm!).
If you decide to hike in the summer at Taiwan, make sure you bring plenty of water in a large bottle. In Taiwan, most typically drink hot tea or hot water, and many people, myself included, enjoy ice cold water in heat and humidity. Because of the heat, this hike will be well suited for more advanced hikers looking for a challenge. At the same time, there are several shaded areas and viewing platforms that will give beginners or leisure hikers a chance to rest. The terrain itself is very manageable for the most part. The very end of the hike features a waterfall and a natural pool area. The pool is a significant drop from the rest of the landscape, so in order to enjoy the water there’s a tiny, slippery trail to get through. There’s a rope you can hold onto to steady yourself, or if you brought grippy hiking shoes, you should be fine.
After the hike, we piled back into the car to immediately head for another hike close by, a rocky beach also in Sioulin Township. Taiwan beaches are much different than traditional sandy beaches. Those who can’t stand feeling sand in their shoes a month after they went to the beach should consider Taiwan beaches. They can be anywhere from small rocks to looming stone structures. This hike will require a good pair of hiking shoes and sense of balance. There are paths that people have worn in, and some parts are like disheveled stairs. The view of this “trail” is also out of a postcard. White stone looms over the water, having been carved out by nature herself. At the top of the natural structure you can enjoy the breeze while looking out to the horizon.
Taiwan has amazing trails and beaches for hikers of any skill level, whether you’re looking for a challenge or just want a leisurely day outside with friends and family. Hualien in particular has stunning views of nature on land and at the water. The photos alone are enough for anyone to put Sioulin Township on their travel bucket list.