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Taiwan Reloaded: Yilan to Lishan

Old 10-16-22, 07:34 PM
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Ron Damon
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Taiwan Reloaded: Yilan to Lishan

Will be returning to Taiwan next month. On a previous tour there, I did the Northern Cross Highway, but I did not turn right at the three-way intersection heading towards Lishan. Instead I turned left towards Yilan.

Last time, coming down the Northern Cross, I hung a left at this intersection. The plan now is to come from the left, from Yilan, and head up to Lishan.





This time around I hope to do the Yilan to Lishan route and then drop down to Hualien (Qishingtan, really) via Taroko. Anyone here ridden that road up to Lishan? As I credit-card tour, I am keen to hear about lodging along the way. Thanks.


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Old 10-17-22, 03:50 PM
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Years ago I had a plan to ride around Taiwan with an ex-girlfriend; but she dumped me before the trip could take place.

It's still on my list.
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Old 10-22-22, 04:45 PM
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I have done Lishan to Yilan in the opposite direction to you. I did it in one day as for me it was mostly downhill (Lishan is around 2,000 metres above sea level). From what I recall, your biggest challenge might be food rather than accommodation. Lishan has restaurants and plenty of hotels, but no supermarkets or convenience stores. Google maps suggests there's a 7-11 store at Heping along the way, but I don't recall seeing it when I went past (it was back in 2014, so it may have changed a bit since then). Heping might actually be a good place to break the journey if your legs are tiring on the climb.


From Lishan to Taroko, you'll have the 30km stretch on "Highway" 8, which will be a long, gradual climb gaining 600 metes up to Tayuling. I don't recall there being much of anything at Tayuling, but the road to get there is spectacular and highly recommended. Just be aware that the tunnel you'll pass through just before Tayuling is unlit, so it's worth ensuring you have good lights on your bike. There isn't really much else along that road apart from spectacular scenery... this area is about as remote as it gets in Taiwan. If you wanted to continue climbing after Tayuling, you could continue up the hill toward Wuling, which is the highest pass you can do by road in Taiwan (3,275 metres). It's definitely worth the effort for a few extra kilometers (from memory, Wuling is only about 9-10km beyond Tayuling, although the road does steepen a bit).


I don't know much about the road from Tayuling to Taroko as I've only ridden that particular road as far as the end of Taroko Gorge. It remains on my list of "unfinished business" in Taiwan, along with Mugua Gorge. Ido know that Taroko Gorge is spectacular, and you'll find justification for taking a LOT of pictures there.
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Old 10-22-22, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
I have done Lishan to Yilan in the opposite direction to you. I did it in one day as for me it was mostly downhill (Lishan is around 2,000 metres above sea level). From what I recall, your biggest challenge might be food rather than accommodation. Lishan has restaurants and plenty of hotels, but no supermarkets or convenience stores. Google maps suggests there's a 7-11 store at Heping along the way, but I don't recall seeing it when I went past (it was back in 2014, so it may have changed a bit since then). Heping might actually be a good place to break the journey if your legs are tiring on the climb.


From Lishan to Taroko, you'll have the 30km stretch on "Highway" 8, which will be a long, gradual climb gaining 600 metes up to Tayuling. I don't recall there being much of anything at Tayuling, but the road to get there is spectacular and highly recommended. Just be aware that the tunnel you'll pass through just before Tayuling is unlit, so it's worth ensuring you have good lights on your bike. There isn't really much else along that road apart from spectacular scenery... this area is about as remote as it gets in Taiwan. If you wanted to continue climbing after Tayuling, you could continue up the hill toward Wuling, which is the highest pass you can do by road in Taiwan (3,275 metres). It's definitely worth the effort for a few extra kilometers (from memory, Wuling is only about 9-10km beyond Tayuling, although the road does steepen a bit).


I don't know much about the road from Tayuling to Taroko as I've only ridden that particular road as far as the end of Taroko Gorge. It remains on my list of "unfinished business" in Taiwan, along with Mugua Gorge. Ido know that Taroko Gorge is spectacular, and you'll find justification for taking a LOT of pictures there.
Thanks. Very helpful.

Another route is to take a right or head westward at Lishan (rather than left of eastwards towards Dayuling|Taroko) dropping to Taichung City. Any experience with that route? That seems even more remote, but it would be downhill.

There's also the intriguing route 89 from Lishan to Renai. Any thoughts?

Imagine Yilan to SunMoon Lake via the mountains. Getting a woody just from looking at the map. 😉

It was pretty chilly at night and early mornings on the Northern Cross in March. Much of the same in these areas that we've been discussing in November?

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Old 10-23-22, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon View Post
Thanks. Very helpful.

Another route is to take a right or head westward at Lishan (rather than left of eastwards towards Dayuling|Taroko) dropping to Taichung City. Any experience with that route? That seems even more remote, but it would be downhill.

There's also the intriguing route 89 from Lishan to Renai. Any thoughts?

Imagine Yilan to SunMoon Lake via the mountains. Getting a woody just from looking at the map. 😉

It was pretty chilly at night and early mornings on the Northern Cross in March. Much of the same in these areas that we've been discussing in November?
I haven't done the route 89, or the western road to Taichung, so I can't comment on those. I've ridden from Sun Moon lake to Yilan on the 14 road over Wuling and yes, it can be pretty chilly up there. I passed a frozen waterfall at Wuling. The other thing to be aware of is that the weather can change quickly up there too. That said, the whole area is spectacular (Sun Moon Lake is definitely worth a visit in and of itself). I actually stayed in Renai, where there is a decent convenience store and some nice food available. I remember buying a cheap, dodgy rip off jacket there, which took me over my first crossing of Wuling in the pouring rain, and then fell apart soon after I returned to Australia.

I'm half tempted to jump on and check out the flight prices over Christmas to see if I can get over there and ride a loop taking in the 89 route through the valley and the 14 road over the pass.
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