Dakeng is an area of emerald green steep hills at the eastern border of Taichung.
Much as Taiwan cities are chaotic, they are never too far from lush hills and mountains, which can be easily reached by public transport and are marked by a network of hiking trails.
Taichung is no exception so there are several places around the city where you can make even long and challenging hikes in areas covered by forest and tropical orchards.
The most important and beautiful hiking area close to Taichung City is Dakeng.
A good part of Dakeng area belongs to the Scenic Area. Here are most of the hiking trails.
Dakeng hiking trails could be grouped in 2 different subareas, depending on their location.
Trails from #1 to #5
The trails from #1 to #5 are located in the eastern – and higher – part of the Scenic Area.
These are the steepest and most challenging trails.
Trails #1, 2, 3 and 4 are on different ridges – roughly parallel – each of them climbing for less or more 400 meters of altitude (from 400 to 800 meters above the sea level approximately).
Trail #5 is on the main ridge of Touke Mountain and connects the tops of each of the previous trails …
These trails, as mentioned before, are quite steep and sometimes a little bit aerial. The trails are well equipped with staircases and fixed ropes and they are suitable for averagely fit people.
Just a warning … unfortunately most of the steep parts of the trails are equipped with kind of staircases made of logs. Often those logs are so widely apart that is not uncommon to accidentally put a leg in between and break a bone. So be careful!
Quite a few local hikers wear gloves, because of the long sections with logs handrails and ropes, where you need to use hands. A cheap pair of cloth work gloves does the job.
You may also use insects repellent. Not really for mosquitoes, but for a nasty kind of biting midge, called king kong, that can be found in Dakeng and in different lowlands in Taiwan.
Excellent photos and a description of one of these footpaths (#2) can be found on An ABC in Taiwan blog.
Trails from #6 to #10
These 5 trails are on the western part of Dakeng, closer to the city and better served by public buses.
The trails here are much easier, some are narrow farming roads winding uphill between woods and orchards (from oranges to pomelo, from betel nuts to bananas, we are in the tropics!).
There is also a temple where, on Sundays, a lot of people gather to worship and to enjoy a vegetarian meal …
Here the trails are easy, short and suitable for everyone.
How to get to Dakeng Hiking Trails
You should have no problems to reach trails #9 and #10 head. You can take bus #1, 15, 16, 20, 21, 31, 51, 66, 68, 85 (THSR), 270, 271, 276. Stop at Taipower Dongshan Service (台電東山所) in Dongshan Road.
Walk back about 100 meters and take the country road on the right.
If you hungry or just lazy, from the bus stop you can walk for 100 meters in the opposite direction to reach Old Veteran Taro (老芋仔芋圓), that offers a very good baobing.
Side by side, Palio Pizza serves one of the best authentic italian pizza in Taichung.
Trails heads #6-7 and #8 can be found on the map at the bottom of the page. These trails are connected with trails #9-10 anyway.
Bus #66 has different stops at trail heads #1, #2 and #3. Unfortunately this bus route is pretty local. It connects different places in Beitun District, from Tzu Chi Hospital. So you may reach the Taipower Stop described above and then wait for bus #66 to reach your Dakeng trail head.
Trail head #4 (the most difficult trail) is more difficult to reach, you will need your own vehicle or a taxi.
Taiwan Nature in Dakeng – Some of the encounters you can have on the hills of Dakeng and Tanzi
Hiking in Tanzi – 2 Trails in Tanzi District
Zhu Keng Nan Liao Hiking Trail in Dadushan – A trail on the broad hill on the West of Taichung City