Pingxi & Shikong Historic Trails 坪溪古道 & 石空古道

  • Article
  • Itinerary

Pingxi Historic Trail & Shikong Historic Trail 坪溪古道 & 石空古道 were once important hiking and travel routes in Northern Taiwan. These historical Taiwanese hiking routes were used extensively during the Qing Dynasty period for those trading and traveling between the Tamsui and Kavalan prefectures of Taiwan.

After the establishment of the Taipei-Yilan Highway, these historic hiking trails became less frequented. While they no longer are used for commerce or commuting, they are popular hiking trails for those looking to explore the local areas in Shuangxi Township in New Taipei City and Toucheng Township in Yilan County. For those looking to connect these two trails will enjoy a beautiful walk in a coniferous forest that is intersected by small creeks and offers stunning views across Yilan County and out toward Turtle Island.

Pingxi Historic Trail

  1. Total Trail Distance: 3.5km (+ 500m to Taiheshan)
  2. Total Hiking Time: 2.5hrs (including steam crossings)
  3. Total Elevation Change: +236m

Shikong Historic Trail

  1. Total Trail Distance: 6.5km
  2. Total Hiking Time: 2.5hrs
  3. Total Elevation Change: -696m

Experience Overview

This hiking experience is suitable for those with beginner to moderate hiking experience and fitness levels. The terrain is easy, there is nothing technical about this hike, but guests must be comfortable hiking 10km over a full day. The hike itself may take some 4-5 hours, while others may take a little longer. There are little elevation gains and in fact the last two thirds of this hike are a slow and steady decline.

We suggest bringing either a swimsuit and a small towel to dry your feet (or body) as there are several stream crossings that are needed during the Pingxi Historic Trail section of this experience.

The total hiking distance is just over 10km.

For a great overview of the hiking experience itself, please visit TaiwanEverything.

Combining two historical trails into one amazing experience!

Parkbus trips along this route will start from the northern entrance of the Pingxi Historic Trail and hikers will disembark at a small parking lot. No services are available from this site. A short walk along the river will take walk down hill towards Yilan County and the city of Jiaoxi. Over the years, this trail has received improvements and is now generally wide with a gentle and consistent decline. Most of the trail surface is crushed stone and compact soil, with sections of stone steps, wooden steps and an asphalt trail. This trail is suitable for beginner hikers and families.

The video below shows the scenic lookout along the Pingxi Historic Trail with the first views over Yilan County and Turtle Island. It then continues along the historic trail to Taihe Mountain. While the trail gets narrow, it is still easy to walk and stunning meander through this dense jungle forest. For those looking for an extra little hike, you can veer off the path and head up to the peak of Taihe, although the views are obstructed by the surrounding forest.

Along the Pingxi Historic Trail, the trail is mostly covered by a thick canopy, giving hikers a great shaded hiking experience. The dense underbrush and ferns provide a lush, green forest to walk through.

The Shikong Historic Trail features a mix of shaded and unshaded sections and as hikers get closer to the coast there are lots of open areas. Bring a hat and sunscreen, as well as a camera as there are great views across the coast and Pacific Ocean along this stretch. The trail is mostly compact soil and single track, but there is nothing technical about this section of the hike.

As you hike down towards town guests will look out over the Lanyang Plain is a fan-shaped alluvial plain formed by the Lanyang River in Yilan County. Surrounded by mountains on three sides with the fourth facing the Pacific Ocean and contributing to the coastline in Eastern Taiwan, the Lanyang Plain is blessed with abundant rain fall and rich soil for farming.

Arriving at the Wai’ao Train Station, guests will have the opportunity to head out to the beach for a swim or grab a bite to eat or a drink to relax until the bus comes and picks everyone up at the end of the day.