Caoling Trail

Ilan/New Taipei City

This trail goes over the mountain between Dali on the east coast and Fulong. This is one of the most popular trails in the Taipei area and it can be rather crowded on weekends. There are no stores in Dali, so it is best to bring things with you from Taipei. There are vending machines at the visitor center at the start of the trail.

Length: 13km, about 4 hours

Access: take the local train to Dali station, about 90 minutes from Taipei

Difficulty Level: 1/5

Trail Conditions: stone trail, short section of dirt trail; the hike is well signposted in English

The Hike

Exit Dali station and turn right.

Dali Station

Dali Station

Follow the path and signs to the visitors centre. Keep going straight to the temple, then take the steps going up beside the temple.

temple

temple

From here there is a pedestrian only service road that winds its way to the top of the ridge.

start of the road going up the mountain from behind the temple

start of the road going up the mountain from behind the temple

After a while you’ll encounter some stone steps that go to the top, or you can keep walking along the road. Part-way up the hill there is a rest area at what used to be a horse stable. There are some vending machines and public washrooms here.

rest area

rest area

About halfway up there is a rest pavilion with good views of the east coast.

rest pavilion

rest pavilion

A little further up the stone trail passes the ruins of a inn, but there is little to see here anymore as the remaining stones are now covered by vegetation.

inn ruins

inn ruins

The road/steps end at the top of the ridge.

walking on the road

walking on the road

approaching the top of the ridge

approaching the top of the ridge

Turing left here is the start of the Taoyuan Valley Trail (see my blog entry for more details on this, it is an excellent hike). Keep going straight to reach Fulong.  There is also a very crowded rest pavilion at the top.

trail junction on the top of the ridge, keep going straight here

trail junction on the top of the ridge, keep going straight here

crowded pavilion at the top

crowded pavilion at the top

view of the east coast

view of the east coast

From the top the trail descends in a narrow valley through the grasses and quickly comes to the Tiger Tablet, one of the main reasons that so many people do this hike.

view of the Caoling Trail going down from the ridge

view of the Caoling Trail going down from the ridge

the Tiger Inscription

the Tiger Inscription

The trail continues down the valley from the tablet then enters the trees and follows a stream.

entering the trees and following a stream

entering the trees and following a stream

The trail then passes another rest pavilion.

rest pavilion

rest pavilion

After the pavilion the trail continues through the trees and crosses the stream.

stream crossing

stream crossing

After the crossing the trail goes along a ledge high above the stream and comes the Boldly Quells rock inscription.

trail following high above the stream

trail following high above the stream

Boldly Quells rock inscription

Boldly Quells rock inscription

From here the trail passes some abandoned farm terraces then descends on steep steps back to the stream.

steps going down to stream level

steps going down to stream level

The trail follows the stream for a short distance then ends at a road. Follow the road to a parking lot.

end of the trail, keep going straight on the road

end of the trail, keep going straight on the road

Just past the parking lot is a nice park alongside the stream, signposted for Yuan-Wuang-Keng Riverside Park. Follow the walkway through the park. There are public washrooms at the end of the park.

riverside park

riverside park

riverside park

riverside park

At the end of the park, you’ll see a road up ahead that crosses the river. Walk over the bridge, turn left into the driveway for the large white house. The trail to Fulong continues from beside the house.

cross the bridge and take the trail climbing up next to the white house

cross the bridge and take the trail climbing up next to the white house

This short dirt trail goes through the trees and bamboo and merges with a narrow road which leads to a house.

short dirt trail leading away from the white house

short dirt trail leading away from the white house

the dirt trail mergers with this narrow road at a house

the dirt trail mergers with this narrow road at a house

Follow this narrow road which ends at an old house and a yard full of cats.

the cat house

the cat house

Walk through the yard and you’ll come to road. From the cat house it is a road walk the rest of the way to Fulong.

Map

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