Fengyuan – Dongshi Bike Trail
Fengyuan, Taichung County
Information: Bridges, a tunnel, a winery, fruit orchards, a honey park, earthquake damage, old houses, and a dam. This ride has a lot to see and do along the way.
This ride is made up of two different bike trails along old rail lines. The trails are very popular and are very crowded on weekends. With that comes all the problems you might expect from riding on a crowded bike trail, but there is plenty to see along the way. It’s best just to enjoy it at a nice leisurely pace.
Access: Take the HSR to Taichung then a train to Fengyuan (about 25 minutes).
The bike trail is located just north of the city of Fengyuan, which is a little north of Taichung city. To get the start of the trail from Fengyuan station your best option is to take a taxi ($250).
There many bike rental shops under the freeway. Bikes here cost $150 for the day. There are a lot of small hills on the bike trail so it is important to rent a bike with good gears. The shops here rent bikes that are good for hill climbing. You’ll need to do a lot of gear shifting.
Near the start, the trail splits into two forks.
The Left Fork
This trail runs for 4km and ends at a not very interesting horse ranch. After about one km the trail crosses the river over an old rail bridge. Just before the bridge there is a ramp leading down to a winery where you can sample the wine, sit in their beautiful gardens, and listen to some country and western music. After the bridge the trail goes through a tunnel. From the tunnel the trail continues on a little further to the horse ranch. The ranch is free to enter and you can ride your bikes inside, although it is not likely to hold your interest for very long. It’s more for Taiwanese people who have never seen a horse.
The Right Fork
The right fork goes for 12km through fruit orchards along an old TRA spur line and ends at the small Hakka Cultural Museum in the town of Dongshi. The trail has a slight uphill grade almost the entire length which makes for a slow ride to Dongshi. Fortunately there is plenty to see along the way to break up the trip. There are also many cafes and coffee shops along the way, but I didn’t see any English menus anywhere.
After about 3km you’ll come to the dam. There is a ramp going up on the left side lined with snack stalls. Park your bikes at the dam and walk across to check out the earthquake damage on the other side.
Another half km brings you to a visitor centre. Along the way you’ll pass a train station just before a steep hill. Check out the earthquake damaged tracks next to the station. A couple of blocks in the town behind the centre there is an old corn loft. There is a small museum next to the corn loft. Signs painted on the road lead the way there from the bike trail. There are some old rail cars near the visitor center.
Ride another 1km from the visitor centre and you’ll come to another ramp (also on the left side)that takes you over the highway. This leads to the Honey Ecological Park. Park your bikes and walk across the bridge into the park. There is a small park with a pond, some animals that kids can pet, and naturally lots bees and honey. There is a nice looking café and some snacks stalls next to the bridge leading to the park.
Back on the trail, another 1.5km brings you the the village of Meizih. Turn off here. There is an old style mansion (similar to the Lin Antai Historical House near Yuanshan Park in Taipei) located in the countryside a couple of kilometres off the trail. Signs showing a picture of the house point the way there. It is also fun to ride around through the fruit orchards, but it can be easy to get lost in the maze of narrow, twisting lanes.
Shortly after the village the bike trail will cross the river again for the final stretch into Donghsi. The museum and old station at the end are free to enter, and there are lots of snack stands around here too.
The downhill grade of the trail going back makes for a fast, easy ride back to the start.
Map of the Ride