I updated this section as of June 2016 to add links to other trails, waterfalls, we since have explored.
|Nanao Township, Yilan|
I've been living in Yilan now for two months and am loving it here. My friend from Tainan came up to visit his wife's family in Yilan and of course we met up. Our biggest obstacle was figuring out which beach, mountain, hot springs, river, lake to spend the day with our kids.
I have a nice map from the very reliable, efficient, English speaking Tourist info center outside the Yilan train station and I've been studying it, ticking off places as I go, asking my new workers their recommendations and enjoying the pristine outdoors.
I already went to Wulai Beach (see previous post Little Gems) and have been so busy exploring Yilan county, I haven't time to return except last Sunday to see how the coming typhoon was affecting the waves. (The beach patrol wouldn't let us on the beach, so we just admired from afar.)
|Yongzhen Park and Trail|
|Neipei Beach from the Suhua Highway|
I was not expecting Neipei Beach outside Suao to be so stunning. There is no sand, just small pebbles and stones, but the surrounding rocks are gorgeous and the beach is long enough for us to find some quiet alone time far from the crowds. There are cafes and simple restaurants are on one end for a quick pick me up. The other end has rocks and places to picnic in the shade of a cliff. On a holiday weekend, we had the entire Pacific, at least this bit to ourselves.
My beach list includes is returning to Wulai for surfing and sunrise yoga and to explore Beigan Tidal Park and the Wushibi coast.
There is a trail outside Nanfang'ao. Just park your car across from the massive pool. At the top are amazing views of the Yilan coast, picnic tables, hammocks. I am thinking it would make a great camping spot.
|Yilan Coast view from a hike|
There is also the Caoling Historic Trail, various trails in Taipingshan National Park (behind Taroko), and in Yuanshan Township.
|View from Renshan Gardens|
Between Loudong and Suao is the Renshan Botanic Garden (宜蘭仁山植物園). It was nothing what I expected. I expected something like the Botanic Gardens in Taipei or Denver, but this place was huge. I think we entered it wrong and before we knew it, we were doing some hardcore hiking with little water or preparation, The grounds are massive.
We didnt see a single soul for hours until the end. The French and English style gardens were in the bare minimalist style, nothing was in bloom, but we saw macaques,and alien looking spiders. The view from Renshan to Turtle island with the verdant, fertile valley of the Yilan plain is the quintessential picture of Yilan.
I went twice to the famous Wufongqi waterfalls and returned to that area and hiked another trail to the more impressive, hard to get to Yuemeikeng Waterfalls.
Outside Loudong there are two waterfalls the upkept Xinliao Waterfalls down the road from the Renshan Botanic Gardens.
Down the road is the less impressive Jiulio Waterfalls, but because they were empty and we were the only ones there, I liked having it all to myself. The trail hasnt been taken care of, but its a nice path, overgrown and neglected. The pool is shallow but enjoyable enough for kids. Standing under the falls for a neck massage is a nice treat.
There are so many waterfalls in the area, I'm learning about more all the time. The most impressive were south of Nan-ao called the Aohua Waterfalls outside the little aboriginal village of the same name. The pool is massive, the falls are massive. The brave can climb the slippery wall and jump into the cold, mineral abyss.
|Linmei Shipah Waterfall|
The first lake I went to here was Longtan Lake. It was recommended by my coworker Steve who helped me get a job and my first apartment in Yilan. This lake is conveniently close to Yilan, we went by scooter. We rented bikes, it was casual. Unfortunately cars can drive around the one lane which is dangerous and noisy, especially with so many bikers, joggers and walkers. I've been meaning to return with a yoga mat and a picnic basket.
Conveniently right by my home is the massive Yilan Sport's Park. There is a track, Olympic size outdoor pool, weight room, rollerblading track and outside gymnasium. Not to mention fireflies at night. Loudong's Sports Park is supposedly better, but I'm satisfied with the one outside my front door.
|Yilan Sport Park|