[Mountain Firecrackers!] Cycling HsinChu Route Sixty to Cinsbu 竹60鎮西堡

[Mountain Firecrackers!] Cycling HsinChu Route Sixty to Cinsbu 竹60鎮西堡

Cycling HsinChu Route Sixty to Cinsbu Summary:

  • Starting Location: Beginning of HsinChu Route 60 (竹60).
  • Length: 91km. Elevation gain: ~2600 m.
  • Hill profile: Three major hills. Big (1100 m), semi-big (~900), and one medium (~600). No long steep sections.
  • Good for:
    • Winter freezing adventure ride.
  • WARNING:
    • Aggressive aboriginal village dogs.
    • Rock debris and potholes at downhill. 
    • Not recommended riding alone.
  • Route Highlights:

鎮西堡路線大綱:

  • 起始地點: 竹60起點.
  • 長度: 91km. 總爬坡: ~2600 m.
  • 地勢: 3個主坡. 一大 (1100 m), 一準大 (~900) 和一中 (~600). 沒有持續抽車陡坡.
  • 適合:
    • 冬天探險挑戰騎.
  • 注意:
    • 會追人的部落狗.
    • 下坡路段有一些碎石和坑洞. 
    • 不建議獨騎.
  • 路線景點:

 

Find out what Mountain firecrackers is in the post! 想知道什麼是山中鞭炮嗎?請見下面內容!

Background 背景/騎前準備

Although HsinChu (新竹) is better known for its high-tech semiconductor industry, it actually has a very rural mountain area at the city’s east. Historically the east side flourished with timber and mining industries. Now it becomes famous for mountain towns, hot springs and camping.

新竹以半導體產業聞名. 然而較少人知道的是新竹在東部同時擁有非常偏僻的山區. 歷史上東區曾因伐木和採礦而興盛. 現在新竹東部以山城, 溫泉和露營聞名.

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The great HsinChu’s east mountain valleys, absolutely not a trace of high-tech. 看不到高科技的新竹山谷.

The day before the ride we settled ourselves at a hot spring resort near the famous NeiWan Old Street (內灣老街) , a locally popular hakka old mountain town.

我們在前一天入住當地的溫泉渡假村. 渡假村旁即為有名的客家山城內灣老街.

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“Grandma’s house-dishes.” 大嬸婆的私房菜

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Some classic hakka dishes. 10 o’clock: mountain chicken with orange sauce (土雞+桔醬). 8 o’clock: hakka salty pork (客家鹹豬肉). 6: stewed bamboo (燜筍). 4: hakka stir fry (celery, squid, pork and tofu 客家小炒 ). 12 o’clock: hakka kimchi pork soup (福菜肉片湯).

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Resort’s suspension bridge. 渡假村的吊橋

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Suspension bridge at night. 吊橋夜景

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Somebody was catching shrimps in the river at night! 有人在夜間抓溪蝦

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Ever seen chickens at a resort? 看過土雞在渡假村嗎?

Beginning of HsinChu-60 Road 竹60起點

The next day we started at the beginning of HsinChu 60 road (竹60) at the bridge intersection to Route #120. It was one of the major roads in this area, the JianShi County (尖石鄉), JianShi means “Pointy rock” and was named after a rock near the start.

隔天我們在竹60起點接縣道120的橋開始騎. 竹60是尖石鄉的一條主要道路. “尖石“ 以在起點溪中的一個尖石命名.

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This colorful bridge was the starting point. Road at left was Route #120. 此彩橋是竹60的起點. 左邊的道路是縣道120.

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The Pointy Rock 尖石.

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Another big river rock 另外一塊大石.

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Unlike other places in Taiwan, here the region was dominated by aboriginal people, and Christianity was their primary belief. Churches can be seen at every town center.

不像台灣其他鄉鎮, 尖石鄉以原住民為主, 其主要信仰為基督教. 各個鄉鎮中心都有教堂.

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Resort we stayed at. 我們住的渡假村.

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School aboriginal painting. Notice the ladies’ faces. Those were not masks but traditional facial tattoos. 學校的原住民牆畫. 注意到女生的臉嗎? 那是傳統臉刺青而非口罩.

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JiaXing Elementary School (嘉興國小)

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Great V-shaped valley (more to come). 酷V字形山谷. 更多在後面.

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Map for JianShi County 尖石鄉地圖.

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Community gym 綜合體育場.

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For some reasons there were two bridges here. 不知道為什麼這裡有兩座橋.

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After a brief open valley scenery the road headed into a narrow gorge with abundant cliffs. We would turn left here.

在短暫開闊山谷路進入一個狹窄的河谷, 旁邊有很多懸崖. 我們在此左轉.

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One of interesting characteristics of local aboriginal villages was each had a gate at the entrance 這裡每個部落都有一個拱門.

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Stone riverbed 岩石河床.

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Road under the cliff 路旁懸崖.

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This could well be a natural fortress 就像天然要塞.

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JinPing Village church 錦屏村教堂.

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Another giant cliff. The road below we would soon go on. 另一個懸崖. 我們將從下經過.

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Turning left here. 在此左轉

As we turned left we went on a cool bridge with many aboriginal themed statues. 左轉時我們騎到一個有許多原住民雕像的橋.

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You’ll see a lot of archery statue/drawing here. It depicted an aboriginal hero who shoot down one of the two suns 在這區你會看到許多射手的雕像/圖騰. 這是代表傳說射下兩個之一太陽的原住民勇士.

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Not sure what he tried to say… 不知道他要表達什麼…

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Crossing the cliff section 經過懸崖.

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Unusual tunnel design 奇特的明隧道設計.

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Another tunnel with a local hot spring ad 另一個有廣告的隧道.

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As the road squeezed through the tight gorge there was a local rock point of interest: The Frog Rock (青蛙石).

在這狹窄的山谷中有一個”青蛙石”景點.

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There supposed to be one rock that looked like a frog, but I couldn’t find it … 找不到像青蛙的石頭 …

After passing the narrow gorge the valley widen again. There was a few camping sites nearby.

過了狹窄山谷後河谷又開闊起來. 附近可以看到一些露營區.

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Hmm… I’m not a big fan camping right below a cliff. 如果是我就不敢在山崖下露營…

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We would later climb over that blue mountain far away 不久我們將會翻過遠處的藍色山脊.

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A statue of coal miner 礦工像.

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Entrance of an old coal mine now converted into a campsite 舊礦坑入口. 現在是營區.

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As the valley became wide, it hosted a big aboriginal village called NaLuo (那羅). Interestingly NaLuo was not the actual name. Instead the village had six sub-divisions, and each division had its own unique Roman pronunciation.

當山谷變寬後, 其中有一個“那羅部落“. 有趣的是“那羅“並非真的名字. 部落事實上分成六個分部, 每一個都有自己的名字.

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Local police station. 當地警局

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That cyclist drawing right looked like he was wearing a motorcycle helmet… 那個車手圖像是在戴機車帽…

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Over main town center 經過部落中心.

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#4 division.

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Nice whole village view 部落鳥瞰.

After passing the village we were ready to tackle the first big hill along Route 60. URao Vista Point (宇老觀景台), at the top of the mountain, would be our first rest stop.

過了部落後我們準備爬竹60的第一個大坡, 並在山頂的宇老觀景台休息.

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Last glimpse of the valley before ascending. 爬坡前最後一撇.

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Started the major climbing. 開始爬了!

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Bamboos painted red for safety warning. 竹子被漆成紅色做警示

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A lone tree barely situated at roadside. 看起來很不穩的孤樹

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Still sections needed fixed. 還是有些施工路段

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Took a peek back at the valley. The NaLuo Village was clearly visible. 山谷一看.  那羅部落非常清楚.

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Last valley view at the top. If you see closer you could see the crowded HsinChu City at the far side out of the valley. 注意看可以看到山谷外的新竹市

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The URao Vista Point was toward right. However you could also reach there from the wider left road, which the sign did not say. 也可以從左邊的路到宇老, 但是牌子沒有寫

Finally we reached the URao Vista Point. Lots of motorists were here.

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Police/telecom stations at the vista point. 觀景台旁的警察站/中華電信

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Supposedly you could see the famous DaBaJianShan at clear days here? 大概這裡天氣好時可看到大霸尖山吧?

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The main viewing platform 觀景台.

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The mountain which URao Vista Point was located separated HsinChu into two V-shaped valleys. The West valley which we came from went all the way back to populous HsinChu City, while The East Valleys led into the heart of mountains.

宇老觀景台的山脊把新竹分成兩個山谷. 我們來的西谷一直通道新竹市, 而東邊的山谷到許多山脈之中.

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The great East Valley toward the big Shih-men Reservoir (石門水庫). Not our way since we wanted to climb higher. 這個東邊山谷通往石門水庫, 不是我們要走的路線.

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Stray dogs here wanting to be fed. 要食物的野狗.

Having enough of the vista we began descending toward the river valley. 看夠美景後我們開始下滑到河谷.

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The other valley at right which we would head to. Notice the horizontal line at the mountain’s middle: that’s our road. 這邊的山谷才是我們要去的. 山腰的橫線就是道路.

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Intersection of the two roads heading to east side’s two valleys. We would continue on right. 去兩個山谷路的交叉口. 我們往右走.

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We would pass the white-dotted hill at far end. That was the aboriginal village Taiyakan 我們會經過遠端有白點的山丘. 那是泰岡部落.

Along the long descend we passed through two aboriginal villages situated at steep mountain side. It was pretty cool to scroll through the village from the road. The two villages together were called “Tabaho” (田埔)

 

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Village’s gate.

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Mountain side village.

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Main village church.

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Village viewed from below. It looked like floating on the mountain.

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Fram lands several hundred meters below the village. How did they get there?

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The two villages looked like mountain fortresses seen in medieval movies.

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Great steep river valley here.

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Fierce creek carved out a gorge below.

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The Battleship Rock (軍艦岩).

At the lowest point we arrived Sibokke aboriginal village (秀巒部落).

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Bare hillside at the river’s other side.

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A brief Route 60 section was closed here due to the slide.

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Here there were also hot springs.

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Local elementary school.

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Throughout the village you could hear firecrackers sound. At first this puzzled me since there were no firecracker smoke in the village.

It turned that this sound that I called “mountain firecrackers” was actually the sound of falling rocks. The bare hill we saw before continuously had rocks falling down and hitting the hillside, creating this firecracker-like sound.

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If you look closer to the hillside you could see the falling rocks and the dirt they created.

After being amazed by the mountain firecrackers, at the other side of Sibokke village we began climbing the mountain to our destination, Cinsbu (鎮西堡) and the end of Route 60.

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The police checkpoint to enter the mountain.

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Nobody’s here. Well I’ll just be on my way.

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Here began the climb.

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A cool little dam with fish stairs.

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Peach orchard, not in season now.

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That swag container cottage.

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One of Taiwan’s miracles: anywhere there was cell reception, even 4G.

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The white dotted at far mountain side were the two villages we went through.

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Wild sakura.

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Seeing back where we came from. The near two white dotted areas were the mountain side aboriginal villages. The far right white line area near the ridgeline was the URao Vista Point.

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Left was the road to the famous Smangus village (司馬庫斯), which you had to descend down to the river and climbed up the other side. Right was the Thyakan village (泰岡) gate. Smangus was famous for its giant tree cluster (神木群).

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More villages along this valley that could be accessed by Syakaro Trail (霞喀羅古道).

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Nice red village church.

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Passing the Thyakan village, there was still 6km toward Cinsbu. Here it was a very remote section, without any buildings between.

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steep hillside fields.

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Big mountains.

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Looking back at great cliff on the side.

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The horizontal line was the road to Smangus. That road was narrow and not well paved, so not suitable for road bikes.

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Metal wire fortified hillside.

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Finally we reached the last major aboriginal village: Smangus village (新光部落. Yes it was also called Smangus but with a different sub-group of Atayal people (泰雅族)).

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Remember the sun shooting figure?

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Last km to Cinsbu.

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Using rocks to protect the building.

At the village there was a cool elementary school of the same name.

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Cool school’s back mountain wall.

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There were also some cool looking buildings in the village.

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Cool door.

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And finally we reach the outskirt of Cinsbu, the end of Route 60. A final steep hill went up to our final destination: Cinsbu’s church.

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Official road end mark.

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Looking back at the village.

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Smangus was just at the mountain on the other side.

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Cinsbu (鎮西堡) was not really a village but more like a scattered building/field area. There was no obvious town center here, and each building was far apart.

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Cinsbu church sign.

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A nice ending shot. Great looking church. I also heard that the church had a lot of symbols at its interior and exterior depicting aboriginal and Christian teachings. Too bad I didn’t take photos of them at the time.

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Back to Sibokke village (秀巒部落). Getting a maqaw sausage (馬告香腸) for the final hill to URao.

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Maqaw tasted a bit like mixture of pepper and lemon grass. Very unique.

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The other road that went over the URao mountain.

Verdict:

Cycling HsinChu Route Sixty was a truly memorable experience.

It was not as glamorous as the routes toward popular tourist attractions, but instead you feel the authentic, undeveloped Taiwan mountain beauty and the hard, undecorated way of living in the mountains.

While I did this route alone, I do feel it’s better to do the route with your cycling buddies. Although Route 60 is pretty well designed and paved, there were still a few roadwork, potholes and debris, and many section have so few traffic like 20 minutes per vehicle.

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