[ Back Road to Taiwan’s Highest Peak ] Tataka Challenge 挑戰塔塔加

[ Back Road to Taiwan’s Highest Peak ] Tataka Challenge 挑戰塔塔加

Tataka Challenge Route Summary:

  • Location: Shuili (水里), Nantou, about an hour drive from Taichung
  • Super long hill climb (71 km upward from 300m to 2650m elevation)
  • Open valleys, long bridges, and big green mountains.
  • Good training ride for Taroko to Wuling ride.

There are two routes to Taiwan’s highest peak, the Jade Mountain (玉山). The first route is Highway 18, which is also the popular tourist (big tourist buses infested) route to Alishan (阿里山). The second route is Highway 21, also known as the New Trans-mountain Highway (新中橫) that goes from Shuli to the doorway of the Jade Mountain: Tataka (塔塔加).

Given its long climb and beautiful view, Taipei Cycling Association has a NEVERSTOP event that rides Highway 21 from Shuili to Tataka. The riders checked in at Shuili Train Station, and lined up at the starting line several hundred meters away.

 

IMG_0196

Shuili’s scenery at dawn

 

IMG_0194

Shuili Station

 

DSC00135

Riders lining up. It took me 20 minutes to pass the starting line.

IMG_0199

The first 30km was relatievly flat. The road followed the Chenyoulan River (陳有蘭溪) and passed through many small villages and their agricultural plantations. Since Taiwan’s river can have a huge amount of water during the typhoon season, Highway 21 is highly elevated when crossing the river. Riding on such elevated bridges was a very thrilling experience.

 

DSC00146

 

DSC00151

 

DSC00158

Long section of elevated highway to prevent flooding during the typhoon season.

 

DSC00152

 

DSC00174

Going toward the big mountains, on a highly elevated highway, with agricultural plantations below.

 

DSC00168

 

DSC00165

 

DSC00191

 

DSC00180

A tribute to aboriginal people.

Once we eneterd the mountain area, the road left the river and hung along on the mountain side. As Taiwan’s mountains are steep and have a lot of rain, there are often protective tunnels built along the road.

 

DSC00195

 

DSC00197

The first stop at 40km was a nice vista point. From there you could see the entire valley where you rode from. The green mountain on the other side of the river was fascinating.

 

DSC00218

 

DSC00219

View of the valley.

 

DSC00224

 

DSC00242

Tree sticking out of hillside.

 

DSC00207

Nice tunnel lighting.

 

DSC00241

Exit of a long, dark tunnel. Be sure to bring head and tail lights when cycling Taiwan’s mountain roads, as they often have poorly lit tunnels.

At about 60km there was a steep switch back section. There were no trees here, probably due to a landslide. While hard to climb, this section provided great views of the mountains and the blue sky.

 

DSC00249

 

DSC00246

 

DSC00253

 

DSC00252

 

DSC00251

At such height the mountains looked blue.

 

DSC00263

Great Wall of landslide protection.

DSC00257

As thr road passed the 2000m elevation, mist started to appear, making the ride cool and pleasant.

 

DSC00271

 

DSC00273

Thick mist covering the side.

 

DSC00267

“Don’t feed the wild animal” sign. Image portraiting Formosan Rock Macaque.

 

DSC00277

Tataka’s “Husband & Wife Trees”, the remains of an endangered species Chamaecyparis_formosensis

 

IMG_0217

 

Finish line.

 

IMG_0215

Replica of the Formosan Rock Macaque

Check Out My Taiwan Bike Routes Map for More Ride Reports!