[Knocking on the Unreachable ] Shei-Pa National Park Ride to ShueJian 雪霸: 卓蘭到雪見

[Knocking on the Unreachable ] Shei-Pa National Park Ride to ShueJian 雪霸: 卓蘭到雪見

Route Summary:

  • Starting Location: ZhuoLan Township, MiaoLi (卓蘭,苗栗).
  • Length: 86km. Highest elevation: 1890 m.
  • Hill profile: Deceivingly Very Difficult: a 27km steady upward followed by 12km very steep climb of 8.3% averge grade (similar to Taroko-Wuling hill variation).
  • Comments:
    • Although the overall elevation gain is not high (2165 meter), there is a 12km very steep slope climb near the end.
    • Consider the last 12km steep section dangerous. The road from MeiYuan (梅園) to ShueJian (雪見) is narrow and not well maintained. There are lots of pot-holes, the growing grass/falling leaves make the road even narrower, and a few big roadside rocks makes descending dangerous.
    • The overall traffic is little. However the narrow road makes descending an unpleasant experience, especially when many Taiwanese drivers drive irresponsibly and leave little space for descending.
    • Thus it is recommended you ride with others and arrange down-hill transportation.
  • Good for:
    • Practice long and very steep hill climb.
    • Getting a taste of how the Heaven Road (last 10km of Taroko-Wuling climb) feels like.
    • Stamina management practice for Taroko-Wuling like hill profile.
    • Route #140 ideal for sprinting practice.
  • Route Highlights:
    • Endless fruit orchards on Route 140.
    • Big river scenery with awesome cliff mountains.
    • Cool river dam.
    • Lots of Persimmon (柿子).
    • Real aboriginal towns (at least 5).
    • Shei-Pa National Park‘s Holy RidgeLine (聖稜線) view, especially Hsuehshan and Dabajianshan.

Of all the national parks in Taiwan, The Shei-Pa National Park is the hardest one to reach via cycling.

One factor is that there are no state routes inside the park: State Route #8 and #7 only skimmed outside of the park’s south and east sides.

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Shei-Pa National Park Area.

Furthermore, the west bound State Route #8 is closed only for locals due to road damage. State Route #7 has to be entered from YiLan (宜蘭), which is at Taiwan’s east coast.

Thus from the west one has to reach Shei-Pa only through local county roads. The two routes are:

  1. QuanWu (觀霧) Visitor Center: From HsinChu on Route #122, then to DaLu Forest Road (大鹿林道).
  2. ShueJian (雪見) Visitor Center: From Miaoli on Route #140, Local #47, and ShiMaShien Forest Road (司馬限林道).

Notice that all these two routes go onto forest roads. This shows how remote Shei-Pa is from populated areas.

mountain entrance permit

The route to Shei-Pa is so remote that it requires a Mountain Entrance Permit.

This time I decided to tackle the No.2 route first to ShueJian. The starting point is ZhuoLan (卓蘭), a town at the border of MiaoLi and TaiChung, and one of the most important fruit production area in Taiwan.

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ZhuoLan is located within a mountain valley. The early morning wind from the mountain is freezing but good for raising fruit.

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It said “Most Yummy Orchard, good quality grapes (left), guaranteed sweet (right).

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Taking a detour into the fields.

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Grape fields.

The route went onto #140, a nice wide road along the river levee with scooter lane, perfect for some sprinting practice (except there was strong wind against me all the way…).

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Big wide #140.

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More orchards

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The river levee.

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Truck unloading bags of fertilizer.

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Looking through the levee on the bridge. The big river is DaAn River separating TaiChung and Miaoli.

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After a while there was a detour forcing me to again ride into the country road.

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What are these fruits?…

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The sign said “Passion fruit and sweet persimmon”.

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Wild country road with grass taller than humans.

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Back on #140 again.

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Swag farming car.

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Light dims as the route gets closer to the mountains.

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A fruit store.

At the end of #140 the road merged with another road and began crossing the big DaAn River.

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ZhouLan’s iconic fruit statues. The right one is star fruit.

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Cliff-like hills at the river’s two sides.

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Once we crossed the bridge the route abruptly turned left and continued along the river valley.

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Massive cliff carved out by water and wind. Such steep cliff/wide river valley is one of the great characteristics in this route, and great demonstration of Taiwan’s powerful river.

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As the route continued into the valley, signs of aboriginal villages began to appear, first at a red bridge that crossed over the river’s tributary.

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A hard-to-see aboriginal-theme wall art.

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I accidentally took the wrong way and crossed that temple gate. It leads to nowhere.

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The right is a bear statue holding a persimmon. Persimmon is grown throughout the valley.

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Crossing the red bridge we went further into the river valley with cliffs at the side. As this area is a major persimmon production site and now is the season, there were lots of persimmon fruit stores along the way.

(Unfortunately they don’t make it into juice : -( )

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The red/orange signs are all persimmon store signs.

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The red-word sign is a persimmon pun. Persimmon in Mandarin is the same pronunciation as “Thing”.

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River valley with yellow wild grass.

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Da Guan Aboriginal Tribe (達觀部落) sign.

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More cliffs.

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Crossing small village town.

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Cliff under treatment. Likely having a recent slide here…

A bit further into the valley, the route went to an open place. At the center is a big dam called the Shilin Dam.

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The dam is in the far middle.

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Lively red mountain flowers.

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It’s dry season now so there was very little water.

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TaiAn County welcome statue. The major population is the Atayal (泰雅族) aboriginal people. The status depicted their hunting scene.

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Swag posture and nice packs.

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Green dam water.

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River valley seen on the dam.

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Water stairs for the fishes.

Having enough of the dam, we continued follow the river upward.

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The elephant statue indicates the local area called “Elephant Nose”.

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River still wide even though we are quite deep in the mountains.

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Local bus stop.

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Shortly after the dam the route entered DaAn Aboriginal Tribe (大安部落). This was a quite authentic aboriginal area, with people speaking in tribe languages and wearing traditional clothing. Also lots of dogs along the road.

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Tribe welcome sign.

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Community basketball field.

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Kao Chin Su-mei’s (高金素梅) TaiAn Service Office. She was a regular Legislative Yuan member and an aboriginal group advocate.

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As the road passed the tribe center, the road again fell back and followed next to the river.

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Crossing the rainbow bridge.

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Giant blocks on levee.

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The last bridge we crossed the giant river and left the river valley.

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Taiwan style Smokey Bear. However the main message is about preventing unlawful tree cutting. Shouldn’t the bear carries guns to make the message more effective?

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Unlike the previous bridge, this bridge is very close to the river surface.

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River above…

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And river below…

After crossing the bridge we left the river valley and started climbing the mountain, passing through two aboriginal tribes: MeiYuan (梅園) and TianGo (天狗).

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MeiYuan Tribe welcome sign.

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Here marked the start of the brutal 12km, 8.3% average slope.

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TianGo Tribe welcome sign.

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Shooting the sun!

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village view.

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Here was the Miaoli Police Station, MeiYuan Department. The rule required that we needed to apply for a Mountain Entrance Permit before going to ShueJian Visitor Center, but I think I’m the only good citizen retard who actually did so…

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The police station.

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Three Hagrid and one Potter.

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The Mountain Entrance Permit.

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“ShiMaShian Forest Road All Clear!”

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Local store where I resupplied my water.

After ascending more came finally the sign toward ShueJian.

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Shei-Pa National Park Goes Right!

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ShiMaShian Forest Road look.

Here you can see the great river valley from above.

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Along the way was the remain of WanTien Battery, an old battery built during the Japanese Occupation against the TianGo tribe.

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At this ride I really underestimated the steep slope and had to stop several times for my cramp. After some struggling I finally made myself up to the Shei-Pa National Park Entrance Sign.

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Mountain viewing platform. Here you can see (hard to tell from the photo) the famous “Holy Ridge” (聖稜線), the tree ridgeline that passes through many Shei-Pa’s great mountain peaks.

The Shei-Pa Sign marked the end of suffering. Continued forward for a bit and we reached the ShueJian Visitor Center.

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Snakes & Bees warning sign.

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Food/coffee stand in a national park visitor center, a thing you see only in Taiwan.

After resting a while it was time to go downhill. I was fortunate to capture a (tiny) image of the famous DaBaJianShan, the vertical slope peak that appeared as Shei-Pa’s park symbol.

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The little sharp peak right below the big cloud at left is where DaBaJianShan located. See below photo.

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Here you can clearly see its squared peak. The little one on its right is the ShiaoBaJianShan (小霸尖山).

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High mountain view of TienGo tribe and the great river valley.

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The upside-down red sign said “ShiMaShian Traffic is Interrupted.” If you saw this sign being displayed at front and in the correct order you know you were in trouble.

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WanTian Battery Entrance Sign revisited.

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Trail side wooden statue.

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Nice clean camp site.

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The dark green brushes are kumquat trees.

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Another TianGo view.

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Back to the river.

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Hello again dam.

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The stacked orange stuff are the persimmons.

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Farmers market near the red bridge.

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Back on the straight #140.

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Giant local tree.

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