ShiMen Reservoir X Rome Highway Summary:
- Self Ride.
- Starting Location: ShiMen Reservoir west toll station, TaoYuan 石門水庫高線收費站
- Bike Length: ~ 107 km. Elevation gain: ~ 1700 m.
- Hill profile: Greatly varied. One medium and two small hills.
- Good for: Advanced base training.
- Route Highlights:
The ShiMen Reservoir 石門水庫 and the famous Rome Highway 羅馬公路 (about 80km) have been a popular route in HsinChu/TaoYuan. Originally I signed up an event but it got cancelled (duh). As the weather was nice I figured to just do it myself, adding some extra 20+ km and make it to 100k.
Start: ShiMen Reservoir
I started the ride at the ShiMen reservoir monument, at the reservoir’s west side.
Great reservoir mountain.
The ShiMen Reservoir monument.
Seeing the below waterway.
The dam’s local hill.
Climb up for vista point.
The main spillway.
Looking back at where we came.
As a popular place for former warlord Chiang Kai-shek, you can see his bald head statue around here.
The dam’s spillway from the side.
Having enough of the crowded main dam area, we began riding around the quieter reservoir’s north side.
Abundant trees at two sides. Yet here the air smelled a bit funny, probably due to the reservoir’s water.
Two chimps enjoying the sun.
Tour boats no longer in use.
It said “ShiMen No. 1”
Tea Factory & Old Church
As we approach the end of ShiMen Reservoir’s northern road, we soon turned right and onto State #7 (省道7號), Taiwan’s major northern cross-mountain highway to YiLan.
End of reservoir road.
Along State #7 there was a sign leading to a famous tea factory, the DaXi Old Tea Factory. It was originally built some 90 years ago.
Tea factory entrance sign.
Unfortunately when I got there the factory wasn’t open yet. Still looked cool from outside.
Continued on State #7, we passed through a busy intersection with State #7 Yi (乙), an extension that went all the way to Taipei’s SanXia (三峽) .
Elementary school right at the intersection.
Here we took a detour via left to visit an old church built by Taiwan’s aboriginal people.
Nice little creek.
The new church…
And the old church.
“Here’s the old church!”
Next to the new church was a short path toward the JiGuoPai Old Church (基國派老教堂), the name came from the local tribe.
The key-hole shaped entrance symbolized “the path to heaven”.
Cool local tribe symbols, sometimes misunderstood to other historical signs.
Mobile grocery store.
After visiting the old church, we went back on State #7 and continued our journey.
“FuXing District” sign, clearing showing its local specialty: bamboo shoots.
Despite the previous bamboo shoot sign, I found way more peach stands along State #7.
“Welcome to FuXing District”
Here there was a local point of interest called “JiaoBanShan” (角板山). Named after the local mountain, there was a former warlord Chiang’s former residence here, along with corresponding commercial district.
The road to the former residence.
There was a route called “Emergency footpath 戰備隧道” near the residence. Well in fact it was nothing more than a private escape path for the warlord Chiang. Don’t ask me why the monkeys were here.
The escape path.
Even before Chiang here seemed to be an important camphor production place.
Main residence building.
This “I LOVE XX” statue just so popular in Taiwan…
The residence’s surrounding has a lot of plum trees.
Close to the Residence was a park.
Local youth activity center.
Nice butt by the way.
Local elementary school.
As the entire ShiMen reservoir plus Rome highway was only about 80km, I decided to add more mileage and climb by taking the nearby mountain road (Tao 119 桃119) all the way to DongYanShan Forest Park (東眼山森林遊樂區).
2.8 km left to the entrance.
There was another road here next to the vending car that went all the way to Taipei SanXia.
As we rode down back to State #7, we got close to one of the endpoint of Rome highway: LuoFu (羅浮). In Mandarin “Rome” was pronounced “LuoMa”. As the Rome highway connected “LuoFu” to “MaWuDu” (馬武督), it got the name “LuoMa” highway, and thus the “Rome” highway.
Local cool red bridge.
LuoFu welcome sign.
Here for some reasons there were two bridges. One for the cars and another for pedestrians.
The pink pedestrian bridge.
Entering main town center.
After passing LuoFu town center we began our ride on the famous Rome Highway through ShiMen reservoir’s southern side.
Rome Highway sign.
Some sort of new monument.
Seeing the big red LuoFu bridge from above.
There were many aboriginal villages along Rome Highway.
Wall art depicting an old anti-Japanese military event in 1907.
“KuaiHui Village Welcome You”
Cool hillside police station.
ShiMen reservoir reappeared!
More aboriginal themed elementary school.
Another old village church.
Crossing the TaoYuan City boundary.
At MaWuDu 馬武督 an old bridge with bricked connected by sticky rice marked the end of the Rome Highway.
The Sticky Rice bridge.
Eventually Rome Highway connected to State #3.
Buddha Disney Castle & Back
Here we turned right into a small road and headed toward the reservoir, doing the last big climb in our route.
Place to turn right onto local road.
The main road was actually on left, easy to miss.
New pair of lions…
versus old pair of lions.
At about the top of the hill there was a weird place called “Buddha World” . What’s weird was that there were lots of young people visiting there, and a Disney-like castle inside.
Many young people gathered here.
Well I guess even Buddha preferred to have his own castle, Disney swag style!
At the top there was another weird building that looked like a gas station…
As we descended down the hill, we went up to State #3 Yi, an extension of the State #3 that led us all the way back to ShiMen reservoir.
Great wide State #3 Yi.
Reservoir at right!
Many street food vendors gathered at road side in front of the reservoir’s toll station.
The ShiMen/Rome Highway was a really nice cycling route. Except on the busier State #7 part, the whole route has few traffic and very few big vehicles. The DongYenShan detour road was wide and free of fallen rocks. Finally point of interests were many and nicely distributed throughout the route. Highly recommended.