- Starting Location: DongShi District (東勢), Taichung.
- Length: 71km. Highest elevation: about 2100m.
- Hill profile: steady continuous uphill. Flat on top. No particularly steep sections.
- No big tourist buses allowed on the road (great!).
- Narrower road than standard two-way lane. When descend be careful not to tail behind cars, as cars may stop to squeeze through each other.
- No shops after passing the 15km mark, so be sure to bring enough food and drinks. Can get water at the Great Snow Mountain Forrest Park entrance.
- Good for: endurance hill climb. Training for Tataka ride.
If you live in Taichung and want to train for long hill climbs, go for the Great Snow Mountain, or “Daxue Mountain(大雪山)”. The route to the Great Snow Mountain starts from Dongshi (東勢), an area east of Taichung downtown and has great Hakka (客家) population.
(Don’t be fooled by the name: there is absolutely no snow in the Great Snow Mountain!)
As usual I start from a convenient store for supplies. This time from a cool looking store:
Swag toy store decoration.
This modern convenient store is built within a traditional house.
To avoid going through main street I take a detour through DongShi Hakka Musum. It is originally a train station converted into a museum. The old railroad is converted to a bicycle trail that goes all the way to Shigang (石岡) district north of Taichung downtown.
The Hakka Museum main entrance.
Old DongShi Station, now part of the Hakka museum.
Hakka styled restroom.
Camphor museum. Taiwan at early 20th century is a huge exporter of natural camphor.
Further going south and turn left on Dongkeng Rd and starts the rural road to the Great Snow Mountain.
Many real estate for sale at the turn!
Along the roads are farmlands, most of them orchards. This region is famous for high-low attitude pear (高接梨), a pear whose fruit bearing section is taken from high-attitude species and transplanted to low-attitude species.
“Little Forest Deer Hostel”.
“Selling High-low attitude pears!”
Orchards on the hill side.
A Mikado pheasant statue. This pheasant can be seen in this region if you are lucky.
The white dots are pears wrapped in paper bags to prevent pests.
“Come enjoy nature’s ecology.” Whatever this means…
Street fruit vendors.
Around 1000m elevation orchards are replaced by endless trees.
Even in the mountain there is telecom office so you can catch Pokemons.
There are kilometer marks along the road to Great Snow Mountain. At 23km is a special place for bird and camera lovers. Here the side of the road is a constant feeding ground for beautiful Swinhoe’s pheasant, and you will see cameramen, each with long heavy lens lining up on the other side of the road.
Bird paparazzi @ 23km.
Sign of the Great Snow Mountain Recreational Forrest.
On top there is a bridge crossing a cliff side. When there is mist it feels like crossing the bridge to the other side of the world.
Notice there is an old bridge at the cliff.
After crossing the 35km mark comes the entrance to the Great Snow Mountain Forrest Recreational Park.
The Great Snow Mountain is a popular birding place. However some birders use food or sound to lure wild birds in order to take photos. Thus now there are a lot of signs asking people to respect wildlife.
To me the signs are more like “Do not ask birds for their poops.” “Partying with birds with stereos are not allowed.”
When descending be sure not to tail behind cars. The road is narrow enough that cars have to stop and slowly squeeze through each other.
Overall the Great Snow Mountain is a really nice route to cycle. Without pesky restaurants goers and shoppers, you can truly enjoy the nature’s silent beauty.