Covering the hills between Ruifang and Dali, the northern route has some of the best preserved historical trails. You’ll pass through the mining town of Jiufen, the popular beach hangout of Fulong and eventually arrive in the fishing village of Dali. Completists have the option to keep going along the coastal road to join up with the middle route at Wai’ao and then on to Yilan.
The Officials’ Way
The north span of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails is known as The Official’s Way (官道 in Chinese). It was the earliest of the three trails to be established, and played an important role in the development of the Yilan Plain. Key figures from Taiwan’s history trod these paths and left their mark on the landscape: in Aodi you’ll pass Wusha’s (吳沙) grave; along Caoling and Jinbeizi Trail’s you’ll come across inscriptions attributed to Liu Ming-deng; and a temple on the outskirts of Ruifang contains a tablet decicated to Bailan (白蘭) – a member of one of Taiwan’s Pingpu tribes who is credited with pioneering much of the original northern route. The trail used to have a defensive function, allowing the military to maintain control of the northeastern coast, and official documents were relayed between the two expanding northern centres of power. Over time time, it became recognised the main route between Taipei and Yilan .
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This is currently an unpaid side passion project and I will continue doing it just for the love of it, but of course if you like what I do and feel inclined to chip in a few dollars for transport and time then I would appreciate it immensely. You can find me on either Ko-fi or Buy Me a Coffee.