Secret trail on SW Taiwan's Alishan open to those with permits
The secret hiking trail along the deserted forest Mianyue Line (眠月線) on Alishan in Taiwan's southwestern Chiayi County has become a popular hiking route over the years due to its seclusion, but a Forestry Bureau official warned on Wednesday (June 24) that visitors are required to obtain entry permits before embarking on the adventurous hike.
Chiayi Forest District Office official Huang Xiu-duan (黃秀緞) said that the Mianyue Line ceased railway operations after the 921 Earthquake in 1999. The since emerged hiking trail — which winds through a number of elevated bridges, tunnels, and old-growth forests — is a hot spot for hikers, who usually come in groups, especially on weekends and holidays, CNA reported.
As the Mianyue Line traverses the Taiwan Pleione Nature Reserve area, visitors must apply for entry permits in advance, which have been capped at 500 a day. The cap has been reached for the entire long weekend of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, according to Huang.
A total of 2,684 applications were filed in May, of which 1,077 were approved, she said, adding that some hikers came without permits, though personnel from the Chiayi Forest District Office usually dissuaded them from entering. Visitors who enter the trail illegally face a fine of between NT$30,000 (US$1,000) and NT$150,000.
The Chiayi County Fire Bureau said that several places underneath the Mianyue Line railway have collapsed due to earthquakes, becoming waterfalls at times during heavy rains. The bureau reminds visitors to assess their physical ability and equip themselves with proper gear before giving it a go.
So far this year, three visitors hiking the trail have been injured in three separate incidents, according to the bureau.
(Chiayi Forest District Office photos)
(KENT FAN photos)