Xitou, officially known as Xitou Nature Education Area (溪頭自然教育園區) is a forested nature park in Nantou County Taiwan. The park includes a forest sky-walk, bamboo forests, forest experiments, over 70 species of bird, and a monster themed village. It is a great day trip for nature lovers and hikers, and a unique way to enjoy Taiwan's ecology.
The Xitou experimental forest was set up during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan under the University of Tokyo. After the ROC took control of Taiwan, the area was changed to a nature reserve. In 2016, the thousand year old pine tree that once sat in the park fell over after heavy rain, and its seeds were used to plant more trees.
7 AM to 5 PM every day
200 NT per person
100 NT for parking
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take county road 151 toward Lugu and Xitou. Xitou nature area is at the very end of the road.
By Bus: There are many direct busses to Xitou from Taichung (also Caotun and Nantou).
Please see below:
I have been to Xitou twice, and enjoyed it both times. It is a nice place to relax and enjoy nature, and it is suitable for the whole family. Most of the trails are pretty flat and paved, and even wheel chair friendly.
Our original post from our trip rounding the island in 2014 was written as follows: "5/5/2014: On Monday we went to Xitou (溪頭) which was similar to Alishan but in Nantou. I think the scenery was prettier here. There was a nice rainbow bridge and lots of unique plants. The sacred tree was not as impressive as the one at Alishan though. There was also a nice fishpond and bamboo forest. We didn’t spend any time at the shops, though personally I think the shops at Xitou had a more unique feel than Alishan. Also there were no Chinese tourists here, only Taiwanese people on their regular morning walks."
I have been to Xitou once by car and once by bus. The bus ride from Caotun was fast and we did not have to pay for parking.
There is lots of parking near the entrance, and you have to buy a ticket to enter into the park.
Map of the park.
On a Sunny Monday morning, it was very crowded.
Lots of elderly hikers and school children were there. The main path up is actually a paved road and is really easy to walk on.
There are trails that branch off all through the woods here.
A view of the forest.
More trails through the woods.
Path to the giant tree.
Small grassy area in the middle of the park.
Growth study experiments of different trees.
Forest Sky Walk 空中走廊
One of the coolest parts about this place is the sky walk through the forest.
The skywalk goes about 40 feet in the air above the forest floor.
View from atop the catwalk.
Looking down from the skywalk.
Another view from the skywalk.
You can also see the very tops of the trees from the sky walk.
Another view looking down.
One last view of the skywalk.
Some fun facts about trees.
More views of the forest.
Looks like they were expanding the park here.
1000 Year Old Giant Tree 千年神木
In 2014 I went to see the sacred 1000 year old giant tree.
The giant tree has since fallen down, so you can no longer see it. But this is what it looked like. I'm sure there are other big trees around that you can find though.
At the time I recall they told us the tree was dying, and you can see it looks half dead here. So maybe it was just time for it to go.
In it's prime, it stood at 46.2 meters and was 5.5 meters in diameter.
Another explanation of the giant tree.
School children going crazy over seeing white people...
Dried up river bed.
Bamboo Forest 竹林
One of the coolest places in Xitou is the bamboo forest.
Jian Zhen (堅貞), meaning faithful.
More of the beautiful bamboo forest.
Cuihong Bridge 翠虹橋
Cuihong Bridge (翠虹橋), the only suspension bridge in the park.
Sea of Clouds Platform 雲海瞭望台
Higher up the park you can get a better view of the valley and see a sea of clouds if you are lucky.
Looking over the beautiful forests.
River running under a rainbow bridge.
The trails also lead to the university pond.
Xitou University Pond 溪頭自然教育園區大學池
The pond has some great views of the surrounding mountains.
You can also walk on a bamboo bridge to an island in the pond.
And you can feed the coy there.
Monster Village 妖怪村
Near the entrance to Xitou is Monster Village, which sells lots of fruit and souvenirs. It seems to be influenced a lot by Japanese animation.
Fruit shop near the entrance.
Some Japanese comic I assume.
Japanese throwing dart.
Some type of Japanese game.
An interesting soup container.
And of course there was tons of wildlife here, but I only captured this squirrel.
There are tons more trails and things to see in Xitou. Go out there and enjoy it!
Stay tuned for more of our blogs on Nantou to come!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.