WuLiaoJian in SanXia, along with Huangdidian in ShiDing and LiZiShan in PingXi, is known as one of the three great northern climbs spots or 北臺三大岩場. Wu Liao Jian is not for novice climbers as it is relatively intense and requires climbing up and down steep cliffs, climbing ropes, and climbing ladders, etc. First, let’s talk about where it’s located.
Wu Liao Jian is located in the SanXia district 三峽 in New Taipei. Check below for the google map location. I recommend taking the blue line down to the last stop, Ding Pu, and then taking an Uber or taxi to the trailhead. The ride should only take fifteen or so minutes, and most local drivers are very familiar with the spot.
Before we get on to the hike, let me offer some advice. Some people recommend wearing gloves for all the rope climbing you’ll do. I don’t find it necessary but if you’re the kind of person that wears gloves when working out, its best to keep it safe and wear them. Speaking of rope climbing, there’s a lot of that. My upper body is developed enough where I breezed through everything (my girlfriend at the time also breezed through the climbs and she weighed 100 pounds). However, I saw some people struggle due to exhaustion or fear of heights, so those are things you should consider. Finally, be careful going too late or on weekends as its most crowded during those times. I made that mistake when I went and I found myself waiting more than climbing. The trip took like eight hours and maybe five of them was waiting. (The average person should take around 4/5 hours with a couple stops to rest or have a snack/lunch.)
The trailhead is located next to the Yu Li Convenience Store 玉里商店. You may want to purchase any last minute things before you start the hike. The hike starts immediately and gets tough quickly. There’s no easing into it with this hike. Since it is difficult, if they’re people in front of you, this is where it’ll slow down (or where you’ll slow down). They’ll be plenty of rope climbing or walking on narrow ridges so traffic will form in these areas. Eventually, you’ll get to the main attraction: the ridge walk. The ridge walk has two parts to it. First, is the walk-up up to the main ridge. Here you have a nice view of the valley below and perhaps of San Xia if the weather is nice. Once you’ve walked through, you’ll come to an area covered with trees, which some people consider to be the best part of the hike. You can have a break here or go on and take a picture in front of the huge tree. Eventually, you’ll make it to the best part of the hike, the large ridge. You can enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains around you but be warned it gets pretty hot during sunny days.
From here, you can either head down back towards the huge tree and leave, climb the crag opposite the ridge, or head towards the peak you can see behind the ridge. After waiting for hours behind slow-moving groups to get to this point, I was just ready to get out of there. I did take my drone out to the peak and get a sense of the view from there, but I didn’t go myself. I recommend going towards the ridge if you have the time/energy though. Once you’re ready to head down, it’ll take you almost an hour to climb and walk back towards the store, where you can buy a beer or enjoy the free wifi. On the way, you’ll pass a cool structure that looks like they started building a house and gave up a quarter of the way. All that’s left is a brick-wall overgrown with vines and trees. (At this point I was tired of waiting for people so I forgot to take a picture in my hurry 🙁 )
Wuliaojian is an interesting hike, a lot more upper-body involved than I would have imagined. I think if it were less crowded than it was, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. In terms of view or scenery, I think Huangdidian offers a much better experience. I also think it’s a more difficult hike. Still, it’s a fun hike and you’ll enjoy pushing yourself.