Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area

National Park in Nantou County

Located along scenic Hwy 14 near Wushe, this national park is famous for its maple trees (fēngshù). The park ranges in altitude from 1100m to 2600m, making it a cool retreat from the heat in summer. You can walk from one end of the reserve to the other in about two hours on well-developed, simple-to-follow trails. All signs are bilingual.

It's well worth an overnight stay in the quaint wooden cabins surrounded by plum and maple trees. Aowanda has a visitor centre offering maps and brochures in English.

November to late January, when the maple leaves change colours, is a busy time for the park. Birdwatching is also popular here: in all, 120 species of bird live in the park, and 10 of the 30 bird species endemic to Taiwan can be found here, including Swinhoe's pheasant and the Taiwan partridge. The park has set up a birdwatching platform (shǎngniǎotái) and benches.

From Taichung, Nantou Bus Company usually runs buses on the weekends from autumn to spring. Call for the schedule.