Geological Fireworks

This made-for-touring (bike, car or scooter) route skirts the Beinan River Valley as its shores change from dense subtropical forest cover buzzing with bird and butterfly life to a fantastical muddy, barren moon-world of sheer slopes, deep ravines and pointy ridges: and that's just on one side!

On the opposite bank, the more durable cliffs have been eroded into kilometres of craggy ridges and steep-sided outcrops. The area goes by the name Little Huangshan (小黃山), after the famous Chinese landscape, while the moon-world is called the Liji Badlands.

County Rd 197 begins around Guanshan, but there is a long gravel section so it's best to start just past Luye by turning left at Km350.5 toward Luanshan. On the opposite side of the bridge (across the Beinan River), turn right and follow the 197. Later, at the sign for Liji, turn right onto 東45.

In addition to the badlands and the crags, the village of Liji itself is a picturesque place, and there are a number of guesthouses should you want to stay the night.

Eventually, 東45 leads into Taitung, but if you want to avoid the sprawling town, you can loop up to coastal Hwy 11 at Km8.5 on 東45 by literally doing a U-turn up onto the bridge. This puts you on Hwy 11乙. After crossing a pretty stretch of fields, you'll connect to Hwy 11 just north of Taitung city.