Notes from the field: Cuifeng Lake in Taipingshan

Cuifeng Lake

Perhaps I was just imagining it, but the temperature on the climb up Jiuwufeng was slightly cooler than usual this morning. Here’s hoping that this marks the end of what has been an extremely hot summer this year in Taiwan. Let’s see. Thank goodness for air conditioning – quite possibly the greatest invention in human history.

I assume that the weather must be nice and cool at Cuifeng Lake (翠峰湖), another of the main attractions in the Taipingshan National Forest Area (平山國家森林遊樂區). About a forty-five minute drive from Taipingshan Villa, this is the defined as the largest high-mountain lake in Taiwan. During the rainy season it can reportedly cover an area of up to 25 hectares – though it was a lot smaller than that when we visited it.

The mountains surrounding the lake are covered by ancient natural forests of Taiwan Red Cypress and Hinoki trees, as well as a number of newer woodlands that were planted when the Japanese established a forestry industry in Taipingshan. Thankfully this activity was stopped in 1982, preserving the majestic beauty of the area for future generations.

Cuifeng Lake

You can walk around the lake along the Cuifeng Lake Circular Trail (翠峰環山步道). This follows the tracks of the former forest railway, and is just under 4km in length at elevations of up to 2,000 meters. On the east side of the lake the trail intersects with the Pingyuan Nature Trail (平元自然步道) which is also well-known for its great beauty.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to do either of the hikes during our visit. That gives me the perfect excuse to return to further explore the wonders of Cuifeng Lake in the fall of this year.

Note: 翠峰 (cuìfēng)  is often spelled “Cuiefong” in  Taiwan.  The term literally means Emerald Peak.

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