Hoygye Park and Lingding Park
Hongyeh Park (Red Leaf Park)and Lingding Park Introduction
For hikers, no visit to Guanziling Hot Springs is complete without climbing the trails that lead up the mountain on either side of the valley. The two trails are as different as it is possible to be. The first takes you up and across the Guanziling Skyladder to the Heroes’ Stairs, a steep, 300-step climb up the hill to the main part of town. This extreme staircase was put in during the Japanese colonial era to help wounded soldiers recover through exercise; it was also regularly used by the women of the town when they went to market. Lingding Park, at the top of the stairs, was a golf course during the Japanese era. In the 1950s, the ballad Romance of Guanziling brought a new surge of tourism to the area, and the park makes several references to the song and its writer, Wu Jin-huai.
You will find the start of the second trail a little way up the hill from the police station. This beautiful forested hike climbs up other side of the valley to Hongyeh Park, also known as Red Leaf Park for the maple trees that can be found there. It is a hilly climb, with 286 steps for those who are counting, but arguably the more worthwhile of the two hikes. The trail climbs to the top of the mountain, with views out across the valley below. The park has been planted with a broad range of flowers to attract butterflies, and in the spring and early summer months, they are everywhere you look in every size, shape, and color imaginable. In December, the maples, which were originally planted when this was a Japanese resort and which have spread across the mountain in the century since then, burst into a fiery extravaganza of reds, oranges, and yellows. One of the only places in Taiwan that offers such an autumn display, it is truly a sight for sore eyes.
Visitors who begin their journey at the top of Guanziling can hike down the Heroes’ Stairs to the valley and then up the other side to Hongyeh Park. Be prepared to spend a morning or an afternoon exploring, after which you can relax in the hot springs. For those who want to enjoy the local sights without the hike, there is a road leading up to Lingding Park and beyond this to Hongyeh Park; a car or motorbike with a fair amount of horsepower is recommended for the climb.
Guanziling, Baihe district, Tainan city