In the Southern Cross-Island Highway
that goes across the Central Mountains,
there are usually not many vehicles.
Only tribal residents living in the mountains,
farmers planting cabbage and
some experienced people come here
for mountain-climbing and hot spring.
The eastern section of the Southern Cross-Island Highway, formerly damaged by the typhoon, has already been repaired. Enter the No.9 Provincial Highway, turn into Haiduan Village's boundary tablet, go along the No.20 Provincial Highway next to the Shinwulu River, and all the way climb from 300 meters high up to the Yakou section of 2,700 meters high. After the Daguanshan Tunnel is the Kaohsiung section, the most damaged part by the typhoon. This eastern section includes broad-leaf forests at a low altitude and coniferous forests full of Taiwan Red Pine and White Pine at a high altitude. Its landscapes vary considerably. There are not many tourists now. Along the way, it is very likely to find Formosan Blue Magpie and Formosan Yellow-throated Marten.
The most famous landscape of the Southern Cross-Island Highway is the Wulu Gorge constantly cut by Wulu River. It is steep and majestically impressive. In early years, the river was clean and the valley was 20 meters away from the road. But after the devastation of Typhoon Morakot, lots of sandstones pack the valley, muddle the Wulu River and fill the riverbed tens meters high. Even so, abundant hot spring keeps emerging. Where the while smoke constantly appears from the valley is the well-known Wulu Hot Spring.
The eastern section of the Southern Cross-Island Highway is rich in hot springs. In addition to Wulu Hot Spring, there are plentiful hot spring resources along the way. Liukou Hot Spring was early designed for farmers and workers to rest and have foot spa. Bishan, Lisong and Lulu hot springs can be reached only on foot.
Lisong Hot Spring lies in the Motian section of the Southern Cross-Island Highway. As the hot spring pours down from the top, the wall accumulates many mineral crystals that look colorful. Therefore, it used to be called the most beautiful wild stream hot spring. If wanting to go to Lisong Hot Spring, you must endure the car sickness caused by the winding mountain roads and then walk downward to the valley. The steep route takes about one hour. After walking through the icy river, you can reach Lisong Hot Spring, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and bathe yourself in the warm water. Although it must take another one and half hours to go back, many people still continuously visit here.
The reason why many mountain-climbers prefer to go to the Southern Cross-Island Highway is to visit Jiaming Lake, called angel tears. The hiking trail of Jiaming Lake begins from Shiangyang National Forest Recreation Area. The entire trip takes three days and two nights. You must climb across Shiangyang Mountain and Sancha Mountain, two of Taiwan's top one hundred mountains, and get to the 3,310-meter-high Jiaming Lake. Without injection of other streams, this lake is never dry. Every year millions of travelers are attracted to come here. It is one of the most popular mountain trails in Taiwan.