South-Link Mountain Line
Unxeplored Hot Spring, Nanhen Gorge
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 winding, breathtaking landscape formed from height differences
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 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.
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.
This hot spring is situated below Tianlong Bridge in Wulu Gorge, the spring water gushing from cracks in the cliff face; the clear sodium bicarbonate water can be drunk or used for bathing. Regular bathing can ease arthritis, nerve pain and stomach ailments. Accompanied by beautiful gorge, huge rock and giant tree scenery enjoy a natural forest sauna here.
Liukuo Hot Spring
Located at the 184.5 km of Southern Cross-Island Highway, the Liukou Hot Spring is part of the Bishan hot spring system. At the time of the construction of the highway, the workers found the sources of the spring and built 6 simple hot spring pools for workers to bathe after work to lessen their fatigue. After the improvement made by the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area Headquarters in 2008, the tourists that travel via the Southern Cross-Island Highway can experience the hot springs of the gorge in a more relaxed and comfortable manner by soaking their feet and boiling hot spring eggs
Lisong Hot Spring
To reach the spot the river has to be traced and it takes around one hour to reach. The walls of the gorge are covered in natural brown, green and dark gray colors caused by moss and iron oxidization and other reasons, the colors complementing the milk white spring water and the green forest. This hot spring is known as the most beautiful wild hot spring in Taiwan.