Thursday, December 28, 2017

Travel in Taiwan Maple Series 171227: Shimen Dam


People living in Taoyuan don’t need to go far away just to see maple trees.  Thanks to Shimen Dam, a lush forest full of autumn colors awaits them after a short hike from its gate.   I have always wanted to see the autumn colors here ever since I came to Taiwan in 2013.   I’ve heard that the city organizes a Maple Festival during the first half of December but the weather in Northern Taiwan at that time is usually rainy.   So dark clouds will welcome me instead of a sunny sky.   I was also not sure of the right time to visit Shimen Dam.  After four years of waiting, here I am now witnessing the grand beauty of autumn foliage during Taiwan’s winter.

Shimen Dam spillway
How to get here? Visitors must head first to TRA Zhongli Station and then walk towards the Zhongli Bus Station.   The dam is accessible by public transportation via Bus 501 of the Taiwan Tour Bus, Bus 5055 and Bus 5056.  One-fare is estimated to be NTD 60.  For Bus 501, the shuttle bus only makes a stop at the gate.  Buses 5055 and 5056 goes uphill making it easy to see the blue waters of the dam.   However, unlike the Taiwan Tour Bus which runs per hour on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends, buses 5055 and 5056 only runs at specific times of the day.  So, Bus 501 is the best option to get to Shimen Dam.  









Travel time from Zhongli Bus Station is only 50 minutes.  Upon getting off the bus, visitors quickly flock to the maple trees standing near the gate.  The leaves have already changed color from green to red and with the bright sun illuminating the leaves, its fiery red color can easily be seen while looking at the sunlight behind the red leaves.  

The Huanhu Road aka Maple Avenue leads to the top of the  Shimen Dam spillway.  




orange leaves of the Formosa sweetgum.  Notice that trident pattern of the leaves




I can only take photos when no cars are passing by.

Aside from Formosan sweetgum trees in the Maple Avenue, bald pine trees can be seen in their orange color.

The feathers of the bald pine trees change color during Taiwan's winter season.

A woman can be seen painting the pine tree scenery in Shimen Dam.



Maple trees under the sunlight 


autumn in my heart



To get the most benefit of your trip, try walking along the Huanhu Road aka the Maple Avenue.  It is lined with the trees of the Formosan sweetgum.  Commonly referred to as a “maple”, the leaves of this tree has three splits and change color from green to yellow and sometimes to faint red.   Experience a shower of golden yellow leaves as you walked uphill to the top of the spillway.  Be careful of passing cars while crossing the street! You might also become starstruck with the pine trees that also had changed color into a reddish brown hue.  

Before reaching the top of the spillway, you will pass first a series of restaurants.

A  maple tree on one of the hills near the seafood restaurants.

Shimen Dam reservoir.  I was already on top of the spillway


The waters of Shimen Dam looks like Sun Moon Lake on a bright sunny day.
view of Shimen Dam from the observation platform


There are seafood restaurants before reaching the top of the spillway.  Looking at the hill where a statue of Chiang-kai Shek was erected, you can see also some red maple trees.  Continuing the walk at Huanhu Road, an observation platform can be climbed uphill where the magnificent view of the dam reservoir will surprise you with awe.  Its blue waters sparkle under the turquoise sky making the place look like a part of Sun Moon Lake.  



The Maple Forest with the Shimen Dam powerplant


Walking at the top of the spillway, visitors can get a clear picture of the maple trees along the slopes of the mountain.  The Maple Forest! I was really fascinated when I saw it for the first time.   It was like an autumn scenery that you can see in Japan and South Korea.   


Looking at the spillway from the Maple Forest










The Maple Forest of Shimen Dam is a cluster of trees with very long branches.  

You will have to look at the sky to appreciate its beauty.









The best views can be found in the upper area of the Maple Forest where the tall branches of the maple converge with the other branches.   They try to reach for the sun like hands stretching into the heavens.   Yellow, red, orange.  It was a fascinating sight!  I sat on one of the benches to feel the cool breeze of the northeasterly winds.   The sound of the rustling leaves relieves me of all of my worries in life.  





Time to go down

at the base of the spillway

Formosan sweetgum tree


The Maple Forest and the powerplant






I did not expect the maple trees here in Shimen to be that many.  Even walking towards Nanyuanshengtai Park from the foot of the spillway, sweetgum trees lined up the street.  Their yellow color matching the blue waters of the dam beside them.   There were also small orange-colored trees that seemed interesting to check and see.   Even from the park grounds, I could see the sweetgum trees from the Maple Avenue.  

Such views in Taiwan!  You can only find it in the luomujie blog’s Maple Series - Shimen Dam.

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Visiting route:  Shimen Dam gate (red maple) -> Maple Avenue -> above the spillway -> to Maple Forest -> down to Nanyuanshengtai Park -> back to the Shimen Dam gate to board Bus 501 back to Taoyuan City 

Maple Series


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