New NE Coast Walkway / Bike Path Opens (新開的外木山到翡翠灣的自行車步道)

After a sabbatical of nearly a year, I'm back with more articles and thoughts on life along Taiwan's Northeast Coast and travels around the beautiful island of Taiwan.

I took the afternoon this past Sunday to collect thoughts; ponder the meaning of life, the universe and Everything and get some exercise during a spell of balmy spring weather. I frequently cycle the Keelung (基隆市) to Feicui (Jade or Green) Bay [翡翠灣] route, and my mettle has been oft tested ... and cycling direction occasionally diverted ... by cognizance of the challenges presented by the formidable hills straddling the Keelung City / Taipei County border - just ahead of the fishing town of Wanli (萬里鎮).

This time, cycling through Dawulun (大武崙) and then huffing up Provincial Route 2, which follows a coastal ridge overlooking Dawulun Fishing Port (大武崙漁港) & Waimushan Beach (外木山海水浴場), I was pleasantly surprised to find myself paralleling a new wood planked walkway installed to connect Dawulun Fishing Port (the walkway actually starts from the nearby pink [and now defunct] outdoor swimming complex-cum-seafood restaurant) to Wanli's fishing harbor, next to the wide sand beach along Feicui Bay. The walkway skirts the coast, avoiding hills and attendant steep grades. Very pleasant - with panoramic views of the rocky shoreline and Keelung Islet in the distance.

While this new walkway and bike path extends just 2.5km, when packaged together with the readily biked coastal roadways further westward and the 2-year old bike path that connects Waimushan Beach almost into Keelung City's busy downtown, cyclers can now navigate relatively easily a pleasantly undulating coastal route from downtown Keelung out as far as Yeliu (野柳), Jinshan (金山) and beyond.

This section of the coast is simply gorgeous, passing several sand beaches and majestic sandstone formations (including the 'Frozen Beach' outcropping just before Yeliu), as well as several 'human interest' points including pre-fab 'UFO' vacation bungalows (great pics here) just east of the Howard Plaza Green Bay Resort; northern Taiwan's main jump-point for hang gliding; trails leading up to the Japanese-era Dawulun Fort (大武崙砲臺) and several shallow, easy-to-access snorkeling / diving areas.

Departing from Keelung City, a cycling trip to Jinshan can be done in under 1.5 hours (one-way) taking advantage of the new coastal walkway. Plan on much more time, however, to enjoy all the out-of-the-way attractions this 25km stretch of coastline has to offer. If planning to walk, I recommend driving Route 2 to Waimushan Beach (map location here), where there is usually adequate parking space, and exploring the area from there.

Just a note ... To check out the deteriorating (albeit quite photogenically) Reagan-era fiberglass-reinforced 'UFO' vacation bungalows without paying for Howard Plaza Resort admission - cycle or walk through the narrow alley immediately to the left of the 7-11 on Route 2. The alley takes a few short jogs before opening onto the bungalow district and adjacent sand beach.

A Google Map rough-and-dirty guide to the approximate route from Keelung City out to Jinshan can be viewed by opening the link here.

- JM