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The Hidden Bitoujiao Trails You Didn't Know About and Lighthouse Adventure in Taiwan

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
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Discover the breathtaking allure of the Bitoujiao (Bitou Cape) Trails, offering a mesmerizing glimpse into the coastal beauty of northeastern Taiwan. While many are familiar with the favored Bitoujiao Valley Trail, this post reveals the lesser-known gem—the trail leading to Bitoujiao Lighthouse. Prepare to be captivated as we guide you through all the remarkable trails, showcasing the awe-inspiring views that await you at Bitou Cape.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Have your favorite drink with this stunning view.
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Table of Contents:

How to Get There

From Ruifang Train Station to Bitoujiao: Bus 886 and Gold Fulong Shuttle Bus 856

Please note you need to turn left after getting off at Ruifang Train Station to the bus stop. Heres what the bus stop looks like.
Walk pass Ruifang Police Department and you will see the bus stop next to the beautiful wall art.
Take bus 886, the one to Hemei Elementary School direction, and get off at 17 Bitoujiao shown on 886's live arrival time.
Or take Gold Fulong Shuttle Bus 856, the one to Magang direction, and get off at Stop 10 Bitou shown on 856's live arrival time.

Option 2: Take Keelung Bus 791 at Keelung Train Station

Take bus 791, the one to Fulong direction, and get off at 53 Bitoujiao shown on 791's live arrival time.
After you get off the stop, you will see Bitou Fishing Harbor 鼻頭海港 on your left, and the sign to Bitou Elementary School 鼻頭國小 in front of you. You can take the overpass next to the bus stop to get across the road to reach Bitou Road 鼻頭路.
Bitou Cape overpass is next to the bus stop


If you follow the steps on Bioutjiao Valley Trail, it's fine to hike without a map. I share my latest hike in March 2023 when I hiked to Mt. Bitou.

Route map for Bitoujiao Valley Trail by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

Click Menu in the map to download, print, or share the map.
You can see more options after clicking the Play button.
Click timer to change the speed to meet your condition.

Bitoujiao Valley Trail and Wave Crashing Camp

Distance: 5.4 km (3.3 miles) Route type: loop
Days/Hours Needed: 2-4 hours
Total Ascent/Descent: 269m/323m
Best Time to Go: All year round
Permits: Not required
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty
The Bitoujiao Valley Trail, located in Northeast Taiwan, is renowned as the easiest and most popular route for experiencing the breathtaking coastline. To embark on this trail, simply follow the endless steps adjacent to Bitou Elementary School, and be prepared to be amazed.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Bitou Elementary School: Taiwan lilies were planted in the front door.
This small elementary school stands out among others in Taiwan due to its unique location. One notable feature near the school's entrance is a striking picture that captures attention.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Adjacent to Bitou Elementary School, there is a captivating bird's eye view display.
Our guide informed us that the trail next to the school is an ideal spot for witnessing stunning sunrises and sunsets. It's rare to find a place like this.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
The steps next to Bitou Elementary School

A Detour to Mt. Bitou, but Not Recommend

I noticed a footpath on the left. Driven by my curiosity, I decided to explore this path, which my map indicated led to Mt. Bitou. It's obvious that only a few people took this route, but this route was manageable, offering beautiful views along the ridge.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail is also known as Taiwanese Great Wall.
Eventually, I reached the summit, known as Mt. Bitou, 118 meters above sea level, despite the sign indicating it as Mt. Bitoujiao South Peak. As the trail descended, I arrived at a pavilion that can be spotted if you stick to the step trail. Based on my experience, I recommend following the steps rather than this alternative route.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Mt. Bitou
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Looking at the military base and Wave Crashing Camp (Tingtao Camp) near Mt. Bitou

A Beautiful Cafe: Wave Crashing Camp

Continuing along the steps, you will encounter a junction with a sign indicating the Bitou Cape Valley Trail. Ascending the steps to the top, you will reach a corner with a closed gate marking a military base (no enter, of course), along with two additional sets of steps.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Take the steps up to the cafe
As you descend, a colorful building called Wave Crashing Camp will come into view. This building was once an abandoned military camp and has been transformed into a charming small cafe named Wave Crashing Cafe 聽濤咖啡 (Tingtao Cafe) since May 2020.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Wave Crashing Cafe (Tingtao Cafe) 聽濤咖啡
If you reach this point, take a well-deserved break, savoring the delightful views. Toilets are available here as well.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
This is a great place to spend the day, but make sure this cafe is when you come.
After enjoying a coffee break, I attempted to take the trail behind the Wave Crashing Cafe. However, a super friendly dog greeted me by snarling and alerting me to a sign indicating I should not proceed. Fortunately, the dog was restrained, and I obeyed his (her) demand.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
A good boy (girl) guarding the gate to the lighthouse

A Small Detour to See the Cliffs

Although the vigilant dog prevented me from exploring the aforementioned trail, I discovered a footpath in front of the Wave Crashing Cafe. This section proved to be steep, yet my map suggested it was a viable route.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
View from Wave Crashing Cafe. The footpath is on the left. The Penguin Rock is in the bottom.
Intrigued, I decided to take on this path. The views from this vantage point were truly remarkable, and I spotted the rock resembling a penguin I saw in 2019. However, as the path ahead appeared challenging, I opted not to push myself into an awkward situation and retraced my steps. Nonetheless, the views had made me happy enough to leave with content.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
You can see a small footpath on the sidehill. That is the trail to Bitoujiao Lighthouse.

Back to Bitoujiao Valley Trail

Returning to the Bitoujiao Valley Trail, it becomes evident that no map or GPX is required if you stick to the steps. This trail offers mesmerizing panoramas of the entire Ruifang mountains.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
While traversing this trail, take your time to appreciate the awe-inspiring landscapes that are unique to Taiwan, savoring the experience to its fullest.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
You can see Mt. Keelung (587m), Mt. Teapot (599m), and even Mt. Qixing (1,118m) from Bitoujiao Trail.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Mt. Teapot and the famous Stegosaurus Ridge 劍龍稜 can be seen at Bitoujiao.
After admiring the views at the last pavilion, you can take the wooden stairs to Bitou Harbor and your next destination.
Bitoujiao Valley Trail
Bitou Harbor
You can also start your hike from this side. There's a temple, Xinxing Temple 新興宮, and signs for you to follow the trail. I will suggest you start your hike from Bitou Elementary School, because you can have some local food after your hike. Nothing much to eat near the school.
Another trailhead near Xinxing Temple

Bitou Cape Lighthouse Trail: Closed Due to Rock Erosion

Important Note: The following account is from my hike in October 2019, prior to the permanent closure of the Lighthouse Trail in 2020. Although some hikers still attempt this route, please be aware that there is a military base in the area. Trespassing may result in significant fines. Please verify the current status of the trail before attempting it.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
Bitou Cape Lighthouse

A Route Not for People Who Fear Heights

This trail is not recommended for individuals with a fear of heights. I personally encountered two particularly challenging sections that required advanced climbing skills. To be honest, those moments were far from my proudest. However, if you're comfortable with heights, this route offers a truly awe-inspiring experience.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
Hikers at Bitoujiao Lighthouse lookout
Our ascent took us to the towering hill behind Bitoujiao Lighthouse. The lighthouse gleamed brilliantly against the lush cliff backdrop, with the deep blue ocean resembling a velvety canvas. From this vantage point, we enjoyed breathtaking views of both sides of Bitoujiao. The geological park unfolded to my right, while Mt. Keelung and Jiufen stood proudly to the left.
Climb up the hill behind the lighthouse
As we followed a narrow footpath along the hillside, the layered green hills and the contrasting blue hues of the ocean and sky created a striking panorama. We observed fellow hikers progressing like tiny specks along the narrow path, which allowed only one person to pass at a time.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
Breathtaking line in northeastern Taiwan, Bitoujiao
During my hike in 2019, the trail was so popular that we encountered traffic jams at certain points. The descent from the hill led us to a shaded spot where we took a lunch break.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
Traffic jams on the trail
It was conveniently situated in front of the distinctive penguin rock formation.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
The penguin rock
While sitting there, I marveled at the impact of the waves on the rocks over millions of years, though I must mention that this sight might not be suitable for individuals with trypophobia.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
Tafoni at Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail

The Worst/Scriest Section of Bitoujiao Lighthouse Route

Following our meal, we continued along the rocky shoreline, which initially posed no significant challenges. The area was adorned with countless magnificent rock formations, and we couldn't resist capturing numerous photographs. However, as we progressed, we reached a slope.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
More amazing rock formations
For experienced rock climbers, this slope may be inconsequential, but for someone like me, it proved to be quite terrifying. My fear overwhelmed me, and I found myself unable to proceed. Fortunately, my considerate guides and fellow hikers provided support and reassurance, helping me regain composure and complete the descent.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
I still don't know how I descended from the wall where the hiker in the yellow shirt was.
Once we safely reached a secure spot, we continued walking along the rocky shore. I will recount this part in the subsequent section.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
More climbing required here.

Discover the Hidden Gem Next to Bitou Beach Park: Cliff Caves

An unofficial trailhead awaits you next to Bitou Beach Park. While the footpath may not be immediately apparent, the thrill of uncovering the cliff caves makes it all the more exciting.
Bitoujiao beach
The footpath is on the right of Bitou Beach Park.
Warning: Some tourists were swept here and drowned due to rogue waves. Before embarking on this captivating journey, be sure to check the tidal waves for your safety. The local government even contemplated closing this trailhead, emphasizing the need for personal responsibility.
Bitoujiao beach
Rogue waves have claimed several lives here.
Nevertheless, the majestic sea cliff caves still command attention amidst the marine debris that litters the shore. These awe-inspiring cliffs have endured millions of years of sea erosion, evolving into true natural wonders.
Bitoujiao beach
Cliff Caves
As I ventured further, I encountered the formidable rocks I conquered during my 2019 lighthouse trail expedition—a thrilling memory that will forever linger in my mind.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
Watching hikers descend at ease still amazes me.
As I strolled along Bitou Beach Park, my eyes were fascinated by an extraordinary sight—a rock that bore an uncanny resemblance to the creature from the renowned movie, Alien 3. It was as if the extraterrestrial being itself had materialized right before me. Now, I can't help but wonder, what are your thoughts on this discovery?
Bitoujiao beach
I called this Alien Rock. It's right above the toilets and next to a temple.

About Bitou Cape and Bitou Lighthouse

Bitou Cape or Bitoujiao

Bitou 鼻頭, which translates to "the tip of your nose" in Chinese, paints an intriguing picture. When you view it on Google Maps, the place appears strikingly pointed. Bitoujiao, located in northeastern Taiwan, boasts an array of captivating coastal erosion landforms, including majestic cliffs, mesmerizing sea caves, and wave-cut platforms.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse Trail
Screetshot of Bitou Cape from Google Maps

Bitou Cape Lighthouse 鼻頭角燈塔

The story of Bitoujiao Lighthouse adds to its charm. Constructed in 1897 during the Japanese Occupation, the original lighthouse stood as an iron hexagonal structure until it succumbed to the ravages of World War II. However, in 1971, it underwent a remarkable transformation, rising again as a magnificent white tower made of concrete.
While the trail leading to Bitoujiao Lighthouse remains closed indefinitely due to the fragility of the surrounding landscape and the potential danger of falling rocks caused by weathering, the lighthouse itself is unfortunately inaccessible to the public.
Nevertheless, for those enchanted by Taiwan's lighthouses and eager to explore the ones open to visitors, a visit to the Maritime and Port Bureau's lighthouse website is highly recommended.

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