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ROMA Ridge Hike: A High Elevation Trail to See 100 Peaks and Sea of Clouds in Taiwan

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
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A short name for ROMA trail, this is a firebreak trail between two major mountain ranges in Taiwan, Snow Mountain and Taroko Mountain Ranges. This trail is not long, but the epic high mountain views make this hike phenomenal. Plus, the stunning sea of clouds also enhances this hiking experience to a new level.
ROMA hike mobile infographic
ROMA hike mobile infographic

Table of Contents:

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About ROMA: Mt. Luoyewei 羅葉尾山 and Mt. Mawuzuye 馬武佐野郡山

ROMA is actually a short name of the ridge between two summits: Mt. Luoyewei, 2,717 meters (8,914 feet) and Mt. Mawuzuye, 2,368 meters (7,769 feet). It's nothing to do with Roma Italy. We take the first word from those trail names to make this trail easy to remember.
ROMA: snow capped Mt. Nanhu, 3,742 m/12,277 ft through the icy trees
Snow-capped Mt. Nanhu
The trail isn't long, but you need to hike from elevation of 1,810 meters to 2,717 meters. Once you get to the peaks, you will be surrounded by two beautiful ridgelines with the most famous 100 Peaks and the sea of clouds in Taiwan. When I hiked there in December 2019, I was lucky enough to see snow-capped summits and rimes.
You need to apply permit to enter Mt. Luoyewei 羅葉尾山.

How to Get There

There are two buses going to the trailhead:
1. Take Kingbus 1751 at Yilan Transfer Station 宜蘭轉運站 and get off at Siyuan Police Station 思源派出所. It takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes from Yilang Transfer Station to Siyuan Police Station. There are only 2 buses from Yilan to Siyuan Police Station, 7:30 and 12:40.
2. Take Kingbus 1764 at Luodong Transfer Station 羅東轉運站 and get off at Siyuan Police Station 思源派出所. It takes around 2 hours and 5 minutes from Luodong Transfer Station to Siyuan Police Station. There is only one bus from Luodong to Siyuan Police Station, 7:00.
ROMA: Bus stop at the trailhead
Bus stop at the trailhead
However, there is no bus stop near the other trailhead after you exit the trail. If you take the bus to get there, you'll need to walk around 5 km to get back to Siyuan Police Station stop.

Peaks to Reach

ROMA Hike means the ridgeline from Mt. Luoyewei to Mt. Mawuzuye. Hikers not only see the famous 100 Peaks like Mt. Nanhu, Mt. Zhongyanjian and Mt. Xue Range (Holy Ridgeline Trail), but also can enjoy the old big trees on the trail. The total hike is only 12 km (7.45 miles), but it takes at least 9 hours to finish the hike.
Mt. Luoyewei: 羅葉尾山, 2,717 meters (8,914 feet). There is a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the summit.
Mt. Mawuzuye: 馬武佐野郡山, 2,368 meters (7,769 feet). There is a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the peak.
See the map and itinerary first

Steep Ascending To Mt. Luoyewei

GPS coordinates of the trailhead: 24.393902, 121.352493
We stayed at nearby B&B, but many hikers choose to wildcamping near the trailhead at Yousheng River 有勝溪. To get to our first peak, Mt. Luoyewei, we needed to cross the river first. Therefore, prepare some extra socks or another pair of shoes to prevent your hiking boots from getting wet. I wore rainboots so it was easy for me.
ROMA: Crossing the river
Crossing the river

Starting with a Lousy Weather, but It Turned into A Big Surprise

Before we started our hike, it had been raining and cold for days, but the weather forecast said we would have a good weather. To be honest, I didn't believe it because when we arrived at the trailhead, it was still cloudy and grey. We saw trees and branches covered by ice, caused by rain and the extremely cold temperature. It even had been snowing on Mt. Xue for a few days. So, it was icy and cold on the trail.
ROMA: trees and branches were covered with ice
Glazed tree branches looked like popsicles.
To my great delight, I was totally wrong. The sky gradually cleared up and the sunshine started breaking through the clouds. In the meanwhile, rime and clear ice on the trees started melting, too. It was like a drizzle and we had to stop to wear our raincoats.
ROMA: it wasn't easy to hike this slope even though it looked mysterious
It was difficult to hike this slope. I panted so hard.
Occasionally, I could hear my hiking mates' happy shriek when they saw rime falling gracefully from the trees, like fairy dust. I managed to shoot a time-lapsed video, but it still doesn't quite capture what we witnessed right on the spot.
Apart from the rime, the mist made the trail look so mysterious.
ROMA: Before the sun totally came up, the trail was mixed with mist, light and ice, which looked like a mysterious place.
Before the sun totally came up, the trail was mixed with mist, light and ice.

Falling Ice Was Not Fun but ...

On a tropical island like Taiwan, it's really difficult to image how it feels like to be hit by falling ice, but we were lucky to experience it. The melting ice not only made the trail sluggish and difficult to hike but also made us try very hard to avoid being hit. The shriek of seeing beautiful rimes started to mix with painful ‘Ouch, I got hit'.
ROMA: trees were covered with ice and the sky was brightening up
Trees were covered in ice and the sky was brightening up
We were joking that it was one in a million chance to be hit by falling ice in Taiwan. But to be honest, it wasn't fun to be hit by this, especially those from the tall trees. Luckily, we all survived by the attack without serious damages.
ROMA: frost on the leaves
Frost on the leaves

We Went above the Clouds and Saw the Snow-capped Peaks!

The slope was still very steep, and I felt my legs as heavy as lead. I had to stop frequently to catch my breath. When I was taking a break and turned back to look where we were, I realized that the sky had been totally cleared up, we were already above the clouds and the peaks on the other side were very clear to be seen. Siyuan Yakou 思源啞口 was underneath clouds. The fatigue was replaced by excitement, and I hurried to hike further, trying to get a better view.
ROMA: the sun was totally up and we were above the clouds. All of us turned our heads to enjoy the view.
The sun was totally up and we were above the clouds. All of us turned our heads to enjoy the view.
When we reached a flat area to rest, our guides told us those peaks in front of us were Mt. Nanhu 南湖大山 3,742 meters (12,277 feet), and we could see Mt. Zhongyangjian 中央尖山 3,705 meters (12,155 feet), an almost perfect triangle-shaped peak, if we looked to the south through the trees. Like Mt. Nanhu, the peak of Mt. Zhongyangjian was covered by snow.
ROMA: snow capped Mt. Nanhu 南湖大山 on the left and Mt. Zhongyanjian 中央尖山 in the center
Snow capped Mt. Nanhu 南湖大山 on the left and Mt. Zhongyanjian 中央尖山 in the center
I'm not new to snow, but seeing snow in Taiwan is very rare even in high attitudes, which made me thrilled. From time to time, we still got hit by ice, but it didn't matter anymore.
ROMA: can't get enough with those wonderful sea of clouds and icy trees
I won't get tired with those wonderful sea of clouds and icy trees

Heading to Our First Peak, Mt. Luoyewei

We still had to head to our first peak, Mt. Luoyewei. When I hiked in Norway in August 2017, we hiked at a glacier national park and the snow was hard and as deep as the height of my knees. It wasn't an easy hike and my hiking boots were soaking wet after a while.
ROMA: crispy air with icy trees and blue sky
Crispy air with more glazed trees and blue sky
Although there was no snow on this trail, hiking on the ice wasn't easy, either. It was slippery, wet and easy to lose your footing, which is totally different from hiking on a muddy trail. I was glad that I had my faithful trekking poles to keep me company.
ROMA: ice on the trail
Ice on the trail
Finally, we reached Mt. Luoyewei, and there were already other hiking groups queueing up for pictures. Taking pictures with the signs on the peaks or Triangulation Stones is a big thing in Taiwan, especially the one classified as Class 3 Triangulation Stone on Mt. Luoyewei. We waited for a while to take photos.
ROMA: summit of Mt. Luoyewei 羅葉尾山 2,717 m / 8,914 ft
The summit of Mt. Luoyewei 羅葉尾山 2,717 meters (8,914 feet)
The sun was already high up by now, and it was hot. I took this moment to take a rest and dried my raincoat and backpack. I sat there by myself and enjoyed the sea of clouds and the snow-capped peaks once more. The ice was still hanging on the trees, and rimes were still falling once in a while. Those with the bright blue sky, the cotton-like white clouds, and the green mountains circling us in the distance made my hiking experience upgrade to a whole new level.
ROMA: hikers waited for their turn to take photos at Mt. Luoyewei
Hikers waited for their turn to take photos at Mt. Luoyewei, but my focus was still on the ridgeline in the distance.

To Mt. Mawuzuye and Old Tree Forest

After Mt. Luoyewei, we were ready to get to our lunch place. We were told there were bamboo woods and it should be easy. It turned out to be a different story. When our guides made their first trip to scout the trail, there was no ice and the bamboo woods were intact, and they were able to pass through the woods within ten minutes.
ROMA: crawled underneath bent bamboo woods
Crawling underneath the bamboo woods wasn't fun
However, the unexpected cold weather and rain smashed the bamboo woods and the falling ice further bended the woods, which made traversing more difficult. At several points, our backpacks were caught up with the bamboos and it took some time to get ourselves free. Carrying a big heavy backpack and trying to bend down and hike wasn't easy.
ROMA: crawled underneath bent bamboo woods
More crawling underneath bent bamboo woods
Many of us decided crawling might be the best tactic to tackle with the damaged bamboo woods. So, I can add the experience of crawling on the ice with my knees on my hiking adventures. As you can imagine, it hurt and cold to crawl on the ice.
ROMA: more ice on the trail
This part was still covered by ice.
This section took us much longer than expect to finish, and we finally arrived the place for lunch. We were cold, exhausted and very hungry, and ready to devour anything edible. Our guides boiled hot water to prepare ginger tea for us, which was a great delight to warm up our bodies.
ROMA: lunch time and food sharing
Our guides made ginger tea to warm up our bodies.
Sitting in the woods and having my lunch, I could see the sunshine seeping through the trees leaves and the mountains in the distance. I still felt a little bit cold, but very content. I was hoping I could get a chance to hike Mt. Nanhu and Mt. Zhongyangjian someday, but, at that moment, being able to see the views like this made me very elated and grateful.
ROMA: Mt. Zhongyanjian, 3,705 m /12,155 ft, through the trees
Mt. Zhongyanjian, 3,705 meters (12,155 feet), through the trees
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More Stunning Views Ahead: Holy Ridge Trail (Shengleng Trail) 聖稜線 from Mt. Mawuzuyejun 馬武佐野郡山

After lunch, the section of the trail was easier than the previous ones. It was still steep, but the terrain was mostly covered by leaves and pine needles, and there were many majestic big trees with huge branches reaching out along the trail.
ROMA: hiking through those beautiful trees. I don't know what those are.
There was almost no ice on this section and the trees were different.
There were several old trees here. The ferns and moss on the branches were like little fairies dancing among twigs and beams of sunlight, and those made us easily to lose track of time. Our guides urged us to go faster, because nobody wanted to hike in the dark if we stayed too long, and they promised us that there would be a big surprise waiting for us.
ROMA: we stopped at this big tree to take a break and photos
We took a break at ROMA Old Tree 羅馬神木, a must stop location on this trail.
More beautiful trees.
ROMA: the sunshine made the woods even more dramatic
The sunshine made the woods even more dramatic.
ROMA: beautiful green color
Beautiful green color
When we got out of the woods, the landscape opened up and Mt. Nanhu reappeared in front of us. Everyone was excited and stopped to take photos, but our guides told us to keep moving.
ROMA: Mt. Nanhu on the left and the peak of Mt. Zhongyanjian on the right
Mt. Nanhu on the left and the peak of Mt. Zhongyanjian on the right
Later, I realized they were right, because the landscape opened up even more. We not only saw Mt. Nanhu, but also Holy Ridgeline Trail 聖稜線. From here, we could see Mt. Xue Main Peak, 3,886 meters (12,749 feet), the second highest mountain in Taiwan, was covered by snow. We were between two of the most famous mountain ridgelines now.
ROMA: Holy Ridgeline 聖稜線 from the summit of Mt. Mawuzuye 馬武佐野郡山 (2,368 m / 7,769 ft)
Watching Holy Ridge Trail from the peak of Mt. Mawuzuye
ROMA: view of Holy Ridgeline 聖稜線 with snow capped Mt. Xue 雪山 in the middle
Panorama view of Holy Ridge Trail with snow capped Mt. Xue Main Peak in the middle. Mt. Dabajian couldn't been seen from here.
I hiked to Mt. Xue East Peak, 3,201 meters (10,502 feet), before, but I didn't make it to Mt. Xue Main Peak. I planned to hike there again but haven't got a chance yet. Seeing this and Holy Ridgeline Trail made me feel I was getting close the Mt. Xue again.
ROMA: different place to see Holy Ridgeline 聖稜線
Watch Holy Ridge Trail from a different place

Massive Descending with Silver Grass and Unexpected Sea of Clouds

Silver grass is a very strong plant that can survive in harsh environments, and you can see it almost everywhere in Taiwan. After seeing two major mountain ranges, we made a turn and hiked through the silver grass. Those views on this grassland made me stop here to take as many photos as I could. When you hike here, please be aware of the big rocks hidden among the silver grass. It will hurt a lot or even break your toes if you accidentally kick them.
ROMA: love this landscape: silver grass, crispy blue sky and sun
Silver grass, crispy blue sky and the sun
Looking up, I saw Mt. Nanhu in front of us. The closer look made the snow even more visible to us. More surprisingly, I got to see the sea of clouds here again. This time, the clouds were moving.
ROMA: watching snow capped Mt. Nanhu and the sea of clouds made the descending more enjoyable
Watching snow capped Mt. Nanhu and the sea of clouds made the descending more enjoyable
While continuing my hike, I heard shriek being let out from hikers in front of me. It turned out they saw a rainbow out of somewhere. I still don't understand what they had seen, but whatever they saw must be amazing, which add up an extra wonder we had on this hike.
ROMA: moon, Mt. Nanhun, and sea of clouds
The moon, Mt. Nanhun, and sea of clouds
After the silver grass land, the trail turned into a very steep one again, and we had to grab the ropes to help us descend. If it were raining at that time, this part of trail would turn into a muddy nightmare, slippery and difficult to hike.
ROMA: trail condition became a very steep dirt slope.
Trail condition became a very steep dirt slope.

Cross the River before Calling It A Day

Finally, we reached our last challenge before finishing the hike, because we were back to Yousheng River, just like how we got started. Some of our hiking mate said their feet got wet even though they wore a pair of rainboots. I wore rainboots, too, but I also wore a pair of rain pants which helped prevent water from getting inside my boots.
ROMA: it was slippery to go through the river
It was slippery to go through the river
When you cross the river, it can be very slippery to step on the rocks. Some of our hiking mates slipped here. Since this is the last part of the hike, it doesn't matter if your feet get wet, because you are about to finish this delightful hike.
ROMA: the river looked spectacular. It must be great to sit here in summer.
The river looked spectacular. It must be great to sit here in summer.
We had to climb over the fence to get back to our bus.
ROMA: crossed the fence to finish the hike
One last climb.

Thoughts about This Hike: How to Improve This Hike

This is a great trail with stunning mountain views, old forests and enough difficulty level if you enjoy challenges. If I do this hike again, this will be how I do it.
ROMA: amazing sea of clouds
ROMA hike: amazing sea of clouds.
The first thing is you need to sort out the transportation. If you drive there, you just need to walk extra 5 km to get back to your car after the hike.
Getting to the trailhead isn't difficult. I will take the first bus of either Bus 1751 or 1764 and get off at Siyuan Police Station. Then, walk around 5 km to the other trailhead and camp there. Then do the hike from the other trailhead. Then, take it easy and enjoy the camping on the first day.
However, it will be trickier to arrange your transport after the hike, because the last bus for you to catch at Siyuan Police Station is roughly at 14:40, which is impossible to finish the hike by then. It takes at least 10 hours to finish the hike. So, you might need to camp near Siyuan Police Station for another night and catch the first Bus 1751 back to Yilan Transfer Station at 9:40 the next morning.
In this case, you might need to prepare 3 days to hike this trail. This trail is great for all seasons, especially to avoid the heat in summer. If you can spare 3 days to do this hike in summer, camping near the trailhead might be a great idea. But please be cautious of the possible floods before you go.
What do you think about this trail? Would you like to take on ROMA hike? Please leave comments below and subscribe to newsletters for more amazing trails in Taiwan.

Map and Itinerary

Group Hike or Solo Hike: Group hike with Taiwan Mountain LOHAS Association (LOHAS)
Date of Hike: December 8, 2019

Route map for ROMA-Mt-Luoyewei-Mt-Mawuzuye by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

Click Menu in the map to download, print or share the map.
Click timer to change the speed to meet your condition.

Due to GPS accuracy setting, there may be some difference between my GPS tracking and the exact distance. For some unknown reasons, my Sunnto GPS watch failed to record this trail properly. Here's the GPX I use here.

Based on my hike on December 8, 2019

06:30 Arrived at trailhead near Siyuan Yakou
06:50 Crossed Yousheng River and started the hike
08:30 The sun came up
08:37 Saw the sea of clouds above Siyuan Yakou
08:40 Took a break and group photos
09:10 Resumed the hike
10:44 Reached Mt. Luoyewei and took a break and group photos
11:00 Resumed hike and encountered the bended bamboo woods
11:30 Got out of the bamboo woods
12:10 Lunch break
12:45 Resumed hike
13:54 Took a break at ROMA Old Tree 羅馬神木
14:19 Reached Mt. Wuzuye. No views, only the sign
14:38 Got out of the old trees and reached the pass between Mt. Nanhu and Mt. Xue ranges
15:04 Reached Mt. Mawuzuye and took a break
15:12 Resumed the hike and started descending
15:22 Saw the sea of clouds again on Mt. Nanhu side
16:05 Reached the steep dirt slope
16:30 Reached Yousheng River again
16:49 Reached the highway (GPS: 24.365545, 121.336855) and got back to the bus
Total time: 10 hours 29 minutes, including breaks

Recommended Blogs and Resources:

Chinese only:
Mark Choo: 羅馬縱走下武陵,羅葉尾山、武佐野群山、馬武佐野郡山
Hiking Biji: 羅馬縱走 (羅葉尾山、馬武佐野郡山)

Related Posts about 100 Peaks on Taiwan Hikes:

100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian
100 Peaks: Mt. Baigu
100 Peaks: Mt. Qilai South Peak and Mt. Nanhua