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ROMA Hike: A Great Ridge Hike to See 3,000m Summits, Sea of Clouds, and Old Trees in Taiwan

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: July 2, 2020
Disclaimer: Please note some of the following are based on my personal condition, and I will try to provide the latest and correct information as possible as I can. Please feel free to let me know if I make any mistake and thank you for reading. Please also note that your safety is your own responsibility.
ROMA is actually a short name of the ridge between two summits: Mt. Luoyewei 羅葉尾山 (2,717 m / 8,914 ft) and Mt. Mawuzuye 馬武佐野郡山 (2,368 m / 7,769 ft). The trail isn’t long, but it’s challenging, from 1,810m to 2,717m, and you get to see 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. It’s nothing to do with Roma Italy. We take the first word from those trail names to make this trail less verbal.
You need to apply permit to enter Mt. Luoyewei 羅葉尾山.
Update:
A fire broke out in Mt. Mawuzuye on June 24, 2020, it lasted for a few days and burned down around 2 hectares (4.9 acres). I’m not sure how bad it is now. You might need to wait for a few months to hike on this trail again.

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.
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.
ROMA: Bus stop at the trailhead
Bus stop at the trailhead

Peaks to Reach

Mt. Luoyewei: 羅葉尾山, 2,717 m (8,914 ft), Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the summit.
Mt. Mawuzuye: 馬武佐野郡山, 2,368 m (7,769 ft), Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the summit.
ROMA Hike means the ridgeline from Mt. Luoyewei to Mt. Mawuzuye. Hikers not only see the famous 100 Peaks like Mt. Nanhu, Mt. Zhongyanjian, Mt. Xue, 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.
See the map and itinerary first

A Point to Point Hike without A Shortcut

We stayed at nearby B&B, but you can camp near the trail head. There’s a river so you can have access to draw water. But you have to get across Yousheng River 有勝溪 to start your hike, and you have to cross the same river to finish your hike. 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.
GPS coordinates of the trailhead: 24.393902, 121.352493
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’d 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 got started, it was still cloudy and grey. We saw trees and branches covered by ice. It had been raining for days and the temperature dropped dramatically, and Mt. Xue started snowing a few days before our hike. When we were on the trail, it was icy and cold.
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 falling ice, especially those from the tall trees. Luckily, we all survived by the attack, and we didn’t get serious injury.
ROMA: frost on the leaves
Frost on the leaves

We Were above the Clouds! So were 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 already covered by 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 m (12,277 ft), and we could see Mt. Zhongyangjian 中央尖山 3,705 m (12,155 ft), an almost perfect triangle shape with pointed peak, if we looked to the south through the trees. Like Mt. Nanhu, the summit 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, still 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 the glacier national park and the snow was hard and about my knee deep. It wasn’t an easy hike because 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 summit signs or Triangulation Sones is a big thing in Taiwan, especially the one classified as Class 3 Triangulation Stone on Mt. Luoyewei. You can expect a long queue waiting if you are not the only hiking group.
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 m / 8,914 ft
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 on the trees wasn’t totally melted, and rimes were still there to be seen, plus the bright blue sky, the cotton-like white clouds, and the green mountains circling us in the distance, which 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.

Crawling underneath the Bamboo Woods

After the summit, we were ready 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 falling and the bamboo woods were intact, and they were able to pass through the woods very fast.
ROMA: crawled underneath bent bamboo woods
We had to crawl underneath bent bamboo woods
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 felt hurt and cold by crawling 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 am not sure I have the ability or get a chance to hike Mt. Nanhu and Mt. Zhongyangjian, but being able to see the views like this made me very elated and grateful. It also felt like a dream.
ROMA: Mt. Zhongyanjian, 3,705 m /12,155 ft, through the trees
Mt. Zhongyanjian, 3,705 m /12,155 ft, through the trees

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 and the trail were like little fairies dancing among twigs and seeping sunshine, 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 stopped at this big tree to take a break and photos
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 further, we not only could see Mt. Nanhu on our left, but also Holy Ridge Trail 聖稜線 from our last summit on this trip, Mt. Mawuzuyejun 馬武佐野郡山, 2,368 m/ 7,769 ft. From here, we could see the summit of Mt. Xue, 3,886 m / 12,749 ft, 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)
Holy Ridge Trail 聖稜線 from the summit of Mt. Mawuzuye 馬武佐野郡山 (2,368 m / 7,769 ft)
Panorama view of Holy Ridge Trail. Mt. Dabajian was behind those summits.
ROMA: view of Holy Ridgeline 聖稜線 with snow capped Mt. Xue 雪山 in the middle
Panorama view of Holy Ridge Trail 聖稜線 with snow capped Mt. Xue 雪山 in the middle
I hiked to Mt. Xue East Peak, 3,201 m / 10,502 ft, 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 Ridge 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

Silver Grass and Unexpected Sea of Clouds

Silver grass is a very unique plant with a strong ability to survive, and you can see it almost everywhere in Taiwan. Finishing our last summit on this trail, we made a turn and hiked through the silver grass. Those views on this grassland made me stop here for a little bit longer 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. It’s been a while for my last sight of this amazing phenomenon, and I decided to take time-lapsed videos of the views, snow-capped Mt. Nanhu and the sea of the clouds, because I wasn’t sure when I will see this combination again.
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
A video clip of the sea of clouds.
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 fields, the trail turned into a very steep one, and we had to grab the ropes for several descending. If it were raining at that time, this part of trail would turn into a muddy nightmare, slippery and difficult to descend. This part is also challenging for knees, so please wear knee braces if necessary.
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 and I used my rain pants to cover the lower parts of my boots. So, my feet managed to maintain dry.
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 in the river. 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.

Some Thoughts about This Hike: I Definitely Will Do It Again

I think we were really lucky to see those amazing things on this trail, but it really depends on the weather condition. I think this hike is great to hike in all seasons, because the altitude is high enough for hikers to avoid the heat in summer. Some people say they won’t hike the same trail again because we have way too many trails to hike in Taiwan. I totally agree, but I do enjoy some trails very much and I definitely will visit this again. This one is also great for camping and solo hike. Highly recommend this one.
ROMA: amazing sea of clouds
ROMA hike: amazing sea of clouds.

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.

Note:
Due to GPS accuracy setting, there may be some difference between my GPS tracking and the exact distance. Please check the infographic above for the more accurate data. 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 思源啞口
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, took a break and group photos
11:00 Resumed hike and encountered the fallen 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 trees
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)
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