Last week I had planned to climb ZuMuShan 足母山, but quickly realized I had brought far too much in my pack to make the climb in a reasonable amount of time. That and it was REALLY hot. About 30 min into the climb I turned around and headed towards my Plan B, Ghost Ax Canyon.
Date Visited: 2018 May 17
Ghost Ax Canyon is located in Maolin near Duona village (茂林多納). It’s one of those places I have been putting off for a while. It’s a beautiful location and not terribly difficult to reach. In my mind I’ve always imagined many people going there all throughout the week. For a guy who goes to the mountains to “get away from it all” the thought of a bunch of other people being there is a major turn off.
I drove my car this time out, so I had few options of other things to do. So Ghost Ax Canyon it was!
If you decide to go, you can drive all the way down to the river and park there – either next to the river itself or a parking area where the road ends. Here–> 22.913855, 120.719168
On this day I was the only one there thankfully.
Alternatively, if you have a vehicle that’s capable of riding a riverbed “road” you can drive nearly half the way to the canyon. But it’s only a one hour easy hike at most. Personally I would park up here and enjoy the hike.
At the parking area they’re building something. I would guess a hot spring related feature. I’m not sure if it’s government or private.
Take the road down to the river and begin your hike.
As I mentioned, half of the hike is on a river road.
Once the road ends, it’s rock hopping time!
In general it’s not so bad. There’s a clear trail to follow all the way. In some cases more than one trail. I would say it’s not really dangerous, I’ve hiked far worse riverbeds, but it’s still not exactly child friendly. I wouldn’t bring any young kids if you plan on going all the way to the end.
Once you get near the canyon you’ll see it start to narrow.
A nice high wall on the right.
It gets a little trickier towards the end, but not a big deal. Oh, and forgot to mention…plan on getting your feet wet. There’s no way around it.
As I got closer to my objective, I saw this guy coming out leading a group of college students.
I forgot to mention that before I set off to the canyon I went back to my car to switch to my river shoes. There were three cars there when I got to the parking area. I was preparing myself for a bunch of people to be at the canyon, but luckily this group was just leaving.
At this point you must continue walking in the river…but man is it a great walk!
And now you’re basically in the canyon…
Walk inside and enjoy the wind tunnel…perfect on a hot day!
One more turn and you’ll enter the final “cavern” right before the waterfall.
When I walked in there was nobody in sight! Gotta say how awesome it is to have a place like this all to yourself. There’s an open area with some rocks for you to put your stuff.
Looking up you can see the crevice
Someone had stacked a bunch of rocks to make a table. I took full advantage of it!
Here’s an opposite view. I’d have to imagine a lot of this would be covered in water with a bit more rain.
There was a small-ish waterfall and little pool at the end. The water was rushing in pretty fast – definitely pushing me back as I got near it.
At the top of that picture you can see another waterfall in the background. I’ve seen pictures of people who have climbed up past the pool. I’m guessing when there’s less rain it would be easier to climb. For me that day it seemed impossible.
Here’s a few more pics to leave you with…
And for a little fun, here’s a video I made of me being silly in the cold water. You know how you try to force yourself into cold water but it seems too darn hard? Keep that in mind as you watch.
On a side note, the college students I mentioned were all wearing protective helmets and life jackets. A life jacket that day is debatable, but a helmet is a reasonable precaution. I can imagine rocks falling from that crevice above. It probably doesn’t happen often, but something to consider.
Again, it’s pretty easy to find, but here’s a GPX file in case you need it.
Date hiked: 2018 May 17
GPX Track Download Instructions: Click the track on the map to see the download link