If you’ve done any of the Moss Mountain hikes before you know the first part of this trail—up through the boulders, over the ridge and then down through the forest to the old quarry.
Just beside the quarry there is a mysterious set of stairs. On this hike we’re going to find out what’s at the top of the stairs, and we’ll then head on over the big hill behind the stairs to get into the closed/abandoned Lotus Mountain Scenic Area.
We did a bigger version of this hike on a scouting trip, but tricky tracks and closed villages mean we’ll need to save that version for another time—let us know if you think this version is too easy!
We’ll start the hike from the back door of the Moss Mountain scenic area, just to be sure we’re able to get on the trail.
The back door trail gets us on to the main park track just before all the steep steps and stairs up through the most bouldery and scenic part of the park.
Behind all the boulders a flatter trail leads up a washed out valley towards terraced chestnut orchards. We’ll be following the valley up to cross over at a gap in the cliffs and crags.
After crossing over at the gap, a well-formed track will take us down through old-growth forest, passing a giant pine tree and coming out the back of an old rock quarry.
In the rock quarry we’ll spot a huge boulder with a Buddha carved into it, and if the timing has worked out, this is where we’ll stop for a lunch break.
We’ll continue the hike by climbing those mysterious stairs beside the quarry. At the top of the stairs we’ll pass a small reservoir, and then get on to a well-formed track that leads up into the hills.
The track goes up and over the hills behind the stairs. It’s an extended climb that gets steep in a few places, finishing in shady and sparse forest near the top.
We’ll cross over the ridge and head down into the old Lotus Mountain Scenic Area.
The trails here were well-maintained when the park was still open—wide and clear, with steps in places—but it looks like the park has been closed down for a while.
In some places the track follows along the contours of the hills, and in other places it twists and turns around crags and boulders.
We’ll get into the middle section of the park area and follow the main trail up to the peak. It’s quite a sight—crags and forested ridgelines that finish right at a huge cliff.
From the peak we’ll use a slightly tricky trail to loop back around to the main park paths, and then head down and out to the old park entrance.
With the villages in the area closed to outsiders, it’s likely they won’t let our bus drive in to the park entrance. That means a 2km walk out to the main road to finish the hike.