It’s official: Taiwan is home to the world’s first “certified quiet hiking trail.” The international nonprofit organization Quiet Parks International (QPI) gave the trail the designation during a ceremony on July 18, 2022 – World Listening Day.
Located approximately 84 miles from the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, in northeastern Yilan County’s Taipingshan, the Cueifong Lake Circular Trail winds around Cueifong Lake, the island’s largest mountain lake. At 2.5 miles long, it’s the longest trail in the Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area.
Efforts to ensure the location remained peaceful began a decade ago. Natural sound recordist Laila Fan loved how the trail was quiet, yet diverse in its animal sounds and ambient noises. This prompted her to both promote the area and work to preserve its peaceful environment.
Fan’s efforts led the Taiwanese government to declare the Cueifong Lake Circular Trail the country’s first “silent trail” in 2018.
The trail was built upon the old and currently unused tracks of a forest railway, and sits at an elevation of between 1,900 and 2,000 meters. Its serene atmosphere is credited to its lush forest comprising of cypress trees and the thick green moss that carpets the ground.
According to the QPI, the lowest measured volume along the Cueifong Lake Circular Trail is lower than 25 decibels, which is its classification for “almost silent.” Speaking about the designation, Lin Hua-ching, the director of the country’s Forestry Bureau, said, “For a densely populated island to have the world’s first certified ‘Quiet Trail’ carries special meaning for Taiwan.”
Quiet Parks International is a US-based volunteer organization that aims to raise awareness about the benefits of “quietness,” with the aim of preserving tranquil urban and natural places. The nonprofit is currently looking to expand its efforts into Marine parks, as well.