Heading for the Baiji Tunnel? First of all, you need to know which one you are going to visit! At present, both new and old tunnels coexist on Provincial Highway No. 7 as the passages that connect Cihu and Fuxing. The New Baiji Tunnel is currently used as a dual carriageway while the Old Baiji Tunnel has been converted into a recreational trail for the public. Both the two tunnels have silently witnessed the historical vicissitudes of Baiji in the past half-century. To know the history of the Baiji Tunnel, one must understand the strategic importance of Baiji's location. Baiji, formerly known as Bajie, was located on the necessary route between Daxi and Mt. Jiaoban in the early days. In 1944, during the Japanese colonial period, the tunnel was built to serve as a footpath, an air raid shelter, an evacuation site as well as the strategic point for Mt. Jiaoban. But, due to soil collapse, the tunnel was closed in 1957. After 8 years, the tunnel was rediscovered and repaired as the Old Baiji Tunnel we call it today. On the facade of the south tunnel entrance is an inscription, "Baiji Tunnel, North Cross-Island Highway," written by Mr. Huang Jie, one of the former Taiwan Provincial Chairpersons. Being transformed into a reinforced concrete structure for traffic use, this 343m long and 4.5m wide tunnel offered only a single lane for traffic in both directions at that time and military police officers had to manage traffic at the tunnel entrance which remains impressive to local residents. However, when the old tunnel could no longer satisfy the traffic needs, the dual-carriageway New Baiji Tunnel was built and opened to traffic in 1993 to replace the old one.
Though closed twice, the Old Baiji Tunnel has been turned into a recreational trail for walking and biking since 2007. Walking into the tunnel, tourists can see the light railway built during the Japanese colonial period and the hand cart for carrying people and goods. Now, there are no workers busy pulling the hand cart in the old tunnel but tourists can step onto the hand cart to take pictures and feel the old time. Other scenic spots adjacent to the Old Baiji Tunnel include the Governor-General Hiking Trail, the Baiji Tree-Shade Foot Trail and so on.
Please beware of snakes in the tunnel during summertime. Children are not allowed to pass through the tunnel by themselves. When encountering a snake in the tunnel, please make a detour. After passing Cihu, the destination is about 5km on Provincial Highway No. 7.