Originally named Lala Mountain, the Daguan Mountain Nature Reservation is located at the boundary between Wulai District in Taipei and Fuxing Township in Taoyuan. In 1973, a professor from Cultural University found out that a wide field of red cypress divine trees whose appearance bore a distinct resemblance to the divine trees were in Ali Mountain. The name Lala Mountain then spread, attracting more and more tourists from different places. In 1986, the Taoyuan county government formally launched a protection zone around the Daguan Mountain. This zone covers the mountainous areas in the nearby Baling on Northern Cross-Island Highway.
Besides the towering red cypress trees, Daguan Mountain Nature Reservation also comprises several abundant forest trees including the red maple, beech, green Chinese maple and other woody trees. To assist tourists and hikers, the forestry bureau of Taoyuan built a pathway or trail for viewing the landscapes and greeneries. After you enter the recreation zone, hike along the trail and witness the lofty red cypress trees with ages ranging from 500 years to 3000 years. Five giant trees are approximately 2800 years old. The average height of junipers in this area reaches about 188 feet long, with some appearing like dying trees but with fresh leaves sprouting at the treetop. These bunches of conifers are pleasant to watch, with leaves growing abundantly on the intricate branches. Besides the trees, various kinds of birds can be seen in Lala mountain.
During mid-autumn, reddish purple, yellow and pink trees can be seen. Despite Taiwan’s subtropical climate, a number of plants still change their leaf color. More than 30 plants all over the island change their color, including trees in higher mountains like Mount Daguan. These include Liquidambar formosana, Acer serrlatum, Rhus trichocarpa, Taiwan Red False cypress just to name a few. These trees change in color as the weather becomes cooler, from green leaves, they change into red, providing a magnificent and poetic view. The most common color-changing tree in Daguan is the Taiwanese yellow cypress tree.
The maple tree specie that most hikers and visitors do not recognize is the Liquidambar formosana. To distinguish the difference between Rhus trichocarpa and Liquidambar formosana, just remember that one has leaves with five splits while the latter has three splits. L. formosana is not only a shady tree: it is also popular as the best material for cultivating mushrooms.
Daguan Mountain is also popular for its fruit-bearing trees, particularly carambola (starfruit) and pears. Starfruit-picking is a popular activity in Daguan Mountain Nature Reservation, which usually starts in June. Apart from the bountiful carambola, the taste of sweet persimmon, juicy blue damson plum, kiwi and pears can also be tried here. Starting from June until August, carambola and other fruits begin to ripen and as such, this harvest season is the best time to visit and enjoy fruit picking. Visitors can also visit different farm ranches in Shanbalin, or stay overnight at Shangri-la. On the other hand, sweet persimmons and pears can be harvested by September as well as kiwi fruit during the early part of October. You can enjoy picking fruits and eating them afterwards together with your friends and family.