Raknus Selu Trail


The name of Raknus Selu Trail is a mixture of minority languages. Raknus is the term used by the Saisiyat and Atayal tribes to refer to “camphor tree,” and “Selu” means “small path” in the Hakka language. This trail is rich in historical significance owing to the camphor industry that for a time closely connected various ethnic groups and created an entanglement of interests amongst them.

The map of Raknus Selu Trail


The trail stretches from Taoyuan City’s Longtan
District in the north to Taichung City’s Dongshi in the south, connecting the four cities and counties of Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, and Taichung. Running through Hakka communities near Provincial Highway 3, the 400- kilometer-long trail connects ancient pathways, farming roads, and green highways, which harbor natural ecology, ethnic cultures, collective memories, and industrial chains.

Raknus Selu Trail
(Photo: TMI Trail)


From the 19th to the early 20th century, Taiwan was a major production area of ​​sugar, tea, and camphor. The production mostly took place in the foothills of the northwest. Taiwan’s camphor exports accounted for more than 80% of the world’s total. More than 100 years ago, the native camphor trees in the mountains of Taiwan were the raw materials for making film negatives, spices, gunpowder, preservatives, etc.  Camphor was as important during that time as crude oil today. The hardworking Hakka families living in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Miaoli would go up to the mountains to cut the trees, shave the wood, make camphor, and transport the material along the "selu” to the port, where it would be shipped to many parts of the world.

As an economic artery for Hakka people, Raknus Selu Trail played a significant role in Taiwan’s global trade in the past. Hakka people came to the island to develop the land and seek the opportunities to live a better life, directly or indirectly contributing to the global trade and economy. This road has witnessed the horrific conflicts between ethnic groups in blood and tears and proved the interdependence between man and nature.

Raknus Selu Trail
(Photo: TMI Trail)


Parts of the trail had been abandoned due to the decline of the camphor industry and the launch of the Provincial Highway 3. However, amid the ancient pathway, there are still many historical relics and cultural landscapes worthy of being preserved. Under the repair plan of the Hakka Affairs Council, the trail has been restored to the right conditions for becoming a world-class long trail and creating a local cultural corridor.

It is hoped that this trail will attract domestic and foreign tourists to travel through this area, and that the unique stories of Taiwan’s ethnic groups will be widely known through Hakka or indigenous people’s culture, history, traditions, landscapes, cuisines, and local legends all over the trail.