Ultimate Guide to Taipingshan National Forest (太平山國家風景區)

Located in Yilan County (宜蘭縣), 2 hours south of Taipei City (臺北市), Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area is second only to Alishan National Forest as Taiwan’s most iconic protected areas and a spectacular destination for both day trips or overnights. 

Introduction to Taipingshan National Forest

Taipingshan National Forest, nestled in the lush landscapes of northern Taiwan’s Yilan County, is a captivating destination that draws nature enthusiasts, bird watchers, hikers, and cultural explorers alike. This unique protected area offers a harmonious blend of outdoor recreation, natural beauty, biodiversity, and historical significance.

Encompassing approximately 1500 hectares (3,700 acres), Taipingshan National Forest showcases diverse ecosystems across elevations ranging from 6050 to 1,900m above sea level. This variation in elevation contributes to its rich biodiversity and captivating landscapes.

There are over 15km of trails located inside Taipingshan National Forest. Many of the trails are rated level 1-2 difficulty (out of 5), making this National Forest accessible to nature lovers of all skill sets. We’ve put together this ultimate guide to Taipingshan National Forest to help you plan your next visit.

Quick History of Taipingshan National Forest:

Taipingshan National Forest, situated in northern Taiwan, has a rich history that predates its modern recreational significance. However, the region now known as Taipingshan is the traditional of the Atayal tribe of Taiwan. This land was stewarded by the Atayal people prior to its resource extraction past.

Prior to its current role one of Taiwan’s most popular National Forests, the area played a crucial role in Taiwan’s forestry and resource management. At one time, Taipingshan, formally known as Taipingshan Forest Farm, was the leading timber producing regions of Taiwan. In the early 20th century, the Japanese colonial administration recognized the economic potential of the forests and established logging operations in Taipingshan.

To support the timber extraction, they created the Taipingshan Forest Railway, a rail network that started from the Luodong area, climbing into Taipingshan. From here, the rail lines branched off into a number of different areas including Cueifeng, Maosing, and Jancing. This led to the extraction of valuable timber, especially Taiwan Cypress, which was highly prized for its quality. The deforestation and ecological impacts of the intense logging that occurred until the 1970’s was extremely evident. In 1978, a typhoon hit the country and caused damage to the region, particularly the mountain rail lines During the reconstruction assessments there was public pressure to end resource extraction in the area. Logging officially ended in Taipingshan in 1982.

Source: Photo of logging era Taipingshan

Recreational activities (mainly hiking and mountaineering) had been taking place in the area for over 50 years. However, it was only in 1989 that Taipingshan was transformed into a forest recreation area in 1989.

Hiking Trails in Taipingshan National Forest

There are a total of 8 trails stretching over 17km. Since 2002, it has completed Jancing Historic Trail, Taiwan Hemlock Trail, Maosing Remenisent Trail, Jiuzhize Natural Trail, Cypress Primitive Forest Trail, Cuifeng Lake Surrounding Mountain Trail, Wangyang Mountain Trail, Taiwan Beech trails and more.

Hiking Cueifeng Lake Circular Trail (翠峰湖環山步道)

4.90km | Looped | No Permit Required | Level 2 Difficulty

GPX File for Cueifeng Lake Circular Trail (翠峰湖環山步道)

Listed as Taiwan’s largest alpine lake, Cuefeng Lake is located about 40 minutes from Taipingshan Villa, the main area of Taipingshan National Forest. To access this remote area of the park, visitors will have to drive the extra 40 minutes or secure transportation ahead of time. The Forestry Bureau has limited the vehicle size allowed up the narrow and winding mountain road to 9-passenger vans.

Due to the elevation of the Cueifeng Lake Circular Trail the region typically has low temperatures. The humid and damp climate often shrouds the area in dense fog and drizzle all year round. But most hikers don’t let this deter them from discovering this outdoor enthusiast’s gem.

This trail is officially listed at 3.95km. However, with the necessary addition of a section of road, hikers will complete the loop at nearly 5km. Starting out from the parking lot, the compact soil trail leads to a viewing platform. On a clear day, this area gives great views of the mountain lake. Continuing along the trail, visitors will enjoy getting away from the crowds along a mostly natural trail. Most of the trail surrounded by thick forests and tall cypress trees. There are small sections of wooden boardwalks that protect the sensitive, tundra-like ecosystems. As the trail rises above the lake, there are several sections of the trail which offer spectacular views of the lake if you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear day. The entire loop has only 105m of elevation gain and should take hikers with moderate fitness about 3 hours to complete.

Take a Stroll on a Quiet Trail

Many visitors speak to the similarities of this area to the Pacific West Coast of the United States. Thick green moss grows densely on the surrounding trees and forest floor. This seems to have created a layer of natural sound-absorbing organic material. Far away from the hustle and bustle of major cities, as well as other, more visited areas of Taipingshan National Forest, Cueifeng Lake is an extremely quiet place. Without human interference, the lowest measured volume is less than 25 decibels, almost silent. Due to this phenomenom, Cueifeng Lake Circular Trail was the world’s first certified “Silent Trail”.

Hiking Jancing Historic Trail (見晴懷古步道)

0.9km | Linear One-Way | No Permit Required | Level 1 Difficulty

GPX File for Jancing Historic Trail (見晴懷古步道))

Perhaps the title of “Most Scenic” trail in Taipingshan National Forest also goes to the shortest. The Jancing Historic Trail ()見晴懷古步道) was built on part of the old “Jancing Line” forest railway. While the rail line originally stretched 5.5km along the edge of the mountain, this visually attractive trail now has a total length of only 0.9 km. Despite it’s short length, the Jancing Historic Trail is worth adding to your visit to Taipingshan National Forest. Its flat terrain make it suitable for hikers of all abilities.

What makes this trail so spectacular is the remaining remnants of its logging heritage. While the rail line was abandoned decades ago, visitors will still see moss-covered railway tracks, old trestle bridges, and log carts along the way. Many hikers come for the photo-ops, but the trail still invokes a haunting past. Before reaching the end of the trail, visitors must pass over a picturesque 20m suspension bridge that rises about the same height from the ground.

Limited parking is available at the trailhead itself, but the Forestry Bureau has recently built a new parking lot and an improved connecting trail along the mountain road leading to the trailhead. It takes between 5-10 minutes to reach the trailhead from the new parking lot.

Hiking Taipingshan Cypress Trail (檜木原始林步道)

<1km | Looped | No Permit Required | Level 1 Difficulty

GPX File for Taipingshan Cypress Trail (檜木原始林步道)

The Taipingshan Cypress Trail is a short looped route that (unofficially) begins at the Taipingshan Visitor Center. The Cypress Trail is an easy hike that offers a fantastic opportunity to explore a Taiwan Cypress forest. When quiet, this is a perfect forest bathing trail with many ‘fallen giants’, old growth trees decomposing into the forest floor. It takes about 1 hour for a round trip. It also acts as a connecting route to the somewhat longer Taiwan Hemlock Trail (鐵杉林自然步道).

Hikers will access the trail by walking up a staircase located just to the right-hand side of the Taipingshan Visitor Center. Lined with Cherry Trees and Maple Trees that blossom in early Spring and late fall, the 500-step staircase (496 steps to be exact) passes through the main service area of Taipingshan Villa. Near the top of the staircase, visitors will see the stunning Zhen’an (Jhenan) Temple (鎮安宮). This is where this looped trail officially begins. The trail mostly consists of a wooden boardwalk that meanders through a beautiful section of the forest. There are a few areas the feature benches, where visitors can stop and take in moss-laden forest. Due to it’s scenery and accessibility, this trail is very popular with visitors and can feel crowded at times.

Visitors looking to hike the Taiwan Hemlock Trail can access the trailhead from both sides of the Cypress Trail loop.

Hiking the Taiwan Hemlock Trail (鐵杉林自然步道)

2.2km | Linear Two-Way | No Permit Required | Level 2 Difficulty

GPX File for Taiwan Hemlock Trail (鐵杉林自然步道)

We’ve heard hikers refer to this section of Taipingshan National Forest as a “fairy forest”. Quieter than the Cypress Trail, the Taiwan Hemlock trail also features a changing forest with a thick canopy that provides almost complete shade. That is, if the sun is shinning. Located between 2,000-2,180m, the Taiwan Hemlock Trail boasts much of the same damp and wet climate of other areas of Taipingshan, leaving the area often shrouded in mist and fog. It adds to the mysterious feeling that, at any moment, hikers will find a small forest fairy or spirit peeking from behind a moss-covered tree.

The official trailhead starts at a small platform with a wooden sign inscribed with the trail name. This trail features about 330m of elevation gain from the Taipingshan Villa. As hikers ascend this trail, they are traveling through a unique ecological zone transitioning between conifer (needle) forests and deciduous broadleaf forests, which include the endemic Taiwan hemlock (鐵杉/Tsuga chinensis)).

The trail surfaces include compact soil, wooden steps and a boardwalk. There are also sections that include upturned stumps of logs that act as stepping stones. While there are metal tops nailed into the stumps for improved grip, these can slippery when wet. As hikers approach the end of the trail, the forest opens up with distinctively more Hemlock trees, making this section really stunning in the late autumn.

There are fewer visitors to this section of Taipingshan National Forest. If escaping the crowds is one of the reasons you decided to visit this protected area, then this is a great spot to be! A round trip hike from Taipingshan Visitor Center should take between 2-2.5 hours.

Maosing Reminiscent Trail (茂興步道主線)

1.6km | Linear / Loop | No permit required | Level 1 difficulty rating (out of 5)

GPX File for Maosing Reminiscent Trail (茂興步道主線)

The starting point of the Maosing Reminiscent Trail begins from the Maosing Station Platform at the end of the Taipingshan Bong Bong Train ride. Once visitors have arrived, disembark and continue walking along adjacent to the old “Maosing Line” train tracks. If visitors add two small loops on either side of the tracks, the total length of these trails are 1.6km. While the section along the tracks feature only a moderate slope, the other sections have some elevation changes. The trail surfaces are a mix of rehabilitated tracks (now crushed stone), compact soil and wooden boardwalk/steps. This is a highly photogenic trail with several large cypress trunks that dot the trail.

Hiking the Taiwan Beech Trail (台灣山毛櫸步道)

3.8km | Linear Two-Way | No permit required | Level 2 difficulty rating (out of 5)

GPX File for Taiwan Beech Trail (台灣山毛櫸步道)

The trailhead for the Taiwan Beech Trail is located next to the Cueifeng Villa in upper part of the Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area. It’s a moderate-level trail that showcases Taiwan’s unique flora and fauna, including its famous beech trees. Located between 1600-1800m, the Taiwan Beech Trail covers a distance of 3.8km one-way and takes visitors around 3 hours to complete. This makes the Taiwan Beech Trail the longest trail in the Taipingshan Forest Recreation Area. The trail surface is a mix of wooden boardwalk, steps, compact soil and some upturned logs as stepping stones with metal tops for grip. The first 2.5km of this trail follows one of the old forest rail lines, making it relatively flat and easy to walk.

The trail becomes more difficult after 3km as the elevation changes becomes more significant. The outbound journey is mostly downhill and the return journey uphill. During the final section of this trail, there are 900 hectares of pure Taiwan Beech forest. In the summer, Beech trees paint the hillside in green. The autumn is the most popular time to hike this trail. From mid-October, the Beech tree leaves turn yellow, making this one of the few places in Taiwan visitors can see fall foliage.

Hiking Wangyangshan Trail (望洋山步道)

1.2km | Linear One-Way | No permit required | Level 2 difficulty rating (out of 5)

GPX File for Wangyangshan Trail (望洋山步道)

Even if you are not staying overnight and hiking up to watch the sunrise, the Wangyangshan Trail is worth the 1.2km one-way. At an elevation of 2050m, Wangyangshan Trail offers fantastic views on a clear day. Visitors will be able to see the Lanyang Plains and, sometimes, even the Turtle Island in the Pacific Ocean. The entrance of Wangyangshan Trail is just next to Cueifong Villa. Wangyangshan Trail has some stairs that can be tiring at such an elevation. Its trail surfaces are comprised of gravel pavement, crushed stone pavement and wooden stairs which gradually rise.

As the Wangyanshan Trail connects to the Cueifeng Lake Circular Trail near the viewing platform, this is a good addition to include if you feel up to it.

Hiking the Jiuzhize Nature Trail (鳩之澤自然步道)

1.6km | Linear Two-Way | No permit required | Level 1 difficulty rating (out of 5)

GPX File for Jiuzhize Nature Trail (鳩之澤自然步道)

Located in the lower elevation regions of Taipingshan National Forest, Jiuzhize Nature Trail (鳩之澤自然步道) and the Jiuzhize Eco Craft combined reach a total of 3km round trip. From the Jiuzhze Hot Spring Area, cross over Duowang Creek on a suspension bridge. After crossing the suspension bridge, visitors can access the Jiuzhize Nature Trail (鳩之澤自然步道) on the left or go right towards the Jiuzhze Eco Trail. It takes over 1 hour to walk back and forth on the two trail. These trails sit at approximately 520 meters above sea level, and traverse through medium and low altitude, evergreen broad-leaved forests.

Attractions and Services within Taipingshan National Forest

Zhongjian Visitor Center (中間服務站) – Located after the Taipingshan Ticket Booth, but prior to entering the main visitor area, this visitor center offers visitors detailed interpretation of past histories of Taipingshan National Forest. The visitor center also boosts a small retail outlet that sells simple souvenirs.

Taiwan Cypress Square (香林服務區) – Located on the left side of the central stairs of Taipingshan Villa (太平山莊), is Taiwan Cypress Square. This is an open-air space showcasing the root structures and stumps of ancient cypress trees.

Cloud Sea Cafe (雲海咖啡館) – This cafe features a quaint wooden interior and seats about 50-60 people. Open between 9:30-20:00, they serve cold and hot drinks such as teas, coffees and hot chocolate as well as light snacks. Directly behind the cafe is a public washroom and viewing platform which, when clear, offers spectacular views of the surrounding valley.

Zhen’an (Jhenan) Temple (鎮安宮) – Previously known as Jialuoshan Shrine, Zhen’an Temple creates a serene mood in the forest. Made of local Cypress wood, it was moved to its current location in 1936. Located at an altitude of 1,950m, this is the highest temple in all of Yilan County. The beautiful bright red exterior of this temple contrasts the lush greens of the surrounding temperate forest perfectly.

Cuifeng Villa Mountain House Restaurant (翠峰山屋餐廳) – This simple restaurant does provide breakfast, lunch (fried rice), and dinner. They also serve some drinks, coffee and other catering services. Breakfast and dinner are offered only for overnight visitors. The cost of lunch is $120ntd per person. Lunch is served between 11:30-13:30.

Booking Accommodation in Taipingshan National Forest

Taipingshan National Forest has accommodation capacity of 65 rooms, across five distinct buildings and in two different areas of the park. The National Forest offers accommodation options in the main Taipingshan Villa and in the area close to Cueifong Lake.

While the Taipingshan area accommodation is more convenient, Cueifong Villa is remote and closer to Cueifong Lake and Taiwan Beech Trail. Cuifeng Villa is much harder to book as it has just three rooms for a total of eight guests. To make the experience more rustic, the power of Cueifong Villa is in the evenings every day.

Each of the building is named after a different species of conifer. The prices Prices range from $1200 for a bunk in a four-bed dorm to $9800 for an eight-bed room. The reservation system accepts bookings two months in advance. However, the availability nearly always fills up immediately during summer months and on weekends. Looking to include very unique accommodation options on your trip to Taiwan. This is a great option if you can book them.

They can be booked on the Forestry Bureau’s website as far as two months in advance, but rooms tend to sell out early.

Getting Around Taipingshan National Forest

Bong Bong Train (inside the National Forest)

One of the highlights of visiting Taipingshan National Forest has to be taking the yellow, open-air mountain train. Traveling along the “Maosing Line”, the memorably named, Bong Bong Train began operating in 1937. The train would transport men and supplies out to remote areas to log farther stretches of the region. The Bong Bong Train operated until 1979, a few years before logging operations officially came to an end in 1982. From Taipingshan Villa to the terminal station of Maosing Line, the Bong Bong Train ride is about 20 minutes.

Tickets to the Bong Bong Train do sell out and can only be purchased at the ticket counter. They open ticket sales at 7:00am every morning. No online booking is available. Maintenance on the Bong Bong Train is completed on the second and fourth Tuesday each month. Service of Bong Bong Train is suspended during these dates. If you are visiting Taipingshan for the day and plan on riding the Bong Bong Train, it is recommended to ride the train early or to plan your day finishing with the train. When booking a train, note that you are allocated a specific return time. The entire trip will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Here is more information on the Bong Bong Train.

Source: Taipingshan National Forest

Visiting Jiuzhize Hot Springs (鳩之澤溫泉)

Jiuzhize Hot Springs is a popular destination located more than a 1000m below Taipinshan Villa and the other main visitor areas of Taipingshan National Forest. Visitors will see the steam rising deep in the mountain valley well before they arrive at the ticketing booth.Once you have paid and entered into Taipingshan at the ticket booth, there is turn off to the hot spring area less than a kilometer up the road.

Often overlooked by the day trip hiking crowd, Jiuzhize Hot Springs has clear, odor-less hot spring waters that e a perfect relief after a day of hiking in Taipingshan. With water temperatures hovering around 140°C, the facilities have adjusted the temperatures to 38-42°C at hot spring bathing area.

This attraction can get busy during the weekends, but when crowds are smaller, Jiuzhize Hot Springs is a special place. The therapeutic waters, coupled with the surrounding scenery and the sound of the running river make this is a slice of paradise. Facilities here include washrooms, change rooms and the main SPA pool that was built from a huge rock brought down the stream by typhoon. For those looking to go ‘au naturel‘ separate naked bathing pools for both men and women are available. For families, there is an outdoor thermal bathing area. One of big draws for tourists is an area for visitors to boil eggs. You read that correct. A small volcanic cone features flowing hot spring water to cook a quick snack.

When To Visit Taipingshan National Forest

Taipingshan National Forest is open all year round and is stunning regardless of the season. The area is prone to heavy rain, so check the weather forecast before your visit. The park is open to guests from 8am to 9pm daily, Aim to arrive early to beat the crowds and if you want to see some views before the afternoon clouds roll in.

Weather and Climate in Taipingshan National Forest

The elevation of Taipingshan National Forest ranges from 300m to 2,500m and its climate differs accordingly. The northeast monsoon wind and sea wind from the Pacific Ocean bring in large amount of rainfalls and cause the climate to be quite humid. The relative humidity in each month of a given year is above 85%. The rain season begins from October in each year until February of the next year. It is frequently cloudy and foggy at this region.

The temperature in the area is highly affected by elevation. It is estimated that the temperature decrease nearly 1°C every 100m gained. The annual average temperature between November to March is 11°C . Snow is regularly seen at elevations above 1,800m in Taipingshan National Forest during these times. In summer, even in July, the hottest month of a year, the average temperature is about 22°C at elevations above 1,000 m. So if you are looking to beat the heat during Taiwan’s summer months, Taipingshan may be just what you are looking for.

Keep this in mind when you are planning outdoor or hiking trips in Alishan National Forest.

Admission into Taipingshan National Forest

Ticket prices to get into Taipingshan National Park vary depending on age, vehicle and area of the park visitors will be accessing.

Admission Prices:

Ticket TypePriceNote
Full PriceNon-HolidayNT$150Visitor on non-holidays.
HolidayNT$200Visitor on holidays.
Half PriceNT$100Military personnel and police officer with valid ID card.Student with valid ID,children (age 7-12).Government employee with proof of having been disabled while on duty.Local county (city) citizen with valid ID.
Group DiscountNT$150Minimum group size of 20 persons excluding, person qualified for half price and discount.
DiscountNT$10Over 65 years old and with ID.Children (age 3-6).Field trip of elementary school pupils accompanied by a teacher on non-holiday, with official letter ratified by school.Tour guide with valid certificate.
EveningNT$50【Jioujhihze Night Ticket】
Entering Jioujhihze area after 16:00 each day is qualified for night ticket. (Parking fee and hot spring bathing fee not included) Blackout date: Lunar New YearDay-5 Jan. For details, please call 03-9809619.
Free of ChargeNT$0Local people whose registered address is within the territory of Recreation Area is free of charge by presenting valid ID; child without ID or local people who indeed lives within the boundaries of Recreation Area but fails to register is also free of charge if he can produce any valid proof of residence.Government employee entering the premises for business (proof required).Representative of all levels, vigilante, volunteer firefighter or civil defense member who enters the premises for business (proof required).Local people living nearby and passing through the premises due to agricultural or forestry management is free of charge by presenting his ID.Volunteer holding「Volunteer Card」is free of charge.Person with outward disability or holding disability card and guardian or necessary company up to one person, can enter Recreation Area free of charge.Children (age 0-2) (accompanied by adult holding a ticket).

Parking Fees:

Large Vehicles$100
Small Vehicles$100

Price List for Other Facilities:

Ticket TypePriceNote
Winter Season
Full PriceNT$250Outdoor Hot Spring SPAOutdoor Naked Bathing Pool(choose either one):
No time limit. Self-provided items: swimming suit/swimming cap/towel.
Provided items: mineral water/ shampoo/ body-wash/ locker/ hair dryer/ cold water pool and vanity.
DiscountNT$150Outdoor Hot Spring SPAOutdoor Naked Bathing Pool
No time limit. Self-provided items: swimming suit/cap/towel.
Provided items: mineral water/shampoo/ body-wash/ locker/ hair dryer/cold water pool

Senior Citizen:>65 years old and with ID or any valid certificate issued by government.
Disability:Any citizen with a disability card and his/her guardian or necessary company.
Child:Children <12 years are qualified for discount; children <6 years enter free. Each visitor can bring along with him/her up to 2 children.
Summer Season
Full PriceNT$150Outdoor Hot Spring SPAOutdoor Naked Bathing Pool(choose either one)
No time limit. Self-provided items: swimming suit/swimming cap/towel.
Provided items: mineral water/ shampoo/ body-wash/ locker/ hair dryer/ cold water pool and vanity.
DiscountNT$100Outdoor Hot Spring SPAOutdoor Naked Bathing Pool(choose either one)
No time limit. Self-provided items: swimming suit/swimming cap/towel.
Provided items: mineral water/ shampoo/ body-wash/ locker/ hair dryer/ cold water pool and vanity.
Senior Citizen:> 65 years old and with ID or any valid certificate issued by government.
Disability:Any citizen with a disability card and his/her guardian or necessary company.
Child:Children < 12 years old are qualified for discount; children < 6 years old may enter free. Each visitor can bring along with him/her up to 2 children free of charge.

Tickets can only be purchased at the ticket gate (see image below). The park staff are really friendly and many can speak passable to good English. Visit the Forestry Bureau website for updated ticket information.

How to Get to Taipingshan National Forest

While Taipingshan is not overly remote in terms of its distance in kilometers from the populated areas of Yilan County, it can be a difficult place to get to. There are, however, several ways visitors can access this stunning natural destination. Whether you drive, use public transportation, book private transportation, or join a tour group, you’ll be glad you made the trip.

Driving to Taipingshan National Forest

For those wishing to drive to Taipingshan National Forest, you’ll likely use Google Maps to help you along the way. As a point of reference, travel times from Taipei City will be about 2 hours and 30 minutes each way. Traffic on the weekend can get bad going through Highway 5’s Snow Mountain Tunnel (雪山隧道) between Taipei and Yilan County. Expect an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour travel time. Use this location as your reference.

How to Get to Taipingshan National Forest by Bus

There is one public bus service to Taipingshan National Forest every day served by the Kuo-Kuang (King Bus) Motor Transport Bus. While more affordable than renting a car or booking a tour, the infrequent service limits the amount of time guests have in the park.

Taking bus number 1750/1750A, the departure times are 7:40am from Yilan City Rear Train Station (1st pick up location) and 8:00am from Luodong Bus Terminal (2nd pick up location. There are a total of 39 stops along this route with noted stops at Jiuzheze Hot Spring, Zhongjian Visitor Center and Taipingshan. The estimated journey time is 2 hours and 30 minutes. This gets visitors to Taipingshan around 10:30am. Click here for details.

Taking the same bus number back, the bus bound for Yilan and Luodong departs from Taipingshan at 14:30 and 16:10 from Jiuzheze Hot Spring area.

Booking Private Transportation or a Tour

For those interested in visiting Taipingshan National Forest, but require either a guide and/or transportation services, please click on the links below.

Book a Day Trip Now

Whether you are hiking alone or with a group, book a guide and transportation now!

Book Transportation

Order a private driver & vehicle to drop you off and pick you up.

Published by Taiwan Outdoors

Taiwan Outdoors is the pre-eminent source for Taiwan's outdoor recreation and adventure-based experiences on the Internet.

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