The Batongguan Historic Trail lies within the Yu Mountain (Yushan) National Park. During the Ching Dynasty, the Ching government held a repressive attitude towards developing Taiwan. It was not until late into the Ching Dynasty, when invading western nations noticed what an ideal colonial island Taiwan would make, that the Ching government finally started taking notice of Taiwan. During the 13th year of Emperor Tungchi's reign, the Japanese invaded and massacred the aboriginals of Peony Community, under the pretence that the aboriginals were guilty of murdering fishermen from Okinawa. The Ching government had no other choice than to send the minister of navigational affairs, the Lord Pao-chen Shen, to act as envoy and negotiate with the Japanese, and to oversee the strengthening of Taiwan's regional defense.
After this incident, Lord Shen took charge of developing and charting the mountains, and placating the aboriginal tribes. The uplifting of regulations, and the culturing of friendly relationships with the aboriginals were a priority in his plans for strengthening Taiwan's defense. The project for engineering the Batongguan began in 1875. The project was headed by an officer named Kuang-liang Wu; the route started off at Zhushan, passed through Lugu village, Xinyi Village, climbed over Batongguan, flipped over the Hsiuguluan Mountains, and ended at the Pu-Shih Loft in Hualien. The project went on for a year, and this route was named the Batongguan Historic Trail. There is no actual mountain Pass there and Officer Wu decided to use this name, since it coincided with the Chinese meaning of being able to pass unhindered. The section of the ancient route which still may be seen and used range from the Dongpu hot springs to the Batongguan meadow, which takes about 20 kilometers to cover.
Distinguishable remains of the ancient route can be seen in Batongguan meadow; better preserved and more accessible sections of the route can be seen on the mountain slope that looks across from the father and Son Cliff where there are sixty four stone steps eight feet wide. Another place where the route has been preserved is above a valley near the Yinu waterfalls, where there is a small section of stone steps.
The Perpetual Passway: the Batongguan Historic Trail ends at the foot of the Phoenix mountain, and within a bamboo forest that currently belongs to the Phoenix Bird Park Officer Wu 's meaning was to imply that this route would still be unobstructed and free to all for eternity. Officer Wu led 2000 thousand men in the first year of Emperor Kuang Shui's reign, and started the project simultaneously from two places: Zhushan and Sheliao. Zhushan became the official starting point of the Pass, and it earned a nickname, the town that stands before the mountains. A well, named Sweet Spring Well by Officer Wu, still stands in Ser-Liao today.
The two routes leading from Zhushan and Sheliao merge at Dapinding. A plaque in a temple in Lugu Village with the characters, and another plaque in the Phoenix mountain temple with the other characters (Bless me with Divine protection in developing these mountains), can be seen; these were dedicated to Officer Wu by his younger brother, Kuang-Chung Wu.
The Batongguan Traversing Trail is the only Ching Dynasty Route to have survived, and it is ordained a primary ancient monument by the government.
Yu Mountain (Yushan) National Park has preserved paths and roadways initially built during the Ching Dynasty and Japanese colonial periods. One of these roads, known today as the Batongguan Trail, runs for 152 kilometers from Linyipu in Nantou County to Pushihge in Hualian County. It was the road used by a Ching Dynasty general and the road has the distinction as the only historical trail of the first grade Class 1 in Taiwan.