Cuesta Rock

Cuesta Rock, Shihtiping

A “cuesta” is a geological term describing a hill or ridge with a gentle slope on one side and a cliff the other.

This particular cuesta is located on the East Coast of Taiwan, just south of where the Xiuguluan River empties into the Pacific.

Cuesta Rock is testament to Taiwan’s volcanic history. The light gray rock is made up of “tuff,” ash deposited from a volcanic eruption. The ash compacted and hardened into stone. Thousands of years of wind and wave erosion has carved the rock into a dreamscape. The rock seems to ooze and run and drip. The ripples in the rock are reminiscent of flowing water.


Shihtiping sunrise.

We spent a weekend camping in Shihtiping, also spelled “Shitiping” (I shit you not).

Shihtiping translates as “stone terrance.” It is an arresting stretch of coastline—stepped volcanic rock carved by the wind and the waves. We delighted exploring the whimsical landscape.

We almost didn’t go. It was raining. It was a long drive from Kaohsiung at the end of a long week. But we said the hell with it and went anyway. Glad we did. The campsite books up weeks in advance. Because of the rain, we almost had the place to ourselves. By Saturday it was clear skies. And this (above) was the view that greeted us Sunday morning.