Here below you will find some detailed informations and maps about the different hiking trails available in the Yushan National Park Taiwan 玉山國家公園 central mountain range. The central mountain range in Taiwan (中央山脈 台灣) have more than 180 peaks over 3000m.
Will detail hiking routes, walking time and informations about my personnal trip and exploration of the Yushan National Park (玉山國家公園) during winter 2013 (January, February, early March)
Accessibility : from the West coast Chiayi 嘉義 (Tataka 塔塔加, Dongpu Hot Spring 東埔溫泉), from the East coast Taitung 台東 (Nan-An 南安, Siangyang 向陽)
NB : Southern Cross island highway 20 is closed from Meishan to Siangyang 向陽
I will cover below 4 main access to Yushan national Park, trying to detail about what can be done from each places (Tataka 塔塔加, Dongpu Hot spring 東埔溫泉, Nan-An 南安 and Siangyang 向陽 (also english written as Xiangyang)
Tataka 塔塔加 2610m (21km from Alishan 阿里山, about 100km up from Chiayi 嘉義 on highway 18): Jade mountain peaks hiking trail map, Batongguan Japanese occupation traversing trail map, Tataka recreation area map
From Tataka 塔塔加 you have several options.
A half day/day hike with the kids in the recreational area, a day/two hike to reach one of south east asia tallest peak (Main peak Jade mountain 玉山主峰 3952m), 4/5days hike to spend time over 3500m and do East, Main, North, South, Front and West peak of the Jade mountain 玉山.Last but not least, 7 to 10 days hike on one of the 3 traversing trails including the historical Batongguan Japanese era trail
After Tataka Anbu, access is restricted. One need to apply online for a Yushan National Park permit and mountain permit (will be delivered easily by the police offfice Tataka squad if showing Yushan national park permit and passport)
Jade mountain peaks hiking trails map below
From Paiyun lodge (排雲山莊) it is said that it needs 2hours to reach the Main Peak on the steep remaining main trail.This way is just the shortest possible way to access the main peak and you should take it if your planning to just do a single day ascent-descent. it is steeper and harder on that part.In my opinion, the best way (best view, longer but not as steep) to access the main peak is the ridge that goes from Yuanfong pass (before going down to the Yuanfong cabin)
Yuanfong Cabin (3640m) – Jade Mountain Main Peak (玉山主峰) 3952m : Follow the ridge up from yuanfong pass and reach the main peak in 1h15. This ridge (which is not obviously marked) is i think, one of the best place to look for sunrise/sunset
Jade Mountain Main Peak (玉山主峰) 3952m – Jade Mountain East Peak (玉山東峰) 3859m : about 2hours return trip from main peak, leave the bag and take minimum (water, snack & gloves), chains and ropes to access east peak
Jade Mountain Main Peak (玉山主峰) 3952m – North Peak (玉山北峰) weather station 3858m : 1hour to go, 1h15 back, steep way down/up from fengkou (this place can be very very windy). Nice ridge/forest trail on the way to the North Peak. View on the Dongpu valley. Free coffee/tea if the weather guy on duty 🙂
rock climbing & hands needed to reach south peak
Yuanfong Cabin (3640m) – Lu mountain (2981m) : it should take a full day to get down in the forest and back up to the cabin.did not try.
- Taiwan Yushan National Park Jade Mountain peaks trails estimated hiking time
- Jade mountain peaks hiking trail sample route (5 days over 3400m)
- Day 1 – Dongpu Villa/Hostel – Tataka Anbu – Paiyun lodge – Yuanfong Cabin
- Day 2 – Yuanfong cabin – Main Peak – East Peak – Paiyun lodge (water/wifi) – Yuanfong Cabin
- Day 3 – Yuanfong cabin – Main Peak – North Peak – Paiyun lodge (water/wifi) – Yuanfong Cabin
- Day 4 – Yuanfong cabin – South Peak – Lu Mountain or Dongsiaonan only – Yuanfong Cabin
- Day 5 – Yuanfong cabin – Paiyun lodge – West Peak – Paiyun lodge – Front Peak – Tataka Anbu – Dongpu Villa/Hostel
- There is a water source at paiyun lodge all year round, at Yuanfong cabin it need to go down east from the campground to reach a water source (need about 1hour down and up to reach that source)
- 1 or 2days ascent to Jade Mountain Main Peak (玉山主峰):
- Day 1 : Dongpu Villa/Hostel – Tataka Anbu – Paiyun lodge – Main Peak or Yuanfong cabin
- Day 2 : Yuanfong Cabin – Main Peak – Paiyun lodge – Tataka Anbu – Dongpu Villa/Hostel
- single day ascent/descent is possible if you reach Paiyun lodge before 10am. if you get there after 10am Yushan NP staff won’t let you carry on for a single day ascent/descent. If you get there before 10am you can easily reach the main peak and start descending or reaching Yuanfong cabin to stay overnight at 3640m as you wish.
- In my opinion, the best in Yushan national park jade mountain peaks trail is the trail to the West peak (from Paiyun lodge) and the ridge that goes from Yuanfong cabin to the main peak (1h15).The hike to the west peak goes through Yushan cane and great Taiwanese trees…
Batongguan is in my opinion the most interesting trail in that park but unfortunately access to this trail is not easy for independant foreigners. Due to typhoons & landslides some part of this trail might not be open (check Yushan trails current status online). Batongguan historic trail is a 7 days traversing trail (can be done in 5 in my opinion)
Tataka 塔塔加 is the most popular/known access to the Yushan National Park 玉山國家公園.
Dongpu Villa/Hostel/lodge (english name translation for this place changes but location does not 東埔山莊 website) can be used as a base for the nights in and out. There are dormitories there, you can get a comfy/warm bunk bed for only 300NTD (8euros). No need booking (except holidays/very unlucky). Cooking equipment can be used on site, dried noodles and gas cartdridges are also available. Tataka visitor center also can provide food but the restaurant there is expansive (in my opinion). Hot & cold water is available at police station, visitor center & Dongpu Villa/Hostel (東埔山莊)
Wifi is available near the bus stop shack on highway 18/21. Computer is available at the visitor center (closing early at 4:30pm). I have been told but did not checked it that wifi is also available at the Paiyun lodge (3402m how convenient is that?).
To get to Tataka from Alishan take the daily bus to Sun Moon Lake (2bus daily 1PM & 2PM 70NTD 30min), hitchiked or walked it (21km will do a good training..it is concrete road but there are few interesting things to see on the way).
Yushan National Park permit is said to be hard to get and it usually need to apply online for one 1 month ahead. Take a look at the Yushan Cabin & Campground draw results page to see how busy the bookings are. If you want to shortened that bureaucracy, try to contact the park by email directly and tell them you have flexible date, they will check availability around when you want to go and they might have availability for you (one person alone will have more chances to fit in). 2 weeks before going in can be ok. Otherwise try to go winter time.
No need to speaks chinese to get the mountain permit to access the Yushan Jade mountain peaks trail. The police officers on duty at Tataka squad are used to deal with foreigners coming to climb Yushan Jade Mountain peaks trail. If needed, they will call a Yushan NP staff that speaks perfect english that will help you to proceed and interact smoothly with the officer and fill in the last paperwork you need to get in (mountain permit). You need to detail the hiking routes you will be following when going in, show your Yushan National park permit (must be applied online/plan ahead) and passport and that’s it.
Facts that you will read/find about Tataka Jade mountain Yushan peaks trail on the internet that are no longer TRUE :
– You DO NOT need to watch a video about safety before hiking the Yushan national park jade mountain peaks trail
-You DO NOT have to provide a proof (photo of yourself) that you have already climbed a mountain over 3000m
– The police officer DO NOT check your hiking gears when applying for the mountain permit hence a GPS is not mandatory/needed (the trails to the Yushan peaks are pretty obvious.it is almost impossible to get lost.)
– Paiyun lodge IS NOT the only accomodation nor the best one (i personnally wish that this lodge should remains closed for the sake of a cleaner and quieter hiking environment. The capacity of this lodge is too big and i don’t think that mountain can handle 100 hikers on a daily baisis. At the time writting, It is still not opened to public/hikers due to legal issues between the constructing company and the Yushan Park but should open again soon because it looks renovated and finished (march 2013).
– You DO NOT need to start the hike at 3AM even for a single day ascent/descent. I personnally started at 5:30 at the Dongpu Villa and started 6:15AM at trail entrance and it was early, reached Yuanfong cabin before 10:30am..had lots of time to explore south peak, water source, etc…
Dongpu Hot Spring 東埔溫泉1100m (about 50km down from Tataka highway 21): Batongguan Japanese occupation traversing trail, Jade mountain peaks hiking trail, Mabolasih hiking trail, South Sec 2 traversing trail
3 traversing trails are starting/ending in Dongpu HS (including Batongguan Japanese occupation traversing trail). Thoses trails are not easily accessible for foreigners. You will need to hire a local aboriginal guide (said to cost about 1500NTD/day) that speaks only chinese/japanese or join a group of Taiwanese hikers to be able to hike thoses and get the Yushan park permit and mountain permit required smoothly.
Dongpu Hot Spring used to be a main entrance to the Yushan National park. it was set up during Japanese occupation and believed me it was greatly achieved..the hike up from Dongpu HS is in a valley on a very smooth/regular path.
From Dongpu Hot Spring 1100m, estimated time provided by Yushan national Park suggest 6hours to go up and a weird 7hours to go down from Guanguaoping 2580m. It is actually 4h15 up to the Guangaopoing intersection from the Dongpu HS trail entrance and 3h30 down with a light bag. Distance is between 13 to 14km one way.
There are a lot of beautiful waterfalls & also landslides on the way but that way up is unfortunately not used as a main entrance nowadays (Tataka is closer to the main peak and most people just want to do the main peak) even if i think it remains a great approach for anyone going to the Jade mountain main peak.
There are lots of Hot Spring Hotel in the village. I ll suggest to cross the village and go up the steep road. At the end, there is either the cheapest option Youth Activity Center (no hot spring) or an hotel that have nice outdoor hot spring pools next to it (1000NTD/PAX including breaky). Camping is also possible in front of the Youth Activity Center.
It is the easiest and most accessible part on the West side of Yushan national park. It is an easy trail in forest (low altitude, Walami cabin is at 1068m) but still worth going to spot wildlife. This trail is 13.6km long and could be done (return) in a day..but is possible to stay for free at the Walami cabin but one need a Yushan National Park permit and mountain permit.
Walami trail entrance (600m) – Walami cabin (1068m)
After Walami cabin, it can reach Baoyai cabin and then Dafen cabin following Batongguan Japanese era traversing trail (7days but must unfortunately hire local guide to hike it)
Nan-An area is one of the new home for the Bunun aboriginal tribe. The Bunun used to be a mountain living community, the Japanese wanted them to come down in the valley to control them during Japanese occupation (1895-1945). Nowadays some Bununs are mountain guides, park rangers/staff for Yushan National Park.
Antung Hot Spring (安通溫泉) can be used as a base in that area. New Life Resort Hotel: 700NTD with breakfast and nice hot spring included. On the trail it is allowed to camp at Jiasin (4.5km mark)
I will here only detail the hike to the Jiaming lake.
Good news is Yushan National Park permit is not necessary to hike Jiaming Lake trail (嘉明湖). Only the mountain permit (delivered by local police) is required but it is way harder to get than in Tataka (different county/different police officer)
When I cycled there.I did not touched down yet that already the guy responsible for the recreation area there welcomed me and told me straight that it needed to apply for a mountain permit 14 days in advance to get on the trail. oh yeah ? Bullshit…I went to the police office and manage to get a 2 day permit to get access to Siangyang cabin only with the help of a local Taiwanese hiker that was about to take on the trail with his familly.
Thanks to him otherwise I think I will have been turned down.
It is possible to get a mountain permit on site . In Yushan NP, hiking on your own is ok. In Siangyang they do not like it and will deliver a mountain permit only to Syangyang cabin and ask you to remain below 3000m (how frustrating is that?)
The police officer did ask to check my hiking equipment before providing the mountain permit
Siangyang trail entrance (2380m) – Siangyang Cabin (2850m)
this is 2h30 to hike up slowly in a beautiful forest trail, really nice. Siangyang cabin positionning make it a cold place and not good for sunrise/sunset. Water & toilets are available
Siangyang cabin (2850m) – Jiaming Shelter cabin (3347m)
it goes up steep from the Siangyang cabin and when you reach the world coolest tree all the remaining hike is almost, all the way to Jiaming lake (嘉明湖), on a beautiful ridge with view on the Yushan Jade mountain peaks to the west.
Jiaming shelter has a very good positionning for sunrise.
1h hike, great view and very nice ridge way up to Sancha Mountain (三叉山) 3496m, then down to Jiaming lake (嘉明湖)
This trail is the favorite i have been hiking so far in Taiwan.
After the Jiaming Lake it can continue up north by the South Sec 2 traversing trail or Sinkang Mountain (新康山) 3331m by the Sinkang Mountain trail. From Sinsian Mountain (新仙山) 3124m it is possible to reach and connect to the Batongguan trail near Baoyai (this connecting trail is very steep & appears on very few maps)
- 2 nights/3days on the Jiaming lake (嘉明湖) trail sample route :
- Day 1 : Siangyang trail entrance – Siangyang cabin
- Day 2 : Siangyang cabin – Jiaming lake shelter – Jiaming Lake – Siangyang Cabin/Jiaming lake shelter
- Day 3 : Siangyang cabin/Jiaming lake shelter – Siangyang trail entrance
There is nothing in Siangyang (向陽) except a free camping ground and police office (mountain permit, hot&cold water). The visitor center is closed since the 2009 typhoon. Southern Cross island highway 20 is closed from there too. Lidao aboriginal village (1068m) on the way up is the last place you will find a cool off the beaten track bed&breakfast (500NTD) .
NB : On your way to Jiaming lake (嘉明湖) there is a natural wonder that you should not miss on the southern cross island highway 20 (@ 168.1km mark). Lisong wild Hot Spring. Easy to find, following the marked trail (need gloves) only 1 hour down steep and 1h15 up from the 3km english road sign. When it reach the river, cross & follow it upstream for 100m.
Yushan National Park Taiwan (玉山國家公園 台灣) is not just about a day climbing to one of south east asia highest peak (Jade Mountain main peak 玉山主峰 is 3952m)
When to go Yushan National Park Taiwan ? October, November, December, January, March, April are good, avoid summer (typhoons season & crowds). Cool fact : In February the Jade Mountain peaks trail area mountains have a rest and no one is allowed to enter in the Yushan NP. Jiaming Lake trail is therefore busy (especially chinese new year)
There is more to do and explore in that park and hope the information and detail provided will make you want check it out yourself.
Yushan National Park will be back in the spotlight soon. A well known writer named Robert Kelly with great influence has wrote a lot about Taiwan (lonely planet and recently an article about the rebirth of Paiyun lodge in a march 2013 article in Eva Air in flight magazine)
According to that article, Paiyun lodge (排雲山莊) is supposed to open again in 2013…
Maps below contains images and videos so you can virtually hike around (Roll the mouse on the maps to check videos or pictures)
| Tataka Linjhih Mountain 2854m
| Great Precipice
| Paiyun lodge 3402m
| Jade Mountain Main Peak 3952m
| Yuanfong Cabin area 3640m
| Yushan Jade Mountain South Peak
| Guangao Intersection 2580m
| Guangao Cabin outside
| Guangao Cabin inside
| Yunlong waterfall
| Lele cabin
| Jade Mountain North Peak trail
| North Peak 3858m
| Batongguan Trail Dongpu Hot Spring side
| Batongguan traversing amazing trail near Yinyu waterfall
| Dongpu Hot Spring Village 1100m
| Fuci Tree
| Dongsiaonan 3744m
| Yuanfong Pass sunset
| Yuanfong Cabin 3640m sunrise
| Yuanfong-Main Peak ridge approach
| Jade Mountain East Peak trail
| Jade Mountain West Peak Trail
| Jade Mountain West Peak 3515m
| Jade Mountain East Peak 3859m
| Wild animal Walami trail |
| Suspension Bridge Shanfong #1 |
| Shanfong Waterfall |
| Walami Kesipanan Monument |
| Walami Huangma Bridge |
Thanks to leave a comment. I have been working on this for few days now. Hope this helps you preparing your trip to Yushan National Park.
Thanks to the following persons that I came across during yet another great cycling (2393km) and hiking trip (covering Yushan National Park) in wonderful Taiwan during winter 2013. This trip has been part of my winter training to get fit and ready for the Via Alpina 2013 project : Meet the locals
Hsingyi Li 台北 (Taipei), Bella 高雄 (Kaoshiung), Mei Lu 多納 (Duona), Dora & cyclist friends 嘉義 (Chiayi), Eva (Liyu Lake), Rebecca-Masahe & 息子 san ‘Cho’ 台東 (Luye), Fiona 台南 (Tainan), Chilly chan 安東溫泉 (Antung HS),Rick 安東溫泉 (Antung HS), Daisy & Tyler CS 高雄 (Kaohsiung), Pande 花蓮 (Hualien), Hiking familly 向陽 (Siangyang),Dora’s familly 岐山 (Qishan),Amber 高雄 (Kaohsiung), Wen Ling 塔塔加 (Tataka), Mark 高雄 (Kaohsiung) and Sambar (Yuanfong Cabin)