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100 Peaks: Hehuanshan Mountains - A Comprehensive Guide with Public Transport and How to Plan Your Trip

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: September 30, 2023
Last update: June 18, 2024
Hehuanshan (Mt. Hehuan) Mountains 合歡山群峰 are the most accessible 100 Peaks in Taiwan. Still, the accessibility doesn't compromise the beauty of the spectacular views of the high mountains that can be found only in Taiwan. Moreover, you don't need to apply for a hiking permit.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
View from Hehuanshan North Peak
This post is a complete guide to hiking the 10 peaks of the Hehuanshan Mountains and what to expect. Plus, the things you need to know, like the weather and transport, before you hike. Also, a stunningly beautiful place as a bonus if you opt for a more challenging route.
Huhuanshan Peaks
View from Mt. Shimen
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Table of Contents:

10 Peaks of Hehuanshan and Xiao Qilai Trail

There are 10 Peaks of Hehuanshan, and the trailheads to those peaks are along Provincial Highway 14A 台14甲線. You can connect those entrances on foot or have a pickup service drive you around.
hehuanshan-highway
Provincial Highway 14A
Hehuanshan mountains are great to hike all year round. However, there are traffic controls during Taiwan Alpine Rhododendron blossoms from April to June.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Hehuanshan has traffic contraol during Taiwan Alpine Rhododendron blossoms from April to June. Photo by Xiao Tsai.
When winter weather is cold enough, it might snow at Hehuanshan, attracting thousands of tourists' snow chasing.

8 Easy Peaks to Hike: Hiking Permits Not Required

  1. Hehuanshan Main Peak 合歡山主峰, 3,417 meters (11,210.6 feet) above sea level, and is listed among 100 Peaks. There is a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the top. Distance: a 3.6km (2.2 miles) out-and-back trail.
  2. Hehuanshan East Peak 合歡山東峰, 3,421 meters (10,554.4 feet) above sea level and is listed among 100 Peaks. Distance: a 2.1km (1.3 miles) out-and-back trail.
  3. Mt. Shimen 石門山, 3,237 meters (10,620 feet) above sea level and listed in 100 Peaks. There is a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the top. Distance: a 1.6km (1 mile) out-and-back trail.
  4. Mt. Shimen North Peak 石門山北峰, 3,275 meters (10,744.7 feet) above sea level. Distance: a 1.7km (1.1 miles) out-and-back trail.
  5. Mt. Haha 哈哈山, 3,286 meters (10,780.8 feet) above sea level.
  6. Mt. Nanhaha or Mt. South Haha 南哈哈山, 3,285 meters (10,777.5 feet) above sea level.
    Mt. Shimen North Peak, Mt. Haha, and Mt. Nanhaha are on the same route, and Mt. Shimen North Peak is the farthest point on this route. The distance of this out-and-back route is 1.7 km (1.1 miles).
  7. Mt. Hehuanjian 合歡尖山, 3,217 meters (10,554.4 feet) above sea level. Distance: a 0.8 km (0.5 miles) out-and-back trail.
    You can do Mt. Hehuanjian, Mt. Shimen, Mt. South Haha, Mt. Haha, and Mt. Shimen North Peak together. This out-and-back route is about 4.6 km (2.9 miles).
  8. Hehuanshan South Peak 合歡山南峰, 3,070 meters (10,072 feet) above sea level. Distance: a 1 km (0.6 miles) out-and-back trail from Kunyang Parking Lot 昆陽停車場.
hehuanshan-east-peak-shimenshan-qilai-north
After hiking here, I understand why Hehuanshan is so popular.

2 Challenging Peaks to Hike: Hiking Permits Not Required

  1. Hehuanshan North Peak 合歡山北峰, 3,422 meters (11,227 feet) above sea level. Listed in 100 Peaks. Distance: a 4.8km (3 miles) out-and-back trail.
  2. Hehuanshan West Peak 合歡山西峰, 3,145 meters (10,318.2 feet) above sea level. Listed in 100 Peaks. Distance: a 13.4km (8.3 miles) out-and-back trail. Hehuanshan North Peak is on this route if you hike to the West Peak.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The famous landmark, reflector near Hehuanshan North Peak.
There is a point-to-point trail to do Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak; I will explain more later.

Another Small Trail to Enjoy: Hiking Permits Not Required

Xiao Qilai (Little Qilai) Trail 小奇萊步道. The highest point of this trail is 3,150 meters (10,334.6 feet) above sea level. Distance: a 2.8km (1.7 miles) out-and-back- trail.
This trail is famous for its spectacular mountain views and Taiwan Alpine Rhododendron blossoms. This trail also goes to Mt. Qilai Peaks, which requires hiking permits, gear, and being fit. If you only intend for a wander, please stop here and return to the trailhead.
Important: Please prepare sun protection because many sections of those trails have no shade. Also, wear a warm hat to protect your head. I experienced strong winds on both my hikes during different seasons.

100 Peaks: Hehuanshan Mountains and A Guide with Public Transport and Parking Lots

The closest choices are Songxue Lodge (or spelled as Songsyue Lodge or Song Syue Lodge) and Ski Hostel, run by the Nantou Branch of Forestry Bureau 林務局南投林區管理處.

Stay at Songxue Lodge 松雪樓 or Ski Hostel 滑雪山莊

Songxue Lodge offers two types of rooms: suites for 2 people and 4 people. Ski Hostel offers shared rooms, and it's NT$1,200 per person/night. The online booking is here (bilingual website.)
Huhuanshan Peaks
Songxue Lodge
You can only book the rooms 30 days before the dates you wish to stay. The booking time is 8:00 am GPT+8:00. You must refresh the web page if you book the room before 8:00 am.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Songxue (Songsyue) Lodge's bus stop. Each bus stop of 6658A has a different graphic.

Stay at Qingjing (Cingjing) Farm 清境農場

If you can't book a room at either Songxue Lodge or Ski Hostel, staying at Qingjing Farm can be an option. The only problem is the distance from Qingjing to Hehuanshan is 20+ km.
hehuanshan-qingjing-farm
Qingjing Farm
Buses go to Hehuanshan from Qingjing Farm, but the earliest one leaves at 8:20 am and runs 3 times daily. So, staying at Qingjing Farm is only recommended if you drive a car. Also, finding a parking lot can be difficult during high seasons.
Update: Qingjing Farm and Hehuanshan parking lots start charging fees in March 2024, NT$50 per hour on the weekdays, and NT$60 on the weekends. The maximum is NT$300 per day.

Public Transport

How to take the public transport to Hehuanshan:
Hehuanshan public transport
Bus fares are subject to change.
You can book the tickets in advance, swipe EasyCard 悠遊卡 or iPass 一卡通.
Useful bus links:
  1. Bus 6664
  2. Bus 6659
  3. Bus 6658A: This bus is a minibus with limited seats. Please book your seats in advance.

Free Guide for Hehuanshan Public Transport and Parking Lots

I made a free guidebook. I also put English/Chinese in case you need to communicate with the drivers or people to help you find your way. You can download it or click the images below.
Hehuanshan public transport
Hehuanshan parking lots

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Map/GPX Data

I put 5 routes in this map collection, and you can arrange your itinerary that suits your logistics best.
Date of Hike: September 1, 202, March 15 and 16, 2023
Click Menu in the map to download, print, or share the map.
You can see more options after clicking the Play button.
Click timer to change the speed to meet your condition.

The Easy Routes to Enjoy Hehuanshan

hehuanshan-map
Hehuanshan trail map
Those 8 mountains and Xiao Qilai Trail are relatively easy, as I mentioned. You follow the signs and bring GPX (you can find them here), and you are ready.

Hehuanshan Main Peak

The trailhead to Hehuanshan Main Peak is close to Wuling 武嶺, 3,275 meters above sea level—they share the exact English translations but are written with different Chinese characters.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Wuling is also a popular stop for cyclists.
Wuling is the highest point on Taiwan's highways and the saddle between Hehuanshan Main Peak and East Peak.
We started at Wuling Parking Lot. I went to the famous landmark Wuling Observation Deck. Unfortunately, it was cloudy when I was there. This deck is a great spot to see the starry sky at night. You can find toilets here.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Wuling was almost invisible in the fog.
We walked along Provincial Highway 14A and reached 30.8 km. You will see a big gate telling you parking here is not allowed. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Hehuanshan Main Peak. Then you take the same way back.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Gate to stop cars
Huhuanshan Peaks
Trailhead to Hehuanshan Main Peak
Hehuanshan Main Peak is listed in the 100 Peaks, also my 23rd 100 Peaks.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Photo with my 4 favorite hiking guides at Hehuanshan Main Peak

Hehuanshan East Peak

The trailhead is close to Songxue Lodge and well-marked. Just follow the endless steps.
Huhuanshan Peaks
You can tell the trail to Hehuanshan East Peak is popular.
I could see Ski Hostel from the trail, but it was too cloudy.
Huhuanshan Peaks
The entrance to Ski Hostel and Xiao Qilai Trail is right behind Songxue Lodge.
Then, I passed the old cable car station. For most people, imagining a tropical island like Taiwan once had a ski resort can be challenging. However, due to the lack of visitors and climb change, the ski resort was gone, and only the building was left.
Huhuanshan Peaks
The old building of the cable car station in the fog
I wasn't feeling ok when I did this hike. I saw stars, and I knew I got a mild high-altitude sickness. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one who felt ill. One of my poor hiking mates even threw up.
Ski resort cable station near Huhuanshan East Peak. Photo by JP
The cable station on good weather day. Thank my friend JP for letting me use his photos.
Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one who felt ill. One of my poor hiking mates even threw up. I am not new to high mountains, and I just did the Jiaming Lake hike one month before my Hehuanshan hike. Yet, this could happen to new or seasoned hikers.
Huhuanshan Peaks
The cold and wind may also contributed my high altitude sickness.
It took me 80 minutes to reach Hehuanshan East Peaks, including several breaks. This is my 24th 100 Peaks. As expected, I didn't see much at the peak. Hehuanshan East Peak is also listed as 100 Peaks.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Hehuanshan East Peak, 3,421 meters
After finishing the peak photo, I returned to Songxue Lodge as soon as possible. It took me 33 minutes to complete this hike.

Hehuanshan South Peak

To do Hehuanshan South Peak, you must start from Kunyang Parking Lot. I did this hike in September 2022.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Kunyang, 3,070 meters
When I did this hike, I saw so many wildflowers on the trail, and I probably half of my time taking photos.
Huhuanshan Peaks
The trailhead to Hehuanshan South Peak is across the parking lot.
It was cloudy when I was there, but Mt. Qilai Main and North Peak were clear to see. The clouds rose from the valley and rewarded me with the best cloud display I could ever ask for.
I sat at South Peak and enjoyed the clouds. Finally, it was so windy that I decided to return. It took me about 1 hour to do this peak. Of course, it will take much less if you don't spend time shooting timelapse videos as I did.
Huhuanshan Peaks
You can see Kunyang Parking Lot from Hehuanshan South Peak.
Some hikers will hike from Hehuanshan South Peak to Main Peak. This route will be great if you take public transport to Hehuanshan.

Mt. Shimen, the Easiest 100 Peaks to Climb

I didn't do Mt. Hehuanjian, but you can put this trail along with Mt. Shimen, Mt. Haha, and Mt. Simen North Peak. The trailhead is next to Hehuanshan Visitor Center/H2 Café. The other end connects to Mt. Shimen Trail Parking Lot. From there, you can continue the hike to Mt. Shimen.
Huhuanshan Peaks
One of the trailheads to Mt. Hehuanjian is close to Mt. Shimen. The peak in the back is Mt. Hehuanjian.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Another trailhead to Mt. Hehuanjian is close to Hehuanshan Cafe.
When speaking of the 100 Peaks in Taiwan, you might think it must be challenging to hike those mountains. Not at all. Mt. Shimen is the easiest, less than 30 minutes from the trailhead (33.2 km at Provincial Highway 14A) to the peak and back, and 10 times easier than the highest peak in Taipei City, Mt. Qixing.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Our guide Damei at the entrance to Mt. Shimen.
Yet, the view from the top is spectacular. You can see almost most of Hehuanshan mountains from there, especially North Peak, with the landmark reflector nearby.
Huhuanshan Peaks
View from Mt. Shimen and the ridgeline to Hehuanshan East Peak
You might see the trail extended from Mt. Shimen. I suggest you take the same way back to the trailhead. That section is more treacherous, with many junctions. Moreover, the Forestry Bureau often maintains the dwarf bamboo and puts up signs asking tourists not to go inside. To avoid unnecessary troubles, take the same way back.

Mt. Haha and Mt. Shimen North Peak

The trailhead to Mt. Shimen North Peak is called Kenangguan 克難關, aka Dafengkou 大風口 Big Wind Gap.
When I did this trail, it was almost 5 pm. It was windy, and I left my warm hat in the car, which was a bad idea.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Mt. Haha with the Hehuanshan North Peak in the back
With the strong wind trying to take my body heat away, the spectacular mountain views also took my breath away.
From Mt. Shimen North Peak, I could see Mt. Baigu in the northwest.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Mt. Shimen North Peak with 360° views
I reached Mt. Shimen North Peak in around 30 minutes. By now, the sun was setting. The setting sun cast an orange hue on Mt. Qilai Main Peak and North Peak. Hehuanshan Main Peak and East Peak were shielded by the shadows of other big mountains nearby.
Huhuanshan Peaks
The orange glow retreating from the peaks of Mt. Shimen and Mt. Qilai North Peak
When I returned to Provincial Highway 14A, the sky from the Mt. Baigu side had turned clouds into a vivid red, with the blue sky unwilling to give in.
Then, the tip of Mt. Baigu was cradled by the clouds, with a layer of red and another layer of red building up.
Huhuanshan Peaks
It looked like Mt. Baigu was supported by the clouds.
The round trip to Mt. Shimen North Peak took me around 1 hour.

The More Challenging Route: Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak

Distance: 13 km (8 miles)
Route type: out and back
Days/Hours Needed: 9-11 hours
Total Ascent/Descent: 1,427m/1,427m
Best Time to Go: All year round, but it can be very scorching hot when you hike on the exposed areas.
Permits: Not required
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty
I did this hike the day after my Hehuanshan Main Peak and East Peak hikes. Lucky for me, my high-altitude sickness was relieved after a good sleep and me getting used to the high altitude.
What's even better was we were granted sunny weather. As usual, we got up around 3:30 am and left B&B around 4:30 am. We arrived at the trailhead around 5 am.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The trailhead to Hehuanshan North Peak

Stunning Sunrise

05:10 The orange hue was already glowing in the far east. We started our hike. We went into several dwarf bamboo bushes. Our guide told us to wear rain pants because the morning dew might dampen our clothes. It was so cold, and I even wore my down jacket inside my raincoat.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Sun on the horrizon
05:24 I passed the 0.2 km post and stopped because the sun was coming out. After seeing the gorgeous sunrise, we mostly hike on the exposed trail.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Mountains including Mt. Qilai and Hehuanshan Main Peak basked in the sunrise.
06:05 I passed the 1 km post and saw Hehuanshan North Peak and hikers walking on the ridge to West Peak.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The ridgeline to Hehuanshan West Peak
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
I finally got this close to the reflectors near Hehuanshan North Peak.
06:22 We passed the entrance to the famous landmark, the reflector, but we didn't go inside.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
I didn't go to the reflector. I heard some hikers campped near there.
07:03 We reached the junction to Tianluan Pond 天巒池. This trail goes to Tianluan Pond and Mt. Wu Fa Nai Wei 武法奈尾山.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The junction is close to the north peak.
Mt. Zhongyangjian (3,705 meters) and the ridgeline from Mt. Bilu to Mt. Ju (Saw Mountains) peaks were clear.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The pointed mountain is Mt. Zhongyangjian, and the long ridgeline before Zhongyangjian is Mt. Ju peaks.

Hehuanshan Nor Peak with 360° view

07:09 I reached Hehuanshan North Peak, my 25th 100 Peaks. We were accompanied by fantastic views all the way up to North Peak. The views at North Peak were even better because it was 360° view.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The Class 2 Triangulation Stone and the sign of Hehuanshan West Peak are slightly apart.
I could see Xueshan, aka Snow Mountain, 3,886 meters, Wuling Farm, and Wuling Quadruple Mountains from here.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The views at Hehuanshan North Peak
Since this is a popular trail, queueing for the peak photo is not surprising, but I preferred to take photos with the Class 2 Triangulation, which was mostly ignored.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
I was happy that our guides let us take a long break to enjoy the views.
The reflector looked like a tiny box from here.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The reflector has become a landmark at Hehuanshan North Peak.
We stayed there for about 40 minutes; every minute was pure delight.

7 Ups And 8 Downs to Hehuanshan West Peak

07:48 It was time to embrace the ups and downs to Hehuanshan West Peak.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Long queue to go downhill.
Before we started our hike, our guides told us that we would go through 7 ups and 8 downs 七上八下, literally meaning 7 ups and 8 downs in Chinese. Here come those peaks. The mountains ahead of us were stunning, but looking at all the peaks that awaited us was also disheartening.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The downhill will become uphill if you hike the same way back.
From there, we hiked mainly on the ridgeline. I checked the map, and there are indeed 7 peaks before we reach the junction to West Peak.
Surprisingly, the millage posts passed us quicker than I expected. It felt like a long time to see the next mileage post when I did other trails.
08:40 We arrived at the 3.5 km post and took a short break. I finally removed my down jacket because it was getting too hot, but I still put on my windbreaker.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The 3.5 km post is in the woods.
09:13 I passed some ponds. Wild camping is not allowed here, but several places are ideal for pitching a tent.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
I passed some small ponds.
09:38 Reached the 5.1 km post. We took a break here, waiting for our hiking mates to catch up. Here, we could see the famous Mt. Nenggao (3,262 meters), Hehuanshan Main Peak, East Peak, North Peak, and Mt. Shimen North Peak.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
We took at break at the 5.1 km post, and I saw Mt. Nenggao in the distance (the pointed one.)
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
More slopes to go.

Hehuanshan West Peak with Spectacular Views

10:20 We finally reached the junction, aka 3225 Peak (after passing the 5.7 km post), to West Peak and Huagang Tribe. This place was huge and crowded.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The junction to the west peak is close to the 5.7 km post.
The entrance to West Peak was in the forest. The signs said the distance from the junction to West Peak is 1 km and 3.7 km to North Peak. Honestly, it felt like more than 1 km before I arrived at West Peak.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The sign pointing to Huagang. Views here are great.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The entrance to the west peak is in the woods.
After the 20-minute break, we headed to the forest, and what was waiting for us was descending on the terrain intertwined with tree roots.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The terrains inside the woods were rugged.
We reached the lowest point at 5.9 km and started climbing up.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
I took this photo when I returned.
10:44 I went out of the forest and reached the 6.0 km post. After that, we hiked on the ridgeline on an expansive grassland again.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Back to the expansive grassland.
The views were amazing!
Then I saw the trail disappear into a forest and reemerge to my left. I could see many hikers were there. So, I figured that it was West Peak.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
One more woods to go through before reaching Hehuanshan West Peak on the left.
It looked so close to where I was, but it still took me another 20 minutes to arrive.
11:11 I finally reached Hehuanshan West Peak. While seeing a much longer queue with hikers spending a much longer time taking peak photos, I decided to spend my precious time enjoying the views at West Peak.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The sign and triangulation stone of Hehuanshan West Peak. I waited some time to take this photo without hikers. Xueshan and other mountains on the Holly Ridgeline are in the back.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Wuling Farm could be seen here, too.
Jade Mountain was one of the mountains I saw here. So many beautiful mountains here to be recognized, and it was exhausting my brain. I decided to sit down and quietly admire the views.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Looking at Mt. Nenggao from Hehuanshan West Peak
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
I was on the ridgeline earlier.
11:45 Bid farewell to the fantastic views and headed back to the junction. While returning, many hikers were still coming to West Peak. If you can, please don't do this hike on the weekend.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Time to return to the junction.
12:24 I returned to the junction and waited for our hiking mates to arrive.
It took me 6 hours to reach Hehuanshan West Peak from the trailhead, including breaks.

The Most Challenging Route: Exit Hehuanshan West Peak from Huagang 華崗

Distance: 17.7 km (11 miles)
Route type: Point to point
Days/Hours Needed: 9-11 hours
Total Ascent/Descent: 1,014m/1,516m
Best Time to Go: All year round, but it can be very scorching hot when you hike on the exposed areas.
Permits: Not required
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty

Extreme Descending

If you don't take the same way back, heading to Huagang Tribe is an option. However, expect the enormous descending. The following is my hike heading to Huagang.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
All the way down to Huagang from the junction
12:44 From the junction, we went through some small hills. I looked back to where we were in the morning.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Hehuanshan North Peak and the reflector, which looked like a tiny dot now.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
We hiked all the way down to the bottom. I even couldn't see how deep it was.
I'm not new to huge descending, but seeing this made my knees weak.
13:55 We went inside a forest, but the trail was steep. In addition, the trail contained moisture and became slippery.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Yet, the trees are tall and magnificent. I finally heard water.

Beware of the Water When Crossing Hehuan Creek

14:21 I reached Hehuan Creek. Huge boulders and tall rock cliffs flanked this river, and it looked so beautiful.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The valley of Hehuan Creek is huge.
14:26 Walking on the giant boulders was easy till I reached a slope. Our guides, Xiao Tsai and Da Mei, were there to give us a hand, literally.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Our guide, Xiao Tsai, helped us get up the big boulder.
Our guide, Mingshu, told me that the water in Hehuan Creek reached their knees when they did this hike before. We didn't have enough rainfall in 2023, so we could cross the river with our hiking boots.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Breaktaking Hehuan Creek. I felt energetic after seeing this.
If you plan this hike and it rains before your departure, please reconsider changing your route.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Crossing this river can be dangerous if the water is high.

A Pleasant Surprise: Formosan Landlocked Salmon and Beautiful Hehuan Creek Trail

14:35 Soon, I reached the check dam, where my hiking mates had already taken a break. They kindly point out a fish in the crystal-clear water. They were Foremosan Landlocked Salmon 櫻花鉤吻鮭, an endangered species.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Do you see the fish?
I never thought I would see them in person. It was such a pleasant surprise. I was thrilled to see them.
Soon, we started our hike on Hehuan Creek Trail. I looked at the creek again and saw this turquoise color.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Please ignore the ugle blue hose. This color is amazing.
This trail was flat, and we mostly went downhill. The trees and valley were beautiful.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Lovely Hehuan Creek Trail
We also passed several landslides. Our guide later told me that they heard the large rocks falling after they passed the landslide before.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
This trail is relaxing, but be aware of possible landslide.
If I weren't tired and desperate to finish this hike, I would enjoy Hehuan Creek Trail more.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
The trail led to a tree-tunnel-like path. It was wide, with water hoses on both sides.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Beautiful tree tunnel
15:48 I passed the trailhead of Hehuan Creek Trail and saw our van waiting.
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Trailhead of Hehuan Creek Trail
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
Huagang Tribe
Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak to Huagang
That's Hehuanshan West Peak.

Weather and High-Altitude Sickness: Being Easy Doesn't Mean You Won't Get It

I am lucky that I didn't suffer serious high-altitude sickness when hiking high mountains. However, I experienced one on the way to Hehuanshan Main Peak and East Peak.

Ascend Too Fast, including the Car Ride

We stayed at a B&B near Wushe for one night, around 1,200 meters above sea level. Then our bus took us to Wuling, 3,280 meters, within one hour the following day.
It was windy and cold when we did Hehuanshan Main and East Peak. Several of us felt some light headaches, including myself. I took acetaminophen after I finished East Mountain.
hehuanshan-qingjing-farm-sunset
High mountain views are amazing, but the high altitude sickness is a risk.
One of our hiking mates even threw up. Lucky for me, I slept well, and I felt ok when doing Hehuanshan North Peak and West Peak. However, the one who threw up wasn't so lucky. Some noisy hikers were chatting late, and he could hear the noise. He was still miserable on Day 2.

Seasoned Hikers Aren't Exempt from Getting High-Altitude Sickness

Some people might say it's related to fitness and high mountain experience. The answer is no. High altitude sickness can happen to anyone, new or seasoned hikers.
Huhuanshan Peaks
The cold and wet weather can make the high altitude sickness worse.
Our guide Damei told me that she had done the Jade Mountain hike more than 10 times and still suffered from high-altitude sickness from her latest trip.
If you have a cold or are too tired and not feeling well before your high mountain hike, the chances of getting high-altitude sickness might be higher.
One of our hiking guides even suffered Pulmonary edema when I did Mt. Dabajian in 2022.

The Only Way: Descend

Occasionally, we hear news about visitors suffering sickness at Hehuanshan and being rushed to the hospital. Therefore, being an easy trail like Hehuanshan doesn't mean there is no risk.
If you suffer severe high-altitude sickness and it gets worse, the only way to save your life is to descend.

About Hehuanshan and the Only Ski Resort in Taiwan

If you visit Taroko Gorge and continue to ride on the Central Cross-Island Highway, you will reach Dayulin 大禹嶺 at the junction, where Provincial Highway 14A joins. Provincial Highway 14A is the spur route of CCIH. This highway is also how you get to Hehuanshan from Eastern Taiwan.
Maomu, Bilu, and Yangtou Mountains
Hehuanshan Tunnel at Dayulin
Located on the border of Ren'ai Village, Nantou County, and Xiulin Village, Hualien County, Hehuanshan is in the north section of the Central Mountain Range in Taiwan and southwest of Taroko National Park.
Huhuanshan Peaks
Hehuanshan is also under Taroko National Park and Forestry Bureau's administation.
Liwu River and its headwaters originate in the Hehuanshan area. In winter, the cold snaps and Northeast Monsoon bring moist and low temperatures up to Hehuanshan.
Taroko map from Taroko National Park website
Hehuanshan is on the west of Taroko National Park.
Long story short, Hehuanshan slopes and Liwu River contributed to the ski resort at Hehuanshan in the 1950s and 1960s. The snow season at Hehuanshan back then could last up to 2 months. In February 1964, the snowfalls at Hehuanshan reached 40cm (1.31 feet) deep, and the temperature was –5°°C (23°F).
Zhuilu Old Trail in Taroko Gorge, Hualien
Liwu River shapes the landscape of Taroko Gorge.
Here's a Facebook page sharing the old photos of what the ski resort at Hehuanshan looked like back in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
However, the ski resort didn't last long due to climate change. We still can see snow at Hehuanshan in winter sometimes, but the snowfall can't compete with what it used to be. Now, we can only see the cable car station building at Hehuanshan East Peak.
Ski resort cable station near Huhuanshan East Peak. Photo by JP
The cable station near Hehuanshan East Peak. Thank my friend JP for letting me use his photos.

Certified as Dark Sky Park in 2019

In 2019, IDA (International Dark-Sky Association), an association to raise awareness of light pollution, certified Hehuanshan as a Dark Sky Park in 2019, one of the 3 places in Asia. You can see the park at Yuanfeng 鳶峰. In fact, you can enjoy the starry sky at most places in Hehuanshan as long as the weather is good.
Huhuanshan Peaks

Related Posts:

On Taiwan Hikes

Things to Know before Hiking in Taiwan
100 Peaks: Qilai Nanhua
100 Peaks: Mt. Bilu and Mt. Yangtou
100 Peaks: Mt. Jade, aka Yushan, the highest mountain in Taiwan

English Posts

RooWanders: HeHuanShan 合歡山: A Hiking Adventure in Taiwan
The Sandy Feet: HEHUANSHAN: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO TAIWAN'S ALPINE PARADISE (THAT DOESN'T REQUIRE A PERMIT!)
Foreigners in Taiwan: Qingjing Farm 清境農場
Taiwan Hikes' Partner: HolaTaipei Travel
I hope you enjoy this post. Have you been to Hehuanshan? Are you planning to do it? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
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