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Yushan: The Ultimate Hiking Guide to Taiwan's Highest Mountain, Unveiling Routes from Easy to Epic!

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: October 30, 2022
Last update: January 04, 2024
Jade Mountain, or Yushan, standing tall at 3,952 meters, is a dream destination for adventurers from across the globe. This picturesque wonder graces the NT$1,000 banknote and has become many people's bucket list because of her breathtaking beauty. Explore the majesty of Jade Mountain, a coveted destination for locals and international explorers.
Jade Mountain. Photo by Jin Jin
Jade Mountain, or Yushan, Main Peak. Photo by Jin Jin.
This comprehensive guide has everything you need to embark on your unforgettable journey up Jade Mountain. Discover how to apply for permits, arrange seamless transportation, and details you need to know.
For those seeking an extra dose of adventure, we've got you covered with information on more challenging routes like the Batongguan Historic Trail.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
View of Batongguan Trail
Hey, just wanted to let you know that a few of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you decide to use them, I'll earn a little commission without any extra cost to you. Your support is greatly appreciated! Cheers, Anusha

Table of Contents:

Trail Information: Mt. Jade Main Peak Route (The Most Popular One)

Distance: 21.8 km (13.5 miles)
Route type: Out and back
Days/Hours Needed: One or two days, depending on your fitness.
Total Ascent/Descent: 1,342 m/1,342 m
Best Time to Go: All year round, but you need snow gear and a training certificate if you want to hike between December and March.
Permits: Required
Difficulty Level for 2-day Hike: trail difficulty
Peaks to Reach:
  1. Mt. Jade, Mt. Yu, Yushan 玉山, 3,952 meters (12,966 feet) above sea level.
  2. Mt. Jade West Peak or Yushan West Peak, 玉山西峰, 3,512 meters (11,522 feet) above sea level. The trailhead to this peak is Paiyun Lodge. The round trip to the west peak from Paiyun Lodge is around 3 km and 3 hours. Many hikers do this peak on Day One.
Additional Information:
  1. The temperature near Jade Mountain Main Peak can be 0℃/32℉ in summer. The strong gusts of wind even make it worse.
  2. Be aware of High Mountain Sickness.
  3. Down or synthetic jacket, a warm hat, a pair of gloves, and waterproof jacket and pants are important items to keep you warm.
  4. You need a headlamp and extra batteries if you plan to see the sunrise at Jade Mountain Main Peak.
  5. Phone receptions are mostly good in most sections. Bring portable chargers for your phone and electronic gadgets.
  6. Using a stove outside the designated area, like the Paiyun Lodge kitchen or campsites, is prohibited at the Yushan National Park.

Mt. Jade Main Peak

Brief itinerary: Tataka Saddle (0 km, 2,608m) ➔ Monroe Pavilion with toilets 孟祿亭 (1.7 km, 2,790m) ➔ junction to Jade Mountain Front Peak (2.3 km, 2,860m) ➔ White-wood Forest (Baimulin) Observation Deck with toilets 白木林觀景區 (5.1 km) ➔ the Great Precipice 大峭壁 (3,187m) ➔ junction to Jade Mountain West Peak and Paiyun Lodge (8.5 km, 3,402m) ➔ Jade Mountain Main Peak (10.9 km, 3,952m)
Then, you take the same way back to Tataka Saddle.

How to Check In at the Police Squad and Paiyun Mountaineering Center and Check Out After Hike

Bring your ID/passport and put your Police Mountain Entry Permit at the box at the Tataka Police Squad.
Tataka Police Station (Tataka Squad) and Paiyun Mountaineering Center (in the back).
Then, go to Paiyun Mountaineering Center and check in with the staffer during office hours (6:30 to 17:00). They will scan your ID/passport.
If you plan to hike Yushan Main Peak in a day and start before 6:30, you must self-check in and scan your ID/passport at the window next to the water fountain. If the scanner doesn't work, please check in with the staff at Paiyun Lodge.
Checking in is important. Otherwise, hikers will get a penalty and cannot apply again in the following 6 months.
Shuttle drivers will remind you to do online check out after your hike.
Where do you get the printouts of the permits? You can upload your files to iBon cloud printing. Put your name in the first box and your email in the second. Drag files into the big box. You will get a QR code and can go to any 7-11 Convenience Store in Taiwan to get the printouts.

Main Peak Route Day 1: From Tataka Saddle to Paiyun Lodge

Tataka Trailhead
If you are new to the trails and mountains in Taiwan, this route might be more challenging than you thought. Some sections of trail terrains are rough rocks.
Jade Mountain hike
Looking at Tataka Trailhead at around 1 km. Quite an ascending from here.
Jade Mountain hike
Jade Mountain trail can be difficult at some sections.
You'll pass Monroe Pavilion (aka Menglu Pavilion) 孟祿亭 soon. This pavilion was built to commemorate an American tax consultant who fell to death on a deadly slope. You can also find bio-toilets here.
Monroe Pavilion (aka Menglu Pavilion) 孟祿亭
When you see the junction to Jade Mountain Front Peak (Yushan Front Peak) with the sign saying it takes 0.8 km to reach the peak, please don't be fooled by the numbers.
Sunriver Company: map-Jade Mountain 來源: 上河文化
Elevations from Sunriver Culture 上河文化. Jade Mountain Front Peak is no joke.
According to Sunriver Culture, the famous map company in Taiwan, it takes 75 minutes from the junction to the Front Peak and 45 minutes to return. Hikers must hike from 2,860 meters to 3,233 meters within 800 meters of distance, like climbing 125 floors. There are several rocky slopes, too.
The peak in the center right is Yushan.
Before reaching White-wood Forest Observation Deck (aka Baimulin West Peak Observation Deck 西峰下觀景台), you will pass bio-toilets with an address plate.
Jade Mountain hike
White-wood Forest Observation Deck (aka Baimulin West Peak Observation Deck)
Then you can take a break at the observation deck to enjoy the Jade Mountain ridgeline.
If you have enough time, please take a few minutes to check out the Great Precipice, aka Daciaobi 大峭壁, 3,187 meters above sea level. This place used to be at the bottom of a shallow sea a long, long, long time ago. Long story short, the tectonic movements pushed this place up and became where it is now.
Jade Mountain hike
the Great Precipice, aka Daciaobi
Then, Paiyun Lodge. If you do this hike in two days, you can enjoy your break here.
Jade Mountain hike
Paiyun Lodge: getting a bed here is more difficult than hiking. I wish you luck.
Some hikers will also put Jade Mountain West Peak in their itinerary. The junction is here.
Jade Mountain hike
You can hike light from Paiyun Lodge to Jade Mountain West Peak.
Paiyun Lodge has changed a lot since my first visit. It looks fancy and even has a hotel-like front desk, a drying room, a canteen, and other amenities.
Paiyun Lodge to Jade Mountain
Paiyun Lodge front desk
Jade Mountain hike
A drying room will make life easier if it rains.
Paiyun Lodge has solar power, but NOT for hikers to charge their phones. Hikers still must bring their portable chargers to charge their gadgets.

Main Peak Route Day 2: The Last Rock Climbing is the Toughest

The terrain and steepness become more treacherous after the junction to Yuanfong Cabin. The last 50 meters is also a kick in the butt.
Jade Mountain hike
The last secion to Jade Mountain Pain Peak is treacherous.
Jade Mountain hike
When you reach the end of the cage, you are close to the junction to the main peak.
When I did this hike for the first time, it was raining and cloudy. I didn't see anything on the peak. During my second trip, clouds suddenly appeared and covered the mountains behind me.
Jade Mountain hike
Me at the junction to the Main Peak and North Peak.
I guess I'll have to do Jade Mountain for the third time in the future.
Jade Mountain hike
Me at Jade Mountain Main Peak with clouds

Yushan One Day Route: Doing Jade Mountain in One Day 玉山單攻 + Extra 2.4 km

Because of the scarcity of beds and the difficulty of applying to Paiyun Lodge, many hikers do this route in one day.
However, doing Jade Mountain in one day isn't as easy as we thought. Other than physical fitness, those are the regulations hikers need to consider before doing it in one day.
Jade Mountain hike
The regulations you need to know before doing Jade Mountain Main Peak in a day.
Moreover, be aware of the high-altitude sickness. Hikers hike from 2,600 to almost 4,000 meters within a couple of hours. The high-altitude sickness can happen to seasoned or new hikers, no matter how fit you are.
To reduce the possibility of getting high-altitude sickness, you can stay at Dongpu 東埔 for one night before your hike.
If you still want to try it in one day, please prepare for at least 14 to 16 hours. Remember you will be "persuaded" to return if you cannot reach Paiyun Lodge before 10 am.
Jade Mountain one day hike regulation
If you can't reach Paiyun Lodge before 10 am, you need to return.
Many hikers start their hike at 4 am or even earlier, meaning hikers have to start hiking from Tataka Mountaineering Center (extra 2.4 km) all the way to Jade Mountain Peak.
There is no shuttle bus service before 6:30 am. Hikers CANNOT drive or ride a scooter or bike to Tataka trailhead or park their cars there. It's a regulated area. Hikers either take the extra 2.4 km or call Dongpu Lodge to check how much it costs for the pickup if they want to hike in the early morning.

How to Apply for Permits to Stay at Paiyun Lodge. Or Hire Me!

2 Permits to Apply

First, hikers must apply for 2 permits: Park Permit from National Park (after getting a bed at Paiyun Lodge) and Entry Permit from the police agency.
Hikers must get a bed at Paiyun Lodge before proceeding with the other applications and arrangements.
After understanding the process and important dates, here's the link to apply.
Paiyun Lodge application
When you see the application page, please read, and check all the boxes required. Check "Paiyun Lodge Advanced Application" and click "Next".
Jade mountain hike application
Hikers who select Advanced Applications can only choose Yushan Trails as the primary route and 2 Days (Tataka - Yushan Trais - Tataka) as the secondary one. If you want to do Batongguan Historic Trail, you have to go through the Standard Application.
Paiyun Lodge application
Hikers who select Advanced Applications can only do Tataka - Yushan Trails - Tataka route.
Paiyun Lodge application
Check the radio boxes to finish your route. Then, click "End a day."
Paiyun Lodge application
Your starting and finishing points must be the same. Remember the check the suitable one for your "General knowledge for hiking."
The Schedule section is easy to follow. Many hikers will hike Jade Mountain West Peak after reaching Paiyun Lodge. You can make a round trip from Paiyun Lodge with the essentials to do this peak.
After finishing the Schedule, you must fill out Applicant/Agent Info. Usually, the applicant is also the team leader.
Then your team members' information. Please prepare the team members' passport files because the applicant (or leader) needs to upload them. For APRC holders, you need to give your team leader copies of your passport files.
Paiyun Lodge application
Then, the Emergency Coordinator. I've stressed many times the importance of having a good emergency coordinator. This person must be the one who fully understands the trails and mountains you are going to hike in Taiwan.
Get your team members' passport files ready when applying.
This person must know your schedule well, and the team leader is responsible for reporting back to this person when they arrive at designated locations.
If the team leader fails to report back at a reasonable time, the emergency coordinator will decide whether to call the police or rescue team in Taiwan for help.
When I do the 100 Peaks with friends, I always put Acer as my Emergency Coordinator.
You follow the procedures till finishing all the steps. You will receive an email from the Yushan National Park (YSNP notification) about your application. After your application is approved, you will receive another one.

Apply the Police Mountain Entry Permit from the Yushan National Park's Email or Website 入山申請

After your National Park Permit is approved, the Yushan National Park will email you the notice in Chinese, English, and Japanese.
You will find the link to applying for the Police Mountain Entry Permit in the email, and Yushan National Park will apply for the police permit on your behalf.
It's the same for Yushan Main Peak.
Or, you can click the link "Check and Print out Permit," and you will find a button "Apply mountain (police) permit" next to "Print peak permit."
After your police permit is sent, you will get emails from the police agency. If the last email from the police agency is like this with PDF files with your information, your police permit is approved.

A Handy Guide to Applying for Hiking Permits in Taiwan

You can download my guide "How to plan and apply for hiking permits in Taiwan" by clicking the image below for details.
Or you can work with me to make your hiking adventure hassle-free. Click the button below.

Or Apply for the Police Mountain Entry Permit from the Police Agency's Website

Or you can apply your police permit on the police agency's entry permit website.
Click "Application for entry permit"
Jade Mountain entry permits
After you fill out your ID number, click the green box.
The police permit website was updated, but the database of the trails is case-sensitive and mixed with different versions of English translations.
Select the correct trail and click "Confirm".
After you fill out all the required boxes, upload the list of your team members.
Click the route map.
Check the National Parks' "Current Status of Trails" again before your departure.

The Challenging Route: Batongguan Historic Trail to Jade Mountain

Distance: 49.5 - 54.4 km (30.8 - 33.8 miles)
Route type: Point-to-point or out-and-back
Days/Hours Needed: At least 3 days
Total Ascent/Descent: 4,303m/2,973m (point-to-point route), or 3,620m/3,620m (out-and-back route)
Best Time to Go: All year round, but you need to have snow gear if you want to hike between December and March. If it rains, please cancel your hike due to the potential landslides.
Permits: Required
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty
Peaks to Reach: Mt. Jade, 玉山, 3,952 meters (12,966 feet) above sea level
Additional Information:
  1. Campsites to apply: Guangao Campground and Laonong River Campground. If you do this route, you don't need to stay at Paiyun Lodge, and those two campgrounds are much easier to apply.
  2. You will have to carry your own tent, sleeping bag, and meals.
  3. Wearing a helmet is a must if you hike on Batongguan Historic Trail.
  4. You will find several places with good phone reception; I often switch my phone to Airplane mode to save battery power.
  5. If you stay at Guangao Mountaineering Service Station 觀高登山服務站, please note that the foundation of those shelters isn't stable.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Batongguan Histroic Trail near Dongpu

Day 1 Itinerary:

Batongguan Trailhead ➔ Lele Police Substation (or outpost) ➔ Yunlong Waterfall ➔ Yinu Waterfall ➔ Dueiguan Patrol Station (outpost) ➔ Guangaoping (Kuankaoping) ➔ Guangao Mountaineering Service Station
GPS coordinates of Batongguan Trailhead in Dongpu: 23.555478, 120.929214

Day 2 Itinerary:

Guangao Mountaineering Service Station ➔ Batongguan Police Substation (outpost) ➔ Laonong River Campground

Day 3 Itinerary:

Laonong River Camping Ground ➔ Junction to Jade Mountain Main Peak and Norther Peak ➔ Jade Mountain Main Peak ➔ Junction to Yuanfong Cabin ➔ Paiyun Lodge/Junction to Jade Mountain West Peak ➔ The Great Precipice ➔ White-wood Forest Observation Deck ➔ Junction to Jade Mountain Front Peak ➔ Monroe Pavilion ➔ Tataka Trailhead ➔ Tataka Visitor Center

Map/GPX Data of Batongguan Historic Trail to Jade Mountain

Route map for Batongguan Trail To Mt. Jade-updated by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

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.

About Batongguan Historic Trail and Batongguan Traversing Trail

To prevent this post from becoming too long, I only mention the links you might be interested to read. You can click here to learn more about Batongguan Ancient Trail or Batongguan Historic Trail.
There is another trail called the Batongguan Traversing Trail 八通關越嶺步道. This one is more advanced and takes at least 8 days to finish in one go. However, this one doesn't go to Jade Mountain. You can check out the Yushan National Park's website to see the difference between those two trails

Day 1: At Least 1,500 m ascending

To do this hike, we stayed at a B&B in Wangxiang Village before our hike. For seasoned hikers in Taiwan, hikers must stay at this indigenous village to do trails like Mt. Jyunda and Hunters Trail.
06:50 We started our hike with helmets from the famous Aiyu jelly (Jelly Fig) soup shops. Many hikers would stop here for a break, but we arrived too early. Then, we passed Sansheng Temple 三聖宮.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
You will find at least two Aiyu jelly shops near the trailhead.
Very soon, we reached several slopes with falling rocks, including the famous Father and Son Cliff 父子斷崖. When we looked up, we saw the famous Mt. Batongguan and the winding Chenyoulan River 陳有蘭溪.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Father and Son Cliff 父子斷崖 near the trailhead of Batongguan Historic Trail
07:37 We passed the junction to LeLe Hot Spring 樂樂溫泉. Please note that this trail is closed due to landslides. Do Not Enter for your own safety.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
No entry at the junction to Lele Hot Spring
We saw the suspension bridge near the famous Yunlong Waterfall. Unfortunately, a male hiker fell to his death around here one month after we finished this route. So again, please proceed with caution when you are on the trails.
08:20 After we passed Yunlong Waterfall 雲龍瀑布, Yunlong Suspension Bridge,
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Yunlong Waterfall. Visitors without hiking permits can visit here.
then the junction to South Section Two of the Central Mountains 南二段. This point is also the end of the trail for visitors without permits. Visitors can start from Dongpu to enjoy Yunlong Waterfall.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The end point for visitors withou hiking permits
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Yunlong Waterfall looked beautiful from the distance.
Because of the constant heavy rain, typhoons, and earthquakes, Batongguan Historic Trail is fragile. As a result, expect route bypasses like this one. We went uphill to avoid the landslide.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Many sections of this trail are crumpled.
09:00 We arrived at Lele Police Substation (outpost) at 5.8 km for a short break. This station is 1,650 meters above sea level, has transformed into a shelter for hikers, and can accommodate up to 12 people.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Lele Police Substation. This was an outpost during the Japanese Occupation. Now, it's a cabin for hikers.
09:30 Another waterfall: Yinu Waterfall 乙女瀑布.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Yinu Waterfall

Day 1: Dueiguan Patrol Station

11:29 We reached Dueiguan Patrol Station 對關駐在所 at 10.3 km with an elevation of 2,242 meters. We took a 40-minute lunch break. You can tell this place is very flat and big.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Lunch break at the location of old Dueiguan Patrol Station.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
14:21 Finally, we reached Guangaoping (the sign here said Kuankaoping, and they are the same thing with different translations to mess up your head) 觀高坪.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Hikers can camp at Guangaoping.
If you hike with a small group, you can camp here, but we had 20+ people. So, we took the junction, passing a helipad, went downhill, and reached Guangao Mountaineering Service Center 觀高登山服務站. It took us around 10 minutes from Guangaoping.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Guangao Mountaineering Service Center
There are several shelters at this station. The National Park warned on the walls that the foundation erosion could be dangerous for those who stay at Guangao Mountaineering Service Station.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The bunkbeds inside the shelter
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Toilets at Guangao Mountaineering Service Station

Day 1: Guangao Mountaineering Service Station 觀高登山服務站

After we settled down, we went to the nearby stream to draw fresh water. The so-called nearby stream is a 20 to 25 minutes roundtrip with a steep cliff to climb.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The steep cliff before reaching the stream to fetch water. Our hiking mate took this photo.
While waiting for dinner, we enjoyed the mist floating around Mt. Mabolasi (3,805 meters) and other mountains. Then, we met three hikers who were doing Mabolasih Trail, aka Mabolasi Crossing Trail 馬博橫斷, the most challenging thru-hike in Taiwan if you ask me.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Mt. Mabolasi, 3,805m, was covered by clouds.
Saying goodbye to the starry sky, I went inside the shelter and hid in my cozy sleeping bag.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Starry sky at the station

Day 2: Shorter Distance but More Treacherous Terrains

As usual, I woke up around 2 am and went out to enjoy the starry sky before breakfast.
05:15 We arrived at Guangaoping, where we stopped to enjoy the magnificent Jinmentong Cliff 金門峒斷崖.
This cliff is the result of the erosion of the Chenyoulan River headwater. It is said that erosion is still going on to this day, which makes Jinmentong Cliff the most significant collapsed land in Taiwan.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Jade Mountain East Peak and North Peak can be seen on the top of Jinmentong Cliff.
Xiao Tsai told us we could see the highest weather station in Taiwan, Yushan Weather Station 玉山氣象站, from here.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The white dots on the left peak are the buildings of the highest weather station in Taiwan, Yushan Weather Station, on Jade Mountain North Peak, 3,858m.
We had to descend several slopes and it was hard.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
But we were rewarded with many stunning views through the dense trees.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
09:09 I finally got a glimpse of Batongguan Grassland and soon passed the sign about this place. Batongguan is the saddle between the Central Mountain Range and Jade Mountain. This distance from Batongguan to Jade Mountain is 6 km.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Getting close to Batongguan Police Substation
Rose was right. She told me that I would love this place, and I do.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
My hiking mates had arrived at the old Batongguan police station.

Day 2: Amazing Batongguan Grassland

08:15 After several descending and zigzag turns, I finally arrived at Batongguan Police Substation (or outpost), 2,800 meters above sea level.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Our guide took this photo of me at Batongguan Grassland.
Please note that there are several junctions around here. I was behind most of my hiking mates. Later, I realized I could've taken a shorter route. You can tell from the map embedded in this post. Please check your GPX or map to make sure you don't turn to the wrong junction.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
This place was part of the Batongguan Historic Trail in the Qing Dynasty. During the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese Government built a police station here. Later, it became a hostel for climbers and hikers to stay. They even served meals for hikers.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
We took photos at the old gate's post.
Now, the hostel building is nowhere to be found. However, we could see some ceramics, bottles, foundations, and the gate's posts.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Old ceramics and bottles scattered here.
Nature has taken this place back and draped with beautiful wildflowers, like the endemic species Gentiana scabra 玉山龍膽, Fox Gloves 毛地黃, and many others that I don't know.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Fox Gloves were thriving when we visited this place.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Gentiana scabra, the yellow ones, were here, too. The blue/purple ones were Arisanensis Gentiana.

Day 2: Dangerous Slopes before Reaching Laonong River Campground

09:31 We resumed our hike, and I could see how huge this saddle was.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
While climbing up, I saw one of the famous Taiwan Three Peaks 台灣三尖, Mt. DaFenJian, 達芬尖山. The other two peaks are Mt. Dabajian 大霸尖山 and Mt. Zhongyangjian 中央尖山.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Famous Mt. DaFenJian, 3,208m
Alongside Mt. DaFenJian is Mt. Sancha 三叉山, which I did later during my Jiaming Lake hike (post coming soon) in October 2022.
After Batongguan, we mostly hiked on the sidehills, and many sections had no shade.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The lower mountain in the center was Jade Mountain, 3,952m. The one on the left is the east peak, 3,868m.
Now the river along with us was the Laonong River 荖濃溪. The valley here was cut down deep by this river. We were tracing the river up to its headwater, and that was our campground to stay for the night.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
It was still scorching hot under the sun at a high altitude. The river at the valley was Laonong River.
Please wear a helmet and hike with extra caution if you do this route. We had to bypass several slopes and damaged bridges to move forward. The section from Batongguan to Laonong River Campground might be the most dangerous part on this route.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Our guides had instructed us what to do when hearing strange sounds on the slopes.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The last bypass seemed to be the most difficult one. First, we went all the way up in the woods. Then we descended again through the giant boulders scattering on the slope.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
One more bypass going up
12:27 By the time we reached the Laonong River headwater (it looked more like another rock slope), one of my hiking mates and I took several breaks to catch our breath. Our guide Mingshu kept us company, sharing his stories of being a hiking guide.
Batongguan Historic Trail and Laonong River
Reached the headwater of Laonong River.
After several plank bridges, we finally arrived at our temporary home for that day, Laonong River Campground, at 3,370 meters above sea level.
13:17 I finally arrived at Laonong Rivercampground. Everyone was pitching their tents. When ready, we went to the headwater to draw fresh water. Lucky for us, we didn't have to go very far.
Laonong River Campground can accommodate up to 24 hikers. If you stay here, you might see small rodents running around. Please properly put your food in your backpack.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The stream wasn't too far from the campground.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Time for dinner. Photo by our hiking mate.

Day 3: A Freezing Start with a High Hope

As usual, we got up very early and left our campground around 3:40 am for the highlight, Jade Mountain. We put our headlamps on and made our way slowly up.
04:44 I could see the sky in the east started having some orange colors.
After another 10 minutes, I could see lines of headlamps and a significant slope in front of me. And it was freezing cold. The strong wind made it more difficult to climb up. I wish I had put on more clothes.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The steep slope ahend of us also showed up.
05:10 The sky from the east was much brighter, and I could see Jade Mountain North Peak behind us.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Amazing colors behind Jade Mountain North Peak.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Still a long way to go.
The layers of mountains in the distance were incredible. So, I had a high hope that we would see the stunning views at the highest point in Taiwan, right?

Day 3: The Highest Peak of Taiwan

05:39 We finally made it to the junction of Jade Mountain. So did the fog and clouds.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
We reached the junction with the weather machine. Photo by Mingshu
After taking a short break, we left our big backpacks at the junction and did the final ascending from Jade Mountain.
Please note that this section is very dangerous, even if you take the easiest route to Jade Mountain. The rocky terrain and strong wind make this section extremely dangerous. Several hikers fell to their death here.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Some hikers fell to their death here.
06:02 I reached Jade Mountain and queue. On my first hike to Jade Mountain, I could only see clouds from the peak. So did this time.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Group photos at Jade Mountain Main Peak. Photo by Mingshu.
Even though the clouds and fog took away my chance to see the magnificent view from Jade Mountain, I still couldn't contain my excitement about reaching the top of Taiwan.
Some hikers waited on the side, hoping the clouds to go away. We didn't wait because it was too cold.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
The clouds didn't go away when we were ready to hike the main peak.
We returned to the junction to fetch our backpacks and then took the way to Paiyun Lodge. The distance from here to Paiyun Lodge is 2.1 km.
06:43 We entered the trail with a meshed roof. So, you can guess the falling rocks aren't something new here.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
Our guide Mingshu had done Jade Mountain several times.
07:20 We reached the junction of Yuanfong Cabin, which was 1.5 km from here.
Near the junction to Yuanfong Cabin
07:50 I arrived at Paiyun Lodge, 3,402 meters above sea level.
11:56 I arrived at the Jade Mountain Trailhead at Tataka Saddle. Before reaching the trailhead, we took several breaks.
Batongguan Trail to Jade Mountain
We all finished this hike safely and had a great time.

The Most Difficult Route: Jade Mountain 9 Peaks

Distance: 52.5 - 61.2 km (32.6 - 38 miles)
Route type: Out and back
Days/Hours Needed: At least 5 days if you want to do all 9 peaks.
Total Ascent/Descent: 1,342 m/1,342 m
Best Time to Go: All year round, but you need snow gear and a training certificate if you want to hike between December and March.
Permits: Required
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty
Peaks to Reach:
  1. 1. Mt. Jade Main Peak, Mt. Yu, or Yushan, 玉山主峰, 3,952 meters (12,965.9 feet) above sea level.
  2. 2. Mt. Jade East Peak or Yushan East Peak, 玉山東峰, 3,874 meters (12,709.9 feet) above sea level.
  3. 3. Mt. Jade North Peak or Yushan North Peak, 玉山北峰, 3,858 meters (12,657 feet) above sea level.
  4. 4. Mt. Jade West Peak or Yushan West Peak, 玉山西峰, 3,512 meters (11,522 feet) above sea level.
  5. 5. Mt. Jade Front Peak or Yushan Front Peak, 玉山前峰, 3,233 meters (10,606.9 feet) above sea level.
  6. 6. Mt. Jade South Peak or Yushan South Peak, 玉山南峰, 3,852 meters (12,965.9 feet) above sea level.
  7. 7. Mt. Lu, Lu Mountain, or Deer Mountain, 鹿山, 2,981 meters (9,780 feet) above sea level, one of the only two mountains that are lower than 3,000 meters among the 100 Peaks. The other one is Mt. Liushun, 2,999 meters (my link). However, the latest height of Mt. Liushun is 3,009 meters, according to the survey conducted in 2013 by National Land Surveying and Mapping Center (NLSC).
  8. 8. Mt. East Xiaonan, or Dong Xiao Nan Mountain, or Siaonan East Peak, 東小南山, 3,709 meters (12,1168.6 feet) above sea level.
  9. 9. Mt. South Jade, Nan Yushan, South Jade Mountain, or Nanyu Mountain, 南玉山, 3,379 meters (11,085.9 feet) above sea level.
  10. The other two peaks not mentioned above are Jade Mountain North North Peak (yes, two North, not typo) 玉山北北峰 3,833 meters (12,575.4 feet) and Xiaonan Mountain 小南山 3,585 meters (11,761.8 feet). Those two peaks are not listed in the 100 Peaks.
Additional Information:
  1. Campsites to apply: Paiyun Lodge, and Yuanfong Cabin
  2. Most hikers will do this route in two trips: Jade Mountain First Five Peaks 玉山前五峰 and Jade Mountain Second Four Peaks 玉山後四峰. However, those trips are still challenging and not for new hikers.
  3. Gloves, helmets, a sleeping tent (if you don't get Yuanfong Cabin and have to stay at the campground), and a bag and other essentials for multi-day hikes.
I want to thank our guide Mingshu Lian 連明樹, for letting me use his photos taken from the Second Four Peaks.
Mingshu's Jade Mountain Peaks photos
Our guide Mingshu at Jade Mountain West Peak.
I have been hiking with him several times, and he is one of the funniest and most professional guides I've ever met. I highly recommend hiking with him. He almost finished the 100 Peaks in Taiwan, just one peak left.
Mingshu's Jade Mountain Peaks photos
Mt. Lu or Deer Mountain. Photo by Mingshu.
Mingshu did this route at least three times with different peaks.
Mingshu's Jade Mountain Peaks photos
Yuanfong Cabin. Photo by Mingshu.
Mingshu's Jade Mountain Peaks photos
Yuanfong Cabin from the distance. Photo by Mingshu.

How to Get There and Accommodation

Dongpu Lodge and Amenties

If you only do Jade Mountain Main Peak and want to stay at the closest hotel for hikers, Dongpu Lodge 東埔山莊 is your only choice. It's near the police station, the bus stop, and Tataka Visitor Center. It is NT$400 per person per night.
Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin
Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin.
Dongpu Lodge takes the order 30 days before your hike. This place is not easy to book, either.
The beds at Dongpu Lodge are bunkbeds with curtains to keep your privacy. However, it can be noisy because hikers come and go all day long.
If you are a light sleeper or prefer more privacy, staying at the hotels at Alishan, Jiayi County, or Wangxiang Village, Nantou County, is an option. But those two options are suitable if you drive or hire a driver.
Amenties at Dongpu Lodge:
There are two shower rooms, toilets, outlets for charging electronic devices, hot drinking water, a kitchen, and toilets. You can store things you don't want to bring to the hike at Dongpu Lodge.
Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin
Dining area at Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin.
Dongpu Lodge doesn't provide meals. There are no restaurants in Tataka, either. Drinking is not allowed at Dongpu Lodge.
Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin
Illustrations about things to pay attention to at Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin.
Dongpu Lodge check-in time: after 15:30; check-out: before 8:00 the next day. If hikers arrive at Dongpu Lodge before 15:30, hikers have to wait till the staff opens the door. Dongpu Lodge turns off the light after 20:30.
Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin
Only two shower rooms are available at Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin.

Ordering Meals and Sleeping Bag Rental

If you want to hike light, you can click here to order. There is a designated area to boil water.

How to Take Public Transport to Tataka Trailhead

Going to Tataka Trailhead without driving or hiring a driver can be tricky. Here's how:
Public transport to Tataka trailhead

Public Transport: from Chiayi to Alishan

No matter where you are in Taiwan, you go to Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) Chiayi Station to take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus, Alishan Route.
Take Alishan Route 7329 From Taiwan High Speed Rail Chiayi Station to Alishan Transport Station 阿里山轉運站. The bus fare for one trip is NT$278.

Public Transport: from Alishan Transport Station to Upper Dongpu

Take Yuanlin Bus 6739 員林客運 6739 from Alishan Transport Station 阿里山轉運站 at 14:00. Get off at Shandongpu Stop (or Upper Dongpu) 上東埔站, and then walk to Dongpu Lodge. The bus fare for one trip is NT$68.
Because of Covid, Yuanlin Bus has reduced the bus schedules. For the latest schedule, please check Yuanlin Bus 員林客運 website for updates. According to their website, passengers must make a reservation 2 days in advance if they want to use EasyCard to pay the bus fare. 049-2770041.

Public Transport: from Paiyun Mountaineering Center to Tataka Trailhead

The shuttle bus is in front of Paiyun Mounteering Service Center. Each shuttle can be seated up to 7 hikers. The fare is NT$100 per person from 6:30 to 17:00. It's NT$150 between 17:00 and 19:00, and you need to make a call to arrange the pickup.
The shuttle bus waiting sign at Paiyun Mounteering Service Center.
The queueing point for the shuttle bus at Tataka Trailhead. You can use your backpack to queue.
If you need a pickup after 19:00, please call Dongpu Lodge in advance to see the fare and time.
If you don't mind, you can hike another 2.4 km to Paiyun Mountaineering Center from Tataka trailhead.

Driving to Tataka Tourist Center

If you drive from Shuili, Nantou, please check the traffic control before you go. The section between 110 and 145k of the Taiwan Provincial Highway 21 台21線 is closed from 17:30 pm to 7:00 the next day.

Public Transport to Batongguan Trailhead

Take Yuanlin Bus 6732 from Shuili Train Station 水里火車站 or 6734 from Jiji Train Station 集集火車站 and Shuili Train Station. Get off at the last stop, Dongpu 東埔.
The bus fare for 6732 is NT$118 in cash and NT$103 with a card.
The bus fare for 6734 is NT$146 in cash and NT$128 with a card.

Related Posts:

100 Peaks On Taiwan Hikes

Things to Know before Hiking in Taiwan
Mt. Jyunda
Mt. Liushun and Qicai Lake
Qilai Nanhua Hike

English Posts

How to Climb Jade Mountain – Yushan 爬玉山
Off the Beaten Track: A walk on the edge of history: Batongguan Historic Trail

Posts in Chinese Only

100 Peaks info and elevation maps for download from Sunriver Culture Co.,Ltd 上河文化 百岳步程及高差示意圖下載
Hiking Biji 健行筆記: What was on the top of Jade Mountain 玉山山頂上曾經有什麼?
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