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Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming (Chiaming) Lake Trail (No Cabin Permits Required)

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: October 30, 2023
The Jiemaosi route is a popular alternative for hikers who wish to venture to Jiaming Lake. Unlike the traditional route, which is difficult to get a bed at the Jiaming Lake Cabin, obtaining a permit for this route is straightforward, allowing hikers to focus on the adventure ahead.
Jiaming Lake in the morning
Jiaming Lake is a very popular hike in Taiwan.
As you traverse this path, nature unveils its magnificence. The route winds through enchanting forests with a pleasant encounter with the crystal-clear Xinwulu Creek, painting a scene out of a fairy tale.
Note: please cross the river with extra caution if the water is high or after rain.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
The Jiemaosi route let us venture through the magnificent forests and Xinwulu Creek.
But the crowning moment waits at the end: Jiaming Lake at dawn. The world seems to pause as the first rays of the sun dance upon the water's surface and a gorgeous glow in the sky. You will find a comparison table of the traditional and Jiemaosi routes below.
Jiaming Lake Trail - Day 2
Jiaming Lake in the cloudy day
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:

Exploring Jiaming Lake: A Comparison of the Traditional and Jiemaosi Routes 傳統路線 V.S. 戒茂斯

Jiemaosi Trail was the indigenous Bunun people's ancient hunting trail. Due to its easy application process and pristine scenery, Jiemaosi Route has become another popular path to Jiaming Lake.
After doing two routes to Jiaming Lake, my favorite is the Jiemaosi one. I enjoy Xinwulu Creek and the stunning forests very much. Camping by the river was fantastic. I sat by the river long to enjoy the running water and tranquility.
Yet, this is also a more challenging route, especially on the last day of the hike.

Trail Information: The Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake

Trail Name: From Jiemaosi to Jiaming Lake
Distance: 27 km (16.8 miles)
Route type: Point-to-point
Days/Hours Needed: 3 days
Total Ascent/Descent: 2,835m/2,379m
Best Time to Go: All year round except when typhoons come.
Permits: Police Permit required
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty

Peaks or Places to Reach

  1. Mt Jiemaosi Front Peak 戒茂斯山前峰, 2,065 meters (6,745.4 feet) above sea level. No views.
  2. Mt. Jiemaosi 戒茂斯山, 2,510 meters (8,235 feet) above sea level. There's a Class 3 Triangulation Stone and another “Shan 山 (mountain)” Triangulation Stone at the peak.
  3. 3. Jiaming Lake 嘉明湖, 3,310 meters (10,859.6 feet). The second highest alpline lake in Taiwan. The highest one is Cuei Pond near Xueshan.
  4. 4. Mt. Sancha 三叉山, 3,496 meters (11,469.8 feet) above sea level. There is a Class 1 Triangulation Stone at the peak.
  5. 5. Mt. Siangyang 向陽山, 3,602 meters (11,817.5 feet) above sea level. There is a Class 3 Triangulation Stone.

Available Campsites (No Need to Apply):

  1. Xinwulu Creek Campsite
  2. Volleyball Court Campsite: need to carry water
  3. Soccer Court Campsite: need to carry water
  4. Golf Court Campsite: need to carry water
  5. Hunter Campsite

Additional Information:

  1. Camping by Jiaming Lake is not allowed.
  2. Many sections are exposed to the sun. Please do sun protection.
  3. It can still be cold in summer.
  4. Pay extra attention when crossing Xinwulu Creek when it rains or after the rain. The water can be very high and dangerous.

Transport to the Jiemaosi Trailhead, Trail Map, GPX Data, and How to Apply for Permits

No Public Transport to Jiemaosi Trailhead

The closest bus stop is at Lidao Tribal Village 利稻部落, which is around 16 km (10 miles) away from the Jiemaosi Trailhead. Hiring a pickup is a better option.
The trailhead is at 156.5 K of Taiwan Provincial Highway 20 台20線.

Trail Map and GPX Data

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 pace.

How to Apply for Police Permits

Jiaming Lake, Mt. Sancha, and Mt. Siangyang do not belong to any national park in Taiwan. So, hikers only need to apply for a Mountain Entry Permit (let's call the police permit).
Click Mountain Entry Permit Application
Pur your personal information.
Put your Emergency Contact Person and the dates you want to hike.
This will pop up if your desired hiking dates are available to apply for a permit.
You will find both Jiaming and Chiaming Lake spellings on this database. If you also want to hike to Mt. Sancha and Mt. Siangyang (most people do), please search for Chiaming with an uppercase C, and Jiemaosi with an uppercase J. Both Jiaming and Chiaming Lake refer to the same lake but with different spellings. Welcome to the translation hell.
Search for the destination. The uppercase matters.
Then, finish the rest of the form.

Get Free Guides on Public Transport and Applying for Permits. Or Hire Me!

Free Bus Guides to Hike Popular Mountains in Taiwan

Taking buses to hike in Taiwan can be tricky if you don't read Chinese. Therefore, I've made several public transport guides on my Gumroad to help you get to the trailheads. Or click the button below to see more details.

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Tackling the intricacies of permit applications and deciphering public transport routes in Taiwan can be daunting. We're here to make your hiking adventure hassle-free.
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Captivating Moments on the Jiemaosi Route: Journey through Enchanted Forests and Crystal-clear Rivers

Brief itinerary

Day 1: Jiemaosi Trailhead ➔ Mt. Jiemaosi Front Peak ➔ Mt. Jiemaosi ➔ Xinwulu Creek Campsite
Day 2: Xinwulu Campsite ➔ Volleyball Court Campsite ➔ Soccer Court Campsite ➔ Golf Court Campsite ➔ Hunter Campsite
Day 3: Hunter Campsite ➔ Jiaming Lake ➔ Mt. Sancha ➔ Jiaming Lake Cabin ➔ Junction to Mt. Siangyang ➔ Mt. Siangyang ➔ Junction to Mt. Siangyang ➔ Siangyang Famous Tree ➔ Black Water Pond ➔ Siangyang Cabin ➔ Siangyang Forest Recreation Area/Checkpoint
I did this hike with LOHAS in March 2023, and we stayed in Xiulin, Hualien 花蓮秀林 before the trek. It was a long drive, so we left the hostel around 6 a.m. We took a short break at a 7-11 Convenience Store, Chulai Branch 初來門市, which might be the one among the branch stores with the best view.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Beautiful paddy field in front of 7-11 Culai Branch in Taitung
After driving for almost 4 hours, we finally reached the Jiemaosi Trailhead at 156.5 K of Taiwan Provincial Highway 20 台20線 at 10:07.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
The unassuming trailhead of the Jiemaosi Route.

Day 1: Enchanted Forest and Beautiful Xinwulu Creek 新武呂溪

10:22 We were ready to hike. We had a steep start, but it wasn't too bad.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
It was spacious after we got inside the trail.
10:51 We reached the first peak, Mt. Jiemaosi Front Peak, 2,065 meters.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Mt. Jiemaosi Front Peak
11:28 I finally saw the trail marks and passed 004.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Usnea 松蘿 started showing up all over the trees. With the fog flowing in the forest, it felt like we trespassed fairy's home.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
11:49 We had a short lunch break.
13:10 We reached the junction with the 010 mark. This is the junction to Mt. Jiemaosi. We left our backpacks at the junction.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Junction to Mt. Jiemaosi.
13:20 Within ten minutes, we bagged our second peak, Mt. Jiemaosi, which has two triangulation stones. One of them is damaged.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Mt. Jiemaosi has 2 triangulation stones, but one is damaged.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Mist covered the forests.
14:12 We crossed our first section of Xinwulu Creek. The water was crystal clear with a light shade of blue or green.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
A group photo after crossing the creek.
Soon, we crossed our second river crossing. The creek looked even more amazing.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
The water shimmered with pristine clarity, revealing a mesmerizing palette of colors.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
I could stay by Xinwulu Creek for days without feeling bored.
14:28 We reached our campsite. Our guides, Xiao Tsai and Rose, started preparing dinner.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
This campsite is spacious.
Beside the babbling stream where I sat, I tried to capture photos and keep this memory, but witnessing this in person is always the best.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
This was shot by my Sony ZV-1 camera.
Here, without any bar of phone receptions, I finally embraced nature and let the creek and forests take away my thoughts.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
I still miss this place to this day.

Day 2: More Incredible Coniferous Forests Await and the Ridge's Serenade

06:07 We left the campsite.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
This place is Usnea's heaven.
08:05 We reached the 024 mark. This place is called Volleyball Court Campsite 排球場營地. I don't know who gave those names, but those places are beautiful and spacious. You can pitch your tent here, but you must carry water from the Xinwulu Creek.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Volleyball Court Campsite
You will find phone receptions here. It was strong enough for me to text but still patchy to send images.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Volleyball Court Campsite can accommodate many tents, too.
08:37 We passed the 025 mark, which is the Soccer Court Campsite 足球場營地. We took a long break and started playing fake soccer games.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
I could see Mt. Siangyang between the trees.
09:54 We arrived at the 027 mark, which is the Golf Court Campsite 高爾夫球場. Without a doubt, it was time to swine a golf club.
As we enjoyed our lunch, wisps of mist danced around us, weaving in and out like ethereal spirits. The scene before us transformed, wrapped in mystery and reminiscent of a land from fairy tales.
For us Taiwanese, such Coniferous Forests are a rare delight, stirring our excitement. The thought of tents pitched atop soft pine needles was tempting to make another visit.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Yet, the trail ahead called. We bid farewell to this enchanting woodland and continued the trek.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
12:08 The forests were gradually replaced by grassland and the view opened up.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
The ridge we were going to hike on Day 3.
When we did this hike in March 2023, southern Taiwan and several high mountains suffered droughts. The grass looked scorched under the brutal sun.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
My hiking mates were ahead of me.

Whispers of the Formosan Sambar and Surprises Under a Star-Spangled Sky

12:22 We passed the Jiaming Lake Sister Pond, and we were not surprised to see the pond was left with a dry bed.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Jiaming Lake Sister Pond dried up when we were there.
12:30 I passed the sign pointing to the Hunter Campsite, and we started descending.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Sign pointing to the Hunter Campsite
12:53 Finally, we reached the Hunter Campsite.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
This campsite has many layers.
As we prepared to gather water, the silhouette of a Formosan Sambar Deer emerged near our tents, a delight encounter with such a majestic creature. Our guides told us about their frequent nocturnal visits. Later, the glow of various eyes watched as I ventured into the shadows.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
The charm of the Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake has drawn many, but not all honor the Leave No Trace and sanctity of nature. So, remember to draw your water from a distance and respect the land.
Surprisingly, our phones could receive a signal to the outside world. With time on our side, our guide, Xiao Tsai, showcased an alternative therapy using his machete. Our Ukrainian hiking mates stood unflinching, while I almost embarrassed myself.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Alternative therapy time
As dusk fell and our bellies filled, we retreated to our shelter. Yet, the starry sky was too bright to ignore. Ben, Rose, and I moved our sleeping pads and lay under the stars. As if on cue, a meteor streaked the heavens, and we all witnessed it together — a shared spectacle forever etched in my memories.
Jiemaosi Hunter Campsite Starry Sky

Day 3: Dawn's Embrace Over Jiaming Lake

I did the traditional route to Jiaming Lake in October 2023. However, due to the lack of experience, I missed the gorgeous sunrise even though the weather was great that morning. But this day, I bore hope in every step, eager for a second chance.
03:00 We got up, had breakfast and packed our gear.
04:00 Set out to Jiaming Lake.
What awaited was a 400-meter ascent awaited, and my heart fluttered with anxiety and excitement (or just lack of enough training). The soft light rising from the eastern horizon made me uneasy even more.
05:33 At last, Jiaming Lake was unveiled before us. While we raced to the perfect point, the universe painted my long-awaited sunrise - a dance of hues and reflections.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
I ventured to the lake's edge during my first journey. I stayed put this time, trying to capture its magic in a timelapse.
Ben, with a burst of energy, circled the lake thrice, and we watched in awe.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
The tiny dot was Ben. Jiaming Lake was huge even during a drought season.
06:44 With a reluctant heart, it was time to leave. Gusts of wind were also picking up. For the details of this section back to Siangyang Forest Recreation Area, you can read my previous Jiaming Lake post.
Jiaming Lake
We reached Mt. Sancha. The wind was so strong that we could barely stay put.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
The landscape was stunning, and the trail ahead was wearying.
The ever-changing landscape revealed hidden treasures, like a different face of the Jiaming Lake Cabin, bathed in clarity compared to my cloudy recollection from the previous journey.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
The iconic red roof of Jiaming Lake Cabin
09:10 The Jiaming Lake Cabin welcomed us, and we took a one-hour break.
While marching away from the cabin, I noticed this massive boulder escaped my attention during my first hike.
Jiaming Lake Trail - Day 2
When reaching the junction to Mt. Siangyang, I chose to bypass due to the moody skies. Plus, I was already exhausted.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
11:20 We passed the Siangyang Famous Tree.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
12:14 We passed Siangyang Cabin.
14:04 The familiar Siangyang Checkpoint marked the day's end.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
In the interlude, as we awaited our fellow hiking mates, Mother Nature once again played on fog and sunrays in a mischievous dance of hide and seek at Siangyang Forest Recreation Area.
A fitting, dreamy curtain closed our hiking story to the Angel's Tear Drop, Jiaming Lake.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake

The Story of Jiemaosi: History, Significance, and What to Expect

In the Bunun tribal language 布農族, "Jiemaosi" (Kaimusu/Kaimos) refers to a type of spice plant. Its fruit emits a fragrance reminiscent of pepper, making it a choice of seasoning.
At the same time, "Jiemaosi" is also the name of one of the Bunun tribal communities, located approximately 1,700 meters above sea level on the banks of the Xinwulu Creek 新武呂溪, to the southwest of Bulaksan Mountain 布拉克桑山, close to today's South Cross-Island Highway near Liyuan 栗園.
Xinwulu Creek
Although Jiemaosi was never a large community, by 1934, it had dwindled to only two households due to resettlement policies and ultimately ceased to exist. However, before the uprising in 1915, the Jiemaosi tribe members made their mark by resisting Japanese rule.
In a significant act of defiance, they successfully assassinated a Japanese police officer at the Batongguan post 八通關古道. This act sounded the first shot of the fierce Bunun resistance against Japanese rule.
The trail from Jiemaosi to Jiaming Lake was originally a hunting path for the Bunun tribe. After they migrated from Nantou to the Dafen Mountain 大分山 and Lakulak River 拉庫拉溪 in Hualien, some members crossed Jiemaosi, following this route to the Xinwulu Creek in Taitung in search of a new homeland.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Furthermore, this path wasn't just for migration and hunting — it was also a crucial route for the Bunun tribe to establish marital alliances with other communities, underscoring its importance in migration, hunting, and marriage proposals.
Fast forward to today, this ancient hunting trail has transformed into a paradise for mountain enthusiasts. Since 2005, when the government started to regulate the number of visitors on the traditional route, this old hunter's path became a popular alternative.
Now, due to its easy application process and pristine scenery, it has becomeg the most sought-after path to Jiaming Lake.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Sources: Hiking Biji and Chase Together.

Related Posts:

On Taiwan Hikes

Jiaming Lake Traditional Route
The Highest Alpine Lake in Taiwan: Cuei Pond
Qicai Lake
I hope you enjoy this post. Have you done the Jiaming Lake Hike? Which route did you take? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
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