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The Complete Guide to Hiking Taiwan's Southern Three Stars Part 3: Discover Mt. Kuhanuoxin

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: February 8, 2024
Welcome to the third installment of our Southern Three Stars series, focusing on the splendid Mt. Kuhanuoxin along Taiwan's Southern Cross-island Highway. Based on actual hiking experiences, this comprehensive guide provides essential tips and insights for a successful journey.
View on from Mt. Kuhanuoxin
You will find the traffic control, permit applications, accommodations, and how to fully enjoy Mt. Kuhanuoxin's natural beauty. Embrace the challenge and beauty of Mt. Kuhanuoxin and have a memorable adventure.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
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Table of Contents:

Trail Information: Mt. Kuhanuoxin or Mt. Kuhanuosin (Kuhanuoxin Mountain)

Trail Name: Mt. Kuhanuoxin (Mt. Kuhanuosin, Kuhanuoxinshan) 庫哈諾辛山, listed as No. 85 in the 100 Peaks in Taiwan. Nanheng Highway is short for the Southern Cross-island Highway.
Distance: 6.8 km (4.2 miles)
Route type: Out-and-back
Days/Hours Needed: 5-7 hours
Total Ascent/Descent: 984 m/984 m
Best Time to Go: All seasons, but winter is also the snow season. Yushan National Park will ask for hikers to declare the snow season form.
Permits: A police mountain entry permit and park permit are required.
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty

Peaks or Places to Reach

  1. Mt. Kuhanuoxin, or Kuhanuoxin Mountain 庫哈諾辛山, 3,115 meters (10,220 feet) above sea level. There's a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the top. You can see Mt. Siangyang and other high mountains on the top.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike

Accommodations, Transport to the Trailhead, and Map/GPX Data

Hotels, Campsites, and Restaurants on the Kaohsiung/West Side

There are several hotels, B&Bs, and campsites near the Meishan Visitor Center 梅山遊客中心.
Meishankou - Yushan National Park
Meishan Youth Activity Center 梅山青年活動中心 is another option. If you stay here overnight, you can save driving time to the trailhead, which takes around one hour.
Meishankou - Yushan National Park
Meishan Youth Activity Center 梅山青年活動中心

Hotels, Campsites, and Restaurants on the Taitung/East Side: Siangyang Checkpoint

The closest hotels near Siangyang Checkpoint are in of Lidao Village Haiduan Township, Taitung, or Motian Farm. It takes around 1 hour from Lidao Village to the Meishan Checkpoint.
Siangyang National Forest Recreation Area

The West Side: Transport from Jiasian, Kaohsiung to Meishankou

Kaohsiung Bus 8029 goes from Jiasian Station 甲仙車站 to Meishan Village at 9:00 and from Meishan Village Stop at 12:25. It takes around 1.5 hours from Jiasian Station to Meishankou Stop (Or Meishan Mouth) 梅山口.
The bus stop is close to the Meishan Checkpoint of Southern Cross-island Highway 南橫公路西端梅山管制站.
Kaohsiung Joy Bus H11 Shuttle goes from Liugui 六龜 to Meishankou but the bus ride is long. Bus 8029 is faster.
Meishankou - Yushan National Park

The East Side: Transport from Siangyang Checkpoint of Southern Cross-island Highway 向陽管制站

There is no public transport to Siangyang Checkpoint.

Transport from Meishan Checkpoint of Southern Cross-island Highway to Mt. Taguan Trailhead

There is no public transport to the trailhead, either. Most people hire the pickup service from Kaohsiung. The cost is around NT$5,000-6,000 per day.
If you drive or ride a scooter, the parking area near the trailhead is at 33.5 km signage.

GPX Track

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.

Permit Applications and Southern Cross-island Highway Traffic Control

How to Apply for Police Mountain Entry Permits

Go to Hike Smart Taiwan Service, the new website for permit applications.
Click "Yushan National Park Headquarters."
Scroll down and find "Kuhanuosin Mountain Trail/Guan Mountain Trail." Click "entry application." Many typos, I know.
Click the first one.
Remember to read the content and check all the boxes. Then, click "I Agree."
Click the Standart Application one.
Scroll down and click the Kuhanousin Mountain Trail one on the Primary Route.
Select the first one as your Secondary Route.
Enter your "Schedule": Meishan Visitor Center ➔ Jinjing Bridge Trailhead ➔ Kuhanuoxin Mountain ➔ Jinjing Bridge Trailhead ➔ Meishan Visitor Center
One of the few improvements of this new website is we don't have to go to the police agency's website to apply for the Police Mountain Entry Permit. The new system will update the route you put in the "Plan" automatically.
Click "Next."
Type the required information and submit.
Note: the daily cap to hike Mt. Kuhanuoxin is 100 people.

How to Self Check-in

If you have a Taiwanese ID card and want to hike before 9 am, please remember to self-cickle in at the Meishan Visitor Center. When I did this hike, the Meishan Visitor Center was under renovation. We checked in at the Bunan Culture Exhibition Center.
The Bunan Culture Exhibition Center: the temporary self-check-in location
Remember to scan your permit and ID.
If you can't scan your ID or check in with a passport, please take a selfie with your passport and the scanner with the time code and GPS coordinates in the image. Email the photos to the Yushan National Park's mailbox.

Traffic Control from Meishankou to Siangyang on Provincial Highway 20 of Southern Cross-island Highway

Check Yushan National Park's website for English information about traffic control. Click "Highway Traffic Control."
Or check Provincial Highway Real Time Information Service for the latest traffc control.
The section from Meishankou to Siangyang is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Vehicles are allowed to enter from both sides from 07:00 to 14:00. All vehicles must leave before 17:00. Vehicles with license plates are allowed to enter. Bicycles are not allowed in this section.
When the highway becomes icy because of the cold weather, the Southern Region Branch Office of the Highway Bureau will close the sections, too. Please check the Southern Region Branch Office's website for details (only available in Chinese.)
Or call for the latest news: +886-7-6751014 on the Meishankou to Yakou side in Kaohsiung (高雄市梅山口至埡口), or +886-89-811024 on the Yakou to Siangyang side (臺東縣埡口至向陽) in Taitung.
Red and White Minimalist Important Announcement

Itinerary of Mt. Kuhanuoxin Hike Starting from 4,000+ Steps

Brief itinerary: Jinjing Bridge Trailhead ➔ Kuhanuoxin Cabin ➔ Junction to Gushan and Mt. Kuhanuoxin ➔ Mt. Kuhanuoxin ➔ Junction to Gushan and Mt. Kuhanuoxin ➔ Kuhanuoxin Cabin ➔ Jinjing Bridge Trailhead
07:00 Passed the Meishankou Checkpoint.
Meishankou - Yushan National Park
A long queue waiting at the checkpoint
07:52 We arrived at Jinjing Bridge 進徑橋 Trailhead. There were already several cars here when we arrived. Expect crowds if you drive your car and do this hike on the weekends.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
The trailhead is at 28.3 km on Provincial Highway 20.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
The trailhead is at 28.3 km on Provincial Highway 20.
The trail demonstrated its authority by giving us a vast, steep climb. There are ropes on the side to assist hikers going up, but please always test the ropes before you put on the whole-body weight to grab the rope.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
A dirt slope to climb, followed by the steps.
08:01 I saw the first signage of the South Section One. If you do this hike, you will see 449 signages, 44.9 km (27.9 miles).
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
You got 44.8 km to go if you do the South Section 1 hike.
And a huge map of the South Section One of the Central Mountain Range.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
The map of the South Section 1 of the Central Mountain Range
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
This map can be seen from the parking area, and you can see how steep this section is.
Although there are 4,000+ plank steps before reaching Kuhanuoxin Cabin (or 3026 Highland 3026高地), it's still daunting.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
Those plank steps felt like taking forever.
Many plank steps are rotten, collapsed, or with many high stair risers. They are either slippery or make my thigh muscles scream.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
Those steps can be slippery.
The magnificent giant trees were the comfort that supported me to keep going.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
08:41 I passed a signage telling me there was 1.1 km to Kuhanuoxin Cabin.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
1.1 km to go before reaching Kuhanuoxin Cabin
I saw some peaks through the trees. One was Yunfeng 雲峰, 3,564 meters (11,693 feet), one of the 100 Peaks in Taiwan. Yushan was on the left, but the trees blocked the view.
09:46 I reached Kuhanuoxin Cabin. There are water tanks and toilets in this cabin.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
Kuhanuoxin Cabin, 3,000 meters above sea level. The ridges from Yushan, Mt. Taguanshan to Mt. Siangyang can be seen from here.
10:16 After a 30-minute break, we reached the junction of Mt. Guan or Guanshan, 3,668 meters, and Mt. Kuhanuoxin.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
Junction to Guanshan and Mt. Kuhanuoxin
You can't miss this lonely toilet near the junction if you make it this far. This may not be the highest toilet in Taiwan, but it definitely has the best view among the high mountain toilets.
If you try it, keep the door ajar because it got stuck.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
This might be the toilet with the most breaktaking views in Taiwan.
This will be a strenuous hike if you aim to hike Guanshan and Mt. Kuhanuoxin in a day. The round trip from this junction to Guanshan is 7.6 Km (4.75 miles), and the round trip from here to Mt. Kuhanuoxin is 3.4 km (2.1 miles). Plus, the hike to the trailhead, the total distance is 14.6 km (9.13 miles).
The pointed peak is Guanshan and this was taken from the trail to Yushan Front Peak.
We hiked a small section of flat trail and encountered a big descending to the saddle.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
10:38 I passed a section with a significant scarp on the side.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
The scarp is huge. I took this photo after I reached the next hill. A hiker was returing back to the junction.
And a signage of 1.2 km to Mt. Kuhanuoxin.
From here, more sections were covered by pine needles, one of my favorite experiences on the trails. Yet, exhaustion quickly took over the pleasure.
On the way to Mt. Kuhanuoxin, I saw Mt. Taguan, which I had hiked the previous day.
11:19 I reached the section with ropes and a signage of 0.2 km on the side. It felt so close and so hard. You know I'm just a human.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
The last slope to the peak
11:26 Finally, I arrived at Mt. Kuhanuoxin, 3,115 meters above sea level. Although we hiked on Monday, this place was still packed. Mainly because some hikers had to take 100+ photos before being satisfied. Taking a peak photo is a competition in Taiwan.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
Our group photo at the peak
While waiting to take peak photos, I gulped down my lunch. It would be a more relaxing experience to enjoy the views without being rushed. We took a 30-minute break here.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
The view from Mt. Kuhanuoxin
12:48 I got back to the junction to Guanshan and the toilet. I decided to use the toilet.
Remember to stop for a second to admire the view of Kuhanuoxin Cabin with the fantastic landscape.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
Kuhanuoxin Cabin
Soon, I reached the section of the 4,000+ steps. Many of them were slippery, and going down was more dangerous than going up. Please proceed with caution.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
Taking the steps back
13:53 I passed the map of the South Section One.
13:59 Returned to our vans.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike
Our vans were waiting at the trailhead.

About Mt. Kuhanuoxin, Gushan, and South Section One of the Central Mountain Range

About Mt. Kuhanuoxin and Southern Cross-island Highway Three Stars

Mt. Kuhanuoxin and neighboring Mt. Guanshanling and Mt. Taguan form the "Southern Three Stars" at the end of the Central Mountain Range's middle section, located within Yushan National Park. The trailhead is on the Southern Cross-Island Highway.
Hikers first tackle the tiring 4,000+ steps in the fir forests before reaching 3026 Highland. Enjoy panoramic views of the Yushan peaks and the spectacular Guanshan Scarp 關山大崩壁 at the summit.
Xinan Mountain, Shishan, Shishan Xiu Lake 3-day hike in Kaohsiung
The Tengjhih side of the South Section One.
Mt. Kuhanuoxin Cabin/Campsite, at 3,026m, has a rainwater collection tower and bio-toilets. Hikers must apply for permits to stay here and bring their sleeping bags, pads, and tents. The cabin can accommodate 24 people, and the campsite accommodates 12 people.
Southern 3 Stars: Mt. Kuhanuoxin hike

Other Attractions on the Southern Cross-island Highway

Even if you don't do hikes, Southern Cross-island Highway is a breathtaking highway that worth visiting. After we finished the hike, we saw the clouds floating around the valley and I wished we could just stop for a moment to savor the amazing views.
Those are the stops that you should go if you come here:
  1. Xinliguan Observation Deck 新禮觀觀景台. You will find toilets here.
  2. Tianchi (Tian Pond) 天池 and Zhongzhiguan Historic Trail 中之關步道. Tianchi is an alpine lake in Taoyuan, Kaohsiung, with an elevation of 2,280 meters. Situated behind the Changqing Temple on the Southern Cross-island Highway, Tianchi has a heart-shaped appearance. The lake's water source relies on rainfall and melting snow, with an average depth of 1.2 meters and an area of about 1,800 square meters.
  3. Changchun Shrine 長春祠, built in 1979, was to honor the 116 engineers and workers who tragically lost their lives during the construction of the Southern Cross-island Highway.
For the stunning views here, please see Yushan National Park's video about the Southern Cross-island Highway. Or click the button below.

About South Section One of the Central Mountain Range 南一段

The South Section refers to the part of the Central Mountain Range from south of the Southern Cross-Island Highway to the Beinan Main Mountain 卑南主山, including five peaks over 100 meters - Mt. Kuhanuoxin, Guanshan, Mt. Hainuonan 海諾南山 (3,175 meters), Xiaoguanshan 小關山 (3,249 meters), and Beinan Main Mountain (3,295 meters), as well as two famous 3000-meter mountains, Mt. Yunshui 雲水山 and Mt. Maxibashiu 馬西巴秀山. Source: Hiking Biji.
A glimps of South Section 1 from Mt. Minghai
The most challenging aspects are water sources and the abundance of prickly Taiwan Juniper 刺柏. This route ultimately leads from Shishan and Xinan Mountain to Tengzhi Forest Road. You can see my hike to Shishan and Shishan Xiu Lake 石山, 石山秀湖.
Overlooking at Shishan Xiu Lake from Xinan Mountain
Shishan Xiu Lake

Guanshan and Mt. Kuhanuoxin Hike

Some hikers will hike Guanshan and Mt. Kuhanuoxin in a day. This demanding hike will take at least 14.4 km (8.9 miles).
Guanshan, a prominent peak on the main ridge of the southern Central Mountain Range in Taiwan, stands as the highest peak in the south range at 3,668 meters, with a Class 2 Triangulation Stone. It's located in Haiduan Township of Taitung County and Taoyuan District of Kaohsiung City, on the southwest boundary of Yushan National Park.
Looking at Guanshan, Mt. Taguan and Mt. Guanshanling from the trail to Mt. Siangyang
Surrounded by steep terrain, its northeast connects to the main ridge towards Mt. Xiangyang, featuring natural wonders like the Guanshan and Xiangyang Scarp. The Mt. Konglongjian 恐龍尖山 section is particularly challenging. Many hikers avoid this section and take the route through Mt. Kuhanuoxin to Jinjing Bridge trailhead.

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