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Complete Guide to Hike Mt. Dabajian: The 100 Peaks Trail on Every Hikers' Bucket List

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
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Mt. Dabajian is the second mountain other than Mt. Jade (Yushan) depicted on the banknotes in Taiwan. It's also one of the most beautiful 100 Peaks. The magnificent shape of Mt. Dabajian and the spectacular Holy Ridgeline makes this trail even more exciting.
Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian
Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian

Table of Contents:

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About Dalu Forest Road, Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobajian, and other 2 Peaks

Mt. Dabajian 大霸尖山 is the mountain that every Taiwanese sees on a daily basis probably without even knowing it, because this mountain is depicted on the back of the NT$500 banknote. For many hikers in Taiwan, hiking to those mountains is on their bucket list.
dabajian-500banknote
Mt. Dabajian is depicted on the NT$500 banknote.
Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian are the sacred mountains for Taiwan indigenous people Atayal 泰雅族 and Saisiyat 賽夏族. Atayal people call those two mountains Babo Papak, meaning two ears 雙耳嶽. Those two peaks do look like ears from the distance.
In Chinese, Da 大 means big, Xiao 小 means small, and Jian means peaks. That's why you see Daba Peaks written on the permit application page. When I was hiking on other trails, I was able to see those amazing peaks from the distance.
Dabajian-Xiaobajian-Mt-Xue-20200920-2
Looking at Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian and Mt. Xue from a trail in Hsinchu
There was a ladder going to the top of Mt. Dabajian, but the ladder was worn out and became too dangerous to climb. The most important thing is the peak is Atayal’s sacred place. To respect their culture and for the safety of hikers, Shei-Pa National Park 雪霸國家公園 removed the ladder in 1991, and banned climbing to the top in 2010.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Hikers can only hike along the base of Mt. Dabajian
Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian belong to Mt. Xue Range 雪山山脈. Therefore, here are several routes to hike if you want to get close to those amazing mountains. Here, I hiked on the most popular and the easiest one, Mt. Dabajian Trail.
As to Mt. Yizhe 伊澤山 and Mt. Jiali 加利山, those are listed on the 100 Peaks, and Mt. Yizhe is the northeast peak among the 100 Peaks list. Our guide told us that the views of Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian from Mt. Yizhe and Mt. Jiali peaks were amazing, but the weather wasn’t good and all we saw was clouds. Perhaps I'll have better luck next time.
Before I get to the details, I want to thank Jeffery Chang 張建舫 for giving permission to use his beautiful photos. You can check out his Facebook for more beautiful photos on the trails in Taiwan.

How to Apply for Permits (This Can Also Apply to Other 100 Peaks) and Catering

First, you need to apply for park entry permits for Mt. Dabajian. Remember to check all the boxes before clicking I Agree.

Standard Application v.s. Foreign Advanced Application

If you have an Alien Resident Certificate or are an exchange student and want to hike mountains in Xhei-Pa National Park, you still have to click Standard Application. If you are a tourist from other countries, you can click Foreign Advanced Application. The difference is Jiujiu Hut (some other cabins will also have preserved beds for international tourists) will preserve a certain amount of beds to ensure international tourists can arrange their travel in advance.
However, foreign nationals can only hike limited routes. The application dates are open from 4 months before the date of exit to 65 days before the date of entry. But you still have to check how many beds are still available.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
This is the page you'll see after clicking "I Agree".
For Standard Applications, you must apply for permits within 5 days to two months prior to the Park entry.

Enter your Itinerary

Select Daba Peaks (3 days or 4 days) and stay at Jiujiu Hut or Dabajian Cabin, you need to come here to apply for beds. The fee is NT$200 per person per night at Jiujiu Hut, and free staying at Jhongba (or Zhongba) Cabin.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
There are default secondary route once you click the first one.
Once you get park permits, Jiujiu Hut (99 Hut) will send you email with payment notice. When you check in at Jiujiu Hut, you need to bring your ID or passports, printouts of park permits and payments of Jiujiu Huts. Staff at Jiujiu Hut will arrange your beds when you check in.

Emergency Coordinator

In Taiwan, Emergency Coordinator is deemed as a member of the hiking team. This person has to participate in your trip planning, knows itinerary very well, provides the weather forecast for the team if they can’t get phone signal in the wilderness, and calls for the rescue team for help, etc. The team guide has to report back to the emergency coordinator everyday about their progress and team members’ conditions, etc.
100 Peaks: Qilai Nanhua: How to Apply for Tianchi Lodge and Permits
You need to have an emergency coordinator to apply for permit.
Of course, not every hiking team really practices this procedure, but at least the person you put here should know your itinerary very well, and it’s your responsibility to report to this person every day. So, please don’t just put a random person in here. It's about your safety.

Meal and Sleeping Bag Rental Service

Jiujiu Hut doesn’t provide food catering (like Tianchi Lodge doesn’t provide meals but Tianchi Kitchen does) but has a designated area for hikers to cook food or water. Since this is a popular destination for hikers, you can find porters that provide cooked meals and sleeping bag rental services.
I don’t know which porter company our hiking group hired, but those are two I found after doing some research: Liang Daba 梁大霸戶外活動情報站 and Bunan Hiking Porters 布農登山隊.

How to Get There

There’s no bus to the trailhead of Mt. Dabajian, so you have to arrange your own transportation or drive there. The closest tourist attraction is Guanwu National Forest Recreation Area 觀霧國家森林遊樂園, and you have to get inside Guanwu to get to the Mt. Dabajian Trailhead Service Station 大霸尖山登山服務站 or Checkpoint, 2,039 meters (6,690 feet) above the sea level, to submit your permit in the mailbox before hiking.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Mt. Dabajian Trailhead Service Station/Checkpoint 大霸尖山登山服務站
We stayed at Yuanshan B&B 雲山民宿, which was in the north of Guanwu National Forest Recreation Area, about 30-minute drive. The early morning views from Yuanshan B&B was amazing.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
The early morning from Yuanshan B&B

Peaks and Places to Reach

Mt. Dabajian 大霸尖山: 3,492 meters (11,456 feet), a Class 2 Triangulation Stone on the peak. It’s not allowed to climb the rock. Hikers can only stay at the base of the rock.
Mt. Xiaobajian 小霸尖山: 3,418 meters (11,214 feet)
Mt. Yizhe 伊澤山: 3,297 meters (10,817 feet), a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the peak
Mt. Jiali 加利山: 3,112 meters (10,210 feet), a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the peak
Jiujiu Hut 九九山莊: 2,699 meters (8,855 feet)
Jhongba Cabin 中霸山屋: 3,280 meters (10,761 feet)
Note: to make life easier, I will use the spelling of Jhongba to Zhongba .
See the map and itinerary first
In December 2020, the government hinted that they might consider allowing shuttle services for hikers on Dalu Forest Road so hikers can save a 38 km (if you don't take the 2Km shortcut) hike and start hiking at Madala River. By the time I post this, it hasn’t reached any conclusion yet.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Allowing hikers to take shuttle buses can save a lot of time, but it can also make this trail too popular to get a park permit.

Day 1: 17+ Km Forest Road and Sharp Steep Slope

Distance: 22.6 km (14 miles)
Brief Itinerary: Mt. Dabajian Checkpoint (Height 2,039 meters) → Madala River Bridge (Height 1,818 meters) → Jiujiu Hut (Height 2,699 meters)
GPS coordinates of Mt. Dabajian Checkpoint: 24.505037, 121.118944
GPS coordinates of Madala River Bridge: 24.483216, 121.193191
GPS coordinates of Jiujiu Hut: 24.471006, 121.208314
We arrived at Guanwu around 6 am and submitted our hiking permits at Mt. Dabajian Checkpoint, 0.3 Km on Dalu Forest Road 大鹿林道. After everyone was ready, we went through the gate and started our hike.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Mt. Dabajian Checkpoint

A Super Long Forest Road to the Real Trailhead

It's disheartening to take such a long trail (17 km / 11.9 miles) to get to the real trailhead near Madala River, but it seems doing so can protect the trail to Mt. Dabajian and other peaks from being overcrowded, especially during the pandemic when local people don't feel safe traveling in other countries.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
We started early to hike on Dalu Forest Road.
Nonetheless, hiking on Dalu Forest Road wasn't difficult. It was mostly mild descending to Madala River. The trees along with this road were tall and beautiful. We could see peaks through the tall trees.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Many beautiful trees along Dalu Forest Road
But hiking here for a long time can be very boring, especially when you had to do it twice. We had three guides in this group, and luckily two of them were very friendly. They shared their knowledge of the plants on this forest road , but I forgot to take photos of them.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
You can find phone signals when seeing this sign in yellow.
There are many Biting Cats or Stinging Nettles 咬人貓 on this forest road. Please be careful if you need to find a place to relieve yourself.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
It's not fun to get stung by Stinging Nettles
I've seen many mushrooms on my previous hikes, but they weren’t as big as those I saw on Dalu Forest Road.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
There were so many huge mushrooms when I hiked there in September 2020.
There were many wild kiwi trees and fruits or Chinese gooseberry 奇異果 or 獼猴桃, too, but I wasn’t brave enough to try them.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
We found many wild kiwi fruits on Dalu Forest Road.

Plenty of Water Resources and A Beautiful Waterfall

When you see a concrete bridge with a big beautiful waterfall next to it, you've reached Dongxian Waterfall 東線瀑布, which means you get 3 km left to the shortcut. You will also find many clean water sources on this forest road. So, you don't have to carry too much water with you.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
You'll find a beautiful surprise on the left side of this concrete bridge.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Dongxian Waterfall

A Shortcut to Save 2 Km Hike

There were also many chairs on the side of the trail, and they looked very tempting when I was tired. Finally, we reached the mark of 17K with a big stone table and chairs nearby.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Finally, we reached 17 km.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Not sure it's a good idea to write something on the public property, but you can find the shortcut with many plastic ribbons following this direction.
We took a steep slope down to Madala River 馬達拉溪 where the real trailhead to Jiujiu Hut 九九山莊 and Mt. Dabajian was. Within a few minutes, we reached the bridge over the river.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
This was a short steep slope but not too difficult.

The Old Trailhead: The Collapsed Building and Bridge over Madala River

There was a tiny hut after you got to the bottom of the slope. Our guide told us that some hikers stayed here for one night and headed directly to Mt. Dabajian the next day. But it’s not guarantee that you will get a place here because it’s like first come, first served.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
A small hut next to the bridge over Madala River
We crossed the river on the red bridge with the height of 1,815 meters (5,954.7 feet) above the sea level, and saw a collapsed building and a collapsed bridge on our right-hand side. The abandoned building was the old checkpoint, but it was destroyed by a typhoon.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
The new bridge above Madera River
My friend told me they could drive here and start hiking to Mt. Dabajian years ago (last century to be exact). But the government decided not to fix the forest road and the building because the typhoons destroy them from time to time.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Crossing Madala River
We took our lunch under the bridge to hide the scorching sun. The view from the bridge was wonderful.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
The weather was great on our first day.

To Jiujiu Hut: Real Hike Began

After lunch, we took the stairs next to the collapsed suspension bridge. From there, it was a hike with elevation gain of 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) all the way up to Jiujiu Hut and the distance was 4.1 km (2.54 miles).
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
The real hike began.
The vegetation looked different now and there were many tall cypress trees. The trail terrain was more rugged than the forest road, but there were wooden stairs in several sections. It was a little bit tricky to navigate your way when passing through a section of rock rubbles underneath the trees.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Many beautiful tall cypress trees could be found after we crossed the bridge.
My friend Sky and I were a little bit exhausted and hiked slowly. We were left behind by faster hikers and we went through the rock rubbles by ourselves, but it wasn’t difficult to find our way out. Compared to the rock rubbles I encountered at Mt. Baigu, this one was very mild.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
We passed a small section of rock rubble area.
There were many timber posts with millage marks telling you how much you still had to go to get to Jiujiu Hut. As I said in my previous posts, those marks can be encouraging and depressing at the same time.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
We took a break at 3.4K mark.
Eventually, we arrived at Jiujiu Hut. I could’t tell you how much we were so happy to see the gate of Jiujiu Hut.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Finally, we reached Jiujiu Hut.

Stunning Sunset that Was Worth Skipping Dinner for

The elevation of Jiujiu Hut (99 Hut) is 2,699 meters (8,855 feet), and the pronunciation of 99 in Chinese is Jiujiu. It’s under the administration of Shie-Pa National Park. You get the idea why it’s called Jiujiu. It has 6 small dome huts and 3 big houses to accommodate up to 300 hikers, but the available bed is usually around 130.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
You will be assigned to stay at the bunk-bed houses or dome huts depending on the size of your group. The long house in the center is the kitchen and canteen.
When we stayed there in early September, I was told that you could get a better phone signals if you headed to the west for about 70 meters passing the solar panels. When I was trying to find the place to get the phone receptions, a very kind girl pointed the direction for me and told me the view was great.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
We stayed at this bunk-bed house.
It was about time for us to have dinner, so I was struggling whether I should get the hot meal or check out the views first. In a few seconds, I decided the hot meal could wait. And I was so thrilled to know that I’ve made the right decision. The sunset was stunning! Sorry for the blurred photos, but it still looks stunning.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
This stunning sunset was worth skipping dinner for even after a long day hike.
I wasn’t the only one there to admire the epic sunset. Many hikers were already there to enjoy the amazing views (or the available phone signals). Lucky for future hikers, they can get the phone signals inside Jiujiu Hut by the end of 2020.
100 Peaks: Sunset at Jiujiu Hut near Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobajian. Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫
A much clearer sunet photo taken at the same spot. A PAVE PAWS transmitter building (Leshan Base 樂山基地) can be seen in the photo. Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.
When I was about to leave, my friend came to the spot to tell me to get my dinner. I decided to come back later before going to bed, and I wasn’t let down. I saw the amazing starry sky and even caught a sight of a shooting star.

Day 2: A Long Way to the Epic Rocks with Cloudy Weather but Totally Worth It

Distance: 17 km (10.6 miles)
Brief Itinerary: Jiujiu Hut (Height 2,699 meters) → Mt. Dabajian (Height 3,492 meters) → Mt. Xiaobajian (Height 3,418 meters) → Mt. Yizhe (Height 3,297 meters) → Mt. Jiali (Height 3,112 meters) → Jiujiu Hut (Height 2,699 meters)
We got up around 2:30 am to have breakfast and headed to Mt. Dabajian around 3:30 am with light backpacks. The trail was next to Jiujiu Hut and it was endless steps.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
The stairs went up to Mt. Dabajian and the other three peaks.
It was still dark when we reached the junction to Mt. Jiali around 4:26 am. By the time we reached 3050 Upland (or 3050 Highland), it was around 6 am and we could see Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian in the distance. Some hikers will go to Mt. Jiali before going to Mt. Dabajian, but our guide took us to Mt. Dabajian first.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
3050 Upland was quite flat to hike.

Stunning Holy Ridgeline

The line behind the ridgeline between Mt. Dabajian and Xiaobajian was the famous Holy Ridgeline 聖稜線, and Mt. Xue Main Peak was there. Here’s my ROMA hike to see Holy Ridgeline.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
There were two ridgelines here. The Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian one, and Holy Ridgeline in the back.
The weather seemed okay with clouds when we reached to the junction to Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Yizhe at 6:14 am. The view of Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian was amazing, but the clouds seemed to get thicker.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
The mountains from the other side were also amazing.
We arrived at Jhongba Cabin around 6:29 am. This cabin can accommodate 12 hikers but there was no stable water supply here. We took a break and continued to climb up the small hill.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
You can stay at Jhongba Cabin for free, but still need to apply.
Very soon, we reached a flat ground, which was Jhongba Ground 中霸坪 with the height of 3,350 meters (10,990 feet). One of our guides told me that some hikers came here to see the sunrise. Standing here, I could almost imagine how stunning it could be to watch the sunrise.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
We were getting closer to Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian. I felt energetic, especially when our hiking mates struck an encouraging pose in the back.

The Famous View on NT$500 Banknote

I took out my NT$500 banknote which had been sitting in my pocket since I got up, and took photos of Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian. It wasn’t easy to get a clear focus of the banknote and the mountains, but I was thrilled to see those epic mountains in person.
dabajian-34-looking-at-Dabajian-nt500
I'd been waiting for this moment for a long time.
Finally, we reached the edge of Jhongba Ground, and were about to go downhill to the base of Mt. Dabajian.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobajian. Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫
If the weather is good, this is how Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian look like. Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.

Ready for the Epic Mt. Dabajian

The trail condition became more rugged from here, and you had to watch out the cliff on your right-hand side while admiring the magnificent Mt. Dabajian ahead. I could see the metal gate at the base of Mt. Dabajian, and I also started seeing more amazing wildflowers on the left side the trail.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
I think those are Silene glabella 南湖大山蠅子草.
Eventually, we reached the base of Mt. Dabajian, whose shape was more slander and pointed from this angle. We can’t climb up to Mt. Dabajian top for safety reason, but I was very thrilled to get so close to this amazing mountain, not just seeing it on our banknote.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Definitely had to take this photo.
The weather turned cloudy without any blue color in the sky like what we saw earlier, but I think we were still lucky because it didn’t rain. It was too windy at the gate, so we resumed our hike to Mt. Xiaobajian.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
When we passed the base of Mt. Dabajian, we saw the old cage to protect hikers from falling rocks decaying on the side.

Hiking on the Ridge to Mt. Xiaobajian

Before our hike, our guides had told us to pay extra attention to the trail around Mt. Dabajian base, because it could by icy and slippery due to the dropping temperature at night. Moreover, you might bump your head to the rock wall. I saw the old trail cage decayed on the side of the trail. It did look scary.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
It can be very slippery if the trail around Mt. Dabajian base becomes icy.
I looked at the slope on my right-hand side, imaging how desperate it would be if someone lost their footing here. This thought made my palms sweat. Definitely not fun. I walked as soon as I could and reached to the ridge behind Mt. Dabajian. Mt. Xiaobajian was waiting for us.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
The ridge to Mt. Xiaobajian looked scary but manageable.
While we walked on the ridge, one of our guides told us Mt. Zhongyangjian 中央尖 and Mt. Nanhu 南湖大山 were on our left. This was one of the very few clear photos I could take before clouds covering up those beautiful peaks.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Mt. Zhongyangjian and Mt. Nanhu were in the distance.
Within 30 minutes, we arrived at the rock platform before Mt. Xiaobajian and prepared to the biggest challenge for that day.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
A small rock platform before our hike to Mt. Xiaobajian
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Scary Vertical Climb to Mt. Xiaobajian Peak

We took a break at the platform waiting for our hiking mates to arrive and other hikers who were still descending from Mt. Xiaobajian to finish. The rocky, barren and almost vertical rock of Xiaobajian did look terrifying from there.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Mt. Xiaobajian looked huge from the platform. The hiker on the peak looked so tiny.
Our guides had told us constantly how dangerous it could be to climb Mt. Xiaobajian, and I was so worried that my weak spaghetti arms were too weak to hold my weight.
Finally, it was our turn to climb Mt. Xiaobajian. We left our small backpacks and trekking poles on the platform to reduce more weight and free our hands. There were ropes for us to grab, but I usually didn’t trust ropes on the trails. I tried to hold on the rocks with one of my arms instead of totally holding on the ropes. I didn’t dare to take any photo during my climb, and I just wanted to reach the peak as soon as I could.
They said you could see 360° view from the peak of Mt. Xiaobajian, but unfortunately the only thing I could see was clouds. This happens a lot when you do 100 Peaks in Taiwan.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
On the peak of Mt. Xiaobajian. It was pity that we didn't see any view there.
Since there was nothing much to see on the peak, I decided to get back to the platform. Thinking of descending the rock made my palms sweat again. Looking down from the rock was scarier than climbing up. Luckily, I didn’t panic and made it safely to the platform. By the time we reached the platform, it started drizzling.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
It looks scary but it's still safe if you are careful.

So Many Stunning Wildflowers on the base of Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian

Something worth mentioning was there were so many delicate beautiful wildflowers on the base of Mt. Dabajian and the ridge to Mt. Xiaobajian. As much as I wish I could take photos of those delicate flowers, I didn’t want to risk my and other hiking mates’ lives by kneeling on the narrow passages. Luckily, I found out more flowers later at safer locations and I was able to take photos of them.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Taiwan Ladybell 玉山沙參
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Dianthus pygmaeus Hayata 玉山石竹
This is one of the flowers I found on the trail, Cirsium kawakamii Hayata. At first, I thought this was the plant that printed on the back of our NT$1,000 banknote, but according to Foreigners in Taiwan, it was a different species, Cirsium tatakaense (Compositae). Even though it’s not the one printed on our banknote, this was still a very lovely flowers and I was very happy to see them on the trail.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Cirsium kawakamii Hayata 玉山薊
When we returned from Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian, I saw many cute white fruits hanging in the bushes along with the trail. Our guide told us this was Taiwan Gaultheria 高山白珠樹, and those fruits were edible. I picked up those big ones and ate them. I told my friend Sky that some of them were pretty good, and he gave me the look that I was nuts.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Taiwan Gaultheria 高山白珠樹. I ate some of those fruits.
You can check out this page for more flowers I found on the trails.

Bleak Weather Dampened the Glory of the Other Two 100 Peaks

The weather was getting cloudier after we left Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajian. I was already tired, and the cloudy sky wasn’t able to boost my morale to finish the other two peaks, but I still managed to continue.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Time to visit the other two 100 Peaks
Unfortunately, our lead guide was foul-mouthed person, which made the rest of the trip even more unbearable. Since we took the same trail back to Jiujiu Hut and I had a GPX track, my friend and I decided to take our time.
From other hikers’ blogs, the view of Mt. Dabajian and Xiaobajian from Mt. Jiali and Mt. Yizhe were phenomenal. I definitely have to do this hike again.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Mt. Yizhe
It took us 9 hours and 21 minutes to finish the round trips on the second day.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Mt. Jiali, my forth 100 Peaks on that day

Day 3: We Got A Wonderful Weather on the Way Home

Distance: 22.6 km (14 miles)
Brief Itinerary: Jiujiu Hut (Height 2,699 meters) → Madala River Bridge (Height 1,818 meters) → Mt. Dabajian Checkpoint (Height 2,039 meters)
Since it was raining, I didn’t go to the secret spot in the west of Jiujiu Hut to use the phone signals. I packed my backpack as much as I could because we were leaving the next day. When I was packing my belongings, I got a feeling that it might be a great weather by the time we left. I was right. It was a sunny day with bright blue sky.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
The weather turned good again when we were ready to leave.
On the way back, the nicer guides told us that we could see Mt. Yizhe and Mt. Jiali on Dalu Forest Road. Looking at those peaks with the blue sky made me feel a little bit sad because we couldn’t see it yesterday.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Looking at Mt. Yizhe and Mt. Jiali from Dalu Forest Road
Hiking 20+ km two days in a row already made us exhausted, and we still had 22 km to get back to the checkpoint. Although 17 km was slightly uphill, it was more like a mental challenge than a physical one. I could feel my willpower was draining away. I felt like a zombie walking on Dalu Forest Road.
The good thing was you know you would finish it, sooner or later, and called it a day.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Hiked on Dalu Forest Road again

Thoughts about this Hike

This is definitely a hike that I will do again. Most parts of the trail aren’t dangerous, and you can do it without going with a big group, if you are not afraid of height.
The most dangerous section is the climbing to the top of Mt. Xiaobajian and you have to be extremely careful when doing it. Wait till the passage cleared up when you go. It won’t be fun if you ran into someone when you are trying to get up and they trying to descend.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
Staying at Jhongba Cabin for one night is an option, but you need to carry your own water and sleeping bag.
If I do it again and under the circumstance that we still have to hike Dalu Forest Road, I will do it in 4 days and stay at Jhongba Cabin for one day. If I’m lucky enough, I might be able to see sunrise and sunset at Jhongba Ground.
100 Peaks: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobabajian, Mt. Jiali, and Mt. Yizhe
There were several huts on Dalu Forest Road and some hikers stayed here for one night.
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The Other 4 Routes to Hike Mt. Dabajian

There are 5 popular routes to hike Mt. Dabajian, and the route in this post is the easiest among them. Here are the other 4 routes you can enjoy the magnificent Mt. Dabajian and other peaks.
Reference: Hiking Biji: Five Routes to Hike Mt. Dabajian 爬大霸尖山的五種路線 (Chinese only)
The trails to hike Mt. Dabajian

Route 1: Daba and North Ridge Route 大霸北稜線

Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Trail Type: Out and back
Distance: 41.6 Km (25.8 miles)
Days to Hike: 4 Days
100 Peaks on this Route:
Mt. Dabajian (Height: 3,492 meters / 11,456 feet),
Mt. Xiaobajian (Height: 3,418 meters / 11,214 feet),
Mt. Yizhe (Height: 3,297 meters / 10,817 feet),
Mt. Jiali (Height: 3,112 meters / 10,817 feet)
100 Hikes in Taiwan: Xue Ba Hike, Daba North Ridge Route. Image from Sunriver Culture
Daba and North Ridge Route. Image from SunRiver Culture Co., Ltd.
Itinerary:
Day 1:
Zhenxibao (Cinsbu) 鎮西堡登山口 ➔ Junction to Mt. Mahaiwang 馬望海山叉路口 ➔ The First Campsite 第一營地 ➔ The Second Campsite 第二營地
Day 2:
The Second Campsite 第二營地 ➔ Mt. Mayang 馬洋山 ➔ Mayang Pond 馬洋池 ➔ Jhongba Ground 中霸坪 ➔ Mt. Dabajian 大霸尖山 ➔ Mt. Xiaobajian 小霸尖山 ➔ Jhongba Cabin 中霸山屋
Day 3:
Jhongba Cabin 中霸山屋 ➔ Mt. Yizhe 伊澤山 ➔ Mt. Jiali 加利山 ➔ Jhongba Cabin 中霸山屋 ➔ Mt. Mayang 馬洋池 ➔ The Second Campsite 第二營地
Day 4:
The Second Campsite 第二營地 ➔ The First Campsite 第一營地 ➔ Junction to Mt. Mahaiwang 馬望海山叉路口 ➔ Zhenxibao (Cinsbu) 鎮西堡登山口

Route 2: Holy Ridgeline Y Route 聖稜線Y型縱走(Y聖)

Difficulty Level: Very Strenuous
Trail Type: Point to point
Distance: 69.9 Km (43.4 miles)
Days to Hike: 7 Days
100 Peaks on this Route:
✻Mt. Pintian 品田山 (Height: 3,524 meters / 11,562 feet),
✻Mt. Chiyou 池有山 (Height: 3,303 meters / 10,837 feet),
✻Mt. Tao 桃山 (Height: 3,325 meters / 11,837 feet),
✻Mt. Kakelaye 喀拉業山 (Height: 3,133 meters / 10,279 feet),
Mt. Xue North Peak 雪山北峰 (Height: 3,703 meters / 12,149 feet),
Mt. Xue Main Peak 雪山主峰 (Height: 3,886 meters / 12,749 feet),
Mt. Xue East Peak 雪山東峰 (Height: 3,201 meters / 10,502 feet),
Mt. Jiali (Height: 3,112 meters / 10,817 feet),
Mt. Yizhe (Height: 3,297 meters / 10,817 feet),
Mt. Dabajian (Height: 3,492 meters / 11,456 feet),
Mt. Xiaobajian (Height: 3,418 meters / 11,214 feet),
Mt. Bashalayun 巴紗拉雲山 (Height: 3,402 meters / 11,161 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks,
Mt. Sumida 素密達山 (Height: 3,517 meters / 11,539 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks,
Mt. Kailantekun 凱蘭特崑山 (Height: 3,731 meters / 12,241 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks,
Mt. Beilengjiao 北稜角 (Height: 3,886 meters / 12,749 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks.
✻Note: Those 4 mountains are also called Wuling Quadruple Mountains Trail 武陵四秀. You and do those together or seperately.
100 Peaks: Xue Ba Routes by Sunriver Culture
Holy Ridgeline Y Route: all the peaks here and Mt. Tao, Mt. Kelelaye, Mt. Chiyou, and Mt. Pintian. Image from Sunriver Culture Co., Ltd.
Itinerary:
Day 1:
Mt. Tao Trailhead 桃山登山口 ➔ Mt. Tao Cabin 桃山山屋 ➔ Mt. Shilun 詩崙山 ➔ Mt. Kelelaye 喀拉業山 ➔ Mt. Shilun 詩崙山 ➔ Mt. Tao Cabin 桃山山屋
Day 2:
Mt. Tao Cabin 桃山山屋 ➔ Sancha (Three Junctions) Campsite 三叉營地 ➔ Mt. Chiyou entrance 池有山登山口 ➔ Mt. Chiyou 池有山 ➔ Mt. Chiyou entrance 池有山登山口 ➔ Xinda Cabin 新達山屋
Day 3:
Xinda Cabin 新達山屋 ➔ Mt. Pintian 品田山 ➔ Mt. Buxiulan 布秀蘭山 ➔ Mt. Bashalayun 巴紗拉雲山 ➔ Mt. Bashalayun Cabin 巴紗拉雲山屋 ➔ Banan Cabin 霸南山屋
Day 4:
Banan Cabin 霸南山屋 ➔ Mt. Xibajian 小霸尖山 ➔ Jhongba Ground 中霸坪 ➔ Mt. Yizhe 伊澤山 ➔ Mt. Jiali 加利山 ➔ Jhongba Ground 中霸坪 ➔ Banan Cabin 霸南山屋
Day 5:
Banan Cabin 霸南山屋 ➔ Mt. Bashalayun Cabin 巴紗拉雲山屋 ➔ Mt. Bashalayun 巴紗拉雲山 ➔ Mt. Busiulan 布秀蘭山 ➔ Mt. Sumida 素密達山 ➔ Mt. Sumida Cabin 素密達山屋
Day 6:
Mt. Sumida Cabin 素密達山屋 ➔ Mt. Xue North Peak 雪山北峰 ➔ Mt. Xue North Peak Cabin 雪北山屋 ➔ Mt. Kailantekun 凱蘭特崑山➔ Mt. Beilengjiao 北稜角 ➔ Cui Pond Cabin 翠池山屋
Day 7:
Cui Pond Cabin 翠池山屋 ➔ Mt. Xue Main Peak 雪山主峰 ➔ Mt. Xue Cirque 雪山圈谷 ➔ 369 Cabin 三六九山莊 ➔ Mt. Xue East Peak 雪山東峰 ➔ Chika Cabin 七卡山莊 ➔ Mt. Xue Trailhead 雪山登山口
Mt. Dabajian and Mt. Xiaobajain from Mt. Tao
Looking at Mt. Dabajian (the square one in the middle) and Mt. Xiaobabajian (the triangle one on the left) from Mt. Tao.

Route 3: Holy Ridgeline I Route 聖稜線I型縱走(I聖)

Difficulty Level: Very Strenuous
Trail Type: Point to point
Distance: 59.2 Km (36.7 miles)
Days to Hike: 6 Days
100 Peaks on this Route:
Mt. Xue North Peak (Height: 3,703 meters / 12,149 feet),
Mt. Xue Main Peak (Height: 3,886 meters / 12,749 feet),
Mt. Xue East Peak (Height: 3,201 meters / 10,502 feet),
Mt. Jiali (Height: 3,112 meters / 10,817 feet),
Mt. Yizhe (Height: 3,297 meters / 10,817 feet),
Mt. Dabajian (Height: 3,492 meters / 11,456 feet),
Mt. Xiaobajian (Height: 3,418 meters / 11,214 feet),
Mt. Bashalayun (Height: 3,402 meters / 11,161 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks,
Mt. Sumida (Height: 3,517 meters / 11,539 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks,
Mt. Kailantekun (Height: 3,731 meters / 12,241 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks,
Mt. Mutelebu 穆特勒布山 (Height: 3,626 meters / 11,896 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks
Itinerary:
Day 1:
Mt. Xue Trailhead 雪山登山口 ➔ Chika Cabin 七卡山莊 ➔ Mt. Xue East Peak 雪山東峰 ➔ 369 Cabin 三六九山莊
Day 2:
369 Cabin 三六九山莊 ➔ Mt. Xue Cirque 雪山圈谷 ➔ Mt. Xue Main Peak 雪山主峰 ➔ Mt. Beilengjiao 北稜角 ➔ Mt. Kailantekun 凱蘭特崑山 ➔ Xuebei Cabin 雪北山屋
Day 3:
Xuebei Cabin 雪北山屋 ➔ Mt. Xue North Peak 雪山北峰 ➔ Mt. Mutelebu 穆特勒布山 ➔ Mt. Sumida Cabin 素密達山屋
Day 4:
Mt. Sumida Cabin 素密達山屋 ➔ Mt. Sumida 素密達山 ➔ Mt. Busiulan 布秀蘭山 ➔ Mt. Bashalayun 巴紗拉雲山 ➔ Mt. Bashalayun Cabin 巴紗拉雲山屋 ➔ Banan Cabin 霸南山屋
Day 5:
Banan Cabin 霸南山屋 ➔ Mt. Dabajian 大霸尖山 ➔ Mt. Xiaobajian 小霸尖山 ➔ Mt. Yizhe 伊澤山 ➔ Mt. Jiali 加利山 ➔ 99 Hut 九九山莊
Day 6:
99 Hut 九九山莊 ➔ Mt. Dabajian Checkpoint 大霸尖山登山口

Route 4: Xiu Ba Route 秀霸線

Difficulty Level: Very Strenuous
Trail Type: Out and back
Distance: 44 Km (27.3 miles)
Days to Hike: 4 Days
100 Peaks on this Route:
Mt. Pintian (Height: 3,524 meters / 11,562 feet),
Mt. Chiyou (Height: 3,303 meters / 10,837 feet),
Mt. Jiali (Height: 3,112 meters / 10,817 feet),
Mt. Yizhe (Height: 3,297 meters / 10,817 feet),
Mt. Dabajian (Height: 3,492 meters / 11,456 feet),
Mt. Xiaobajian (Height: 3,418 meters / 11,214 feet),
Mt. Bashalayun (Height: 3,402 meters / 11,161 feet), not listed as 100 Peaks.
Itinerary:
Day 1:
Wuling Inn 武陵山莊 ➔ Mt. Chiyou Trailhead 池有登山口 ➔ Sancha Campsite 三叉營地 ➔ Boulder Rubble Area (Rock Waterfall) 石瀑 ➔ Mt. Chiyou 池有山 ➔ Boulder Rubble Area (Rock Waterfall) 石瀑 ➔ Xinda Cabin 新達山屋
Day 2:
Xinda Cabin 新達山屋 ➔ Mt. Pintian 品田山 ➔ Mt. Busiulan 布秀蘭山 ➔ Mt. Bashalayun Cabin 布秀蘭山屋 ➔ Banan Cabin 霸南山屋
Day 3:
Banan Cabin 霸南山屋 ➔ Mt. Dabajian 大霸登山 ➔ Mt. Xiaobajian 小霸登山 ➔ Mt. Yizhe 伊澤山 ➔ Mt. Jiali 加利山 ➔ Banan Cabin 霸南山屋
Day 4:
Banan Cabin 霸南山屋 ➔ Mt. Bushalayun Cabin 巴紗拉雲山屋 ➔ Takegin Creek source 塔克金溪源頭 ➔ Xinda Cabin 新達山屋 ➔ Sancha Campsite 三叉營地 ➔ Mt. Chiyou Trailhead 池有登山口 ➔ Wulin Inn 武陵山莊

Map and Itinerary

Group Hike or Solo Hike: Group hike with Dudu
Day 1: September 4, 2020

Route map for 100 Peaks In Taiwan: Mt. Dabajian, Day 1 by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

Group Hike or Solo Hike: Group hike with Dudu
Day 2: September 5, 2020

Route map for 100 Peaks In Taiwan: Mt. Dabajian, Day 2 by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

Group Hike or Solo Hike: Group hike with Dudu
Day 3: September 6, 2020

Route map for 100 Peaks In Taiwan: Mt. Dabajian, Day 3 by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

Click Menu in the map to download, print or share the map.
Click timer to change the speed to meet your condition.

Note:
My GPS track may not be totally accurate and is for reference only.

Day 1: based on my hike on September 4, 2020

06:06 Arrived at Mt. Dabajian Checkpoint
06:23 Started the hike passing the gate
06:46 Passed 2 km mark
07:09 Reached the hut and took a small break
08:59 Reached 9.8 km mark and the junction to Path of East Branch of Dalu Forest Road. Took a break.
10:34 Reached Dongxian Waterfall after 14 km mark
10:46 Reached the second hut
11:27 Reached 17 km and took a break
11:43 Took the shortcut and reached the third hut. Waited for other hiking mates to catch up.
11:53 Passed the bridge and went underneath the bridge to have lunch
12:41 Resumed the hike. Now it was uphill
14:32 Passed 2.1 km mark on the Dabajian Mountain Hiking Trail
14:55 Passed the signs of Cypresses and took a break
15:31 Passed 2.6 km mark and reached rock rubble area
16:02 Took a break at 3.4 km mark
16:40 Arrived at Jiujiu Hut
Total time: 8 hours 17 minutes, including long breaks

Day 2: based on my hike on September 5, 2020

03:30 Started hiking
04:23 Passed the junction to Mt. Jiali
06:04 Reached 3050 Upland (or Highland)
06:14 Passed the junction to Mt. Yizhe
06:29 Reached Jhongba Cabin and took a break
07:14 Reached the place that was ready to descend
07:24 Reached Mt. Dabajian base and took photos
07:35 Started passing Mt. Dabajian base
08:12 Reached the platform rock before Mt. Xiaobajian and took a break
08:38 Reached the peak of Mt. Xiaobajian
08:44 Left Mt. Xiaobajian and returned
11:09 Back to the junction of Mt. Yizhe
11:22 Reached Mt. Yizhe
13:25 Reached Mt. Jiali
14:51 Back to Jiujiu Hut
Total time: 9 hours 21 minutes, including long breaks

Day 3: based on my hike on September 6, 2020

03:30 Left Jiujiu Hut
11:25 Returned to Mt. Dabajian Checkpoint
Total time: 7 hours 55 minutes, including long breaks

Recommended Blogs and Resources:

Chinese only:
Hiking Biji: 大霸群峰登山步道(大鹿林道線)
第四次的大霸行
Mr. Chen 陳生: Mt. Dabajian, Mt. Xiaobajian, Mt. Yizhe, and Mt. Jiali in 3 Days 大霸尖山、小霸尖山、伊澤山、加利山(大霸群峰)三日行
English posts:
How to hike Mount Dabajian-Part 1 – 大霸尖山
Hike Mount Dabajian Taiwan- Part 2 – 大霸尖山

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100 Peaks: Mt. Baigu
100 Peaks: Qilai Nanhua
100 Peaks: Mt. Liushun and Qicai Lake Wufeng Skyline Trails: Mt. Niaozui and Mt. Egongji
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