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Puli Six Beauties Part 1: Big Mt. Soucheng, Mt. Guandao, Old Mt. Wujeyue, and Mt. Hengping

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: January 19, 2021
Puli Six Beauties: 4 mountains infographic
Puli Six Beauties: 4 mountains infographic
Disclaimer: Please note some of the following are based on my personal condition, and I will try to provide the latest and correct information as possible as I can. Please feel free to let me know if I make any mistake and thank you for reading. Please also note that your safety is your own responsibility.

About Big Mt. Soucheng, Mt. Guandao, Old Mt. Wujeyue, and Mt. Hengping

Puli Six Beauties 埔里六秀 refer to Big Mt. Soucheng 守城大山, Mt. Guandao 關刀山, Old Mt. Wujeyue 舊武界越山, Mt. Hengping 橫屏山, Mt. Yousheng 有勝山 and South Mt. Dongyan 南東眼山, and they are labeled as Mid-level Mountain Trails in Taiwan. Those six mountains are located in very remote areas of Puli and most of them except for Mt. Yousheng can only be accessed by driving or hiring a car.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Puli Six Beauties and other mountains in Puli
After I hiked those mountains, I understand why those aren’t as popular as Guguan Seven Heros 谷關七雄, which are also located in central Taiwan. The drastic ascending slopes accompanied with endless bamboo woods, and other challenges make hikers think twice before doing Puli Six Beauties.
Group photo at the summit of Mt. Baxian 八仙山
I hiked No. 1 of Gugan Seven Heros, Mt. Baxian 八仙山, in 2017
But those are great for hikers who want to challenge themselves and take on the difficult terrains and also enjoy the process of the hiking, not just for the veiews.

How to Get There

There is no public transport. You have to drive or hire a care to get to the trailhead.

Peaks to Reach

We hiked more than 4 peaks of Puli Six Beauties, and I put those 4 in green. The following is lised according to the order we reached them.
Day 1:
Mt. Guandao West Peak: 關刀山西峰, 1,924 meters (6,312 feet). No views.
Mt. Guandao: 關刀山, 2,017 meters (6,617 feet). No views.
Mt. Souguan: 守關山, 2,323 meters (7,621 feet). No views.
Big Mt. Soucheng: 守城大山, 2,420 meters (7,940 feet). There are endless bamboo woods to swim through before reaching the peak. A great trail to enjoy being poked in the eyes by sharp and bouncy bamboos. No views on the peak. Big Mt. Soucheng is also one of Four Famous Mountains 中部四大名山 in Central Taiwan.
Mt. Souguan South Peak: 守關山南峰, 1,360 meters (4,461 feet). No views.
Day 2:
Mt. Hengping: 橫屏山, 1,508 meters (4,947 feet). No views.
Mt. Shiluao: 獅魯凹山, 1,587 meters (5,207 feet). No views.
Old Mt. Wujeyue: 舊武界越山, 1,668 meters (5,472 feet). No views.
See the map and itinerary first

Follow Your Favorite Hiking Guides Whenever They Take You To Hike

After doing group hikes in Taiwan for a while, you will have a list of favorite guides and you will sign up their trips no matter where they are going. This is one of them. Xiao Tsai 小蔡 is one of my favorite guides from LOHAS, and his trips are quite challenging. If you want to upgrade your hiking experience, Xiao Tsai’s trips are definitely worth to consider. But please bear in mind that most of his trips are quite tough. It's better to get prepare before you go.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
One of my favorite guides, Xiao Tsai, on Mt. Guandao West Peak
Another benefit to hike with a group is you get to hike in remote places if you don’t drive. Even if you have a car, the roads of most of those places are too bumpy to drive anyway. That's why I still hike with groups.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
A hiker helped our driver make turn on the curved road.

Day 1: Looking at Sun Moon Lake from the Distance

GPS coordinates of the trailhead on Day 1: 24.01886, 121.008909
After more than one-hour bumpy ride, we got off at a slope and headed to the trailhead, which was in a grassy area. The trail conditions were okay at first. Most of this section were on the ridge, which allowed us to see the stunning mountain views.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Early morning sun seeping through the trees
When we reached a small, exposed section of the trail, our guide told us to turn to the southwest. It took me a while to see what she wanted us to see because the surrounding mountains were too eye catching to see the distant targets. Then I looked further, and I saw a small unregular shaped of blue. It was Sun Moon Lake. The town we saw here was Puli. We were in the north of Puli.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
The famous Sun Moon Lake was in the distance.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
More stunning mountains from the ridge. The mountains in Puli were truely impressive.

The Nightmare of Swimming in the Bamboo Woods

After enjoying the spectacular mountain views, we continued to hike. The trail terrain became rough. We reached a junction and turned left. It took a few minutes to get to a small peak, Mt. Guandao West Peak, and we got back to the junction and headed to Mt. Guandao.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Mt. Guandao West Peak.
After that, we enjoyed a small section of relatively flat and not too difficult terrain and reached an exposed ridge again. The views around us were amazing, the layers of mountains on both sides of the ridge were spectacular. We stopped here for a while to admire the amazing views.
We humans were not the only ones who walked on this ridge. There were some unknown animal poos here.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Animal poos on the ridge
About 20 minutes after the animal poo encounter, we arrived at Mt. Guandao. There were some old, abandoned houses and this place was filled with garbage.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Mt. Guandao peak. Not much to see here.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
There were many garbage on Mt. Guandao peak. Too many to pcik them up.
After the we resumed our hike, it was a downhill after Mt. Guandao, and then we reached the saddle, which was around 1,850 meters (6,070 feet) above the sea level. From the saddle, it was all the way up again to Mt. Souguan.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Mt. Souguan, but it wasn't one of Puli Six Beauties.
After Mt. Souguan, we went downhill to a saddle again, around 2,250 meters (7,382 feet) above the sea level, and then we went uphill again. But this times, things became more complicated, because the trail was surrounded by the bamboo woods. Bamboo woods are common to see when hiking in Taiwan. You will still have to deal with them on high mountains like 100 Peaks.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Bamboo woods: very common on the trails in Taiwan but those can be hikers' worst nightmare.
But what made the bamboo woods here so unique was they were so dense and bended that they became endless tunnels and you had to either crawl or almost sat on the trail to get through them. I had a similar experience with bended bamboo woods when I hiked ROMA Long Distance Hike and I had to crawled on the trail covered by half-melting ice.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
A daunting task to pass through those bamboos
If you are not familiar with trails like this, it might be difficult for you to see the trails underneath the bamboo woods. Remember to protect your eyes when you have to pass through them.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Do you see the trail?
It took me almost 90 minutes from Mt. Souguan to Big Mt. Soucheng 守城大山. If we continued this trail, we could reach Mt. Yousheng 有勝山, but that would be our second trip (post coming soon) to finish Puli Six Beauties.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
An ugly map I made to show you that you can hike from Mt. Soucheng to Mt. Yousheng.
So, we turned back here. Reaching the peak didn’t make me feel excited, because I was tired with a heavy heart by just thinking about swimming in the bamboo woods, again.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Big Mt. Soucheng, also one of Four Famous Mountains 中部四大名山 in Central Taiwan

Ended with 1,500-meter Descending to Call It A Day

After we got back to Mt. Souguan again, we took the other trail. From there, it was all the way down, a big downhill descending around 1,500 meters. We passed Mt. Souguan South Peak 守關山南峰, but we didn’t stay there long because we just wanted to finish this hike.
Puli-4-14-Mt-Souguan-South-Peak
Mt. Souguan South Peak
Within 20 minutes, I arrived at the end of the trail and could finally finish my first day hike.
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Day 2: An Easy and Happy Hike according to Xiao Tsai

GPS coordinates of the trailhead on Day 2: 23.948455, 121.012634
When we got back to the temple we stayed, Xiao Tsai told us that the next day’s hike would be an easy and happy one, 輕鬆快樂行. If you have known Xiao Tsai for a while, you definitely won’t believe that. It doesn’t mean he was lying. It was indeed easy and happy if you have his hiking experience and physical conditions.
As usual, we started early. It took us a while to reach the trailhead. We got off at a beautiful bamboo woods, the tall and beautiful ones, not those that gave us a hard time when trying to reach the peak on our Day One. However, the path was slippery, and our drivers kept warning everyone to be careful. I guess I was still sleepy, and I didn’t pay enough attention, so I slipped. Luckily, it didn’t do damage to my body, except for my ego.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
I have to say I like this kind of bamboo woods much better.
After we passed the bamboo woods, we were on a section of trail without any shade. When the curved trail led us to turn to a different direction, the view in front of us opened up and the layers of mountains were in front of us.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
The trail led us to an open slope with amazing mountains in the distance.
Xiao Tsai stopped and pointed to the highest one with a flat top saying, that was Mt. Soucheng, the mountain we hiked yesterday. When you are in the woods, it’s difficult to know the shapes of the mountains you are hiking. I probably was too occupied to think about it. But when you get a chance to see them from a distance, it always amazes me to know how beautiful those mountains are, and I can’t believe I hiked to the top on the previous day.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
The mountain with the almost flat top in the center was Mt. Soucheng. We just hiked there on Day 1.
We continued our hike, and it didn’t take long for us to reach a junction. Xiao Tsai told us that was our first peak, Mt. Hengping 橫屏山. We got there within a few minutes. Okay, that was really easy. I started to believe Day 2 hike was going to be easy and happy, almost.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
It was easy to reach Mt. Hengping
Before we were back to the junction, Xiao Tsai pointed to the woods again. He wanted us to look for the mountains with M-shaped peaks, and he said the taller one on the left was Mt. Zhimao 治茆山, 2,909 meters (9,544 feet), and the one on the right was Mt. Zhimao South Peak 治茆山南峰, 2,863 meters (9,393 feet). Those two are called Zhimao Twin Towers 治茆雙塔 and can be spotted from Sun Moon Lake.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
The M-shaped peaks were Zhimao Twin Towers.
We continued our hike, and then Xiao Tsai told us to stop and yield our way. It turned out there was a trail running race on the same day. I always admire those trail runners, because it’s not easy to hike uphill or downhill, not to mention running.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
There was a trail running race when we were there.
We were not in a hurry like those trail runners and I really wanted to enjoy my hike in Taiwan Rhododendron Trees 台灣杜鵑. Although it wasn’t in the right season to see the beautiful blossoms which was in April and May, it was still pleasant those amazing trees. If you are confused with the difference between rhododendron and azaleas like me, I found this article if you want to know more about them.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Beautiful Taiwan Rhododendron trees even without blossoms.
Before long, we reached a junction, and also our second peak Mt. Shiluao 獅魯凹山, 1,587 meters (5,207 feet). There was no view since this was in the woods. Those trail runners turned to the other trail, while we took the other direction.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
When you reach Mt. Shiluao, be careful not to take the wrong trail.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
I came accross those beautiful trees bathing in the gorgeous sunlight after passing Mt. Shiluao,
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
also a creamy white mushroom.
When I thought hike on Day 2 was relatively easy, we turned to a long rugged sidehill. After my accident in July 2018, I had a fear when hiking on the rugged sidehill. I could feel the fear crawling under my skin. I was very happy when we finished this section on the sidehills, and I was hoping there would be no more sidehills on this hike.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
We had to hike on a sidehill, not my favorite part.
After a while, we were back to the ridge and the view in front of us opened up again, and we could see the layers of mountains in the distance. One thing about this trail was there was no view on the peaks, but you got to see the spectacular mountains on side of the trails.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Very happy to see those mountains again.

Massive Descending and We Disturbed the BEES... Didn’t End Well.

We had an early lunch at 10:50 am and headed to Old Mt. Wujeyue 舊武界越山. Before reaching Old Mt. Wujeyue, I was exhausted. I knew that I shouldn't believe what Xiao Tsai said about an easy happy hike. As to the peak, it was not a surprise that there was no view there, so we took some photos and left quickly.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Finally reached Old Mt. Wujeyue
After some rest, we turned to the massive slope in front of us. It was an open area with huge trees without no obvious path. When you hike on this kind of terrain, you have to pay extra attation to find the right path.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Here came the massive descending after Old Mt. Wujeyue.
The surface was covered by leaves and you could just go ahead to descend. It may sound easy, but it was a different story to go downhill. It felt like you could get tripped at any time and roll downhill like a log.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
Sometimes descending could be more difficult than climbing.
After I managed to get to the bottom of the slope, I turned back to check on my hiking mates. Almost everyone half walked, half ran to get down. While we were trying to get down from another scary sidehill, I heard buzzing sound around my head. Uh oh... I didn’t have a good feeling about this.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
I was worred that I could get tripped and roll like a log downhill on this slope.
Then I heard Xiao Tsai, who was the last guide to guard us at that time, urged us to hike as fast as we could. I didn’t know what happened, but I knew something went wrong. We were still on the scary sidehill, and it was difficult to descend fast while maintaining your balance.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
It was not easy to put our skates on this steep slope.
Finally, we reached a relatively flat surface and it turned out one of our hiking mates got stung by bees several times on his head. We were really worried that he might be allergic to bee stings, but it was still a long way to exit the trail. Xiao Tsai used his radio to ask other guides who had reached to the place with phone signals to call for an ambulance. We kept company with our poor hiking mate and checked on him constantly. He said he felt dizzy and weak but was still able to hike on his own, which was a good sign.
Because our hiking mate was feeling weak, we couldn’t hike fast, especially on some rough slopes. It took us more than one hour to exit the trail. By the time we reached the trailhead, an ambulance was already there. Later, I know our hiking mate was doing okay. We were very grateful for that.

Some Thoughts about This Hike: Definitely Not Again

There are two kinds NO (please check out the "Never Again Hikes" feature on Blog page) when I am asked whether I will hike some trails once more. The first one is I-might-change-my-mind-later kind of NO, and the other is DEFINITELY NO. Without a doubt, this is the latter one, because of the sea of bamboo woods, the huge descending, the rough terrains, no views on the peaks, etc., etc.
Puli Six Beauties Part 1: challenging hikes in central Taiwan
More stunning view from the ridge.
But I can give you some reasons for you to go. Some hikers report seeing Falseindianpipe or Indian Pipe near Mt. Guandao. I wasn't lucky enough to see them there. I only found Falseindianpipe on Mt. Baigu.
Mt. Baigu - 100 Peaks hike in Taiwan: a challenging hike to enjoy the rugged terrains and beautiful views
I found Falseindianpipe when I hiked on Mt. Baigu.
Another legit reason is if you want to enhance your hiking experience to take on more challenging hikes in the future, this is the trail for you. Moreover, the views on the sides of the trails are really great. If you embrace the challenges, this hike will be like what Xiao Tsai has said, an easy, happy one.
My post of the rest of Puli Six Beauties is coming soon.

Map and Itinerary

Group Hike or Solo Hike: Group hike with LOHAS
Dates of Hike: July 4 and 5, 2020

Route map for Puli Six Beauties Part 1: Day 1 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 tracks may not be totally accurate and are for reference only.

Day 1: Based on my hike on July 4, 2020

06:30 Left the temple we stayed
06:40 Got off cars
06:53 Reached the real trailhead
07:40 Reached the ridge and saw Sun Moon Lake
08:26 Arrived at a junction to Mt. Guandao and its west peak
08:29 Reached Mt. Guandao West Peak
09:00 Reached the second exposed ridge
09:19 Arrived at Mt. Guandao and took a break
11:55 Reached the bamboo woods
12:40 Arrived at Mt. Souguan
14:16 Arrived at Big Mt. Soucheng
15:23 Back to Mt. Souguan
17:19 Reached Mt. Souguan South Peak
17:32 Exited from another trailhead
Total time: 9 hours 2 minutes, including breaks

Day 2: Based on my hike on July 5, 2020

06:48 Arrived at the trailhead (I forgot to record when we left the temple)
07:33 Reached the junction to Mt. Hengping
07:38 Reached Mt. Hengping
08:09 Reached Taiwan Rhododendron Trees
08:23 Arrived at Mt. Shiluao
10:50 Took a lunch break for 40 minutes
12:53 Reached Old Mt. Wujeyue
14:16 Reached scary massive slope and prepared to descend
14:45 Hiking mate got stung by bees around this time
16:16 Exited the trail
Total time: 9 hours 28 minutes, including breaks

Recommended Blogs and Resources:

Chinese only:
Hiking Biji: 【台灣山岳小檔案】埔里六秀
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