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Tataka Three Mountains – Mt. Linzhi, Mt. Lulin, and Mt. Lulin Front Peak

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: May 31, 2024
If you're seeking a hike in Taiwan that requires no permit, offers easy navigation, boasts photogenic views, and takes you along high mountain trails, the Tataka Three Mountains hike is perfect for you. Starting from the same trailhead as Yushan (Jade Mountain), the Tataka Three Mountains—comprising Mt. Linzhi, Mt. Lulin, and Mt. Lulin Front Peak — offer a fantastic combination of scenic beauty and convenience, all achievable in a single day.
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On the way to Mt. Linzhi
This hike is an excellent extension of Alishan, providing a relaxing and flexible way to explore the stunning landscapes near the Alishan area. Whether you're an avid hiker or just looking for a serene outdoor experience, the Tataka Three Mountains hike is an ideal choice.
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This hike is relaxing and easy to navigate. You can wander around with breathtaking views.
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Table of Contents:

Trail Information: Mt. Linzhi, Mt. Lulin, and Mt. Lulin Front Peak

Trail Name: Mt. Linzhi 麟趾山, Mt. Lulin 鹿林山, and Mt. Lulin Front Peak 鹿林前山, aka Tataka Three Mountains 塔塔加三山
Distance: 11 km (6.8 miles)
Route type: Loop
Days/Hours Needed: 4-6 hours
Total Ascent/Descent: 530 m/530 m
Best Time to Go: All seasons.
Permits: Not required
Difficulty Level: trail difficulty

Peaks or Places to Reach

  1. Mt. Lulin 鹿林山, 2,845 meters (9,334 feet) above sea level.
  2. Mt. Lulin Front Peak 鹿林前山, 2,862 meters (9,390 feet) above sea level. There is a Class 3 Triangulation Stone on the summit, and it's close to the Lulin Observatory 鹿林天文台.
  3. Mt. Linzhi 麟趾山, 2,854 meters (9,363.5 feet) above sea level.
  4. Lulin Lodge 鹿林山莊, 2,700 meters (8,858 feet) above sea level.
  5. Giant Taiwan Hemlock 塔塔加大鐵杉, 2,740 meters (8,989 feet) above sea level.
Lulin Lodge
LOHAS group photo at Lulin Lodge

Additional Information:

  1. Some people may still suffer high altitude sickness.
  2. Many sections are exposed. Please do sun protection.
  3. If you want to do a more challenging hike, you can do Yushan Front Peak (post coming soon) and Tataka Three Mountains in a day.
  4. Phone receptions are good on the trail.
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Yushan Main Peak, Front Peak, and North Peak from Mt. Linzhi.

Map/GPX Data, Transportation, and Accommodations

GPX Track From My Hike

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.

From Your Location to Tataka Trailhead

Yushan-transport - update 20240530

Public Transport: from Chiayi to Alishan

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

Public Transport: from Alishan Transport Station to Upper Dongpu

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

From Paiyun Mountaineering Center to Tataka Trailhead

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

Driving to Shangdongpu Parking Lot

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

Accommodations

Dongpu Lodge is the only hostel near the Paiyun Mountaineering Service Center, and the altitude is high enough to acclimatize. Dongpu Lodge offers bunk beds for NT$400 per person per night. Dongpu Lodge is 2,580 meters above sea level.
Dongpu Lodge. Photo by Jin Jin
Dongpu Lodge
Another option is to stay at Wangxiang Village before the hike. The drive from Wangxiang Village to Shangdongpu Parking Lot takes around one hour. We often stay at Xiaosong Kalibuan Village, which also provides a porter and pickup service. Wangxiang Village is 850 meters above sea level.
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Food served at Xiaosong Kalibuan Village

Details of This Hike: Mt. Linzhi, Mt. Lulin, and Mt. Lulin Front Peak Hike

Brief itinerary: Shangdongpu Parking Lot ➔ Paiyun Mountaineering Service Center ➔ Giant Taiwan Hemlock ➔ Tataka Trailhead ➔ Mt. Linzhi ➔ Mt. Linzhi Saddle ➔ Mt. Lulin ➔ Mt. Lulin Front Peak and Lulin Observatory ➔ Lulin Lodge ➔ Giant Taiwan Hemlock ➔ Paiyun Mountaineering Service Center ➔ Shangdongpu Parking Lot
This trail is a loop hike, but we made it a semi-loop route. The trail is straightforward to navigate and well-maintained. You can enjoy this hike by following the footpaths and steps.
If you follow the loop route, the trailhead will be close to the Shangdongpu Parking Lot. After you park your car, you walk to the Paiyun Mountaineering Service Center to take the shuttle bus or walk around 2.4 km to Tataka Trailhead. This walk is easy, with many beautiful big trees, and you might see wild animals along the way.
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The trailhead for the loop hike is at Tataka Trailhead.
I think I can finish the trail within 5 hours, but the views are too breathtaking to ignore. I believe I spent an extra 2 hours taking photos.
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Yushan Main Peak, Front Peak, and North Peak
We stayed at Wangxiang Village and left our hotel at 6:43 am. It took around 1 hour to arrive at Tataka Parking Lot.
wangxiang-village
Wangxiang Village
07:52 We arrived at the Shangdongpu Parking Lot. The trailhead we did was on the side of Provincial Highway 18.
paiyun-mountaineering-sign
08:18 We got ready and started the hike by entering a trail with markers to Mt. Lulin, Lulin Lodge, Tefuye Historical Trail, and MSTW-29, Mountains to Sea National Greenway. You can visit Taiwan Trails and Tales' videos for details about this greenway.
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After following the steps, we saw a tiny white building perched on the mountain. That was the Lulin Observatory.
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The tiny what dot was the Lulin Observatory.
The early morning sun shone through the trees and gradually warmed us up. This section took longer than we thought because we had already spent a lot of time taking photos.
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Lulin Lodge, A Beautiful Cabin but Not Open to the Public

09:10 We arrived at Lulin Lodge, another place worth exploring. Unfortunately, it isn't open to the public, much to most people's disappointment. It would be great to stay here.
Lulin Lodge
Lulin Lodge
The views were great here. We could see those famous mountains in the Alishan Recreation Area, Mt. Data, Zhushan, and more.
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View from the Lulin Lodge
Lulin Lodge
We spent time to enjoy the good weather and views at Lulin Lodge.
You will find toilets near Lulin Lodge.
Lulin Lodge
The toilets are around 200 meters away from the Lulin Lodge.
10:10 After a 40-minute break, we resumed our hike. This section was slightly steep, but the thin air made me out of breath.

Mt. Lulin Front Peak, the Lulin Observatory, and Mt. Lulin

10:31 We reached Mt. Lulin Front Peak and the Lulin Observatory. The views near the Lulin Observatory were magnificent: Yushan Main Peak, Yushan North Peak, Yushan Front Peak, and other mountains. As usual, we spent a lot of time enjoying the views.
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Mt. Lulin Front Peak and the Lulin Observatory
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View at Mt. Lulin Front Peak
11:15 We reached Mt. Lulin and had a lunch break. The area at the summit is spacious and mostly exposed. We did this hike in late November, and it was freezing in the early morning. Now, we felt the heat.
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Mt. Lulin
From there, I saw those peaks I had hiked before Mt. Siangyang, Mt. Guanshanling, and the one on my list, Mt. Guan.
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Other than the Yushan peaks, Guanshan (3,668 meters) can be seen from Mt. Lulin, too.

Mt. Linzhi Saddle and Mt. Linzhi with Panorama View

13:01 We reached the junction, aka Mt. Linzhi Saddle, and the panorama view was breathtaking.
13:11 Our last summit for that day was Mt. Linzhi. From there, we were even closer to the Yushan mountains. We were blessed with great weather and a clear sky.
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View from Mt. Linzhi
We took the same way back to Mt. Linzhi Saddle, but you can continue the trail and head to Tataka Trailhead, which is also the trailhead for the Yushan Main Peak hike. You will find shuttle buses taking hikers back to the Paiyun Mountaineering Service Center.
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The footpath to Mt. Linzhi Saddle

See the Giant Taiwan Hemlock 塔塔加大鐵杉 and It's Sick.

14:04 We decided to take the road to see Giant Taiwan Hemlock 塔塔加大鐵杉. If you do this hike and take the trail to Tataka Trailhead, I suggest you walk back to the service center. There are so many big trees, and walking here is soothing. I even saw a Formosan serow 台灣長鬃山羊 leaping across the road.
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Giant Taiwan Hemlock
The giant Taiwan Hemlock, which is around 24 meters high, is estimated to be around 900 years old. It has become a landmark in the Tataka area. Unfortunately, Yushan National Park has noticed that this beloved tree has been growing poorly and showing signs of weakening, with parts of its bases decaying.
After conducting health checks and tests, they found that the heartwood decay in the Giant Taiwan Hemlock had exceeded 50% of the tree's body in February 2024. Although Yushan National Park estimates no immediate threats to visitors, please keep a safe distance when you visit. Yushan National Park has also started treatments to save this precious tree.
14:39 We soon reached the Paiyun Mountaineering Service Center. This is where you check in if you hike Yushan trails.
Paiyun-Mountaineering-Center
Tataka Police Squad is next to this building. You will see a mailbox where you can submit your police permit.
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While on my way to the Shangdongpu Parking Lot, I saw clouds rising from the valley, which was a perfect way to end the hike.
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View from the Shangdongpu Parking Lot

About Tataka Three Mountains

During the early Japanese colonial era, there were three main routes to climb Yushan. One of these routes started from Zhaoping Station 沼平車站 in Alishan, winding through Shuishan, Shishan, and the Lulin Mountain ridge, finally reaching the Tataka saddle before ascending Yushan. Unfortunately, this long and challenging path no longer exists today.
During the mid-Japanese colonial era, the government, driven by economic interests in timber extraction and the promotion of mountaineering, erected a railway from Eryu 兒玉 (now called Zhizhong 自忠) through Lulin Mountain to Dongpu (Tataka saddle). Source.
In 1926, they also established a new trail to Yushan and constructed three mountain lodges. One of these lodges, the Lulin Lodge, emerged as a pivotal overnight stop for early climbers, significantly shortening the journey's duration and distance.
Lulin Lodge
Lulin Lodge can accommodate up to 22 people.
Today, the route from Lulin Mountain to Yushan is no longer popular. However, it gained some attention in 2016 when former President Ma Ying-jeou chose to stay at Lulin Lodge, paying NT$15,800 per night for a private booking, before making his ascent to Yushan Main Peak. Lulin Lodge can accommodate 22 people and is only available for government staff; it is not open to the public.

About Lulin Observatory 鹿林天文台

The Lulin Observatory, officially opened in 1999, is Taiwan's most important optical astronomy base. It is managed by the Graduate Institute of Astronomy at National Central University 中央大學天文研究所 and located on the front peak of Lulin Mountain at an elevation of 2,862 meters.
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Positioned in central Taiwan, it is less affected by the northeast monsoon, southwest airflow, and typhoons, and its high-altitude location provides excellent transparency and sky conditions.
Research at the Lulin site began in 1990 with a temporary observation station on Lulin's front peak for site selection studies and astronomy education. In 1999, a 76 cm ultra-light telescope, designed and manufactured in-house, was installed and tested. In 2002, Taiwan's first telescope with a diameter exceeding one meter, the Lulin One-meter Telescope, was installed.
Lulin Observatory has made numerous groundbreaking discoveries in Taiwan's nearly century-long history of astronomical development, including the discovery of asteroids and comets and the permanent naming of asteroids. Source about Lulin Observatory.

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Hiking Biji: Tataka Three Mountains 麟趾山、鹿林山、鹿林前山三山縱走(塔塔加三山)
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