Summit Jade Mountain (玉山 Yushan)

Yushan National Park Visitor Center - Search Nearby - Added by John Sides

Stand on the summit of Taiwan’s tallest mountain!

Yushan National Park is located in south central Taiwan, and is home to many of the island’s tallest mountains, with peaks from the Yushan and Central Mountain Ranges. Over 30 peaks within the park stand above 3,000 meters, the pinnacle being Jade Mountain (Yushan), which is Taiwan’s tallest mountain at an impressive 3,952m (12,966 ft).

To climb Jade Mountain, you will first need to secure two permits—which may prove to be the most difficult feat of the trip. Because of its popularity, permits are very difficult to obtain during peak season and on weekends, and groups are selected via lottery. To increase your chances of obtaining a permit, consider trips on weekdays or during the winter (but be prepared for possible harsh winter conditions). This hike can also be done in 1 day, which is an easier permit to get (you must prove you’ve climbed other 3,000m peaks with a photo), but most people take 2 days, and spend a night in Paiyun Lodge before making an early morning push for a sunrise summit.

Assuming you’ve obtained the necessary permits and are climbing the Main Peak, you will check in at the Tatajia Visitor Center to show permits and passports (and crampons if climbing during winter). There is parking and restroom facilities just below the visitor center. After checking in, continue another 1.8k up a paved road to get to the trailhead, or you can opt for the $100 NTD per person van shuttle.

The trailhead starts at approximately 2600m, and steadily gains elevation over 8.5k up to Paiyun Lodge (3400m). The ascent is mostly gradual, with only a few steep switchbacks, as you hike through old forests and enjoy open views of the valley to the south. Distance markers are placed every .5k along the trail. Getting started by approximately 10am at the trailhead should get you to Paiyun Lodge by mid-afternoon, which will give you plenty of time to set up for the evening. The lodge serves dinner and breakfast (must be reserved in advance), and has running water and toilets. Your permit gives you a numbered bunk, in a basic room that holds 10-12 bunk spaces. After dinner, be sure to catch the sunset from the deck, as the valley points perfectly west.

Wake up early the next morning and aim to be hiking a couple hours before sunrise. Though the summit is only another 2.4k from the lodge, you will gain over 500m and the trail becomes steeper and much more exposed above tree line. As you approach the summit, several of the most exposed sections of trail include chains for safety. Continue to push to the summit. Once you’ve made it to the top of Taiwan’s tallest point, prepare for an epic sunrise!       

Things to consider:

  • Most of the year this hike can be described as moderately challenging. No technical climbing is necessary to summit. However, in the winter Jade Mountain can be covered in snow, making the exposed sections above tree line much more precarious and technical. Keep up with weather conditions before your trip and be prepared for weather to change quickly.
  • If your itinerary prevents you from booking permits on weekdays or in the off season, chances are you probably won’t get a permit. Consider climbing another beautiful mountain in Taiwan, such as Snow Mountain. Many people actually consider Snow Mountain to be the most scenic mountain on the island.
Distance

13.5 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

4435.7 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Fitness, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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