Hehuanshan (Mt. Hehuan)

Hike Central Taiwan's Misty Mountains

Welcome to beautiful Hehuanshan!

Here, I'll help you escape above and beyond the smog and chaos of the city... and show you some of the most accessible high altitude hiking trails in Taiwan. Are you ready? Strap on your boots... or make sure your scooter has good brakes and a full tank... You're off for a memorable experience!

hehuanshan taiwan bike


At over 3000m, Hehuanshan is located in central Taiwan, on the western edge of Taroko National Park. The area is characterized by rolling green hills that often disappear in a sea of clouds. The weather here is much cooler and provides a nice break from the heat on the coast. It's also the best place to see snow in winter, and for that reason, it really gets crowded on weekends between December and February.

taiwan mountain

By the way, there is Hehuanshan the region (which is called Hehuanshan National Forest Area) and Hehuanshan the mountain. This page is dedicated to the entire area, and I will specify it when I talk about the peak.

Hehuanshan means mountain of harmonious joy, or something like that. As you've probably come to realize if you've spent some time in Taiwan, Chinese people love to give such poetic names to mountains, rivers, and other natural features.

Hehuanshan Natural Forest Area is located at the border of both Nantou County and Hualien County.

taiwan mountains

Things To Do At Hehuanshan

Most Taiwanese come here on weekends to enjoy the spectacular views from the comfort of their cars and to snap some pictures from the parking lot by Hehuan Cottage. But you will not satisfy yourself with mere glances at the mountains from highway stopping points... You're here to walk! Let's go!

Hike 1: Hehuan Jian Shan, 3217m
Duration: 45 minutes round-trip

If you're pressed by time or if hiking is not your thing, but you still want to "get high" then this short and easy (but steep) walk is for you. As you can see on the picture below, the trail starts just behind Hehuan Cottage. The summit is a great spot to have your coffee in the morning or to watch the sunset. The parking lot in front of the lodge is a convenient camping spot.

hehuan jian shan taiwan

Hike 2: Hehuan East Peak, 3421m
Duration: 2 hours round-trip

By far the busiest peak in the region and for good reasons... It's right by Hohuan Cottage, it's not too hard, nor too long, and the views from the top are simply stunning!

hehuan east peak

The main trail begins right across from the cottage and ascends the north slope of the mountain. There are some steep sections where you have to use your hands, or where hiking poles might come in handy.

hehuan east peak trailhead

Two alternative routes exist. Here's how to get to the first one... Looking southeast from Hehuan Cottage, you can see a big grey building behind the public toilets. The trailhead is 25m past that building. Halfway up is the old, dismantled ski lift. Yes, there used to be skiing here!

The other alternative route starts at Wuling, 1km southwest from the cottage. This one ascends the exposed west ridge and is not for the faint hearted. Go up this way, and down one of the two other trails if you want to make it a nice round-trip. Walk back or hitch a ride from the cottage. Allow 3 hours if you hike the entire loop.

Hike 3: Hehuan North Peak, 3422m
Duration: 3.5 hours round-trip

The trailhead of this scenic hike is about 3.5km north of the cottage off the road to Taroko. The mountain seems to be a favorite choice for hiking groups from Taipei and it gets pretty busy on weekends. The trail ascends the southeast ridge and presents no real difficult challenge except a short exposed section right at the beginning. From the summit, you can continue on to Hehuan West Peak... which is a different story! (read on...)

taiwan hiking hehuan east

Hike 4: Hehuan West Peak, 3145m
Duration: 8 hours round-trip

Are you ready for a challenge? You better be! The west peak is a very long trail and you should only attempt it if you're in good shape. The first time my friends and I went there, we underestimated it and got fooled by the numbers. Sure, it's only 3145m high, (lower than most peaks in the area) but the ridge is like a camel back with 5 BIG bumps. Click here for the complete trail description...

taiwan hiking hehuan west

Sleeping and Eating

As of November 2012, both Hehuan Cottage and the big hotel next to it (at the trailhead of Cilai Mountain) were closed due to renovation. The closest places where you'll find a hotel or something that might resemble a hostel are Ching Jing Farm and Dayuling.

Camping: If you have a tent, you can pitch it pretty much anywhere you want by the side of the road. I've camped along this road countless times and I've never been bothered by the cops. Some popular camping spots in the Hehuan Shan area

hehuan cottage taiwan

hehuan cottage taiwan

Booking ahead is a must! Call this number: (04)2522-9797

Getting To Hehuanshan

The best advice I have for anyone interested in traveling to Hehuanshan is to get your own wheels! Over the years I have heard so many complains from travelers who couldn't find the bus stops in Taichung or Puli, or who found them but the bus never came.

Having your own vehicle will add a sense of adventure! It will allow you to bring more stuff like camping / hiking gear, and you'll be able to go at your own pace and stop along the way to snap a few shots of the stunning scenery.

It takes, roughly, about 3 hours to drive from Taichung to Hehuanshan if you don't stop too much on the way, and it takes about the same time to get to Hualien from Hehuan Mountain. I know it doesn't make sense when you look at a map, but you'll understand if you drive in Taroko Gorge - the road is somewhat sinuous. If you're as good as I am in math, you now know that it takes - again very roughly - 6 hours to travel between Taichung and Hualien by car or scooter, through the Central Cross Island Highway.

By Car / Motorcycle (highly recommended!)

From Taichung, drive south on road 63 to Caotun. In Caotun, switch to road 14 to get to Wushe, Ching Jing Farm, and finally, Hehuanshan. Drive with caution.

Make sure to fill up your gas tank at Ching Jing Farm before heading higher as the next gas station is pretty far and it closes early.

Don't drive too fast, don't be impatient and pass other vehicles without seeing what's ahead. Tons of high-on-beetle-nuts cabbage-truck-drivers travel down this road day and night and believe me - they don't give a sh** about other cars or bike.

Bring warm clothes and rain gear. Yes, even in summer. It's not uncommon for the temperature at Hehuanshan to be around 5 degrees Celcius even in the summer months when it's 35 degrees not too far in Taichung City. Add to this a little bit of rain, or the wind if you're riding a scooter and you can imagine how bad things can get.

By Bus

From Taichung Feng Yuan Bus Company: Their office is located by Taichung train station. One bus departs at 8am for Hehuanshan. 4 to 5 hours, 393NT$.

From Taichung HSR Station: The Nantou Bus Company has 2 buses that depart at 9:30 and 12:30 respectively, and make it as far as Chui Feng, a spot lost in the sticks between Ching Jing Farm and Hehuanshan. The schedule says it takes 3 hours... but it will most likely be more like 4. It's around 300NT$.

From Puli: The Nantou Bus Company (by Puli bus station) has 3 buses that will take you to Chui Feng. Buses leave at 7:10, 10:20, and 13:40. 2 hours, 150NT$

From Chui Feng... It's only a couple of kilometres to your destination. Get in the middle of the road, stop a blue truck, and jump at the back. Welcome to the Wild East!

Here's a list of other destinations in the area:

Wushe - Taroko National Park - Hualien City - Puli - Mt. Cilai - Taichung

Return from Hehuanshan to Taiwan Hiking.