On this page I will give you ALL the information you’ll need to prepare for your Yushan climb.
I have climbed Yushan (also called Mt. Jade) 2 times, and I am in constant contact with a park ranger who has been working at Yushan National Park for more than 20 years. I get my updates from her…
This page is primarily about the standard “tourist route” up Yushan: the Main Peak Trail – which is on the west side of the mountain. The trails starts at a place called Tatajia (Tataka) 塔塔加。
There is another (harder and longer) route, which climbs the north side of the mountain. That trail starts in Dongpu 東埔, and the first section follows the epic Batongguan Historic Trail. That climb will be covered on another page.
Introduction to Jade Mountain
At 3952 meters, Yushan, Mt. Jade, is the highest peak in Taiwan and Northeast Asia. This peak offers serious hiking as well as some of the most dramatic mountain views on the island.
Yushan is a hiker’s paradise: the whole mountain has a well-maintained, well-labeled trail system, comfortable lodges, and reliable water sources.
The area contains five peaks, simply labeled “Main Peak” and one each for North, South, East and West. The Main Peak is the highest (though not by much) and the most popular. The mountain lies just east of Alishan, and contains some of Taiwan’s most distinctive flora and fauna. I once saw two Formosan bears while climbing the west route.
The Main Peak Trail
The Main Peak Trail is definitely a classic climb you must do if you’re into mountain climbing and have 2-3 free days in Taiwan. It is said to be one of the “easiest high summits of the world“. It’s surely the best climb I’ve done in Taiwan, and will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip to Formosa.
“Climbing Jade Mountain is one of the most exhilarating adventures you can experience in Taiwan!”
How difficult is climbing Yushan?
Although it is rated as moderate to difficult, anyone in decent physical shape can do it. It’s just a very long walk, like a mountain-marathon, with some steep parts at the end. There are no major technical difficulties or overly exposed sections on that trail. Having said that, it goes without saying that you should have proper mountain clothes and equipment before you embark on your journey.
Is climbing Yushan dangerous?
The two main “hazards” you must be prepared for, or at least have some basic knowledge about, are alpine weather, and high-altitude sickness. Both of these hazards can put your health at risk if you are not properly prepared or trained. Go with someone who has mountain climbing experience if you doubt your own ability to deal with the elements for 2-3 days – the usual time required to climb the main trail.
When is the best time to climb?
Spring and autumn are considered the best seasons for climbing Yushan, although people climb it in winter and summer as well. Climbing this beast in winter is a whole different story as it can be completely covered in ice and snow. Summer can bring torrential rain and typhoons, which can make the whole experience miserable or extremely dangerous.
Getting a Mountain Permit
The vast majority of people who want to climb Jade Mountain give up that dream as soon as they start the mountain permit application process online. It is NOT easy. It’s a highly frustrating and confusing process! I have a page dedicated to the mountain permits here.
The trailhead for the Main Peak is at Tataka Anbu (Tataka Saddle). There is a shuttle mini-van service that can take you there from the Tataka Police Squad building – the place where you get your mountain permit on the morning of the climb.
The shuttle runs both ways every 15 minutes or so from 6:30am until 5pm and costs 100NT$ per person each way. The shuttle service is operated by the owners of the Dongpu Lodge. If you are somehow stranded on the side of the road and the shuttle doesn’t show up, you can call 0932832077. Not sure if they speak English though…
Dongpu Lodge is a great option if you don’t want to wake up at 3 or 4am to drive all the way to Tataka the day of your climb. A better option is to spend the previous night at Dongpu Lodge. It’s a bare basic dorm-style mountain accommodation, and it only costs 300NT$ per night. As far as mountain lodges go, it’s alright, it’s a solid shelter, and it’s got mattresses, blankets, toilets, showers, hot water, and even electricity to recharge your iPhone.
Getting to Yushan by Public Transportation
From Alishan and Sun Moon Lake
Bus 6739 from the Yuanlin Bus Co. can take you to Tataka from Sun Moon Lake or Alishan. The timetable is as follow: Departure from Alishan at 1:00 and 2:00pm. Departure from Sun Moon Lake at 8:00 and 9:00am. In Sun Moon Lake, the bus leaves from Shuishe Visitor Center. In Alishan, the bus departs from the Transport Center, just outside the park’s entrance.