Hiking Xueshan in Taiwan : How to DIY a trip to the summit
Taiwan: 雪山 – Xueshan – Snow Mountain
Taiwan is amazing because it has the largest number on top of a high density of high mountains in the world. There are a total of 286 mountain summits over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) above sea level on the island and many of them are not very technical or extremely difficult trails. Of course there are challenging ones, but the tallest 2 are actually pretty standard hikes, one of which is Xueshan.
Xueshan which means snow mountain in Mandarin, a mountain that is part of the She-pa National Park. Despite its name, Xueshan doesn’t have snow, or at least not much, even when it is winter. It is the second highest mountain in Taiwan at 3,886 m (12,749 ft) above sea level, and the lesser known brother of popular kid in the class Yushan(Jade Mountain) which is the tallest mountain in Taiwan. The trek itself is quite straight forward, easy to walk, some variety of trails with the forest and slopes, it is a good hike for beginners.
Most of the hiking in Taiwan is very well managed. You can do bookings online concerning the huts, and there are a limited number of people on the mountains due to that. Also, you have to apply for mountain permits most of the time. Unless you are Taiwanese, or are able to read in Mandarin and willing to research using it, trying to DIY the mountains in Taiwan are slightly confusing. I was quite confused the first time, but it is a lot easier once you get the hang of it.
I read from some blogs where they charge like a few hundred USD just to apply for the permits when the application is actually free. That is insane! All you need to do is email, download some forms and submit them. It is quite scary that you can actually charge for such services. Fret not! As I am a nice guy, here is how to DIY Xueshan. I will also include other people’s links as it was part of my research!
As my trip to Xueshan involved other places, I will try to put in my best estimates for the minimum transport expenses if you wish to do it from SG-Taipei. This time, I will combine the expenses with directions together.
Preparation (Things you need to do!):
Check if your accommodation is available.
To check on what accommodation is available in Xueshan, as well as in the whole national park, view it here.
Look for and click on Qika Hut(Chika Hut) and Sanliujiu Hut(369 Hut). Those are the 2 accommodations needed for the dates.
For Xueshan, my advice is that you only need to look at 369 Hut. The ideal itinerary a 2 day 1 night itinerary. It is a 1 day ascend to 369 Hut, stay for one night, climb the summit, and come back down by 12pm to take the transport out of Wuling Farm.
Alternatively, you can ascend to 369 Hut, climb the summit the next day, take your time and stay at Chika Hut on your descend, before getting out of Wuling Farm the next day. This will take 3 days 2 nights.
If there are remaining beds available for the dates, fill up those dates for the Park Entry Permit. If you are unsure which itinerary, then fill up more beds for the Park Entry Permit. You can book beds and don’t use them (slightly mean though), but effectively guaranteeing your itinerary.
Park Entry Permit
This is a must and the most important one! If you don’t have this you will not be able to enter. All climbers are required to apply for a park entry permit. This can be done 7-30 days in advance. You need this when you apply for the police mountain entry permit. No matter what, just make sure you get this! Visit this website and download the forms. Email the completed forms at [email protected] and [email protected]. Don’t worry, they reply in English and are extremely helpful for the applications of permits as well as any other questions you have. Just make sure to email them, and download the approved permit they sent back! (It is the one with the approved seal). We forgot to print it out, and only printed out our application. We were fortunately able to retrieve it when we were there at the police station in Wuling Farm using their computers to access our emails.
So, just remember to do this, send them the emails, and print them out!
Bonus: For you lazy people out there who are wondering how to fill up the itinerary for the Park Entry permit, you can copy and paste this below onto the word document and edit it from there. Below is for 3 days 2 nights if you stay 2 nights at 369 Hut.
Daily Schedule: (3 days 2 nights)20th May (Edit this)Enter Wuling Recreation Area > Trailhead of XueMountain (60min) >Qika HutMay 20th: Qika Hut (250min) > East Peak of XueMountain (50min) >Sanliujiu Hut (369 Hut)May 21th: Sanliujiu (369 Hut) (20min) > Black forest(120min) > Bottom of Syueshan Glacial Cirques(40min) > Main Peak of Xue Mountain (140min) >Back to Sanliujiu Hut (369 Hut)May 22nd: Sanliujiu Hut (369 Hut) (40min) > East Peakof Xue Mountain (155min) > Qika Hut (50min) >Trailhead of Xue Mountain > Wuling Recreation AreaCleaning Environment Methods:1. We will pack the trash and carry it with usthroughout our journey2. Assist cleaning the trash along the way.Emergency Response Measures:If any emergency incidents happens, contact the related unit to assist the rescue
Police mountain entry permit
This can be done at the police station in Wuling Farm on the spot, or previously via email. To download the form, it is the same website as the Park Entry Permit.
You need these permits to access Xueshan from the entrance unless you just bash through which might be possible, but why would you want to do it? Therefore, just make sure you have all the documents submitted to them, and received their acknowledgement, print them all out and you’re ready to go!
After that, all you need to do it print out 3 copies of each permit and present them to the check point at the start of the trail and the police station in Wuling.
The base point to climb Xueshan is Wuling Farm(武陵农场). There is a direct bus to Wuling Farm from Yilan.
The best way from Taipei is basically Taipei – Yilan – Wuling Farm. The details below will help you if you are travelling from Singapore.
SG – Taipei
Return flight to Taipei from Singapore: ~300 SGD
Taking a flight from most places to Taiwan, you will most likely land at Taoyuan airport because it is the main airport for international flights, with some exceptions.
Taipei to Yilan
Taoyuan airport to Taipei Main Station by Bus : 135 TWD
Taoyuan airport is away from the city so you will have to make your way to Taipei. There are several ways to make your way to Taipei main city in order to move out from there. The cheapest way is the Kuo-Kuang bus ( with the exception of walking cause walking/cyling is always cheaper but it ain’t practical right?). For some links, please visit this website on a guide to getting around Taipei, or this trip advisor post. The trip takes around 45 minutes and is extremely comfortable in an air-con bus.
On the other hand, for those interested in the trip to the airport, please view this extremely detailed post.
From Taipei, you can get to Yilan both by bus and train, both modes of transport requires similar amount of time as well as cost. Take whichever is more convenient. I recommend a stop over at Luodong ( for some great food, walking around the parks) on the way to Yilan. To Luodong, the bus takes around 2-3 hours. To Yilan from Luodong, takes only 15 minutes.
Bus to Luodong : 120 TWD
Train from Luodong to Yilan : 20 TWD
Yilan – Wuling Farm
To from Yilan to Wuling Farm, simply follow the instructions taken from this website. If you are lazy to decipher it, read on.
Bus from Yilan to Wuling Farm :
1.Take Kuo-Kuang Bus from Yilan: Kuo-Kuang Bus at Yilan railway station. The line is from Yilan to Lishan bus, get off at Wuling Farm.
Departure: Yilan 07:30 -> Wuling Farm 10:15. Yilan 12:40→Wuling Farm15:25
Return: Wuling Farm 09:10, 14:10→Yilan
Return: Wuling Farm 13:40→Luodong
Ride time: About 2 hours and 45 minutes trip.
Fare: NT$285 (fares are subject to change which based on Kuo-Kuang Bus).
Kuo-Kuang Bus Tel: +886-39-384171
The only issue with the directions is that the bus stop at Yilan can actually be taken from the bus station itself not outside. Just go in and ask for bus 1751 to Wuling. The counter lady is usually very helpful and sweet. In bold, is my recommended timing to take to Wuling Farm to start the first day hike.
Do keep in my mind that there are only 3 buses out of Wuling Farm! Those are the timings you have to hit when you get out of Xueshan. The ride time is also pretty accurate, but it is dependent on the skill of the driver, his mood (whether he wants to drive fast), number of stops he makes (to pee, drop off parcels or newspapers etc). Your trip can take 2 hours, or 3 hours, so I guess in between is quite accurate.
At Wuling there’s a shuttle bus you can take to the trailhead. From the bus stop where you land, you just need to keep walking on, past the bridge to the Wuling Visitor Centre if they don’t stop you at it. You can refer to this map, or this link here which is a bigger and more elaborate picture.
Once there, there is a shop which you can stock up on last minute essentials. The dumplings/tea leaf eggs (茶叶蛋) are pretty good and cheap! After that, you have to make your way to the Police station to settle the documents which is en route to the entrance of the trek. The entrance of the trek is actually a 4km walk up the road, hitch-hike if you can, if not it is a slow ardous walk up the winding road which can be slightly dangerous if there are speeding cars. Once you reach the entrance, you may show your documents and start the trek!
There are two cabins on the trail. Both cabins are extremely basic, with sturdy wooden dorm bedframes. Please make sure to bring your own sleeping bags (if not you end up like us).
The first, Qika Cabin, is at the 2.0km mark. It is just maybe 1-2h depending on your speed. The Qika Hut is more likely to have less people, they have a toilet and taps with ice cold water. There is a kitchen area, simply a room with tables and chairs which you can cook if you have brought your cooking gear.
The second, 369 Cabin, is at the 6.9km mark. Before you reach it, you have to get past the crying slope, which is a hyperbole for a rugged uphill, still an interesting name! I guess for lesser mortals they would have cried, I kid, but like most mountains it is just a slow ardous uphill slope but it provides a beautiful view before and after.
The hike itself is a pretty simple route. At the 369 Cabin, it is usually more fun and lively there. There are usually some geologists stationed there, as well as a hive of activity in the kitchen with the different guides cooking and chatting in there. The kitchen and toilets are of course more utilized and more furbished.
From then on, it is just a slight upslope before you enter the forest, which is a 2-3 hour walk through the forest. Once out of the forest, it is simply the summit push, which is a zigzag up to the peak at at the 10.9km. The markers (and makers) will guide the way!
It is that simple! The way back is the same. As many things happened during my trek, I will put it as a separate page from this. So read on if you want to read about my trek as well as see some pictures!
Here are the other blogs you can visit for more information :
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