Snow Mountain (Syueshan or Xueshan) is the second highest mountain in Taiwan respectively with altitude 3886 meters above sea level. It is a part of Shei-pa National park and hiking Snow Mountain Taiwan requires permit. I had applied for the permit in advance and got no problem in obtaining one, so I’m ready to go!
Hiking Snow Mountain Taiwan from Wuling Farm
After Jiufen, I took the train to Yilan where I still had to transfer by bus to get to Wuling Farm. It was a long bus ride around 3 hours. I spent most of my time sleeping because I was exhausted plus I might get a car sickness because of the winding road. The scenery along the way was delightful. Local farms and the mountain ranges covered by cloud are captivating. Arrived at the bus station, I tried to find the information center however it was closed. I met an Australian couple who had the same plan hiking Snow Mountain Taiwan, together we’re making our way to the camp ground.
Before heading to the camp ground, we decided to obtain our police permit for Snow Mountain Taiwan at the police station. Luckily it wasn’t closed yet. The distance between the bus station to the police station wasn’t too bad but apparently the camp ground was further than what we expected, about 3 km far. In the beginning we could still have conversation and take photos of the autumn leaves but after a while, it was indeed tiring. I got this big backpack with me, not an easy walk. We should have hitchhiked! About an hour walking on the ascending road we finally reached the campground before it was too dark.
The campground has a decent facilities with several options of rooms or tents. I chose the cheapest option which is the tent. Still, it’s expensive for me since I was alone. The campground has a shared-bathroom with hot showers, a big common area with benches and tables. They also sell some basic supplies such as cup noodles and other snacks. I made myself a noodle before heading to bed.
The next morning, all the preparations were done to hike Snow Mountain Taiwan, I stored my big backpack at the campground and had my smaller backpack with me. I was ready to hit the trail, so did the couple. From the campground it was still another 1 km to the trail head. In the middle of our way, a car stopped and invited us along. A Taiwanese man, guess how old is he? 65 years old and strong enough for the hike! and another lady, his hiking partner were about to do the hike as well. That’s how we formed a group, five of us doing the hike. I’m glad to have companions.
The office was not opened yet. There is a box where you can drop your papers in, just write the starting date and time. Few hikers were getting ready as well. They were full equipped with high boots and trekking poles. The man led us well despite of his age. He speaks pretty good English while I had to pick up some of Chinese words that I’ve learned to speak to the lady. She got this big bag overloaded with food! Pretty sure that I wouldn’t be hungry!
Trailhead – Qika Hut : 2 KM
From the trailhead, it was a steady climb uphill with built-in stairs. Slowly and sure, I took my time adjusting my steps and breath. The weather wasn’t good but not too bad either. Sometimes it drizzled and stopped before starting to pour again, glad that it wasn’t a heavy rain. We’re doing pretty well and less than an hour we arrived in Qika Hut.
Some people who arrived a bit late might spent a night in Qika Hut rather than Wuling Farm. It was for free anyway and it’s good enough with bunk beds, toilet, and kitchen area. We didn’t spend time to long in Qika Hut and continued our walk.
Qika Hut – 369 Hut : 5 KM
From Qika Hut the trail starts to get steeper but still okay for me. I love hiking without having big bags. It is completely different when you have heavy load, more tiring for sure. I could see the lady started to walk slower but she handled it very well, she’s strong. Also, we had good time management and had a good stop for rest. There’s this famous spot called the Crying Slope when hiking Snow Mountain Taiwan because it’s very steep, challenging, in a fun way of course.
So far, no improvement regarding on the weather. I saw only trees and grey sky pretty much. Sometimes I took off my raincoat and after few minutes I had to wear it again. We arrived at the East Peak of Snow Mountain at the elevation of 3201 meters above sea level. Then, we’re descending down, less tall trees now, it’s an open area with bushes. Some parts were muddy, that’s why they’re wearing high boots and laughed at my shoes. Just gotta walk slow and careful.
I didn’t pay too much attention to my timing when I followed other people. I think after 4-5 hours walking we finally arrived at 369 (Sanliujiu) Hut. The clouds were away for a bit and I could see the mountain ranges, beautiful! Basically there are three cabins here. Sleeping cabin, kitchen, and toilet. Sleeping arrangement is according to the number that comes along with the permit.
From the entrance, you’ll either sleep at the right or left wing on the bunk bed. It was too early to sleep so I hung around the kitchen area, chit-chatting, and had my dinner. Ready to sleep, I had my sleeping bag with me but it was so cold that I had to rent the sleeping bag from the cabin. It was the best decision I’ve made. The sleeping bag was so warm until I had to remove my other sleeping bag and some of my jackets in the middle of the night cause I was sweating.
369 Hut – Snow Mountain Main Peak: 4 KM
I was hoping that the weather would be nice to get a perfect sunrise. I talked to my Taiwanese friend and they’re not planning to see the sunrise, they prefer to start after the sun is up. The Australian couple were unsure whether they wanted to see the sunrise because one of them was feeling unwell due to altitude sickness. Maybe I should join any other group to do the sunrise, as long I’m not alone.
I set my alarm and woke up at 3 a.m. No one’s awake yet! I checked the sky outside and it was clear and full of stars. Normally around this time people would start, but until 5 a.m. no one’s up for the summit. I was a little bit disappointed but I didn’t want to walk alone in the dark. I waited for the sunrise in 369 Hut. The clouds were swirling around the lower peaks like a cotton candy. The sky was getting brighter and I was back with my team, heading to the summit. From the ridge, the sun popped out behind one of the peak and the view was drop-dead gorgeous!
From the ridge we entered the Black Forest. Probably there are thousands of them soaring high, I rather called it mysterious or creepy, especially when birds like crows making noises. The trek was pretty flat. I could imagine it could be a bit tricky in the dark, though the path is pretty clear but there’s still a chance to get lost. Some of the path is a bit rough with big rocks and after 2 km we’re out of Black Forest.
No more tall trees again from now on. The trek starts uphill again. I started to move faster because it was cold even though the sun was up. My nose was running, I wrapped both my hands with my scarf. It’s getting steeper and steeper, 500 meters seems far and tough. Finally after a bit of hard work I touched the highest peak of Snow Mountain. It was the best feeling! I turned around and all I could see was mountain ranges. Not long after, all my team mates were catching up and all of us made it!
I was very grateful for the sunrise and the beautiful sky. We went back to 369 Hut, had lunch, and got our stuffs ready back down. It was starting to rain again on our way down, I felt lucky. The man was kind enough to take us back to Yilan with his car cause it’s too late for the bus, even though he had to go on the opposite way. Thank you so much! By hiking Snow Mountain Taiwan, I’ve added another high mountain on my list!
Tips for Hiking Snow Mountain Taiwan
- It’s easy to get to Yilan by train from anywhere in Taiwan. Once you reach the train station, head out to the bus station which is just about 150 meters away. Kuo-Kuang Bus departs to Wuling Farm and takes about 3 hours. Price is NTD 306. Bus Schedule:
Yilan – Wuling Farm: 7.30 a.m. and 12.40 p.m.
Wuling Farm – Yilan: 9.10 a.m. – 2.10 p.m.
- Entrace Fee to Wuling Farm Recreational Area is NTD 130
- I paid NTD 1300/night for a tent (NTD 1500 for tent and NTD 1600 for cabin, update on Jan 2019). I sent them message in advance to ask whether I can rent only tent which is only NTD 500. Apparently you can’t pitch the tent on the ground, it has to be on a camping board which is another NTD 1000. Click here for more information about Wuling Farm.
- You can pre-book your meal by contacting Aqing: +886 912976610.
Dinner : NTD 400
Breakfast : NTD 300
Sleeping Bag : NTD 200 (you don’t have to book this in advance)
I just brought some foods that I got from 7-11 such as onigiri, sandwich, cup noodle or chocolate bars. For water I have around 2-3 liters with me, this depends on how much you drink.
- It can be pretty cold so make sure you bring enough warm clothes.
- Make sure you acclimatize yourself or take medicine to avoid altitude sickness. It is a high mountain, each person is different in handling the altitude.
- Check out my other post on how to apply the permit for Xueshan.
Traveled in 14-16 November 2017
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