Snow Mountain 雪山
Experience Snow Mountain
Taiwan is home to some incredibly challenging and beautiful high mountain peaks. Most of the challenging treks are more off the radar, but one peak to get your blood pumping is Snow Mountain! Snow Mountain has a few peaks of varying difficulty, and require different permits to climb. Recently we took a trip up Snow Mountain Main Peak, Taiwan’s second highest peak. Check the trip below!
We chose to camp in Wuling Farms campground, where we find it more comfortable than spending night one in Qika Hut with other hikers. There is always the chance to see wildlife here, especially Formosan Rock Macaques and Red and White Giant Flying Squirrels. Were were greeted by both at night, which tells you locking up food is important!
After checking in at the police station its time to hit the trailhead! Generally a short, informative video on Snow Mountain and mountain safety is screened to all climbers at the trailhead ranger station. Because it was a weekday, the station was closed. We continue on for 2km, mostly straight up switchbacks, until Qika Hut. Many people choose to sleep here on Day 1, and continue to 369 Cabin on Day 2, we chose to treat this as a quick rest stop before powering on towards the East Peak.
While winding up the mountain and through the forest keep your eyes out for Reeve’s Muntjacs, Serows, Formosan Rock Macaques, and all of the varied bird species scattered throughout. The trail to East Peak takes roughly 2 hours from Qika Hut, but before reaching the peak you’ll have to climb whats known as the “Crying Slope.” It looks more intimidating that it is! After roughly 30 minutes the East Peak is in sight!
After ascending to the East Peak of Snow Mountain (3201m), it’s a short trip down to 369 Cabin (3100m) where we rest for the night. The trip is roughly 5 hours of hiking and can be done with enough time for a nap and a sunset viewing.
We wake up early, 2:00am, to depart by 2:30am. This allows us enough time to reach the Main Peak for sunrise. The climb is challenging from here, through the black forest, up the steep slope of loose rock. It gets very dark inside the black forest, and in turn, exhilarating. Under the glow of our headlamps we spotted sleeping deer, and heard numerous amphibians, owls, and more. We love this, by the way.
After three hours and a brutal last kilometer uphill, the peak is in reach! Snow Mountain Main Peak is Taiwan and East Asia’s second tallest mountain peak. From here it is easy to see the majority of high mountains in Taiwan. We had an amazing sunrise, complete with high fives and big smiles shared with every hiker who came up after us.
Looking down at the basin lends a feeling of gratitude, amazement, and accomplishment. Its an easier trek down, where we eat breakfast and drink coffee at 369 Cabin before cruising towards the trailhead.
One motivation for ascending at night is to see the sunrise from the peak. There is no better feeling to us than watching a new day rise from the top of Taiwan’s tallest mountains.
Another perhaps unexpected joy of ascending at night, is the experience of descending through the terrain you conquered with a headlamp. The Black Forest on Snow Mountain is spectacular. The beauty of the pines and junipers surround you, while birds and wildlife come alive in the wee hours of the morning. On this particular trip the endemic Taiwan Serow graced us with its presence!
After the trek down the mountain we pack up the car and head back to Taipei! Snow Mountain is an epic climb, and if you are interested in experiencing this for yourself, contact us! We’d love to help you experience the high mountains of Taiwan.