hiking in Taiwan

I’m scheduled to take a trip to Cambodia in July. (A volunteer position working with sport coaches there.)

It’s too hot and humid in summer for hiking, I fear. But what if I stopped over in Taiwan on the return? What are the best hikes there?



… the island is covered with remote and beautiful mountains, which are laced with hundreds of hiking trails. These are the emerald peaks that visitors see from their plane windows, just before they descend into a factory city on the west coast.

Taiwan is home to the highest mountain in east Asia – at 3,952 meters Yushan (Jade mountain), is taller than Japan’s Mt. Fuji – while dozens of peaks soar above 3,000 meters. Protected by national parks, and home to black bears, salmon, rare birds and other wildlife, the mountains are Taiwan’s most compelling attraction.

Trekking in Taiwan is not for the faint-hearted. The Central Mountain Range is steep and wild, and much of it is covered with thick forest. Summer thunderstorms rise unseen, temperatures can drop below zero, and facilities are few and far between. But for those willing to carry their own gear, the treks are among the most beautiful in Asia.

The top hikes in Taiwan – Chilai Ridge and Yushan – require a reasonable level of fitness and the proper equipment, which includes a tent and stove, food and water, a sleeping bag, good boots, and warm clothes.

source – Chi-lai Mountain

To really get away from it all, try the Chilai Ridge trail, a rugged walk straight down the mountainous spine of Taiwan. The trail begins at Ho Huan Shan hostel, on the northern cross-island highway (#14) about 60 kilometers from Puli.

From the hostel, it takes four hours and a lot of legwork to reach the 3,200-meter summit of Chilai Ridge. The ridge trail then proceeds due south, over a succession of rocky outcrops that is regarded as the most dangerous trekking walk in Taiwan, but one that is unrivalled in beauty. In some places the ridge is sharp as a knife, with cliffs on either side, and it is composed of leaves of shale that crumble underfoot like rotten cake. …

Out of Thick Air: Taiwan’s Mountain Highs – Time magazine – BRENT HANNON

Sadly, in the end, my flight was routed via Hong Kong instead.

Hmmm. Perhaps I should do one of the big urban hikes while in transit.

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