Adventure Travel

How to hike Yushan ( Jade Mountain ) in one day?

Yushan or Jade Mountain is the highest mountain in Taiwan. 3952M above sea level, this gives Taiwan the 4th highest maximum elevation of any island in the world! That’s why conquering Yushan is a must for any outdoor lovers when visiting this island nation! There are two ways to hike Yushan, one is to stay overnight at Paiyun Lodge (which is only 2.4KM from the summit). Another option would be doing it as a day hike!

You don’t have to do the hike in one day, can stay a night at Paiyun Lodge if you want to see the sunrise or pace yourself.

The total distance of the hike is roughly 25KM, with total elevation 1392KM. Honestly, to hike Yushan in a day is not hard. In actual fact, it’s easier to do day hike than getting a bed space at Paiyun Lodge!

Hiking up Jade Mountain is a must when you visit Taiwan!

How to apply for permits for hiking up Yushan?

  • You will need a permit for hiking up Yushan, more information at the official website.
  • There are only 60 spaces available for day-hike up to Yushan, so it’s best to apply early. Can check the number of applicants here at this link.
  • After confirming there are spaces (even if the day is booked out, you can always put yourself on the waiting list), you must make an application here at this link.
  • The application for the permit will usually be approved in 1-3 days.
  • Once the permit is approved, you will need a police permit which can be applied through the same website. Usually, it will be ready in 1 day.
  • Once both permits are approved, you will have to print them and bring them with you to the Tataka Police station and Paiyun Lodge where they will check the names with your ID.

There’s a fair bit of application process going on, but it’s all worth it at the end!

I found the Nomad Family’s blog is particularly useful for the application, link to “Hiking Yushan : The Ultimate Guide to conquer the Jade Mountain” if you need more detailed information.

Where to stay for day-hike up Yushan?

No matter what time you start your hike, you will have to arrive at Paiyun Lodge (3402M) before 10 AM. Or else they will not let you summit on that day. Therefore it is important to arrive at the trailhead early.

There are two options for staying near Yushan. One is at Dongpu Lodge which is near the entrance. Another option is to stay at Alishan National Scenic Area which is half an hour drive away.

We choose to stay at Maria Hotel in Alishan National Scenic Area because I want to have a good sleep before the hike. It was NT$2000 per night including breakfast which we didn’t have time to enjoy. However, as it was within the national scenic area, we had to pay NT$200 extra per person and NT$100 per car just to stay there. There are other activities within the area, so if you arrive early on that day, You can enjoy Alishan National Scenic Area too.

As you are trying to read Paiyun Lodge before 10 AM, it is advisable to stay as long to the trailhead as possible.

Actual Timing for hiking up Yushan

0310 Left Alishan National Scenic Area
0345 Arrived at Tataka carpark
0350 Depart Tataka carpark towards Yushan trailhead
0430 Yushan trail head 2560M
0800 Paiyun Lodge 3402M(30 min break)
1030 Yushan main-peak 3952M(took photos for 30 mins)
1205 Back to Paiyun Lodge(40 min break)
1530 After arriving at the Yushan trailhead, we took the shuttle back to car-park.

As we started at the wrong carpark, our total hiking distance was considerably longer than the official one.

Yushan Day Hike Distance

Tataka car-park →  Yushan trail head (3KM)

Yushan trail head → Paiyun Lodge (8.5KM)

Paiyun Lodge → Yushan main-peak  (2.4KM)

Yushan main-peak → Yushan trail head (10.9KM)

  • There are a paid shuttle bus services connecting Yushan trailhead to the car-park which costs NT$100 per person. Operational time is 7am-5pm. Therefore, if you finish the hike too late, you will have to walk another 3KM on top of the usual hiking distance.
  • Also despite the official website said the start is at Tataka car-park, in actual fact, the correct input on Google map should be Shangdongpu Park! All the Taiwanese people seem to know that this is the right car-park where it is closer to the trailhead. Otherwise, you guys will be hiking 28.54KM in total like us, rather than 25KM.

The trail itself is well marked and well maintained, no need to hire a guide even in the dark.

What to bring for the hike?

  • We were there in October, so it was supposed to be chilly. However, we were blessed with a sunny day, so didn’t use any of our rain gears.
  • I had a pair of trekking pants, a thin long-sleeves top and a down jacket over it. I took my down jacket on and off depending on how hot I felt. Didn’t use my Gortex jacket nor pants.
  • We carried 2L of water each. Only to realize that Paiyun Lodge has water between 1:30-2:30, 7:00-9:00, 14:00-17:00.
  • Made a large sandwich with avocado for lunch, together with oranges and biscuits for snacks. Don’t forget to bring a plastic bag for any sort of rubbishes.
  • We used one hiking pole each to help with descending.
  • Remember to bring headlight (we used Petzl – TIKKINA 60 Lumens since 2016) as it’s pitch black at the start of the trail.
  • Used the 20L Quechua hiking back from Decathlon, it was more than sufficient.

Still think it’s best to hike up during weekdays, otherwise, some trails may get crowded.

General advises for hike Yushan in one day

  • Please check the weather before departure.
  • Have a good pair of hiking shoes/ boots as there are quite a bit of loose rocks towards the summit.
  • As the altitude is still considerably high, remember to bring altitude sickness medication. We had half a tablet of Diamox before departure and still felt a bit tingly at our fingertips just before arriving at Paiyun Lodge. If this happens, just slow down and let your heartbeat go back to normal.
  • To hike Yushan in one day really isn’t hard. I think the hardest would be applying for permits and waking up early!

Honestly, hiking up Yushan isn’t hard. It’s just the distance. So make sure you know your limit before you hike up Yushan in one day!

If you want to see LIVE STORIES of our Taiwan adventures or hiking up Yushan, follow us on Instagram @TravelwithWinny to look at the footages!

View Comments

  • Hi There,
    Thanks so much for your blogpost - really helpful ahead of hiking Yushan next week!
    A couple of quick questions:
    1) Do you need a GPS tracker other than a smartphone?
    2) I'm a foreigner doing the hike - do you know if I need to wait until 6.30am before starting the hike for them to do my ID check?
    No worries if you're not sure. I've not been able to find much info about either of these online.
    Thanks again for all of your useful tips and advice!

    • Hi Katie

      Thanks for your comment. No, you do not need a GPS tracker other than a smartphone as the trail is well marked. I believe even as a foreigner, as long as you have your paperwork done prior to the hike, you can start the hike anytime.

      When you reach Paiyun Lodge they will check your ID and paperwork then. According to the official website, if you start the hike before the police station is opened, there's a box for you to put your paperwork in there. However, we couldn't find it in the dark.

      When we reached Paiyun Lodge, the guys told us not to worry about it, as long as you have the paperwork needed to continue the ascend then you will be fine.

      Hopefully, this information helps. All the best and good luck with the hike!

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