How to Hike Jade Mountain, Taiwan in One Day

by Justin
Published: Last Updated on
How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

One of the best reasons to visit Taiwan is due to the incredible hiking opportunities. Jade Mountain (玉山) is a top hiking challenge in Taiwan and highly recommended if you have the chance to do it. There are about 100 peaks higher than 3000 meters (9,843 feet) in Taiwan to add to the hiking bucket list. Jade Mountain’s main peak tops off at 3,952 m (12,966 ft), the highest in Taiwan, and gives hikers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

We decided to hike Jade Mountain in one day which was quite an adventure.  It’s no easy task climbing up this mountain! Why only one day?! Work gives me the chance to travel to Asia few times a year and I had a trip scheduled for Taiwan in May. My friends who are avid hikers planned a Jade Mountain hike at the start my trip. 

If you’re able to do the Jade Mountain hike in 2+ days – go for it! You’ll have a better time acclimating to the altitude and can take your time hiking. 

Continue reading on how we hiked Jade Mountain in a day and the process for climbing this place. For the adventurers and hikers, this place is the perfect addition to your Taiwan itinerary, especially if you have two weeks!

(Disclosure: Several links in the post are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. Appreciate the support.)


The Jade Mountain Process

The process is well regulated as hikers need permits (park entry and mountain climbing) to reach the summit. My friends applied for the permits and submitted the proper paperwork to the police office.

To complete the paperwork at the police office, check in on the website 5 days early. Within five days of the trip, submit your information to nearly police office. Here are two links with more information on police office locations: in English / in Chinese.

More information about the documents needed and the mountain permit application process is here. You have to follow the three steps for the permit. The site is in Chinese but you can use Google Translate to help with translation.


How Many Days are Needed on Jade Mountain?

Most hikers spend 2 days on Jade Mountain:

  • Day 1: Hike from Mt. Jade Trailhead to the Paiyun Lodge.
  • Day 2: Hike from Paiyun Lodge to the summit and back down the mountain.
  • Day 3 (optional): After reaching the summit, spend one night at Paiyun Lodge before heading down Mt. Jade Trailhead.

Paiyun Lodge is the only lodge for the Jade Mountain climb and requires a lottery for bunk bed spots. As the demand was high, we applied for the lottery for a Thursday or Friday.

We were unable to get spots, so our last option was to attempt the summit in one day. This is not recommended for everyone as the climb is strenuous.


How We Hiked Jade Mountain in One Day

For the one day attempt we did the following:

Day 0 – Travel Day

We drove to Dongpu Villa Hostel (東埔) to spend the night. 

Tip: You’ll need to call them to see if there are beds available. Once there is a confirmation, you’ll pay for the beds in advance.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day - Dongpu Villa Hostel

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day - Dongpu Villa Hostel

The lodge was basic. At $300TWD ($10 USD) per bunk bed spot, we could not complain. The beds had some slight padding, a pillow, and a comforter.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day - Dongpu Villa Hostel

Bathrooms were typical squat toilets, urinals, showers (hot water after 6pm).

As with food, some groups brought food and cookware to cook in designated places. Our group chose to have the hostel cook our dinner. The meal cost $200TWD ($6.60 USD) per person and was expensive for Taiwanese standards. Due to the remote location, there weren’t many choices.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day - Dongpu Villa Hostel

Dinner (from bottom going clockwise): fried fish, cabbage and carrot stir fry, bittermelon and salted duck egg, pork chop, and boiled taro

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day - Dongpu Villa Hostel

Steamed sticky rice with pork and gingko nut

We all tried to sleep around 8:00pm due to our early planned wake-up at 1:00am. The room was noisy and bright. Earplugs and eye covers are recommended. I slept well due to jetlag as I arrived in Taiwan the day before, and was told that I was the loudest guy in the room. Sorry guys! 😉 I should have followed some of these tips to overcome jetlag

Day 1 – Summit Day

Waking up at 1:00am should have been tougher, but that’s where my jetlag worked in my favor. As we dragged ourselves out of bed and ate our hostel’s porridge breakfast for $80TWD ($2.70 USD) per person, we were anxious to get started.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day - Dongpu Villa Hostel

Breakfast: congee/porridge

We finished packing up and moved our cars about a ½ mile from the hostel which was closer to the main entrance.

The morning was brisk. Temperatures started around 6°C (42°F). For my upper body, I wore a long-sleeve baselayer and my Patagonia Houdini jacket knowing I would heat up later.

The hike officially started at 2:00am. We hiked 2km (1.6miles) up the hill to the Mt. Jade Trailhead which we arrived at 2:30am. Headlamps are required.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

Having hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro 5 months prior to this, I knew the importance of going “Pole Pole” (“slow slow” in Swahili) and not rushing up the mountain, especially with a group of various physical strengths.

Our group of 9 quickly split into 3 groups- the fastest, the medium, and the slower paced. To ensure a higher rate of success, we had at least one “sweeper” in each group. I chose to stick with the medium pace group and led with a “Pole Pole” fashion. Some experienced altitude sickness within the first hour of hiking and had to take altitude medication. It was important to eat snacks for fuel, drink plenty of water, and take breaks as needed (not too long though).

Along the way, there were a few ECO-restrooms as well as a larger rest platform that people can spend the night on.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

Eventually we arrived at the Paiyun Lodge around 7:00am which we were unsuccessful in booking. We stopped for a brief amount of time for a snack break before the summit attempt.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day - Paiyun

Paiyun Lodge is at 3402 m (11,161 ft)

I packed a Taiwan style sushi lunch that I bought the day before and definitely savored it during this trip.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

The section between Paiyun Lodge and Mt. Jade’s main peak was much steeper and more challenging than the previous section. Gloves are recommended as they give your hands protection while scrambling up rock faces and grabbing chains.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

With enough determination, you are rewarded with a spectacular view at the top of Taiwan. We reached the summit at 10:00am. We spent some time here to rest and take pictures.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

If you want cell phone reception to post that awesome photo on social media, there is a spot marked on the top of the mountain. My Google Project Fi phone plan worked flawlessly here and also in various spots along the trail. (Receive a $20 credit if you click on the link! We’ll write about Project Fi soon.)  

It was time to head back down at 11:00am. Trekking poles were not helpful during the hike up so I kept them strapped to my day pack. On the descent, I whipped them out in hopes of saving my knees. The temperature steadily increased so having layers of clothes helped.

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

Going down was quicker than coming up. My group was tired, but motivated to move more quickly as we realized we were near the shuttle cutoff time of 5:00pm.

This shuttle (cost $100TWD/$3.30 USD) will bring you from the trailhead down to the parking area (2km down the hill). Hikers who finished around the time we did all decided to take the shuttle. If you do not catch the last shuttle, you need to walk the last 2km to your car. If you do not drive your car past the checkpoint gate by 5:30pm, you must spend one more night at Dongpu Villa Hostel.

I was ready to sleep on a real bed back in Taichung, so I sped down the hill with an hour to spare. The slower group also decided they didn’t want to spend another night at the hostel and burned through their energy reserves to, arrive in time for the last shuttle.

Our entire team of 9 was successful in reaching the summit of Jade Mountain’s main peak and descending in one day!

This is a challenging hike as it was about 31km (19.2 miles) long and ascends from about 2590 m (8497 ft) to 3952 m (12,966 ft). This is achievable if you are physically active and love to hike. A little bit of training beforehand will help.

I am happy we got to tackle this together and thanks to my friend, Kozi, for planning this trip of a lifetime. One of our future adventures is to climb Taroko George’s marble mountain in Hualien, Taiwan.


Packing List for Jade Mountain

Here is a recommended packing list of what I brought for the hike including the exact items brought.

Clothing

Others

  • Backpack- 20 to 30L (Osprey Talon 22)
  • Headlamp (Black Diamond Iota Headlamp)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hydration pack and/or water bottles (3 liters)
  • Trekking Poles
  • Altitude sickness medication – Diamox (optional)
  • Lots of snacks – candy, energy bars, food
  • Cell Phone
  • Camera and extra batteries
  • Camping towel
  • Earplugs and eye covers
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sunscreen

Have you done other hikes in Taiwan? Do you want to hike Jade Mountain in Taiwan? Let us know in the comments where you would recommend. See you on the next hike!

How to Hike Jade Mountain in One Day

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10 comments

Jo C March 26, 2018 - 9:15 am

Hi Justin. Great review and guide! Wanted to ask:
1) Did you make a prior reservation for dongpu hostel by calling them? or just showed up and there are plenty beds?
2) What time does the police post close in order to submit the relevant documents for the ascent next day?
3) What documents are required by the police? mountain permit and passport only?

Reply
Jackie March 31, 2018 - 10:27 am

Hello Jo. Thank you for the comment. We sent an email responding back to your questions.

Reply
Ray October 7, 2018 - 10:04 pm

Hi Jackie,

I’m curious to get answers for Jo C’s questions as well. Thanks so much in advance!

Reply
Jackie October 9, 2018 - 12:45 pm

HI Ray! Thank you for stopping by! We’ve updated the post with the questions from below.

Reply
James Long November 6, 2018 - 7:54 am

Hey! Love this article is my motivation to climb Mt Jade in two weeks! But having a snag with the police permit as well as reserving a spot At the hostel. My Chinese is non existent and I was hoping for advice and if it’s possible to finish those two things when I arrive in Taipei? I get in on 17 Nov and plan to climb 20 Nov. I already have my mountain pass permit approved

Thank you!

Reply
Jackie November 14, 2018 - 9:11 am

Hi James! Good luck with the Mount Jade hike. We sent a separate email with your questions. It’s best to call the hostel to reserve in advance; otherwise, we don’t know what the next option is. For the police permit, check this page “https://www.7spc.gov.tw/eng/” or https://www.7spc.gov.tw/index.php?catid= 15&cid=18id=78action=view or you can call this number for help: 02-23577377 Good luck!

Reply
Luche O'Neil July 23, 2019 - 7:21 pm

Hello! Thank you for your sharing your wonderful journey in climbing Taiwan’s highest peak! My student (Taiwanese, who studied English here in Cebu) invited me to climb Mt Jade together with her group. I’m from the Philippines and if I will say yes for her invitation, some questions pop up in my mind. What are the necessary details/documents that I should prepare? Is two days enough for us? How much in USD or NT is the estimated amount that I should prepare for this trip (Mt Jade ) adventure specifically. Thanks a lot! Looking forward for your response. Good speed to your journey and travels!

Reply
Jackie July 30, 2019 - 12:10 pm

Hi Luche. Thanks for stopping by. We hope you consider going to Jade Mountain to hike! Here are the answers to your questions:

What are the necessary details/documents that I should prepare?
The paperwork includes the mountain permit application and the paperwork at the police station which we mentioned above. Your student should be able to handle these items on your behalf.

Is two days enough for us?
Yes, more than enough.

How much in USD or NT is the estimated amount that I should prepare for this trip (Mt Jade )?
It’s variable. You’ll need to factor the cost of the hostel, food, and transportation (depending on where you’re departing from in Taiwan).

Reply
Cecilie June 5, 2020 - 9:02 pm

This looks like a challenging long hike, but doable! Thanks for sharing it. I never heard about it before and I just love to discover new hikes. One more for the list! 🙂

Reply
Jackie June 6, 2020 - 12:54 pm

Hi Cecilie. Hope you get a chance to hike Jade Mountain in the future! This is one out of many amazing hiking trails to do in Taiwan.

Reply

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