Taiwan’s Snow Mountain range is one of Taiwan’s most beautiful, and in good weather has some absolutely stunning landscapes. The Wuling Sixiu (“four shows”) are a set of four 3000+ meter mountains – Pintian Shan (3524m), Chiyou Shan (3303m), Tao Shan (3325m), and Kelaye Shan (3133m) – located on a ridge east of Snow Mountain, so named due to their prominence and visibility from the Wuling Farm recreational area. We set off to climb all four of them over three days, with two nights spent camping on the ridge.
The route involves some awesome terrain: hemlock forests, sheer cliffs, and alpine meadows. We had great weather for all three days, and enjoyed scenic views of surrounding mountains throughout the trip.
Here is an idea of the trip itinerary:
Day 1: Our bus departed Taipei at 7:30 a.m., arrived at Wuling farm around 11:30. We hitched a ride to the trailhead, and began to climb the 3.5km Chiyou trail to our campsite. We arrived around 4 p.m., pitched tent, and headed towards Xinda cabin to get water. The water run was a much longer mission than expected, and took us a solid ~4 hours round trip, longer due to rough terrain in darkness, and a few short stretches of being lost. We were lucky; the moon was startlingly full, the sky was clear, and the stars were brilliant.
Day 2: Up at 5 a.m., on the 3.1km trail to Pintian Shan by 6. We reached 3303m Chiyou Shan at 6:15, and stopped to take photographs of the scenery. The sky was blue and very clear, affording good views of the surrounding mountains.
Mighty Zhongyangjian Shan’s prominent pyramid towered in the distance, and this day’s constant views of it amplified my desire to climb it.
From Chiyou Shan, we headed to Pintian Shan.
We arrived at the top of 3524m Pintian Shan around 9:30 a.m. Pintian Shan overlooks the holy ridge, and more great views were had. Mutelebu Shan was particularly ominous looking.
From Pintian Shan, we returned to our campsite, arriving at around 12:00. We cooked up a hot lunch, and I departed for Tao Shan, 2.3km away, at 12:45. Unsure what the trail terrain would be like and conscious of the time, I arrived at the top of 3325m Taoshan at around 1:50.
From Taoshan, the trail dropped, and continued up and down another 3.5km through pine trees and thick Yushan cane to 3133m tree-covered Kalaye Shan, where I arrived at around 3:45 p.m.
Heading back, I arrived at our campsite around 7:15 p.m. – a long ~12 hour day of hiking.
Day 3: Up at 6 a.m., on the way down around 8 a.m. We arrived at Wuling Villa around 11:45, and were able to hitch a ride back to the visitor center within minutes. Our bus arrived at 2 p.m. to take us back to Taipei.
We chose to camp, but there are two mountain cabins (Xinda cabin and Tao cabin) on the ridge which make the route more accessible. See the map up top. For camping, there are quite a number of spots large enough and sheltered enough to pitch comfortably. Our campsite, the Sancha site, would comfortably fit two tents.
Wuling Farm, where the trailhead is located, is fairly easy to access. We took a bus from Taipei to get there (~4 hours). Be warned that buses don’t run to the trailhead itself, only to the Wuling Farm visitor center. It is fairly easy to hitch a ride all the way to the trailhead. More information here (in Chinese): http://www.wuling-farm.com.tw/location/index.php
Hiking the Sixiu requires a national park entry permit, as well as Police issued mountain entry permits. Both are easy to apply for. The Shei-Pa National Park permit website (in Chinese) is located here:
Police permits can be applied for here (In Chinese). For the website to load, you need to use Internet Explorer and adjust the encoding for ‘Chinese Traditional, Big5′ (found through Page -> Encoding):