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Taian Outdoors 2: Backdoor to Jiali Mountain: Tiger Mountain (泰安戶外2:加里山秘境入口:虎山)

Updated: Apr 27


 
 

INDEX

 



Welcome to The Map Room's Taian Outdoors series!


This is the second in a series of articles about the Taian area in Miaoli, Taiwan. River tracing Shuiyun and many other waterfalls and hiking Tiger Mountain and Jialishan (Jiali Mountain) are just some of the amazing adventure sports experiences in this little known and often overlooked corner of Taiwan!


Hikes and river traces in this series:

  1. Taian Outdoors 1: Tiger Mountain, Taian's Forgotten Mountain (泰安戶外1:爬虎山) Beginner - Intermediate

  2. Taian Outdoors 2: Backdoor to Jiali Mountain: Tiger Mountain (泰安戶外2:加里山秘境入口:虎山) High Intermediate

  3. Taian Outdoors 3: Beautiful, and Dangerous, Nature in the Taian Area! (泰安戶外3:美麗,又險峻,的泰安大自然!)

  4. Taian Outdoors 4: Hiking and River Tracing to Shuiyun Waterfall (泰安戶外4:爬山和溯溪去水雲瀑布) Novice

  5. Taian Outdoors 5: River Tracing Past Shuiyun to a Huge Waterfall (with guest writer, Renegade Tourist) (泰安戶外5:溯溪過水雲到一個大瀑布) Intermediate

  6. Taian Outdoors 6: River Tracing Past Shuiyun to a Tall, Double-Decker Waterfall! (泰安戶外6:溯溪過水雲到一個大,雙層瀑布) Advanced

  7. Taian Outdoors 7: River Tracing Above Shuiyun to Monkey Falls! (泰安戶外7:繞水雲溯溪到猴子瀑布) Advanced

  8. Or, see the whole series at this link!

For more dedicated explorers, however, continuing far beyond Tiger Peak is where the real challenge is.
 

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Introducing this week's adventure:

Taian Outdoors 2: Hiking over Tiger Mountain to Jiali Mountain (泰安戶外2:爬山過虎山到加里山)


Dujuanling Mountain (杜鵑嶺山, 2113 meters / 6932 feet) is a mountain in Taian, Miaoli, Taiwan (台灣苗栗泰安). It lies beyond Tiger Mountain (虎山, 1492 meters / 4895 ft.) and serves as a backdoor for more advanced and adventurous hikers and trail runners to the much better known Jialishan (Jiali Mountain / 加里山, 2220 meters / 7283 feet) and beyond. In Taian Outdoors 1: Tiger Mountain, Taian's Forgotten Mountain (泰安戶外1:失落的虎山), I shared how to get from the trailhead in Taian to Tiger Peak (see the Nitty-Gritty section below for further details). For more dedicated explorers, however, continuing far beyond Tiger Peak is where the real challenge is.


The Tiger Mountain back campsite as viewed from above


About 20 minutes after leaving the viewpoint at Tiger Mountain you will come across this beautiful, wild campsite nestled in a grove of truly huge trees in a sort of a miniature valley between the back of Tiger and the very lower base of Dujuanling Mountain.



While most people choose to either end their hike at Tiger Mountain or push right on by this point on a quest to summit Jiali Mountain, it does make an attractive option for anyone wanting to get away from the press of crowds and willing to do some legwork to get there. It can be a beautiful, peaceful escape from the noise and chaos of the city, and you have a good chance of encountering the ever-present barking deer or, depending on the season, fireflies. If you are lucky, you might even find yourself surrounded by glowing mushrooms all over the hillside! Yes, that's right - this area is home to glow in the dark mushrooms which can light the whole place up in a beautiful, otherworldly glow.



If you decide to stay at this campsite, just be sure that you come with a decent or good forecast. While light to moderate rains shouldn't pose much of a problem, it is located in a bit of a depression and the unwary may find themselves flooded out in the heavier rainstorms which sometimes pop up in this area. There are other places to pitch a tent not far away, but if you're confident of less-than-bad weather, it's so much nicer staying here!


Giant trees in the campsite area between Tiger and Dujuanling Mountans

The mini-valley where the campsite sits


For those with exceptionally good off trail pathfinding skills, there are a few side attractions here. Follow the valley northeast (right), passing by many more giant trees, and you will reach the headwaters of one of the rivers that flows down to feed Taian's main Wenshui River (汶水溪). Aside from being a good water source, it's amazing to see how this river emerges from underground seemingly out of nowhere and, within the space of just meters, transforms into a massive, raging waterfall! Just be sure that you really are very, very confident in your ability to find your way back if you venture off trail, though. The beauty of Taiwan's forests can be deceptive, and they can be very unforgiving to those who lose their way.


Those highly experienced in finding their way off trail may find passing through the primordial forest (above) to see this torrent of a waterfall emerge from the naked earth (below) a worthwhile side trip

 
 

Starting from the campsite, it is also possible to follow the valley southwest (left) - although again, it is extremely important that you are highly confident and experienced in trailfinding. This will take you past a number of interesting sights, including the remnants of giant trees that were cut down long ago by loggers (above), until you meet another smaller, but more beautiful, waterfall tumbling over a cliff in front of you (below). From here it is possible to scramble up the north (right) side of the gorge to an aboriginal campsite and connect with the highly challenging and difficult to follow trail to Tiger Mountain Southwest Peak (虎山西南峰).



Continuing along this trail, it seems possible according to the maps I've studied to reach another exit on Maao River (馬凹溪), but as of the time of writing I have not yet been that far down the trail. Additionally, while I made an afternoon attempt to reach Tiger Mountain Southwest Peak after hiking to Jialishan once, I was forced to turn back as it turned out to be more challenging than I had expected and the weather and daylight were both turning against me. I'm pretty confident that it could be done as a day hike, but I haven't done that myself (or included any GPX or other data for that section in this post), so definitely do your research and plan ahead if you intend to attempt this route. {This section will be updated in the future if and when I am able to return and hike it in person, so check back periodically for updates!}

 
 

The hulking remnants of a gigantic, felled tree on the hike to Tiger Mountain Southwest Peak (虎山東南峰)

Giant vines as thick as a large bodybuilder's thigh


As for the main hike, though, things are much more straightforward. The campsite is right at the base of an incredibly steep uphill section where the hiking becomes much more physically demanding, and this is only the beginning of the more challenging section.


Old Japanese roads and other ruins (above, below) dot the trail towards Dujuanling Mountain (杜鵑嶺山)

Ropes and steeper uphills await further along

An aboriginal campsite on the trail to Dujuanling Mountain and Jiali Mountain


At the top of one of the steeper sections, you will encounter an aboriginal campsite. Watch to the right a little further on and you will see that it is much larger than it first appears. If you go just a bit off the trail here towards the east (right - much closer to the trail, but still with all the same caveats, as above), you will get to a nice creek. It makes a good water source, and is also a great chance to cool off for a minute!


The sign at the intersection of the Dujuanling trail from Tiger to Jiali Mountains and the trail up from the Luchang Trailhead (鹿場登山口)


Dujuanling Mountain (杜鵑嶺山) itself, while considered by some to be a mountain and even labeled with its own elevation marker (2113 meters / 6932 feet), might by others be considered more of an extension of the ridge coming down from Jialishan (加里山), or even another minor peak of the more famous mountain. But then, if that logic applies, why wouldn't the much, much lower Tiger Mountain itself (1492 meters / 4895 ft.) also just be an extension of Jialishan? Regardless of how you choose to label it, though, once you get here you can start feeling pretty good about yourself. You've already crossed the longest and most difficult parts of the trail, and after one more down and up push, you'll finally arrive at your final destination...



...WELCOME TO JIALISHAN!


Beautiful views of Taiwan's Central Mountain Range (中央山脈) from the top of Miaoli's Jialishan (苗栗加里山)


So now you're here. You've hiked (or trail run!) all the way from Taian to Jialishan, and now it's time to enjoy some incredible views! Take a break, have a drink, eat some food, and relax for a bit before the long, downward trek back to where you started from, you've earned it! Just be sure to leave enough time to get back before you need to bust out that headlamp that, of course, you brought with you.


You... DID bring a headlamp, didn't you?


 

THE NITTY-GRITTY


Skill level: Intermediate - high intermediate


Length of hike:

4.1 km (suspension bridge to campground) +

7.8 km (campground to Jialishan and back) +

4.1 km (campground to suspension bridge) =

16 km TOTAL


MY Time:

I've been several times, sometimes on my own (faster) and other times with friends (slower / much slower). Strangely, it seems to take longer going down than going up for me, at least so far. So...


1:35 (fast) / 2:50 (slow) (suspension bridge to campground) +

6 hours (fast, pushing hard) (campground to Jialishan and back) +

2:50 (fast) / 3:25 (slow) =

10 + hours (conservatively) - 12 + hours AVERAGE TOTAL. Sorry this isn't more precise, I will try to refine it more carefully and update this part on future hikes.


Ascent:

1640 meters (5381 ft)


Water sources:


To Tiger:

You can get water from the creek on the way, in, but it should be filtered and boiled or treated due to the high volume of hiking traffic in the area. Honestly, you're much better off just bringing your own water on this part of the hike (and perhaps just the whole thing, to save trouble).




To Jiali:

  • Water available at the headwaters OFF THE TRAIL near the Tiger Mountain back campsite (use caution leaving the trail - see GPX, map)

  • Water available at the headwaters OFF THE TRAIL near the aboriginal campsite (use caution leaving the trail - see GPX, map)

Gear and provisions:

Good hiking shoes, hiking-appropriate clothes (see remarks), enough water (see above), a lighter (always!), a headlamp or flashlight, lunch and snacks. Hiking poles highly recommended.



The Map Room recommends Fenix headlamps for high-quality, durable headlamps for hiking and river tracing (Amazon affiliate link*).


Sun protection:

Useful for Jiali Peak, but otherwise not generally necessary on this well-shaded, forested hike.


Yes for teenagers 15 or older in excellent physical condition (this will likely be strenuous for them). Adults in less than excellent physical condition will find this hike strenuous, and may struggle to complete it even if in 'good' physical condition.


Dog friendly:

No. Just, no.


Camping /overnighting options:

There are several potential overnight options. The most useful are:

  • Small campsite (2 tents) one minute's walk above the rest area at the suspension bridge (no water source)

  • Various places around the top of the mountain (no water source)

  • Campsite about 20 minutes further past Tiger peak (not necessarily suitable for heavy rain conditions, as heavy rain tends pool in the area). It's at the end of this GPX track.

  • The aboriginal campsite (see map and GPX file - water source just off the main trail)


GPX file 1 of 2: Taian Outdoors 1 Tiger Mountain Taian's Forgotten Mountain - The Map Room (泰安戶外1:失落的虎山) - 地圖寶庫.gpx

Taian Outdoors 1 Tiger Mountain Taian's Forgotten Mountain - The Map Room (泰安戶外1:失落的虎山) -
.
Download • 25KB

GPX file 2 of 2: Taian Outdoors 2 Hushan back campsite - Jialishan and back - The Map Room 泰安戶外2虎山後面露營地-加里山-地圖寶.gpx

Taian Outdoors 2 Hushan back campsite - Jialishan and back - The Map Room 泰安戶外2虎山後面露營地-加里山
.
Download • 20KB







Check out the Map Room Members' Area for more maps, GPX links, and other members only perks!



Remarks:


Parking:

There is a front parking lot with a road leading further into a back parking area. Just drive past the front area, past the guard house, and park at the back parking lot, it will save you a lot of unnecessary walking!


Clothes:

Regardless of the hike, it ALWAYS pays off to have appropriate hiking clothes! These should be clothes you don't mind getting dirty and/or messed up. Pants, shirts, socks, and underwear should all be quick wicking to get sweat off of your skin and quick drying to get it off of your clothes. For these reasons, you should NEVER wear cotton hiking! Sports pants and a sports shirt are a good place to start, but hiking pants have many advantages. A bandanna, headband, or other light cloth for wiping sweat is also advisable.


Water:

For this hike, I personally drink 2 or more liters per day in winter, 3 or more in summer, but I drink a lot of water and you may drink less than me. It's better to have extra than too little, though.


So now you're ready to go! Get out there, enjoy nature, be active, and have an amazing time!


 

Ready to learn more about the Taian area? Check out the whole series here!


Got questions or comments? Can you think of something we missed? Join in the discussion and leave a comment below. At the end of the day, we're just outdoors enthusiasts like you, and we'd love to hear from you!

 

All information on this page is intended for reference only. Preparing adequate food, water, and gear for your adventure, as well as following local rules and laws are, of course, your own responsibility! Always make sure that you check the weather for outdoor destinations, be careful and sensible for enclosed spaces like tunnels and bunkers, and bring a lighter - you never know when it could save your life! Now... get out there and have an amazing time!

 


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