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Zhijiayang Mountain and Snow Mountain South Peak 台灣志佳陽山和雪山南峰

Updated: Oct 29, 2023


 
 
 

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Zhijiayang Mountain and Snow Mountain South Peak

台灣志佳陽山和雪山南峰


 

OVERVIEW

 

Taiwan's Zhijiayang Mountan (志佳陽山) is one of the famous Top Hundred Peaks of Taiwan (台灣百岳). More than that, it's the original, Japanese era hiking trail to Snow Mountain (雪山)! This post tells how to get there, how to get in, and how to get all the way to Snow Mountain South Peak (雪山南峰).

 

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Amazing view of Zhongyang Jian Mountain (中央尖山), Snow Mountain (雪山), the Ridge of Death (死亡稜線), and the Holy Ridge (聖稜線) on the old, Japanese era route to Snow Mountain from Zhijiayang Mountain (志佳陽) in Taiwan


The sunset lights up Taiwan's Zhongyang Jian Mountain in hues of red and pink and orange


Zhongyang Jian Mountain at sunset


The view from the top of Zhijiayang

Water source just past the Xueshan (Syueshan / 雪山) Campground, where a cabin once stood. This photo was taken during a historic drought, so water should be available most times.



 

THE APPROACH AND OPTIONAL BASE CAMP

 

To get to Taiwan's Zhijiayang Mountan, and beyond it to Snow Mountain South Peak (and Snow Mountain Main Peak), you need to first pass through Huanshan Tribal Village (Sqoyaw / 環山部落). It is beautiful and vibrant, and the locals are incredibly kind and welcoming! You can take mass transit to and from the local 7-11 (see below).

Follow the road down to the valley.

Cross the suspension bridge

Look for this bridge. Go under it, then up to the left, and cross it. There is also an alternate route through some farmland, instead of by the riverbed. You'll pass through a gate into farmland and eventually take a right to cross that bridge. There are signs along the way, but it's still not super clear. Either will get you to the same place!

Follow the signs

Once we passed this metal walkway running alongside the river, we came to the campground where we stayed the night (below). We had originally planned to go up Zhijiayang Mountain in the evening and sleep at the Piaodan Pool Shelter (瓢簞山屋), but we had time to spare so we decided to take it easy and camp at the foot of the mountain for the night instead.


Another small campsite before where we camped

Camping just below the long, uphill section towards Piaodan Pond Cabin

 

THE ASCENT AND THE PEAK

 

The next morning, after sleeping in a bit, we were rewarded with great weather, beautiful flowers, and amazing views all the way up to the peak of Zhijiayang!

There is a lot of uphill to negotiate, and in wet conditions I think it would be a lot less fun, but the weather was perfect during our hike.

Beautiful flowers on the hike up Taiwan's Zhijiayang Mountain

At the top of the main slope things level off a bit before Piaodan Pond Cabin. There is another trail splitting off from here towards Mawuba Mountain - one much less traveled and more challenging - heading down in a different direction. We weren't there for that though, so we just passed on by.

Arrow bamboo crowds the side trail to Mawuba Mountain in Xueba National Park, Taiwan

Getting close to the peak!

A small campsite / rest area part way up the climb to Zhijiayang

Piaodan Pond Cabin, 'pond,' and campground. There was no water when we passed by.

Piaodan Pond Cabin on Taiwan's Zhijiayang hiking trail

Hiking in Taiwan, you usually have much better cabins than Zhijiayang Mountain's Piaodan Pond Cabin...

...but it will keep you dry and warmer than if you were outside!


"If you come here on a day with good views, take five extra minutes to go past the peak of Zhijiayang Mountain through the bamboo and get a look at Snow Mountain. You won't regret it, and you'll really be missing out if you don't!"

Looking back, there was a great view of Piaodan Pond Cabin (瓢簞山屋, the little white rectangle) with Zhongyang Jian Mountain (中央尖山, the massive, spiky point dominating the left of the horizon), The Nameless Mountain (Wuming Mountain, 無名山), and the Ridge of Death (Death Ridge, 死亡稜線). Having hiked all of these, it was amazing to look back at them from such a relatively easy hike and just enjoy relaxing in perfect weather on a sunny day!

The view north along Taiwan's Snow Mountain range from Zhijiayang Mountain

We sort of stumbled upon the 'peak' of Zhijiayang without completely realizing it at first. While there is a lot of uphill, we had been taking it easy and enjoying the amazing weather and beautiful scenery so much that it surprised us once we got there!

 
 

 

ONWARD TOWARDS SNOW MOUNTAIN!

 

While we hadn't originally planned on going any further, the day was still young and Snow Mountain South Peak was - we thought - just up ahead, so we decided to keep going!

There is a short stretch of arrow bamboo on the trail towards Snow Mountain and the Holy RIdge just past the second of the two peaks of Zhijiayang, but it doesn't take much time or energy to get past it. Once you do, you're treated to an AMAZING view of Snow Mountain from a different direction than most people get to see. If you come here on a day with good views, take five extra minutes to go past the second peak of Zhijiayang Mountain through the bamboo and get a look at Snow Mountain. You won't regret it, and you'll really be missing out if you don't!

 
 

Snow Mountain Main Peak loomed in the background as we approached the peak of Zhijiayang Mountain.

 
 

Views of Snow Mountain from just beyond the peak of Zhijiayang Mountain

Rocky ridge just beyond the peak of Zhijiayang Mountain

Looking back over fields of dwarf bamboo, we were treated to still more stunning views of Zhongyang Jian Mountain!

Looking back at the view of Zhijiayang Mountain in Taiwan

Once we passed the dwarf bamboo, we came to a steep, and beautiful, mountainside forest.

Dead trees in the forest south of Taiwan's Snow Mountain South Peak

Looks like somebody needs to learn how to choose better hiking shoes!

Our first close-up view of Snow Mountain!



 

SNOW MOUNTAIN SOUTH PEAK,

WATER SOURCE, AND CAMPSITE

 

After a while, we came to the former site of the Syueshan (Xueshan, 雪山) cabin. While there is no remaining trace of the cabin itself, it is a wonderful, flat campsite with a seemingly very reliable water source nearby. Even in the drought we were able to get plenty of water - though we needed to filter and treat it.

Once you reach the Syueshan (Xueshan, 雪山) cabin site campsite, look for a path going straight up the hill. This will take you to Snow Mountain South Peak. The other path - downhill in the direction of Snow Mountain Main Peak - passes the water source and then takes you exactly there. Apparently it's a very, very steep uphill, but we didn't have time for that on this particular hike.

The Syueshan (Xueshan, 雪山) cabin site water source (above, in drought conditions) and the path leading there (below).

The water source in drought

The path to the water source

Another view of the Syueshan (Xueshan, 雪山) cabin area campsite

The views of Snow Mountain from Snow Mountain South Peak are absolutely spectacular! Even with the great weather and views we had had so far, this was one of the biggest highlights of the whole day!

The marker on top of Snow Mountain South Peak