A Journey Through Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range

Taiwan is an amazing island that offers both the mountains and the beaches within a couple hours drive of each other.  With three large national parks, Sheipa, Tarako, and Yushan National park, we are constantly exploring new and exciting destinations for trekking through these beautiful ranges. This write up will be focusing on one of the four challenges of Taiwan, the Qilai East Ridge Trek.

Located in the Tarako National Park, this trek stems from the Central range to the awe inspiring Qilai mountain. The journey will take you through bamboo forests and mountain fields, touching the corner of Mount Tarako, and finishing up in the world famous Tarako Gorge.

Normally this trek starts near Wuling Pass in the central Mountain range.  First, making your way to the top of Mount Qilai North Ridge (3607 meter) and then working your way down to the Tarako gorge over 5 days to an altitude of about 800 meters.

When we decided to undertake this beautiful trek, construction was to begin on the bridge across the tarako gorge and we were required to do the trek in the opposite direction.  This made the challenge just a bit more interesting.

The start of the trek was extremely humid and the water sources were spread out with quite some distance between each water point.  As the trek continued on, we found that the trail markers were placed so that they would be very visible coming from the other direction. This really gave us an opportunity to hone our map reading and compass skills.

The trail itself was an amazing combination of bamboo forests and dense overgrowth. This was followed by reaching the sub alpine line of beautiful pine trees, and to finally being above the tree-line. We had a chance to experience a bit of everything.  You must be prepared to sleep in a tent the entire time. With the exception of a workers hut, and the Qilai hut, it’s all campsites.  And there were some pretty amazing campsites along the way.

Water was another factor we had to be mindful for.  There was only one to two sources of water we would cross each day.  We would carry about 7 liters of water between the two of us.  With our dehydrated meals, water was a key to both drinking and eating. Not all water points were from an absolute clean water source.  Using a sterilizing pen, as well as water purification tablets is the precaution we took for this environment. Doing this trek in November, we had amazing weather but as we got higher into the mountains, the weather did become quite cold.  One night spent on the ridge saw ice droplets around us in the morning.

We were completely alone and in solitude for the first 5 days.  Day number six we had some amazing visitors.  Deer that were completely unafraid, came and visited our campsite in the evening.

On Day 7 we finally emerged on the top of Qilai North Peak, and being a popular peak, there were quite a few trekkers on top giving us a curious look as to where we just came from. It is not common to do the Qilai East ridge trek in the opposite direction.  The trekkers were extremely friendly and even gave us a ride all the way to Taichung, where we enjoyed a nice hot shower and a great Taiwanese meal, with bubble tea as the dessert!

This trek is a great all around experience for trekking in Taiwan.  A similar trek would be our “Twin Peaks, Dapa to Pintian mountain” trek. Also the “Sheipa Mountain Holy ridge” trek is a great introduction to mountaineering as the use of ropes and other technical equipment is involved. Check out our other blogs on our intro to mountaineering equipment as well as the other adventures that we love to take you on! Have any other questions?  Contact us now!

Happy Trekking!

About Author

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Patrick
have been doing outdoor activities solo since my early adulthood. Usually when I get involved in a hobby or sport, I don’t let go until I achieve a high level and understanding of the sport. I got my scuba instructors in 2001. In 2006 I took up Kite surfing and am one level away from instructor on kite surfing. I have been doing trips into the wild, the off the beaten path trips for most of my life. I learned to repel and climb at a young age and have always enjoyed camping and backpacking. Over the 6+ years, I have gotten really involved in alpine style mountaineering. With certifications in mountaineering, and instructor certifications in lead climbing, and repelling (abseiling), I enjoy sharing or knowledge and teaching to those who have a passion for outdoors. Now I am working on completing the outdoor wilderness leadership program. People have always heard of my trips, and spoke with envy that they wanted to try such things but didn’t know how. This has inspired me to move to open this company. The Wildfire Expedition Company or “Wildfire Expeditions”

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