Jiali Mountain -加里山
The trail up Jialishan is well maintained, but a relatively steep climb of over 4km (one-way), passing through beautiful pine forests, abandoned Japanese rail lines, and more forested beauty. This is a beautiful hike for intermediate-level hikers in Taiwan, and a nice challenge for those who are just getting their feet dirty on Taiwan’s various trails.
As always, please be a responsible hiker and stay on the trail, don’t feed the animals and pack out the garbage that you bring with you. Be respectful of others while outdoors, as well as being respectful of those communities we visit or pass through.
Hiking Jialishan with Parkbus Taiwan:
There is only a single trail, out and back, from the trailhead up to the peak of Jialishan. The trail spans 6.6 kilometers one way, and has an elevation gain of 785 meters. The route will take Parkbus hikers from the parking area up to the peak of Jialishan. As this is a Scenic Area of Miaoli County, the trail is maintained and in decent shape. This trail is suitable for hikers with moderate fitness and some hiking experience or for any experienced hikers in Taiwan looking for a beautiful day out on a fun trail.
Throughout the trail, hikers will see massive boulders that would have fallen from the mountain above. Now covered in lush green moss, they give this trail almost a prehistoric feeling. Between the 2.65km mark and the peak of the Jialishan is some of the most interesting climbing and hiking on this route. It may not be enjoyable for everyone, But if you’re capable and have the right resources and equipment like gloves and good hiking boots this is a very fun trail to hike. There are several locations where you can sit on small wooden benches to enjoy a break along the Jialishan Trail.
The last 400m is where the trail begins to get interesting (and challenging). About 200m before that thought, is one of the most beautiful stretches of the trail. Large boulders the size of shipping contains (or bigger) seem to have fallen off the peak rolled into a lush forest. After who knows how long, hikers in Taiwan made their way here and blazed a trail through this unique and rugged landscape at 2000m. A small bridge and sections of ropes and narrow crevasses make this area one of our favorites stretches on this trail.
As you approach a red sign that reads “Climb with Care”, you’ll also see the last trail junction that leads to the Dapingshan trailhead. To get to Jialishan peak however, you have to start climbing. Behind the sign, hikers will find a rope and metal staples embedded into the rock face. A trail marker sign indicates that only 400m remains. This is where the final ascent begins.
The last 400m is a mix of rocks, roots, and ropes that offer the most challenging sections of this trail. Gloves are really helpful here as are good quality hiking boots. Hiking in Taiwan offers up some gnarly roped sections and Jialishan is no different. In fact, you’ll be climbing above and underneath roots and this can all get tricky when the landscape gets a little bit wet. On the day we were hiking Jialishan the trail was just dry enough that we didn’t have to worry about it too much
After quickly scrambling up the rope section with metal staples the trail gets increasingly gnarly and convoluted. At first, we didn’t know which section to climb, although after a short photo session of a really beautiful tree, we found our way. The boulders and tree formations here are a lot of fun and very interesting.
Roots from one tree have been lifted and you can hike right underneath them. After a variety of roped sections that you really have to be careful and capable of, the final 20 meters or so are filled with scrubby brushes and frequent spots to (likely) see amazing views.
Unfortunately, when we made it up to the peak the clouds had moved in and we had zero visibility. When we hiked this trail we were lucky enough to not have seen a single other hiker. The clearing at the top of Jialishan is quite large and we can imagine on a busy weekend the area could hold 30 people or so.
Points of Interest:
The Views and the Mountain / 空中走廊 – The views from atop the peak of Jialishan are an attraction in and of itself and on a clear day, hikers can see all the way to the coastal cities in the west of Taiwan. During autumn and winter, there is a chance to see the “sea of clouds” as well!
JiaLi Mountain is listed as one of the Taiwan’s 100 mountains! Ok….wait. We should provide a bit more detail here. There are in fact 2 lists of ‘100 Peaks’ in Taiwan, (200!). One is a list of 100 peaks that are over 3,000 meters above sea level, known as the “Bai Yue” (台灣百岳). These are not ranked, nor are they actually the hardest hikes in Taiwan (some are!), but rather representative of the diversity and variety of hiking experiences in Taiwan. The other is a list of 100 Peaks that are more suitable for beginner to novice hikers and can be climbed easily known as the “Small Bai Yue” (小百岳). JiaLi Mountain is on the list of smaller peaks.