Covering 76,850 hectares of central Taiwan, Shei-Pa National Park embraces two of Taiwan’s most iconic peaks – Snow Mountain, (known variously as Xueshan, Sheishan or Mount Xue) and Dabajianshan (also Mount Dapachien). The former is Taiwan’s second-highest peak at 3,886m, while the latter (3,490m) is famed for its distinctive barrel shape. The park has 49 other summits more than 3,000m above sea level, so hikers don’t lack for options.
The ascent of Snow Mountain is very beautiful indeed and many experienced hikers prefer it to the slightly higher Mount Jade. It can also be the final summit of a multi-day trekking route known as The Holy Ridge, so named because the scenery is sublime.
In terms of fauna, Shei-Pa’s most unique asset is the Formosan Landlocked Salmon. It’s not the only landlocked salmon species in the world, but it’s the only type of salmon that lives anywhere near the tropics. It’s regarded as especially precious because it’s a holdover from the last Ice Age. Thousands of years ago, it habitually migrated to the ocean and back, but as the climate warmed, it retreated deep into the mountains.