Yushan National Park

Set up in 1985 to protect northeast Asia’s highest peak, the 3,952 m-tall (12,966 ft) Mount Jade, and the stunningly rugged highlands that surround it, Yushan National Park covers 105,490 ha (407 square miles) or about 3 percent of Taiwan’s total land area.

Yushan National Park in Taiwan

No technical climbing skills are required to hike to the country’s highest point, and this is many visitors’ primary goal. But it goes without saying that the park offers a great deal more than a single mountain. There are enough high-altitude trails to keep trekking enthusiasts busy for weeks, including: a multi-day route that goes right across the park from west to east; enough animals, birds, and insects to galvanize eco-tourists; and so much gorgeous scenery visible from the few roads that enter the park that even those who stick close to their vehicles will find their breath taken away. The drive from Alishan to Tatajia inside the park (and near the Mount Jade trailhead) is splendid, and if you continue northward on the New Central Cross-Island Highway toward Sun Moon Lake, you’ll see plenty more gorgeous vistas.

Before planning a Mount Jade hike, or attempting any overnight treks in Taiwan’s higher mountains, travellers should ensure they have obtained the necessary permits and booked accommodation in mountain refuges. Failing to do so can result in a stiff fine (at best) and a huge rescue fee (at worst).