Set up in 1985 to protect northeast Asia’s highest peak, 3,952m (12,966 feet) tall Mount Jade, and the stunningly rugged highlands that surround it, Yushan National Park covers 105,490 hectares, or about 3% of Taiwan’s land area.
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 one 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 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.