by Robert Minor
AT 3,145 meters, the West Peak of Mt. Hehuan (Hehuan Shan Xi Feng 合歡山西峰) is the longest and most difficult of the 4 Hehuan Peaks (East Peak, North Peak, Main Peak). The total trail distances is 13.4 KM round trip and will take you about 9 hours depending on your speed. This trail also crosses over the Hehuan North Peak so hikers can knock off 2 of Taiwan's 100 Peaks in one trip. Hehuan West Peak is #82 on the 100 list.
The North Peak Hike Article on EIT explains where to camp and start your trek. Basically, after driving up Route 14 past Ching Jing Farm and over Wuling Pass, continue the drive until around the 36 KM marker. You will reach the Mt. Hehuan Service Station. Find a place to park or camp if you are staying the night. The parking lot below is a common place to camp out.
You technically need a permit for Taroko National Park to do this hike. Blue Skies Adventures has English speaking guides who can apply for permits and bring hikers up Jade (and other peaks) several times a year. You can also read about getting permits on our Jade Mountain Page.
Rise early in the morning and walk down the road about 200meters until you reach the trailhead for the North/West Peak Trail.
The trail begins with a steep climb and then levels out to a gradual climb. The trail continues for 2km and is clearly marked. At the 2km mark, you will arrive at the Hehuan North Peak.
After a short rest and some photos on the North Peak, it's time to get serious and start the West Peak trek. Follow the sign that points you in the trail direction. There are about 5 km to go. This hike is not for the weak at heart. Get ready for some ups and downs (5 humps) and a few steep climbs and slides. However, also get ready for some different types of trails that head through pine forests, and open faced grassy hills. If the weather is clear, the views will be fabulous.
The West Peak meanders through different types of terrain including mountain top forests.
The trail at times hugs the sides of rolling, grassy, cleared top hills.
There are several parts of the trail that suddenly enter into pine forests.
The Hehuan West Peak trail is known for its humps. There are 5 ups and downs you will encounter along the journey. Although, we didn't feel any of them were that deep or high.
At different times of the year, hikers can see different kinds of foliage. At this time, May, there were many purple buds on pine trees.
The west peak is not a dangerous hike. There really aren't any steep cliff drops offs. However, hikers should be prepared for cold weather and stay hydrated while on trail. It doesn't feel like it, but the hike takes place at around 3,000 meters.
There are some incredible views on this trail. On this day, we had many clouds, but they cleared for us often. Be aware that on sunny days, hikers will be exposed to the sun so prep sunscreen, a hat, and extra water.
Below is one of the steeper "humps" of the west peak hike. You can pick out colorful hikers in the distance.
Spring flowers are in bloom on Hehuan Mountain.
The Hehuan West Peak trail is in good condition and distances are clearly marked. Here is the 4 km marker. 6.7 km is the peak.
Some more great scenery on the west peak hike.
The clouds cleared for us and revealed some great ridges of Taroko National Park.
The halfway point between the Hehuan North Peak and Hehuan West Peak.
Getting close to the peak. Another hump view of the trail.
The final ascent! The West Peak is often described by many as a boring peak. It just looks like a grassy hill among the mountains. I personally enjoyed this hike for the journey and not so much for the destination.
The 6.7 kilometer mark shows you have arrived at the West Peak of Hehuan Mountain. #82 of Taiwan's top 100 peaks.
The west peak is grassy and is a nice place to hang out, brew up some tea, take a nap, and enjoy the views.
The obligatory peak sign is proof you have reached the the west peak.