Hiking Beidawu Mountain- Part 2


by Tyler Cottenie


Continued from Beidawu PART 1〈〈〈


UPDATE MAY, 2016: The Beidawu trail is currently closed and will reopen on July 1st, 2016. When it reopens, it will require an additional application to the Forestry Bureau, not covered in this guide, for a limited number of spots, which will be determined by lottery. This guide may be updated in the future to reflect these changes. Stay tuned. --Thanks, Tyler C.


Hiking To The Peak of Beidawu


Beidawu collage


Most people stay at Kuaigu before attempting the peak the next day, though a few hardcore hikers take their tents all the way up to camp near the peak and watch the sunrise. Among those staying at Kuaigu, there are groups that will get up very early (1:00 a.m.) so that they can make it up to the ridge and see the sunrise in the east. Be aware that if you are staying inside the lodge, these people will not likely be quiet when they wake up and will probably wake you up with their noise. It is for this reason that many opt to camp outside. If you're a light sleeper, bring some ear plugs.


You could decide to get up with the early group to see the sunrise, and if you have nice weather, you won’t be disappointed:


Beidawu Sunrise


On a clear day, you will get some beautiful views to the east...


Beidawu views


...to the west...


Beidawu west views


...and to the north, of the Central Mountain Range.


Beidawu north views


Of course, you could also “sleep in” until 5:00 or 6:00 and then start out. This is the most popular and certainly the most relaxing of the options, and this way you don’t need to start the hike using your flashlight. However, if you are doing a 2-day trip you should start earlier than this so you can get off the mountain before dark. In any case, the trail up to the ridge is clearly marked. Just remember to take the fork going UP the mountain soon after you leave Kuaigu, marked on the sign as “Triangulation Point”. If you get to the viewpoint again at 3.8K you have gone too far. There is not a whole lot to see on the way up, except for the Beidawu sacred tree:


Ancient Cypress on Beidawu


Ancient Tree on Beidawu


Once you get to the ridgeline you can see over to eastern Taiwan. There are a couple of narrow sections along the top where you really wouldn’t want to fall down:


Beidawu rope walking


Beidawu rope walks


Walking this trail, you are walking on the top of Taiwan, right along the border between Taitung and Pingtung counties, at the highest point between the ocean on each side.


Beidawu east west view


Beidawu trees


Up here you will finally run into the exotic-looking Taiwan hemlock trees. It’s hard not to love these trees:


Beidawu old hemlocks


Beidawu old hemlocks


Beidawu old hemlocks


Beidawu hemlocks


If you’ve got a clear day, keep an eye out for Taitung City on the east.


Beidawu Taidong City


Sometimes you might get a nice sea of clouds instead.


Beidawu sea of clouds


Before reaching the peak, you will pass two areas of historical interest, both revealing traces of Taiwan’s past as part of the Japanese Empire. The first is a monument built by the Japanese government to commemorate the Taiwanese Aboriginals who fought for Japan in WWII:


Japanese shrine on Beidawu


The second was a Shinto shrine built by the Japanese. Originally they had built it on the summit of Beidawu, but after repeated lightning strikes it was rebuilt at its current location. The stone structure is still intact, but the wooden torii (gate) recently collapsed or was taken down and its posts now lie on the ground. So if you have a seat on a log here, remember that it’s not just a piece of scrap wood, it’s a piece of history. These logs represent the efforts of the Japanese to assert their presence and spread their culture everywhere in Taiwan, even on remote mountaintops. From the shrine, you can now see the peak of Beidawu clearly, ahead and to the right.


Japanese shinto shrine


Japanese shint shrine


One more big down and up and you’re done.

Congratulations on making it to the peak of Beidawu, over three kilometers above Kaohsiung and Pingtung below! Spend some time here celebrating your achievement, and breathe a big sigh of relief knowing it’s basically all downhill from here. Make sure to get your photo with the “triangulation point” stone, the official marker of all major peaks in Taiwan. This particular stone was put in place by the Japanese Army’s land survey team sometime between 1909 and 1932.


Beidawu peak marker


Congratulations!  At 3090meters, you have climbed #90 of Taiwan's 100 Peaks!!!


Beidawu peak view

Beidawu peak panorama


After you’ve had enough peak time it’s time to head back down. If you are doing a 2-day trip, you still have a long 6- to 7-hour walk ahead of you to get all the way out to the trailhead. Don’t forget to walk back to Kuaigu and pick up your heavy gear! Remember that once you get down to the trailhead you still need to drive down the mountain road, so try to get off the trail well before dark and have a safe drive out. If you are doing a 3-day trip, you only need to get to Kuaigu today, so you will have a much more relaxing walk down and can enjoy some extra peak time. You can sleep in on the morning of the third day and still have plenty of time to get off the mountain before sunset.


Beidawu Kaohsiung


Happy hiking!


Driving Directions To The Police Station:


By scooter:


  1. Take Blue Provincial Road 1 out of Kaohsiung City and head toward Pingtung.
  2. Continue on Blue 1 past Pingtung.
  3. You will see a sign showing a left turn for Neipu. Take this left fork.
  4. In central Neipu you will see a sign for a left turn on Pingtung 187 toward Laopi. Take this left.
  5. You will see a sign saying Chengde is straight ahead on Pingtung 98 while Laopi is to the left. Stay straight towards Chengde.
  6. Continue driving straight for several minutes. After a flashing single yellow light, the road will make a big curve to the right. At the next flashing single yellow light, turn left.
  7. Continue through the nice row of trees until the next major road. In front of you there’s a military installation so you can’t go straight. Turn right here onto Pingtung 185.
  8. Soon you will see a sign for Taiwu via Pingtung 102-1. Turn left here. This will take you to the police station, just a minute ahead on your left.


By car:


  1. Take Freeway 1 south.
  2. Exit onto Expressway 88 east.
  3. Follow Expressway 88 until it ends.
  4. Exit left towards Blue Provincial Route 1.
  5. When you get to Blue 1, go right.
  6. Turn left on Pingtung 187 towards Wanluan.
  7. When you get to a T-intersection in Wanluan, turn right.
  8. Pass the first small alley, then turn left at the next road, where there should be a Family Mart.
  9. Follow this road to another T and turn right.
  10. Follow this road into Chihshan. The road winds to the left and gets very narrow for a short time, but just keep going straight.
  11. When you get to a T, turn left and the road will be a little wider again.
  12. Follow the bend to the right at the next intersection and soon after you will cross the 185. You are now on the 102-1.
  13. Continue straight for another minute and the police station will be on your left.


Google map of route to trailhead


What to take:


  • Large backpack 60L, or bigger if you need to take a tent.
  • Rain cover for backpack. If it starts raining and you are on trail with no backpack cover, you risk having all of your clothing for the trip soaked, as well as your camera and phone.
  • Small backpack to put light gear in when you go to the peak and back (optional)
  • Tent, if you haven’t reserved beds
  • Sleeping bag, rated for 0 degrees if you are going in the winter
  • Air mattress, inflatable pillow if you have one. A bundle of clothing is surprisingly hard and uncomfortable as a pillow.
  • All your food for 2-3 days (no 7-11 on the mountain!)
  • Bowl, cup, eating utensils and the like
  • 2L of water is enough, you can fill up again from the kettle at Kuaigu, but make sure your water bottle can handle boiling hot water without melting
  • Small gas burner if you plan to cook or boil water for hot chocolate, tea, etc.
  • Snacks and fruit
  • GOOD RAIN GEAR!!! If you’re bringing 7-11 ponchos, bring at least 5 because they rip easily. And consider investing in better rain gear. Getting drenched by the rain until you’re frozen, then having no warm building to go into for 2 more days and being a day’s walk away from a warm shower is one of the worst things you could put yourself through. In winter, hypothermia is almost certain. All of these worries go away if you just stay dry in the first place. Choose this gear wisely.
  • Clothes for 2-3 days. The temperature up there will be 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in Kaohsiung and can even reach freezing in the winter so be prepared. Shorts and T-shirts are good while you’re actually hiking almost year round, but as soon as you stop you’ll need to change. If you must bring cotton because you have no synthetic quick-drying shirts, bring an extra change of shirt for each day in case you get wet. Same goes for pants.
  • Tuque (warm hat) and gloves for any season but summer. It can get cold sitting around in the outdoors for hours in the evening.
  • Flashlight (headlamp ideally) with extra batteries. And more extra batteries because your friends forgot theirs.
  • Good hiking boots. Sneakers will not stand up to the rough rocks and roots on trail.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat. UV is more intense at high elevations than in the city. Severe sunburn (even in the middle of winter) can be expected on a clear day with no protection.
  • Cell phone
  • Camera
  • Portable power bank
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper (or do you want to wipe with leaves?)
  • Map, compass
  • Lighter
  • Plastic bags to keep wet things contained, to keep map/cell phones/cameras/etc. dry, and for carrying your garbage off the mountain
  • Painkillers in case a headache sets in up there from the elevation, overexertion, heat, cold, dehydration, etc.
  • Ear plugs if you are a light sleeper


Planning Your Trip (2 & 3 day intineraries)


3-day option:


Day 1


6:00 a.m. Leave Kaohsiung.

7:00 a.m. Police station.

8:30 a.m. New trailhead (-2.8K).

10:10 a.m. Old trailhead (0K).

11:30 a.m. Lunch break on trail .

12:30 p.m. Continue hiking.

2:10 p.m. Viewpoint (3.8K).

2:30 p.m. Fork in trail, go towards Kuaigu Inn (4K).

2:35 p.m. Kuaigu Inn, set up camp.

5:00 p.m. Dinner.

8:00 p.m. Sleep.


Day 2


5:00 a.m. Wake up. Breakfast.

6:00 a.m. On trail.

7:30 a.m. Sacred tree (5.5K).

9:45 a.m. Ridgeline.

10:45 a.m. Aboriginal monument.

10:55 a.m. Ruins of Dawu Shinto shrine (8K).

11:30 p.m. Beidawu summit (9K).

12:15 p.m. Leave summit.

12:45 p.m. Ruins of Dawu (8K), lunch.

1:30 p.m. Head down.

5:00 p.m. Kuaigu Inn (4K).

6:00 p.m. Dinner.

9:00 p.m. Sleep.


Day 3


7:00 a.m. Wake up, breakfast, pack up.

8:30 a.m. On trail.

11:00 a.m. Old trailhead (0K).

12:00 p.m. New trailhead (-2.8K).

2:30 p.m. Kaohsiung.



2-day option, fit hikers only, faster pace necessary:


Day 1


6:00 a.m. Leave Kaohsiung.

7:00 a.m. Police station.

8:30 a.m. New trailhead (-2.8K).

10:10 a.m. Old trailhead (0K).

11:30 a.m. Lunch break on trail .

12:30 p.m. Continue hiking.

2:10 p.m. Viewpoint (3.8K).

2:30 p.m. Fork in trail, go towards Kuaigu Inn (4K).

2:35 p.m. Kuaigu Inn, set up camp.

5:00 p.m. Dinner.

8:00 p.m. Sleep.


Day 2


3:30 a.m. Wake up, breakfast.

4:30 a.m. On trail.

6:00 a.m. Sacred tree (5.5K).

7:45 a.m. Ridgeline.

8:45 a.m. Aboriginal monument.

8:50 a.m. Ruins of Dawu Shinto shrine (8K).

9:20 a.m. Beidawu summit (9K).

9:45 a.m. Leave summit.

10:15 a.m. Ruins of Dawu (8K).

1:00 p.m. Kuaigu (4K). Lunch. Pack up.

2:00 p.m. On trail.

4:30 p.m. Old trailhead (0K).

5:30 p.m. New trailhead (-2.8K).

8:00 p.m. Kaohsiung.



Police Mountain Permit Information- See the guide here.

You can apply online in advance or in person at the police station on the way to the mountain on the day of your trip. Just bring your ID.


For a 2-day trip, copy and paste the following for your itinerary for the online police permit:

新登山口 > 舊登山口 > 3.8K瞭望台 > 檜谷山莊
檜谷山莊 > 神木 > ? > 大武祠 > 北大武山頂 > 檜谷山莊 > 舊登山口 > 新登山口

For a 3-day trip, copy and paste the following for your itinerary for the online police permit:

新登山口 > 舊登山口 > 3.8K瞭望台 > 檜谷山莊
檜谷山莊 > 神木 > ? > 大武祠 > 北大武山頂 > 檜谷山莊
檜谷山莊 > 舊登山口 > 新登山口







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