Mt. Qilai Open
- Mt. Hehuan Service Station
- Trail Level
- Mountaineering Trail
- Permits Required
- Both Mountain and Park Entry Permits Required
- 3560 m
- Needed Time
- 2-3 days (out-and-back); 3-4 days (thru-hike)
- 1. The Qilai Mountain Range is situated within the National Park’s Ecological Protection Area. Please apply for a Park Access Permit and a Mountain Access Permit from the Park Headquarters prior to entering this area.
2. The terrain within the Mountain Range is complex and includes many cliffs. The abundance of clouds and high probability of fog within this region may obscure the trail direction. Please take special care when traversing this region during these situations.
3. When passing along the cliffs at Mt. Qilai Main Peak and Mt. Kaluolou, please pay extra attention when in this section and proceed slowly and carefully.
4. If a typhoon or heavy rain is forecasted during prospective hiking dates, please abide by the restrictions announced by the Park Headquarters. Hikers who are already en route during inclement weather should suspend all mountaineering activities and follow the best course of action.
5. Weather conditions and temperatures in the mountains can change dramatically and quickly. Pay special attention to these conditions and dress adequately.
6. Mobile phone signal is available along the majority of the mountain ridgeline. Please prepare a spare battery or a portable charger in case of emergencies.
- QR Code
- Geographic Code
The Qilai mountain range can be divided into two sections: the Main and North Peaks of Mt. Qilai are located east of Mt. Hehuan, while the East Ridge distantly follows the trajectory of the Liwu Valley. Mt. Qilai's Main and North Peaks are not only included in the Baiyue (Taiwan's Top 100 Mountains), but Mt. Qilai North Peak is one of Taiwan's "10 Glories" that many mountaineers aspire to summit.
The Qilai Mountains can roughly be sectioned into three different itineraries that span various distances and difficulties.
1. Mt. Qilai Main/North Peaks: This trail itinerary is the most popular within the Qilai Area. If well-planned, the entire trail can be completed in two days, including summiting both the Main and North peaks of Mt. Qilai.
2. Mt. Qilai Series/Traverse: In addition to summiting the Mt. Qilai Main and North Peaks, this trail itinerary also passes the challenging Kaluolou Cliff to reach Mt. Qilai South Peak, another one of Taiwan's Baiyue. Mt. Qilai South Peak is popular among hikers, especially as part of the Nenggao Historic Trail . The section between Mt. Qilai South Peak and Tianchi Cabin is particularly affected by typhoons, and is often impassable due to the collapse of trail from high winds and heavy rain. Hikers should be especially careful when passing the Kaluolou Cliff, where weather conditions in this area change especially quickly and dramatically, with fog arising during the afternoon. The majority of the trail runs along this and other cliffs; hikers should be careful throughout the trail.
3. Qilai East Ridge: This route itinerary comprises at least 6 days, and is especially difficult due to the scarcity of reliable water sources along the second half of the route.
Mt. Qilai is also known locally as "Black Qilai" due to the high frequency of accidents and the largest number of accidental deaths in Taiwan occurring within the trail. In addition, the west face of Mt. Qilai, viewable only from the Mt. Hehuan area, only receives sunlight before noon and is shrouded in thick fog and mist in the afternoon, retaining a gloomy quality for the majority of the day. As such, the indigenous people living in the region both respected and feared the mountain.
Stop 1: Mt. Qilai North Peak
Standing at an elevation of 3,607 m, Mt. Qilai North Peak is a classic triangular-shaped mountain peak and is one of the Taiwan Baiyue's "10 Glories". Cliffs surround the peak on the North, West, and South faces, whereas prairies gently slope downwards along the east face. The prairies continue further eastwards towards Mt. Panshi (磐石山) and is composed of scattered rocks among short, green bamboo (Fargesia demissa) grassland, presenting an altogether completely different landscape compared to the rest of the Qilai area.
Stop 2: Mt. Qilai Main Peak
Mt. Qilai Main Peak, also a member of the Baiyue, sits at an elevation of 3,560 m. Like the North Peak, this peak is similarly precipitous: the ridge leading towards the North and South Peaks follow two separate cliffs. To its West lies yet another cliff composed of loose soil, while the trail towards the East descends rapidly towards a deep depression. The green bamboo (Fargesia demissa) grassland can be seen towards the Northeast, which, when illuminated with the first rays of sunrise, present an incredible and beautiful landscape.
Upon passing the Main Peak, hikers traverse along the Kaluolou Cliff. Though a thrilling section to hike through, the ground is composed of slate which is inherently unstable.
Stop 3: Mt. Kaluolou
Mt. Kaluolou, at an elevation of 3,385 m, presents the most challenging section of the Qilai mountain range due to the constant presence of high winds and low visibility from being situated within the cloud layer. A wide variety of flora can grows within the Kaluolou Ridge, including the Himalayan juniper (Juniperus squamata) and the gold-flower Yushan rhododendron (Rhododendron pseudochrysanthum).
Stop 4: Mt. Qilai South Peak
At 3,358 m, Mt. Qilai South Peak stands alone at the southern end of the Qilai Mountain Range. Short bamboo grass spans the entirety of the path leading from the South Peak trail entrance to the summit. Because of its relative isolation from the North and Main peaks, hikers often trek to Mt. Qilai South Peak from Tianchi Cabin from the south as part of the Nenggao Historic Trail, which starts and ends at Tunyuan.
- Qilai-Mt. Hehuan Area: Topographic Map | Route Map
- Tianchi Cabin: Online application (7-45 days in advance)
- Connecting trails: Xiaoqilai Trail | Mt. Pingfeng | Nenggao Historic Trail | Qilai East Ridge
Bus:From Taichung (Eastbound): A series of 3 buses connects Taichung to the trailhead of Qilai East Ridge. Leg 1: Taichung – Puli (Buses #6670 via Taichung HSR Train Station, #6268 via Taichung HSR and TRA Train Stations, #6899 via Taichung TRA Train Station); Leg 2: Puli – Qingjing Farm (Bus #6664; 70 mins); Leg 3: Qingjing Farm – Songxue Lodge (Bus #6658A; 50 mins). Nantou Bus Company recommends visitors to take Bus #6670 leaving Taichung Railway Station at 08:23 and 11:18 (Taichung HSR Station at 08:45 and 11:35 respectively) to be able to reach Songxue Lodge at 11:15 and 15:10 respectively. Sample itineraries are available from Nantou Bus Company. Please confirm the above schedules directly with Nantou Bus Company in case of any recent changes.
The end of the Qilai East Ridge trail at Yuewang Pavilion is 200 m from Heliu bus stop, serviced by buses #302, #1126, #1133, #1133A, and #1141).
Driving:The trailhead of Mt. Qilai is located at the Ski Lodge, which is 300 m from Provincial Highway 14A (14Jia) at Songsyue Lodge and Hehuanshan 3158 Café.