Having failed to get a permit in the Yushan National Park because of the snow season, we headed a little further south to Pingdong County to hike Beidawushan which is Taiwan’s southern most Baiyue (top one hundred mountain). In the past this was a reasonable 2 day hike, but a large landslide caused my Typhon Morakot means the trailhead is much lower and further back making it a much tougher walk. We did it in 2 days, but if you’ve got the time, I think 3 days would be more enjoyable.
Although it’s one of the smaller Baiyue (3092m), Beidawu is a mammoth rock that rises sharply from the ground. The strip of land that it lies on is only 80km from the west coast to the east coast and on fine days you can see both (or so I hear!)
The new trailhead begins at the side of the road. It’s very, very steep and in an hour we had already climbed some 400m up to get to the old trailhead. The new route passes briefly on the old road before plunging back up the mountain and finally rejoins the road for a short time again.
The walk up to the cabin is really nice. We spotted several Formosan macaques, a flying squirrel and a bird of prey that swooped down on the forest as we walked by.
The walk to the Kauigu Cabin took around and 3 hours and we arrived with plenty of time to explore the stream and waterfall nearby as well as walk the 300m back to an exposed area of the trail to catch the sunset. The cabin is one of the nicer ones to stay in with lots of seating, covered areas, places to cook and relax and now spaces can be booked online! Unfortunately you’ll need a Taiwanese ID to do so.
We were up at 2am for breakfast and headed up the mountain half an hour later. I usually enjoy hiking at night, but by the time we got to the old Japanese Shrine on the ridge, I’d had enough of groping around in the dark and falling over tree branches that I couldn’t see. We considered hanging around by the shrine before heading over to the peak, but the cold pushed us on.
For a while it promised to be a spectacular sunrise but as we neared the peak, clouds blew over and we really didn’t see much. With nothing to look at we headed back along the ridge. Now the freezing temperatures and the wet clouds combined to cover some of the trees with a thin layer of frost which looked especially nice in the early light.
We stopped for a second breakfast at the shrine and read up a bit on Beidawu’s history via the sign board. The Shrine was originally built on the actual peak despite the protests of the local Paiwan Aborigines. It was eventually moved further south after it was repeatedly struck by lightening.
Another interesting relic just next to the shrine is a momument built again by the Japanese to honour the aboriginal soldiers who fought for the Japanese in the second world war.
From here walked back to the cabin packed up and then headed all the way down to the trailhead. It was a long and exhausting day with some 12 hours of hiking in all!
2 days is really tough. You’re looking at a 1000m climb and then a 2000m descent on the second day. 3 days would make the hike much more enjoyable.
The Kuaigu Cabin isn’t too bad. There’s plenty of space inside and lots of decking and covered areas outside too. Nearby there are a number of wooden platforms for camping on.
You can now book the cabin using the forestry bureau’s website, but you’ll need a Taiwanese person’s ID to do so. Unfortunately, the camping space can’t as yet be booked.
There’s a good water supply at the cabin and toilets too.
You only need a mountain entry permit for this one which can be applied for at the police station in Jiaping. Ask ahead to see how people are up there if you don’t have a space in the cabin booked.
There road leading to the new trailhead is currently undergoing repairs and it still isn’t in great shape. Might be best to avoid heading up on rainy days. Call ahead to get the lastest info on road conditions.
Trailhead is roughly here 22.611931,120.698934
Police Station is here 22.591537,120.629003