Permits must be obtained well in advance. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts to obtain permits especially for foreigners as the window you are applying for might be booked full. The number of runners climbing the mountain is limited to the spaces available at Paiyun and Yuanfong Cabin. The mountain is closed every February and permits are canceled when there is a risk of dangerous amounts of ice/snow, or a typhoon approaching.
Features: Cave — Views — Waterfall — Wildlife
Tatajia is located where Highway 18 connects with Highway 21. There is a hostel, visitor center, and police station at this location.
For transportation to the area, the nearest access to public transport is in Alishan and bus transport to Tatajia can be arranged in Alishan to Tatajia. (You should seriously consider all means of transportation to Tatajia since Alishan is not always the best place to transfer from. Alishan is a heavy tourist area). Please note that these roads are not traveled frequently except by locals. If you are unable to catch a bus, you can use your own transportation to get to Tatajia or hitchhike; the Taiwanese are rather friendly people who are generally willing to help out a runner.
The trail is a long haul that can be completed in two days but can certainly be accomplished in one day if physically fit and well prepared and if you start early enough. First the climb up to Paiyun Cabin and then the final approach to the summit early the next day and then trek back down. Paiyun Cabin, which is located at roughly 3,400 meters, is a barrack-style hut with no food or bedding unless you have arranged these supplies well in advance. There is a reliable water supply at this cabin but not at others on the mountain.
A night at Paiyun Cabin will cost you roughly $7 per night ($220 NTD per night). It is highly recommended that you reserve space in advance. It is very popular to stay the night at the cabin and wake up early to reach the summit for the amazing sunrise. Some areas of this trail will require scrambles but are not anything that is overly difficult. Be mindful of where you run as the mountain habitat is very fragile.
Towards the summit, there is a well known spot known as the "Wind Tunnel". A steel/netting structure has been built to prevent people from falling off the mountain due to the high winds. This is located roughly one kilometer from the summit and must be taken seriously.
Only experienced mountaineers may apply for a permit to stay in higher cabins; Yuanfong is the high altitude cabin which climbers can use as a base camp for traversing Yushan's southern peaks. This cabin is significantly smaller, it does not have reliable water, and is considerably more exposed than Paiyun.