He-huan mountain summits are over 3000 meters above sea level. They are the high mountain group situated west of Ta-roko National Park.
There are more than 260 high mountains in Taiwan over 3000 meters above sea level. Taiwan has the highest density of high mountains in the world.
Among the two hundred some mountains, there are 100 of them more suitable for climbing. Each one of them became a high mountain system, collectively dubbed as the "One Hundred Peaks" by mountain-climbing aficionados in Taiwan.
He-huan Mountain is one of them.
Climbing One Hundred Peaks typically requires tremendous amount of work. The preparation needs to be thorough.
You need to be fully equipped with mountain-climbing gear, apply for wilderness permit, hire a guide, etc.
Due to the fact that you can arrive right at the hiking entrance by road, and the summit only requires little climbing, He-huan mountain is dubbed as the easiest one among "One Hundred Peaks" to climb.
It's easier to come to He-huan Mountain from Nantou on the west side than Hua-lian on the east side.
From the east, you'll need to take Highway 8 and then connect to Highway 14A;
from the west, take National Highway 6 and then take the Puli exit. Make a left turn onto Highway 14A, which is the Central Cross-Island Highway Wu-she Branch.
Highway 14A passes through the 3000-meter He-huan Mountain. It's the road at the highest spot in Taiwan, which happens to be endowed with absolutely gorgeous scenery.
Going uphill from Puli, you'll come by Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area, Wu-she Farm and Qingjing Farm.
If you are heading uphill before noon, the sunlight can be blinding at times. Pay attention not to head toward Lu-shan Hot Spring.
The mountain scenery is magnificent along the way. Once you see the old Control Station, pay attention to the road reduction and more twists and turns.
Yuang-feng Visitor Center
Arriving at Yuang-feng Visitor Center 2750 meters above sea level, you should park your car and get some rest.
Aside from possible carsickness, you can also get Acute Mountain Sickness due to the elevation of over 2400 meters.
Kunyang Rest Station
Arriving at Kunyang Rest Station, you are already on the high mountain over 3000 meters above sea level.
You should definitely take a break and take your time enjoying some beautiful scenery.
On both the eastmost and westmost sides of the Ta-roko National Park, there is one boundary stone respectively. This one is on the westmost side.
The boundary stone is facing a big curve, becoming the most representative of He-huan Mountain scenic photos.
Many people come here to take photos.
To our surprise, we saw soon-to-be newlyweds shooting wedding photos.
The road and mountain scenery encountered from the boundary stone all the way to Kunyang Rest Station is breathtakingly beautiful.
The mountain range across from the rest station is the famous Mountain Qi-lai Series. There is an explanation board, labeling the position of every mountain.
This is also a place for admiring high mountain plants. In addition to the large Yushania Niitakayamensis Forest, the mountain is filled with Rhododendron every May and June.
Due to the confined road, please don't pull over on the roadside lest we cause the traffic to be held up.
Wu-ling is the highest spot on the road. It isn't a long journey going from Kun-yang to Wu-ling, and the scenery is very beautiful.
It looks not so alarmingly dangerous due to its gentle slope.
White clouds cutting across the hilltop is a frequent sight forming a cloud waterfall.
Green mountain scenery is all of a sudden amidst the hovering white cloud, resembling a scene taken from the movie made by Miyazaki Hayao.
Due to the very high elevation, the temperature is quite comfortable even when the hot sun is high in the sky during summer.
The bare and tattered rock formations in Wu-ling give testament to how violent the land formation was.
The high mountain scenery is also alluring. Looking back at the road scenery stretching from Kun-yang to Wu-ling is absolutely mind healing.
Wu-ling is a landmark. Many folks coming here will line up in order to take a picture with the landmark.
Due to being the highest spot on the road, the elevation starts to decline from here on.
Song Syue Lodge
Looking down from the Yushania Niitakayamensis Forest nearby, you can see a red building He-huan Mountain Tourist Information Center from a distance.
Looking into the distance from the parking lot, you are looking at the Li-wu River Drainage Basin situated west of the park.
It's very hard to imagine that this place used to be a stratum at the bottom of the ocean. It became what it is today after getting cut through by rainwater.
There are many hiking entrances in the vicinity of He-huan Mountain Tourist Information Center. There is also Song Syue Lodge.
The tourist information center is at the border between Ren-aye Township, Nantou and Show-lin Township, Hua-lian.
Song Syue Lodge is already inside Hua-lian County. At an elevation of 3150 meters, it's the highest hotel in Southeast Asia.
There are many pine trees in the surrounding hillsides of the hotel. The pine trees get covered in white snow during winter. It was therefore named Song Syue Lodge. "Song Syue" in Chinese means "pine trees covered in snow."
Staying here one night during summer to admire the night view and sunrise is like a dream;
however, vacancies are scarce.