a guide to get you out of the city and into the hills
XIAO BAI YUE
Many of Taiwan’s mountain lovers dream of summiting the Bai Yue (百岳), or 100 Peaks. These are an assortment of mountains over 3000m which have been selected for their beauty or other noteworthy features (yes, Taiwan really has so many high peaks that it’s possible to pick a top one hundred). It is certainly a thrilling challenge for those who have the time and money to do it, but the fact that many of them require overnight stays, permits and porters can make them seem a bit daunting. Thankfully though, the Taiwanese seem to love a good challenge, and so if you’re not yet ready to attempt the Bai Yue then you can always dip a toe in the waters by climbing the Xiao Bai Yue (小百岳) first.
The Xiao Bai Yue (also known as the 100 Minor Peaks), much like their loftier counterparts, were selected based on their beauty or significance. However, unlike the Bai Yue, the Xiao Bai Yue are classified as suburban mountains (郊山 – a confusing term for foreigners like myself, since there’s not very much suburban about them), and can all be completed as day hikes. The highest among them is towers at over 2600m, while the lowest (20m) is barely a bump. Many can be accessed using public transport, and by and large they don’t require much in the way of specialist skills. All of this makes them an ideal entry-level challenge for anyone hoping to see more of Taiwan’s beautiful mountain trails.
NOTE: This page is a work in progress. As of now, I have climbed 35 out of the hundred, and have route guides for 28 of those up on the site. The ones with photos but no links are ones I’ve climbed but haven’t yet finished writing. This is something I hope to keep chipping away at for years to come, so check back for updates every now and then.