Hehuanshan

Hehuanshan

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Hehuanshan Scenery

Hehuanshan (Chinese: 合歡山; pinyin: Héhuān Shān; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ha̍p-hoan-soaⁿ; also called Joy Mountain) is a 3,416 metres (11,207 ft) high mountain in Central Taiwan. The peak lies on the boundaries of Nantou and Hualien counties and is within the Taroko Gorge National Park. Hehuanshan is a popular destination for the local people of central Taiwan. The 3,421-metre East Peak and 3,422-metre North Peak of Hehuanshan are actually both higher than the main peak.

Recreation

Snow, rare in the rest of Taiwan, is relatively common on the mountain during winter months. The Hehuanshan Road leads most of the way up the mountain to Wuling, a saddle between the Main Peak and the East Peak of Hehuanshan. Wuling is the highest point on the island of Taiwan accessible by public roads.

There was at one point[when?] a ski lift on the mountain, but later, due to the inconsistency of snowfall, the lift was removed.

From the Hehuanshan Road, a trail about one kilometer long leads to the summit of the main peak. At the summit, there is a weather station.

Hehuanshan is part of the Central Mountain Range (中央山脈) that makes up the backbone of Taiwan.

History

In the past, a military training area was built in the proximity of Hehuanshan. The mountain range also features the remains of a ski lift, reportedly used by Taiwan's elite during the martial law period and inaccessible to most people. The unreliability of snowfall has meant that the ski lift was abandoned years ago.

Hehuanshan Road

The Hehuanshan Road is currently the only paved road leading across the Central Mountains from Taichung City to Hualien via the famous Taroko Gorge. The Central Cross-Island Highway, which originally crossed the mountains north of Hehuanshan, was damaged during the September 21, 1999 Earthquake and had been under repair for five years afterwards. But prior to its re-opening disaster struck again in form of a typhoon and it was decided to keep it closed indefinitely.

The Hehuanshan Road leads up from Puli in central Nantou past Wushe (Ren-ai) and Chingjing Farm up to Wuling. Wuling, at 3,275 metres above sea level, is the highest automobile pass in Taiwan. The road is narrow and winding throughout, and is considered a dangerous and difficult road by many drivers. This road often becomes clogged in winter, when many locals travel up the mountain to see snow. Recently, after several incidents, buses and large trucks were barred from this stretch of road.

The last interesting stop on Hwy 14 before the descent into Taroko Gorge is Hehuanshan (Héhuānshān Sēnlín Yóulè Qū; dongshih.forest.gov.tw; 049-280 2732). At over 3000m, the recreation area sits mostly above the tree line, and the bright, grassy green hills of the Mt Hehuan Range roll on and on, often disappearing into the fog or a spectacular sea of clouds.

Hwy14 passes right through the park and at Wuling saddle (not to be confused with the forest recreation area called Wuling) it reaches the highest elevation of any road in Taiwan at 3275m. It snows up here in winter and when it does the road becomes a skating rink, parking lot and playground for the Taiwanese so expect crowds then.

Summer is delightfully cool, and highly scenic as different alpine flowers bloom from May to September. Autumn and spring are excellent times for hiking. In the autumn the ‘sea of clouds’ formations are at their best.

Despite its chilly temperatures (12°C average) Hehuanshan has a remarkable amount of plant and animal life to admire. It’s even considered a good spot for birding. Check out the website for details.


Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/taiwan/western-taiwan/hehuanshan-hohuanshan-forest-recreation-area#ixzz2MdqlSSBj