Nanhu Mountain

Nanhu Mountain (Altitude: 3742 meters; Administration: Taroko National Park)

Photo:Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (TAIWAN).Photography by Ming-yuan Yeh(葉銘源)

The highest peak in Taroko National Park sits at the north tip of the Central Mountain Range. This region is where Yilan, Hualien, and Taichung meet.

Nanhu Mountain, known to the Atayal tribe in Beiyanan Aboriginal Village (Nanshan village) as Babo Bajiyu, is the north peak of the Five Mountains with a magnificent landscape. Surrounded by mountains on the Nanhu block, it is named the King’s Seat. The most characteristic features are two U-shaped valleys surrounded by the Nanhu Mountains.



Located in the northern section of the main ridgeline of the Central Mountain Range inside Taroko National Park, Nanhu Mountain sits in Xiulin Township of Hualien County and Heping Township of Taichung County. It is the third highest peak in the Central Mountain Range and the highest in the northern section of the main ridgeline.
Nanhu Mountain is 3,742 meters high and is the highest peak on the Nanhu block and the highest in the Central Mountain Range. It is also one of the Five Mountains of Taiwan.


The most well known characteristic is the cirque, which is circled by two ridges, one reaching from the north peak to the northeast peak and the other from the east peak to the summit. It is generally believed to be a cirque left over from the last ice age. There is a modern solar-powered cabin at the bottom of the cirque, which is a unique attraction in itself. Nanhu is part of the Nanhu block, which is one of the five major mountain ridges in Taiwan. The block spans from south of Sanhsing Mountain to Nenggao Mountain, a distance of over 50 kilometers, to form a narrow horst. There are a large number of geological features created by Pleistocene glaciation. In particular, the No. 1 and No. 2 cirques in Nanhu Mountain are of text formation. Other cirques, U-shaped valleys, glacial lakes, and glacial basins can be seen here as well.

Geological structure

The entire mountain is made of reddish brown clayslate layered with quartzite. The landscape is steep and dangerous with the north side and the south side standing against each other. However, flat mountain tops offer wide views.


The flora mainly includes alpine tundra ecosystems and coniferous forest ecosystems. Unique plants commonly seen here are Juniperus squamata, alpine azalea, and hemlock. Old growth forests cover most of this area, making an ideal living environment for mammals. As a result, a wide variety of mammals live in the area between Nanhu Mountain and Central Range Point, including Formosan rock monkeys, muntjacs, white-headed flying squirrels, alpine accentors, and Formosan laughing thrushes.


The Nanhu mountain range is situated at the same latitude as the northern section of the Central Mountain Range and Hsuehshan. According to data from the Yushan Central Weather Station, the annual average temperature in Hsuehshan is 3.8 degrees Celsius, which may fall below zero in winter; the annual rainfall exceeds 3,000 mm. The weather is cold and damp with heavy snow in winter. It is documented that at the height of summer in 1983 and 1998 there was still snow on the summit.


Nanhu cirque

There are many arch-shaped valleys around Nanhu Mountain known as cirques. Approximately a dozen of them are scattered over the north, northeast, and east peaks, as well as the summit. Among them, the northeastern slope of the summit is 2,500 meters in length and 1,000 meters in width, forming the most complete cirque. In general, cirques on steeper slopes appear in half circles or are horseshoe-shaped with deep indentations whereas those on more gentle slopes mostly are shallow oval bottomlands with rocks.

Nanhu Mountain’s cirques are the most apparent glacier remains in Taiwan. Although there is some disagreement among scholars, most agree that cirques are formed by the accumulation, movement, and erosion of glaciers.

Siyuan Col

Situated at the source of the Dajia and Lanyang Rivers. The landscape is populated by natural beauty, mountains, rivers, clouds, and high altitude vegetables. Characteristics include stunning forests, animals, birds, mountains and valleys, and geological wonders. Due to it’s location in a saddle it offers not only a full view of the Lanyang River Valley but also a constantly changing sky. Snow falls in winter and turns the land into a sea of whiteness and the best snow attraction in Yilan.

Recommended routes

Nanhu Mountain, Nanhu Cirques

Day 1Entrance of 6.7K Trail 710 at Siyuan Col→Tuochiatun Cabin→Mukan Saddle→New Yunleng Cabin C1(Shui)

Day 2C1→Shenmazhen Mountain→North Peak Cross Road→Nanhu Mountain North Peak→Wuyanfeng→Nanhu Mountain North Peak→Nanhu Shelter C2(Shui)

Day 3C2→Upper Cirque→Nanhu Mountain East Peak→Taosaifeng→Nanhu Mountain Southeast Peak→Mabishan Mountain→Shenshien Valley→Nanhu main east saddle→Lower cirque Nanhu Shelter C3=C2

Day 4C3→Nanhu Mountain→Nanhu Mountain Cabin→Nanhu Mountain North Peak→North Peak crossing→Shenmazhen Cross Road→Shenmazhen CabinC4

Day 5: C4→Mukan Saddle→Mountain entrance→Siyuan Col

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