Wuling Pass East Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

54.3 mi
11,239 ft
3.5 %


Page Contributor(s): Mark Blackburn, Taipei, Taiwan; Jan-Hendrik Meidinger, Manager, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Taipei City, Taiwan


Cycling Wuling Pass, one of the most epic bikes climbs in the world.  This climb winds its way through Taroko Gorge in site of the smooth polished marble wall of the Liwu River, through many tunnels, and finally to Wuling Pass 54 miles from the start and at 11,349'.  Wuling pass is a world Top 150 bike climb in the world and the second longest. 

Our PJAMM Cycling Adventure App's preloaded Wuling Pass self-guided tours are accessed below. 
Average grade is 3.6% (4.5% climb only; there several descents along the route, most notably 3.5 km at -5.3% beginning at km 6.7). 54% of the climb is at 0-5% grade and 30% at 5-10%. The steepest 500 meters is 12.2%, and the steepest continuous five kilometers is 8.6%.  

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Excellent condition. 

Traffic:  Mild to moderate. 

Parking:  We had a SAG vehicle for our climb, but there appears to be parking at the train station to the south in Xincheng Township - Map.  There is also space to park on the side of the road at the climb start:  MapStreet View.  It would be safer to leave your vehicle at a nearby hotel and ride to the start of the climb, although we strongly recommend you have support for this climb. 
There are several locations to get food and drink along this climb.

Consult the PJAMM "Full Forecast" feature for the time you expect to arrive at the finish to assess what clothing to bring on your ride.   You finish over 3,000 meters (10,000') above where you start (at nearly sea level) and many hours later, so the weather is bound to be much different at top than bottom. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Also consider the other two routes to the top of Wuling Pass:  Wuling Pass West (#13 World Bike Climb) and Wuling Pass North (we've only done part of this one - you'll need to read the climb report for our excuse on that one . . . 😒). 

Lodging: We flew into and stayed in Taipei our first and last nights of the trip at the Grand Hyatt which is an amazing place. We traveled one day to Xincheng and stayed there for the night, rode Wuling East and then stayed in Puli Township southwest for our Wuling Pass West start.

SAG: Our support was Simon, who drove us to and from the airport, as well as all three days on Wuling Pass -- he was AWESOME. Simon can be reached through the Grand Hyatt Taipei at 886-2-2720-1234.



Difficulty: Extreme



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Wuling Pass
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Mar 3, 2023
difficulty: Extreme
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 5
Mar 3, 2023
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 5
Incredible climb that'll test your mettle! The road is an engineering marvel, carved into dramatic cliffs in the Toroko Gorge, then winding upwards into a mind-numbing tangle of turns. Perfect pavement, few cars, and many safety features (i.e. high guardrails, concave mirrors at every turn, clear lane markings); tunnels are well lit, except the second to last, Bilu Tunnel. Nothing horrible just bring lights for that, as well as for possible fog midway, particularly in the "Cloud Forest" around Bilu Tunnel. Food at 7-Eleven at 26k and a few road side stands spread equally. Check online for Route 8 construction status or ask a local. I had to get to specific waypoints at exact times to be able to pass. Strap in for the last 15k! I rode as an out and back from Xincheng (~100 miles) unsupported. Totally manageble, but bring layers. I felt confident anyone at the top would give me a lift down into town if needed -- people are super kind! Rented carbon Giant in Hualien for NT 1300 (~$40).
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Cycling Wuling Pass East - Taroko Gorge, Liwu River, marble walls, roadway

Wuling Pass East is one of the most epic and scenic bike climbs in the world.

 World Top 10 Epic Bike Climb 

Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.

The Sapien Cycling Club of Taiwan invited PJAMM Cycling to ride Wuling Pass East with them on May 11, 2019.  We are extremely thankful for the invitation, and that we had the good sense to accept!  Wuling Pass is now on our World Top 10 Greatest Bike Climbs -- it is THAT special.  And, on the other side of the Pass is Wuling South (World Top 30) -- after the Twin Towers of Mauna Loa/Mauna Kea, Wuling is one of the hardest 1-2 cycling punches in the world.

Video of Taroko Gorge (may take a few moments to load).

Located in Central Taiwan within Taroko National Park, Wuling Pass is a saddle between Mt. Hehuan’s main peak and it’s east peak.  Though not the highest point in Taiwan, at 3,275 meters (about 10,745 feet) above sea level, Wuling is the highest point in Taiwan that is accessible by highway (via Highway 14).  You can read more about Mt. Hehuan here.

Before heading to Taiwan on your Wuling Pass cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

PJAMM with members of Taipei’s Sapien Cycling Club at the start of Wuling Pass East.

Aerial drone photo: view east from 6 kilometers into the climb. Pacific Ocean in the background.

This is an extremely challenging road bike climb and the second longest in the world, behind Mauna Loa, Hawaii, USA (100.1 km/62.2 miles).  Because the formula we use (FIETS) penalizes climbs that have significant descents in them, Wuling Pass East “only” ranks 110th in the world while  Wuling West is #13 -- primarily because it is shorter, steeper overall and has no meaningful descents).  However, at 87.4 kilometers (54.3 miles), gaining 3,459 meters (11,349’) to a peak of 3,158 meters (10,361’) at 3.6% average grade (a mile near the top averages 10% at around 8,500’ altitude and the overall gradient averages 4.5% when descent is eliminated), this is a beast of a climb.


Bike climb Wuling Pass East - Taroko National Park sign, roadway

While the challenge of this climb alone justifies its inclusion on all road bike climbing bucket lists, it is Taroko Gorge that separates Wuling East from nearly all other climbs in the world. Taroko Gorge is within Taroko National Park (est. 1986; 355 square miles/227,000 acres), one of nine National Parks on the island of Taiwan. Taroko Gorge is composed of metamorphic rocks, including marble.  It is the smooth polished marble walls carved by the Liwu River which is absolutely remarkable.  We’ve never seen anything like it -- stunning!

Taroko Gorge


Open ...Open ...Open ...Open ...

There are many tunnels along this route -- probably more than we have ever encountered on a single bike climb, but it is the second longest in the world, after all . . .


The Taiwan KOM Challenge is one of the greatest road bike climbing races in the world, and is the most significant cycling race in Asia.  This race started in 2012 and begins 20 kilometers south of Taroko Gorge, in the town of Hualien, and ends at Wuling Pass (the highest paved road in Taiwan). This exceptional bike race includes 3,500 participants, is held in October each year and has a six hour time cut-off.  Many professional riders, including elites such as Cadel Evans (winner Tour de France 2011) and Vincenzo Nibali (winner 2014 Tour de France, and 2010 Vuelta a España).

Elevation Profile for entire race.

Elevation Profile for final km.

Here is an email Lee Rodgers, Communications Director/Official Coach Taiwan KOM sent us on May 19, 2019 (we tried hooking up for dinner in Hualien but our schedules unfortunately did not permit that):

Here's an article I wrote in  2015 that gives some insight:  https://www.pezcyclingnews.com/racing/racenews14/kom-challenge-2014/ 

Briefly, as of May 2019 the race has gone from less than 250 riders (with just 10 foreigners) in 2010 ('first' edition but in its true KOM form it's been on since 2012), and we had 770 riders last year with over 400 foreigners.

Top pros are coming now, Nibali, Evans, Pooley, EF-Drapa & Katusha this year, also Bigla from the women's side. We could have more than 1000 riders but have to limit the number due to safety.

We also have now the Spring and Summer sportif versions, the Spring Road tot KOM and summer edition also.

My position: I'm the Communications Director and responsible for inviting the foreign professional riders and the international media and making sure they are safe and taken care of whilst here. We are quite unique here in Asia and not far from it in the rest of the world in having equal prize money for both men and women as we fully support the development of the and encouragement of women in the sport, we have a zero tolerance with regards to doping, and Olympic committee drug testing on the day.

Climbing Wuling Pass East by bike - tunnel, bike, road 

Lee Rogers with Nicole Cooke, Olympic and World Champ turned

journalist at the Taiwan KOM 2014 Challenge Presentation.

Photo:  Taiwan Cyclist Federation.

Note:  We disagree with the final elevation profile that suggests 27.3% for a brief segment.  We had heard that the last kilometer was extremely difficult (that’s absolutely true!), and that there was a 27% section (not accurate).  We paid particular attention to our Garmins as we ascended and never had readings above 13% (but, never had readings below 10%, either).  To sum it up: After riding the second longest road bike climb in the world, it will feel like 27%, but in reality the average grade over the last kilometer is 11%.  

Because the Fiets formula takes the starting and ending elevations for its “ascent” variable, a descent with a subsequent climb to the elevation before the descent is not factored in. Wuling Pass East has several rollers and one major descent (3.6 km/2.2 miles, 191m/626’ descent at -5.3%) which diminishes the Fiets Index for the climb.

Also of note, there are two fun, noncompetitive rides: “The Road to Taiwan KOM - Spring” (2019 event summary) and “The Road to Taiwan KOM - Summer” (2019 event summary) events for recreational riders, or those who wish to enjoy the ride instead of race the route.  The Spring KOM is held in April (it was cancelled in 2019 due to an earthquake) and the Summer KOM is in July.  Instead of being pressed to finish the ride in six hours as you must for the KOM Challenge, you will have nine hours to finish the KOM spring or summer routes.  


Since Wuling Pass lies within a national park, the wildlife in the area is diverse.  According to Taroko National Park’s website, 152 species of birds have been recorded there, including 14 species that are unique to Taiwan.  Additionally, 45 species of large mammals, including the black bear, Formosan wild boar, and the Formosan Macaque, can be seen in abundance in some of the more undisturbed areas within the park.  We were lucky enough to see some Formosan Rock Monkeys playing in the trees along our route.

Biking up Wuling Pass East - monkey in tree 

We encountered Formosan Rock Monkeys playing in the trees during our ride.

Sphere is highlight of monkey in tree at top right-center of photo



Biking up Wuling Pass East - monkey in tree

Taiwan in relation to China.

The cultures of Taiwan tend to be a hybrid, incorporating traditional elements of Chinese culture, as well as Japanese culture, traditional Confucianist beliefs, and Western values (Taiwan's Culture).  Though, geographically speaking, Taiwan is a small country, it still has so much rich culture within itself.  Examples of Taiwan’s rich culture include:  National Palace Museum (home to over 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting, and porcelain), and a strong musical leaning with classical artists such as violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Ching-Yun Hu, in addition to a national fondness for Karaoke (Taiwan's Culture).  Another unique aspect of Taiwan is its vast wildlife and national park system.  Taiwan has nine national parks, each full of unique and wonderful beauty.  You can learn more about Taiwan’s national parks system here.  If you’re more interested in fast-paced city life, Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei (population 2.67 million) has no shortage of things to do.  Test out your fear of heights on the observation deck of Taipei 101, the world’s second tallest building (overtaken in height in 2010 by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa).  Taipei 101 may no longer be the tallest building in the world, but it is the world’s tallest eco-friendly building!  

Even lovers of the big city may look for some respite sometimes, and what better place to do that than Taiwan’s most well-known temple,  Longshan Temple.  Located in the heart of the capital city, Longshan Temple offers visitors a spiritual experience complete with the sounds of chanting, the scent of burning incense, and the invitation to partake in the tossing of wooden pieces on the floor, with interpretation papers available to translate their meaning.  More information on visiting Longshan Temple can be found here.

There really is no shortage of things to experience in this unique country.  Great lists of more sights and points of interest in Taiwan can be found here, and here.


A big thank you to our cycling friend living in Taiwan, Mark Blackburn, who invited us to join his cycling club for this climb.  Without that invitation, we may never have experienced one of the greatest cycling climbs in the world.

And a huge portion of gratitude to “Jan-Hendrik Meidinger”, a Sapien Cycling Club member and manager of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.  JH arranged for our lodging (the best we have ever had -- and we don’t get paid to say that, by the way), our driver (Simon), access to the Hyatt’s Grand Club Lounge (WOW!) and the exceptional buffet breakfast available each morning.  We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Taipei upon arrival to Taiwan and the evening before leaving -- a perfect start and finish to our Asian Cycling Trip (Mt. Fuji, Japan; Doi Inthanon, Thailand; Wuling Pass, Taiwan).

Grand Hyatt Taipei - middle of photo.

Bicycling climb of Wuling Pass East - PJAMM Cycling and our driver Simon

Left to right:  John, Mitch, Simon, Javier.

Simon drove us to and from the airport as well as three days on Wuling Pass -- he was AWESOME.  Simon can be reached through the Grand Hyatt Taipei at  886-2-2720-1234.

Bicycling climb of Wuling Pass East - PJAMM Cycling and our driver Simon

PJAMM’s May, 2019 Asian Bike Climb Itinerary.


Cycling Wuling Pass East - PJAMM Cycling - Mitch Reid, John Johnson with bikes at summit sign. 

We LOVE Wuling Pass!!!!!