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Hiking

When should you hike a trail? Some hikes lead to fascinating forests, some have tremendous views and others are rich in variety. Share your favorite trails with other hikers and nature lovers.

The best months for a sunrise tour to the top of Mount Hehuanshan or Hehuan are during the driest time of the year from December until March. The sunlight has a little variation from summer to winter rising in June shortly after 5 and in January around 6.40. Read our must-know tips below. If you're interested in detailed weather information jump directly to our Monthly Weather Section.

6 Quick Must-Know Tips


Sunrise view in November

Before we continue with the weather details and more tips below, check out the most important things you should know:

  1. Hotels Cingjing Farm - Renai: Via booking.com with low price guarantee. Bookmark the booking page to save time and money! Cingjing Farm is the closest place. From there you drive  40 minutes to Mt. Hehuanshan. Some visitors arrange a tour to Mt Hehuanshan from their hotel there! You can also drive on your own.
  2. Basic Info Song Syue Lodge: The highest hotel in Taiwan. Located at an elevation of 3150 meters on Mt Hehuanshan. It’s hard to book a room there since it's difficult in English. Read this TripAdvisor post for more details: TripAdvisor - Foreigner Booking at Song Syue Lodge. However, you should only book there if you’re sure about the weather (read below). Most visitors let their hotel where they stay before do the booking.
  3. Sunrise vs Other Times: Experience the sunrise up there at Mt Hehuanshan is a once in a lifetime experience. Like one visitor said after he returned: ‘Now, my life is complete!’ But still, any other time on the mountain besides sunrise is also amazing. The views are just stunning! Believe us!
  4. Watching the Sunrise: Most visitors watch the sunrise from the lodge only. We highly recommend to walk for at least 10-15 minutes on the trail for a much better experience (read more below about the trails). You don’t have to walk the whole east trail to the peak, as it can be difficult due to the altitude. However, believe us when we say walk at least a little.
  5. Rental Car Tip: Don’t make the mistake and book your rental car on the spot (at the airport etc.). You’ll pay a lot more and it’s not even guaranteed to get one. Use this link (via rentalcars.com) for the major brands (Hertz, Avis, Europcar, etc.) for the cheapest rates. Special Tip: Do not rent a large car, as the roads up to Mt Hehuanshan are sort of narrow. The smaller the car, the easier the drive. 
  6. Weather Forecast Mt Hehuan: Check the weather forecast via this link. While visiting the peak in good weather is stunning, it’s definitely a disappointment during bad weather. That’s why we recommend to book the lodge (or hostel) not too far in advance. Read more in our weather section below. If you'd like to check the area right before you go, use the webcams (let Google translate the site for you): Webcams Mt Hehuan
     
 
Monthly Weather | Temperatures at Mt Hehuanshan


Mount Hehuan view around 10 a.m.  with pleasant weather

How is the weather at Mt. Hehuan during a certain month? How cold is it up there in the winter? How often does it rain in the summer? We compiled the most reliable data from official sources for Mount Hehuanshan for you. There is no weather station at Mount Hehuanshan. Thus, almost every other statistic on the internet you find is from another station somewhere at a lower elevation. Those are not the ‘real temperatures’ for Hehuanshan at 3400 meters. That’s why we used official historical data and put it together for you. Here is what you need to know:

  • Colder Up There: It’s 8-10 degrees Celsius colder at 3400 meters at Mt. Hehuanshan compared to lower elevations in areas nearby. Example: When you check weather forecasts or statistics at nearby Cingjing Farm (where you might stay), and it shows 16 degrees, it will be around 6 degrees at the top of Mount Hehuanshan. The difference is even higher from other towns/areas like
  • Colder at Night: It’s even colder at night and on mornings of course: During the night the temperature roughly decreases by another 6 degrees. Keep that in mind as you have you’ll be out there during the night or very early in the morning when going for the stunning sunrise view.


Sony Syue Lodge displaying the temperature. This was after we returned between 6 and 7 am

The weather table below provides you with temperature details for every month at Mount Hehuanshan. The shown average low temperature is what you might experience in the early morning. Although sometimes it can be even colder by another 1-2 degrees. The average high is what you may experience during the day (from around noon until early evening).

Rainfall and Snow: In the summer months you should definitely be prepared for rain at Mount Hehuanshan. It’s possible to experience rainfall for 24 hours without a break during wet season. In the winter months rain is a lot less likely. Snow is possible especially between December and February. However, heavy snowfall is rare. In the winter of 2017/2018 the heaviest snowfall was in early February and caused a 10 cm blanket of snow: Hehuanshan blanketed in winter’s thickest snowfall Please keep in mind, that the below numbers are averages. A rainy day doesn’t mean it rains all day. It could also be a 15 minute shower:


Note: One day with rainfall doesn't mean a full day of rain

Forecast: It’s highly recommend to check the weather forecast a few days in advance (up to 7 days) before you book your room at Syue Lodge up there. The problem: It’s hard to find a reliable forecast for Mount Hehuanshan. Most cover only the counties and towns around it. Bookmark the following link as it’s the only official and reliable forecast: Taiwan Central Weather Bureau - Hehuan Mountain East Peak

What to Wear: For your Mt Hehuanshan winter visit you must bring warm clothes as it’s one of the highest places you’ll visit in Taiwan. A thick jacket, warm trousers, gloves as well as a hat and a scarf are highly recommended. From spring until fall you should bring sunscreen. The great thing about a summer visit is the refreshing coolness at an elevation of 3000-3400 meters.

General Taiwan Climate: Subtropical with wet and humid summers. Snow is common during winter mostly in January and February, and it gets very busy here. Most precipitation occurs from April to August. There is less rain from September to November and the driest months are December until March, but pretty cold. However, even in the driest season, you can expect some rain.
 

Consider Three Things If You Like to Watch a Sunrise Above the Clouds

1. Go weekdays
2. Don’t book your room far in advance. 
3. Travel to Taiwan during the driest months to increase the chance.

Sunrise on Mount Hehuanshan in Taiwan

Do you like to know more? Read the following tips to be successful in watching the sunrise for a jaw-dropping moment in your life.

Watching the sunrise on Mount Hehuanshan is very popular in Taiwan. If possible go on weekdays, weekends are super busy and fully booked. Don’t book the room far in advance. Check the weather forecast when traveling through Taiwan  Taiwan Weather

Pick a date when the forecast for the mountain range is good or even excellent. The receptionist told me often people are disappointed due to the bad weather. The whole week before our stay in November it was always foggy and rainy. 

Highlights/Information
  • Visitor center opening hours: 8.30 until 4.30 pm but closed each month on the first and third Monday.
  • The whole area is famous for its beautiful Rhododendrons in April and May.
     

Check out complete Taiwan Guide from 2019 – Must know destinations and tips

TW Taiwan

The Table Mountain is a truly magnificient landmark in South Africa. It's an iconic landmark from with stunning views of Cape Town and its surroundings. The best time to visit is usually in the summer months. However, Table Mountain can definitely be visited year round. After our 'Getting to the Top' part read our 'Time of Day' tips and weather details further below.  [This guide was updated in late 2019]

Getting to the Top

  • Cable Car (Cable Way): You can get up and down via cableway. Please keep in mind, that it doesn't operate when the weather is bad, the visibility is poor or the wind is too strong. Find rates and operating times here: Cable Car Table Mountain - Official Site. Getting to the cable car itself is not difficult: Cableway - Getting There | Official Site. The easiest way is to book the combo tour (see the tours section below). 
  • Hiking:  An even better experience is to hike. You can hike up and down. However, most visitors choose to hike up and then take the cable car down. It's not recommended to take the cable car up and then hike down. One exception: If the cable car closes you have to hike down. The two alternative routes for hiking are Platteklip Gorge and India Venster. The first one is easier, the second one more strenuous. Never hike alone due to safety reasons.
Best Time of Day

  • If you hike, start very early before the cable car begins to operate. That way you'll avoid busy areas and dodge the heat as well in summer months. 
  • If you use the cable car to get to the top, also be early. Arrive as soon as they start operating in the morning. That way you'll avoid long waiting lines and a very crowded experience. For operating times click the official link (then scroll down): Cableway - Rates - Hours

 

Weather

The best weather conditions at Table Mountain with the least rain are from October until March. Most rainfall (almost 80%) throughout the year happens from May until September. Summer temps range between 15°C and 27°C degrees. In the winter months between 7°C and 20°C. You won't experience any extremes, which results in both pleasant winter and summer periods. But keep in mind that it's always colder at the top of the mountain and windier. Always bring a suitable jacket or layer of clothes. The 'tablecloth':  The famous and stunning looking cloud formation at Table Mountain is called tablecloth. It looks terrific even from the bottom.

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The best tips before visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, one of the most beautiful parks! It’s worth going regardless of the season of the year. Summer months (May through September) is the park’s tourist season with pleasant weather perfect for a day’s exploration. TIP: Excellent sweet spot months with mostly pleasant weather and less crowds are April and October. Read our full season guide below for more tips and details. Winter (November) offers plenty of snowfall and great winter activities.

Don't miss our tips for the '5 Amazing Must-Know Walks and Hikes' (scroll down) including Google Maps links which you can send to your smartphone.

Book Tip: Check out the best guidebook for Bryce and Zion which is available: Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks

Tour Tip: This one is unforgettable: You spend three days with the best tour guides you can imagine and explore stunning Zion and Bryce National Parks, Monument Valley, as well as Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon. You ride with a 4x4 jeep through Monument Valley and get world class photo opportunities on this once in a lifetime tour. Hassle-free with with everything taken care of! Read the reviews: Bryce, Antelope, Grand Canyons, Zion & Monument Valley - Exclusive Tour


Monthly Weather and Busy Times

Sitting at a relatively high elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet, Bryce Canyon National Park is colder than any national park in Utah including Zion, Canyonlands and Arches. Summer temperature is pleasant and mild with little fluctuations. Night time in spring and fall are chilly but winter is the coldest with plenty of snowfall. Remember to pack your warm clothes when planning your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park anytime of the year. Monthly average maximum temperatures:

More details: Bryce Canyon Climate

Spring (March – May): Weather during spring transition from cold to mildly warm. Nonetheless, visitors still need a jacket particularly in March and April. This is the time to see snow melt from the higher elevation mountains surrounding this spectacular park. However, especially March is still considered a 'winter month' with snow and often unpleasent temps. April is the time when most Bryce experts consider going: The snow is melting and it's the first 'warmer' month as temperatures are getting more pleasant in April.  It doesn't matter that the trails are still muddy and that’s it's unlikely to see flowers. Also, keep in mind that nights in April and May are chilly. 

 

Summer (June – August): Experience pleasant days and cool nights during summer. The best weather is in July, the warmest month. Rainfall during mid to late summer comes as afternoon thundershowers. These are also the peak tourist months with heavy crowds.

Fall (September – October): Especially September is a great month with pleasant temperatures, blue sky, clear and crisp air. However, weather can be unpredictable and fall nights can be relatively chilly. It is possible to experience some snowfall in October.

Winter (November – February): Winter is the coldest time to visit Bryce Canyon. One will experience lots of snow between January and February, making it ideal time to enjoy snow activities such as skiing and sledging. Much of the area experience the occasional snowstorm from October through April. The coldest month is December. Few facilities and amenities will either remain closed or reduce their operating hours. The shuttle won't operate in winter. However, it's still worth visiting in the colder months! Why? 1) No crowds, you have the park almost to yourself. 2) It's cold but definitely not freezing cold during the day. 3) Accommodation prices are at their lowest with great discounts (check our hotel tips below). There are also a lot of amazing things to do in the winter. We loved the 'Ranger Guided Snowshoe Hike'. Check the official park website for more information: NPS - Bryce Canyon Winter Visit


Avoiding Tourist Crowds

The park is attracting over 2.6 million people annually now (2018). Summertime is the peak tourist season and very busy. Quieter times are winter, early spring and late fall. In September, the crowds start to thin out slightly after Labor Day (first Monday in September). However, not on weekends, as they are still packed in September.  June, July and August bring the heaviest crowds. In May it already starts to get busy, especially on weekends.

To avoid the crowds, start your day’s exploration early and go mid-week if possible. Finding the perfect parking space can sometimes be challenging especially at the view points along the scenic drive. However, you can find a nice parking spot just few kilometers away from the more packed ones. Special Tip: If you want to park your car at Sunset Point (limited parking only), arrive there around 7 a.m. A park ranger even suggested 6 a.m.! Otherwise it's better to use the shuttle (see below). Hiking enthusiasts should also start very early as most hiking trails will be packed later. The family friendly and moderate trails are packed in high season: Rim Trail, Queens Garden Loop, Navajo Loop, … You can find solitude, even in peak season, on the more strenuous day hikes like Fairyland Loop and Peekaboo Loop. Especially if you start early. Looking for very easy, short hikes or walks? Read our guide with the 5 best hikes and walks at the end of this article.  

Opening Hours and Shuttles

The park is open 24 hours throughout the year. The Visitor center is modern, with everything you need. No restaurant though. Visitor Center Operating Hours . Shuttle service for the Bryce Canyon stops in late October and resumes with the start of spring in mid-April. Detailed schedule: Bryce Canyon Park Shuttle Is is it free? Yes, there is no additional fee. You can use the shuttle as often as you like. It's all included in the $35 entrance fee to Bryce Canyon.

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To escape the heat, spring and fall are the best times for hiking. Sweet Spot Months: The best months with usually good weather and fewer crowds than during peak months are: March/April and October/November. 

Weather Overview

Always keep in mind that the difference between dayime temperatures (see above) and during the night can be 30°F (15°C). In summer, it is oven-like and can get well above 100°F (38°C) and on the other side thunderstorms occur. If you go in the middle of summer avoid long hikes. In the winter snow and ice can be an issue. However, winter is a great time without any crowds and an awesome experience. It's not too cold! Check out this video on YouTube: Zion in Winter Another huge advantage in the winter: Accommodation rates are at their lowest. Check the hotel deals below. For the official helpful season guide visit: NPS - Zion Seasons

 
Avoiding Busy Times


Official Zion National Park Visitors 2018/2019

Peak months are June to August. A little less crowded in spring and fall. Very quiet in December, January, February but bear in mind road or trails can be closed. However, you can avoid crowds year-round by starting your hike or exploration right after sunrise. At that time you’ll have the park almost for yourself. Most visitors don’t start before 10 a.m. In the morning there is also a better chance of spotting wildlife and the best light for photos.

From March to October you have to take the shuttle bus, cars are not permitted. Usually, from November to February you can park your car at the available parking lots. The scenic drive in Zion can be closed on weekends in February and shuttle bus transportation has to be taken. Check shuttle bus schedule for each season first, includes maps and hiking trail information.This guide is not complete

Please Note: This article is not complete (work in progress). We'll add detailed monthly tips soon. In the meantime you may check out our Bryce Canyon Article with everything you should know before visiting, and some special tips you might not know!

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Trolltunga! Mesmerizing! Follow our tips to make the most out of your visit. When is the best time? Mid-June until early September are the most pleasant months for hiking and seeing the spectacular scenic cliffs. However, it gets very crowded up there. Read on for our detailed description of weather conditions, how to avoid the crowds and a full season guide. Updated 2019!

We also have new (scroll down or click the links) must-know tips, hiking details, camping tips, and more! Looking for a place to stay? Our Hotel Tips for Trolltunga can help you.
 

Season Guide

Spring | Late March - April - May | Guided Hiking | It’s still snow season (hiking tours with snowshoes). A guided tour is recommended. Sometimes groups who hiked in April on their own, had to turn around: Freezing, too much snow and trail markings (red ‘T’s) were snow covered. In May experienced hikers report that the hike is doable alone but still challenging due to the snow. We suggest guided hiking tours throughout spring. You can find the official Trolltunga Active A.S. (they are the best!) hikes here: Trolltunga Active Tours & Hikes Booking in advance is highly recommended!

Summer| June - July - August - Mid-September | Self-Guided Hiking | Peak season! The best weather and terrain conditions are from mid-June until early September. The trail is well marked and can be done without guides. However, if you're very unexperienced a guided hike is recommended. Meaning, if you can't or don't want to go alone, book a tour via GetYourGuide. They only offer tours from the two top operators Trolltunga Active and Trolltunga Adventures (the best guides you can get):  Reliable Trolltunga Tours. Crowds? The downside is indeed the crowds at Trolltunga and on the trail as well. At the cliffs, it’s not unlikely to wait in the queue for 1-2 hours until you can take your photos. Read our tips below on how to dodge the crowds!

Autumn | Mid-September - Mid-October | Guided Hiking | Already a high chance of new snow and rough weather. Guided tours are highly recommended. Recently in late September, a group had to be rescued by the Red Cross before they would have frozen to death. They went in bad weather. If you want to go alone: Check weather conditions constantly, listen to the locals and prepare with the right gear and clothing.

Winter | Mid-October - Mid-March | Guided Hiking Only | Off-season! DANGER, extremely rough conditions. Life-threatening even for experienced hikers. UPDATE 2019: Somehow the tourist information center 'Visit Odda' changed their mind about hiking in the winter. Now, they say you can hike even in the winter, but only with very experienced guides from Trolltunga Active. See their new infographic here: Trolltunga Hiking Seasons And the official tour by Trolltunga Active: Winter Snowshoe Hike 

 

Avoiding the Crowds


Norway Trip by Neuwieser, CC BY-SA

The main trail to the top and Trolltunga itself became really crowded recently. However, we got you covered with the best tips. You have three viable options to dodge crowds on the trail as well as avoiding long waiting times to take a photo at Trolltunga:

Start Early
Start very early around 6 AM or even better at 5 AM. (If you want to drive the new road (see below), be in Skjeggedal at 6 a.m. when the road 'opens') Hikers who start at 5 AM and arrive around 9 AM usually only see a few others on the trail and up there, even in July/August. You’ll only wait less than 15 minutes to take your photos, compared to an hour or longer!

Consider Camping:
Bring a tent for camping and stay overnight. That way you can experience a quiet sunset and sunrise without the crowds of day hikers. Never camped before or don't want to camp alone? In that case we highly suggest booking the Overnight Hike to Trolltunga (with Camping). It's offered by Trolltunga Adventures and you'll completely dodge the crowds at sunset or sunrise. 

Visit Outside Summer
Go in shoulder season, either April/May or Sept/Oct or even in the winter with a guided tour now. Rougher conditions but fewer people, sometimes almost solitude.


Sweet Spot Months

Try the sweet spot time between EARLY JUNE until MID-JUNE: Still, some snow on the ground but no guide needed. Mostly pleasant conditions and much less crowded than in late June, July, and August.

NO Norway

First of all, hiking on the Haiku Stairs is illegal, and the stairs are officially closed! A $1000 fine and an appearance in court was something we wanted to circumvent. This fine really exist! Therefore, we had chosen the more difficult and dangerous trail through the Moanalua Valley. However, even trespassing the Haiku Stairs will be prosecuted, but usually, there isn't any police at the top. And of course, when you reach the popular stairs, you want to access them and take the best snap of your whole vacation. We only recommend to hike up and down the legal way, otherwise, you may get into trouble. We even saw a police helicopter while walking a part of the stairs.

Update Feb 2019: Don't even think of hiking up and down the Haiku Stairs. There is more security now and a regular police presence. Occasionally police helicopters check if people are on the stairs. A guide is not needed a good preparation for the Moanalua Track is relevant!

Haiku Stairs view from the summit

Most important for the hike is the weather. Pick out the day with the most stable weather and if it was dry the day before even better. Although Honolulu is dry rain may occur in the valley and on the ridge. You can’t avoid getting dirty on this adventurous path. Don’t underestimate the trail difficulties. Much needed for the steep ascent and descent back through muddy and slippery soil are “mini” crampons. If you want to use the provided ropes gloves may be necessary, too. Do you like to do the hike and see the excellent view down the stairs? Read all our insights on how to be prepared and experience one of the most thrilling hikes ever.

Hiking Conditions and Crowds

The Moanalua Valley, especially the ridge to the Keahiakahoe summit and also the Haiku Stairs experience a lot of rain even during the drier season in summer. The exhausting hike can be done all year, but it’s easier to cope with all difficulties in the drier season. There is often a strong wind and fog which makes hiking along the ridge difficult. Read on for detailed tips by season.

Windy Ridge Moanalua Valley

Spring (Low Season)

It starts to get drier, but the trail is still extremely muddy and slippery. The Moanalua stream may have low flow and fording or hopping from stone to stone is necessary a couple of times. This improves in June, and the stream may be dried out. The temp along the trail is above 70°F, but it gets chilly on the ridge and the top due to the strong wind. The islands are not much crowded in spring. It starts to get busier in June, but still acceptable. June is one of the best months for this hike. Nevertheless, always check the weather forecast before; flooding can happen. 

Summer (Peak Season)

It’s drier but the humidity is higher, and it gets hot while hiking and climbing. If you can avoid, don’t travel to Oahu in July and August. Prices are at the highest and hotels are booked to capacity. 

Haiku Stairs and upcoming clouds

Autumn (Low Season) 

Usually, September is the best month for the hike. The stream may be dried out and it’s easy to walk the first 2.8 miles / 4.5 km. It’s less busy on the island, and the temps are pleasant. October is fine as well. November gets wetter, and trail conditions are getting worse. Monitor the clouds on the mountain ridge. It may be possible to hike, but it’s even more difficult and dangerous in rain and clouds. We can’t recommend hiking in the rain. 

Winter (Low and Peak Season) 

Expect more rain during the winter. It’s more likely that the Moanalua stream gets flooded. The north and east experience more rainfall. It’s the coldest time of the year but still up to 80°F in Honolulu at daytime. It's possible to hike the trail but expect the worst conditions when climbing up. The way back is even more slippery than usual. Don't hike in rain and clouds. The first part of December is still not too busy, but it gets crowded from the second half of December and in January. Although it’s not the best time for Hawaii hotels are fully booked, and hotel rates are the highest. 

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