Taroko Gorge National Park, Taiwan’s foremost tourist draw, encompasses an incredible range of landscapes: imagine Sumatra snuggling up to Sweden and you get some idea of the variety. Among the park’s unforgettable sights are the looming Qingshui Cliff on the Pacific coast, the twisting vistas of the Tunnel of Nine Turns, and the dramatic hanging bridges of Swallow Grotto. The few buildings here make the most of the topography, particularly the Eternal Springs Shrine which hugs a lush green hillside next to its namesake springs.
Taroko Gorge National Park is one of Taiwan’s most spectacular natural attractions; it also ranks among the most popular. Most travelers make their way here on a day trip from Taipei or nearby Hualien City on Taiwan’s east coast. Multi-day tours of the island often include the gorge, as well as sights like Sun Moon Lake, Kaohsiung, Taitung, and the East Coast National Scenic Area.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The park is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers.
- Due to the distance involved, day trips from Taipei can last upwards of 13 hours.
- Wear comfortable hiking shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.
- Don’t forget a rain jacket, as rainfall is common year round in the park.
- Bring plenty of water, and remember to stay hydrated during your walks through the park.
How to Get There
Due to the relative difficulty in reaching the national park with public transportation, many people choose to visit on a guided group or private tour. The nearest major city to the park is Hualien, where buses depart daily for various points inside the gorge. From Sincheng, the nearest train station to the park, visitors can take a taxi to the park.
When to Get There
Due to the gorge’s popularity among tourists, it’s a good idea to arrive early in the morning to enjoy the park before the big tour groups begin to arrive. Expect temperatures upwards of 80°F (26°C) and high humidity during summer (June to September). June, August, and September tend to be the rainiest months in the park.
Hiking the Zhuilu Old Trail
Among the park’s numerous hiking trails, the Zhuilu Old Trail is the most famous. Carved into the cliffside some 2,000 feet above the Swallow Grotto, the narrow hunting path offers an adrenaline rush—it lacks a guardrail and is a mere three feet (one meter) wide in places. If you want to cross this off your bucket list, book ahead, as a limited number of permits are issued a day.