Taroko National Park Hualien Reviews
Phenomenal and amazing Apr 05, 2011
Here I had my first hitchhiking experience. I took the train from Taipeh to Hualien the nextbig town to the gorge. From their I went by bus to Taroko, reached in the evening but it was still bright enough to see a bit of the surrounding. Slept at I think probarbly the only still operatiing hostel there, just by the trourist info office. There were really many people at the time i was there so i was forced to adventure alone, which sounded as a bad and scary idea at first considering how lonly and back country like it is. But I still enjoyed my adventures, met lovely people on the way. Had lovely rides with total strangers, even though the Taiwanese are not used to seeing somone on the road with thier tuumbs up asking for a ride, I never had to wait long at a point for my next ride. I was so taken back ny the beauty of the park that i almost forgot to get back on the road to try to catch a ride. To my luck I met a lovely Taiwanese girl asked me to take a pic of her and who I then asked for a ride to the next town and fortunately for me she was actually going back hom to Taipeh. And from then we became friends...small world, not to mention beautiful world!
The most phenomenal aspect of the park is the amazing relief. In a single afternoon you can travel from rugged coastal cliffs through a maze of subtropical forested canyons to high elevation subalpine coniferous forests.
In about 60 kilometers the landscape rises from sea level to some of the tallest peaks in Taiwan at over 3400 meters. That's steep!
The force behind the steep valleys and narrow canyons is a (geologically speaking) relatively fast rate of uplift combined with ample water. Over the last 70 million years, these two forces collaborated to form the world's deepest marble canyon. The slot canyons here are remarkable with narrows sections a thousand feet high and only a dozen yards apart, reminiscent of the Virgin River in Zion National Park in Utah, USA. Ignore the fact that Zion is in the desert, and made of sandstone and Taroko is subtropical and comprised of marble, and these two gorges have a lot in common.
Things to see:
The Eternal Spring Shrine （長春祠）
Drive from the west exit of the Changchun Shrine Tunnel of Central Cross-Island Highway, then turn south to Liwu River Valley, you can see the Changchun Shine (Eternal Spring Shrine) which recognizes the personnel died during the construction of Central Cross-Island Highway. Rivers adjacent to the Changchun Shine become the scattering falls, and the Highway Bureau named it after "Chanchun Falls" which is now the significant landmark on Central Cross-Island Highway.
In 1987 the cliffs of the rivers tumbled and destroyed the pavilion nearby the Changchun Shine. After 10 years it has been restored and now open to the public agagin. In the back of the Changchun Shine , there are stairs leading to Kuanyin Caves, Taroko Tower , Bell Tower , and through a hanging bridge, so called "Heaven trail" to Changuang Temple. The river valley next to the Changuang Temple has a calabash shape, and it is named thereafter as Calabash Valley (Hu-lu Gu).
Swallow Grotto & the Tunnel of Nine Turns
Shakadang Trail - you can swim hereShakadang Trail(砂卡噹步道)
Shakadang Trail is also known as "Mysterious Valley Trail", which is named because more than 40 years ago a group of young folks entered the river valley and found it very secretive. This place has attracted more and more travelers, and thus everyone is used to calling it "Mysterious Valley". It renamed to "Shakadang Trail" in 2001 again according to the name of the river. This trail is built along the river cliff so travelers can easily observe both the folded rocks and ecosystem beside the river shore. After 4.5-km passing Sanjianwu(3D Cabin), the trail leads to old Datong tribe village, which is the favor of the travelers. After the first curve road, running water from upright river cliff to the lake has astonished many people. In May, it is the season for You Tong flowers and make the trail a pleasant flower hallway.
Water Sheet Cave. Named for the cave at the end of the trail - where water literally pours down in sheets from the roof. Hiking to this point takes one through many very long, completely unlit tunnels - an experience in and of itself.
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Simply fantastic scenery, marble cliffs, nature trails and so much more Mar 24, 2008
Taroko National Park is situated in the eastern part of Taiwan. It's most famous for scenery along the east west cross island highway, and also Suhua coastal highway going north along the coast. There are also many nature trails to explore. I had been there many times since I was a kid, but I have not even come close to seeing it all. Plan to take your camera, hiking shoes, flash light, rain coat (for the waterfall) and just enjoy the nature and natural wonders around. You can easily spend 2-3 days here, but if you just have one day, you can visit it from Taipei. It's only about 2 hours train ride (take the special Taroko route train). Ideally you want to stay in Hualien, drive the Suhua coastal highway (to see Cingshui Cliffs), and also stay in Tiansiang, to explore the many sights and trails from that base.
The marble cliffs several hundred meters high, carved by the Liwu River through the mountains (highest at 3742m inside Taroko National Park border) to the Pacific Ocean, made simply spectacular natural wonders that you have to see to experience fully. It's so hard to take photos showing the magnitude of the place because the gorge is very narrow.
The park is rich in plants, flowers and animals (90% of birds in Taiwan and more than 50% of butterflies species in Taiwan) can be found in the park which encompass an area of almost 1/4 million acres!
Part of the Japan and Taiwan 2008 + 4 travbuddies travel blog