A guide to Taroko National Park


Taroko Gorge is a National Park located on the Eastern Coast of Taiwan, around 150km away from Taipei.
The mountains are crossed by the Liwu River, forming a 20km-long canyon.

Shakadang Trail, one of Taroko's most popular hikes

Shakadang Trail, one of Taroko's most popular hikes

Where to stay

The easiest way to visit Taroko is to stay in the city of Hualien, located 25km away from Taroko. It is big enough (around 100,000 people live there) to offer plenty of accommodation options and is very easily accessible (train station, bus station and airport).

Visiting Taroko

Taroko Gorge is crossed by a long road. The starting point of all trails is somewhere on this
road. However, the trails are not necessarely connected to each other. You will have to take the bus (or any other means of transportation) to go to the starting point of the next trail.

Trails

There are around 15 trails and hikes in Taroko. Some of them are loops while the others will require you to take back the same route. The duration given for each trail is an approximation and can vary a lot depending on the weather, your fitness level, the stops you make, etc.

Map of Taroko National Park

Map of Taroko National Park

Chongde Tunnel North Opening Trail (1)

  • Length: 320m
  • Time required: around 20 minutes one way
  • Looping: no
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: none
  • Notes: on the coast, located away from all the other trails, it is not easy to reach by bus.

Taroko Terrace Trail (2)

  • Length: 1km
  • Time required: around 30 minutes one way
  • Looping: no (other trails available to go back)
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Taroko Visitor Center
  • Notes: 700 meters of the trail is barrier free and can be accessed with a wheelchair.

Dekalun Trail (3)

  • Length: 1.3km
  • Time required: around 1h30 one way
  • Looping: no
  • Type: hiking
  • Bus stop: Taroko Visitor Center
  • Notes: 300m of ascent, quite challenging.

Xiaozhuliu Trail (4)

  • Length: 650m
  • Time required: around 20 minutes one way
  • Looping: no (other trails available to go back)
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Taroko Visitor Center
  • Notes: A part of this trail crosses a tunnel. Directly connected to the Shakadang Trail (5), you just have to follow the path.

Shakadang Trail (5)

  • Length: 4.1km one way
  • Time required: around 2h30 one way
  • Looping: no
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Shakadang trail
  • Notes: Quite beautiful and peaceful, you can turn back before the end if you find it too long. If you start this trail from the bus stop (instead of continuing the Xiaozhuliu Trail), look for the stairs going down from the bridge.

View from the Shakadang Trail

View from the Shakadang Trail

Eternal Spring Shrine Trail (Changchun) (6)

  • Length: 2km
  • Time required: around 1h
  • Looping: yes
  • Type: hiking
  • Bus stop: Changchun trail
  • Notes: the bus stop is only accessible one-way, when the bus goes back to Hualien.

Changchun Shrine

Changchun Shrine

Buluowan Swallow Grotto (7)

  • Length: 0.6km
  • Time required: around 20 minutes
  • Looping: no
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Buluowan
  • Notes: 120m of ascent. Walk 500m west along the road to connect to the Swallow Grotto Trail (10). The bus stop is only accessible one-way, when the bus goes from Hualien to Tiangxiang.

Buluowan Upper Terrace Trail (8)

  • Length: 400m
  • Time required: around 15 minutes
  • Looping: yes
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Buluowan
  • Notes: the bus stop is only accessible one-way, when the bus goes from Hualien to Tiangxiang.

Buluowan Lower Terrace Trail (Meander Core Trail) (9)

  • Length: 300m
  • Time required: around 15 minutes
  • Looping: yes
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Buluowan
  • Notes: the bus stop is only accessible one-way, when the bus goes from Hualien to Tiangxiang.

Swallow Grotto Trail (Yanzikou) (10)

  • Length: 1.37km
  • Time required: around 50 minutes one way
  • Looping: no
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Yanzikou
  • Notes: wearing a helmet is advised, inquire at the Taroko Visitor Center. Can be crowded since the road along the trail is taken by tour buses frequently dropping off tourists.

Swallow Grotto Trail

Swallow Grotto Trail

Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail (Jiuqudong) (11)

  • Length: 700m
  • Time required: around 30 minutes one way
  • Looping: no
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: none
  • Notes: wearing a helmet is advised, inquire at the Taroko Visitor Center.

Lushui Trail (12)

  • Length: 2km
  • Time required: around 1h
  • Looping: yes
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Lushui
  • Notes: the trail passes through a 25m-long tunnel, bring a flashlight or a phone able to do so.

Baiyang Trail (13)

  • Length: 2km
  • Time required: around 40 minutes one way
  • Looping: no
  • Type: scenic
  • Bus stop: Tianxiang
  • Notes: the entrance is 700m away from Tianxiang, on the west side. Flashlight and rain gear advised.

Huoran Pavilion (14)

  • Length: 500m
  • Time required: around 30 minutes one way
  • Looping: no
  • Type: hiking
  • Bus stop: Tianxiang

Lianhua Pond (15)

  • Length: 3.59km
  • Time required: around 3h one way
  • Looping: no
  • Type: hiking
  • Bus stop: none
  • Notes: wearing a helmet is advised, inquire at the Taroko Visitor Center.

Old Zhuilu Trail

  • Length: up to 10km (some parts might be closed)
  • Time required: up to a day
  • Looping: no
  • Type: hiking
  • Bus stop: Yanzikou
  • Notes: requires a park entry permit, a mountain entry permit and a ticket (adults NTD200, children NTD100), apply here. Entry allowed between 7am and 10am.

Entrance of the Old Zhuiliu Trail

Entrance of the Old Zhuiliu Trail

Taking the Taroko 1133A Shuttle Bus from Hualien

The easiest way to visit Taroko is by taking the Taroko Shuttle Bus (1133A). It starts at the Hualien Train Station (on the left when exiting the station),
and crosses Taroko Gorge up to Tianxiang.

You can buy a 1-day pass (NT$250) or a 2-day pass (NT$400, only works for 2-consecutive days) that allows you an unlimited number of trips, very handy to go from a trail to another. There are 9 buses everyday, the first one leaves Hualien at 7am and the last one arrives back in Hualien at 6:10pm. Some buses are accessible with a wheelchair. Inquire at the station for the schedule and details. The 1 and 2-day passe also offer access to buses 1126 and 1141. Bus passes can be refunded if not used.

Do not plan you day according to the bus schedule given to you! Buses can be very late, you might also very well catch the previous bus if you arrive too early at your stop. The later it gets, the more chaotic the schedule. The time between 2 buses is on average one hour.

Buses are equipped with a screen showing the name of the next stop both in English and Chinese, audio announces are also made in the two languages.

Weather in the Taroko Gorge

The weather in the Taroko Gorge is often bad: grey, humid and rainy. Even if the forecast is optimist, weather can change quickly, so be prepared just in case.

Starting your day

It is advised to start by getting off the bus at the Taroko Visitor Center to get some up-to-date information. Some trails can be closed because of the weather or for safety reasons. They might also advice that you wear a helmet, depending on where you plan to go, which can be provided. The Taroko Visitor Center also offers a small exhibition hall.
Even if it is recommended to drop by the Visitor Center for last minute changes, you can check the roads and trails status ahead of time on the official Roads and Trails status page.

Taroko Gorge International Marathon

The Taroko Gorge International Marathon is organized each year, around the end of November or the beginning of December. If you plan to visit the Taroko Gorge around that time, verify the date and make sure to avoid that day. And if you plan to participate, good luck to you!

Other useful information

  • The Taroko Gorge Nation Park entrance is free
  • There are free toilets at the beginning of most trails and at the Taroko Visitor Center
  • Rock falls cannot be predicted, inquiry at the Taroko Visitor Center about the safety practices
  • Bring food. There are very few places to get a snack once there and it will be quite pricey.
  • Swimming is not allowed
  • Taroko Shuttle Bus hotline: 03-832-0431 or 03-836-0634 (from 8am to 8pm)
  • Visit the official website (English)
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Written by liu-tw

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