Taroko National Park – Everything You Need To Know

Taroko National Park is the national pride and joy of Taiwan.

It is one of the 9 national parks located in Taiwan and was named after the Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park that has been carved by the Liwu River. 

Those of you that are fortunate enough to visit this amazing place will immediately understand why. Once you get here, you’ll be met with stunning views of all around the area with many different things for you to see and do.

As much as I love Taipei or the other cities, sometimes it just feels better to escape the city life and see what nature has to offer.

That is where Taroko National Park comes in.

This national park is an outdoor lovers paradise.

From the serene hiking trails to the variety of plants and wild animals you can find, there is literally something for everybody. It is one of my most favorite places to visit in all of Taiwan.

So if you are wanting to know some more information about the Taroko National Park, you are in the right place.

In this post we’ll talk about some of the general facts you need to know about visiting Taroko National Park as well as what it can offer.

If you want to visit the Taroko National Park’s official website to find out more information, click here.

So lets get started!

Best Times To Visit Taroko National Park

The park is generally opened all year round.

However the best times to visit this park is usually around the Spring and Autumn seasons. So basically around April to June and September to November.

You want to avoid the Summer time mainly because it can get insanely hot and humid. Not only that, but it is really close to typhoon season, so you’ll be expecting rain constantly.

Either way, before you visit this location, be sure to check the weather forecast before you plan your trip here.

How To Get to Taroko National Park

The fastest way to get to Taroko National Park is to head to Hualien first and from there, head to the national park.

How To Get To Hualien

As you know, traveling in Taiwan can be relatively easy and simple. They have a fantastic train system that can take you all around the island.

And the best way to get to Hualien or anywhere in general is by train.

The closest station to Taroko is the Hualien Railway Station.

Tickets can be booked generally through the Taiwan Railway Administration site.

Getting To Taroko National Park From Hualien

There are a few different ways for you to get to Taroko National Park from Hualien.

Here are the ways listed below:

  • Taroko Tourist Shuttle Bus – This is most likely the most popular option as it is cheap and simple to use. A day pass generally runs you about NT$250 or $8 USD. Which is pretty cheap if you ask me. The shuttle bus will stop at many of the big attraction areas you’ll want to see in Taroko. The only downside to this option is that it is generally the slowest form of travel.
  • Use A Taxi – This is probably the most expensive option you have if you were to use a taxi to get there. However, it is generally the fastest as you won’t have to worry about the parking or worry about getting lost on your way there. Not only that but your driver can also serve as a local tour guide (not all will do this).
  • Rent A Scooter – Renting a scooter is probably your best bet in terms of speed and flexibility. The only thing you want to worry about is that it can be quite dangerous since the roads are winding around and also narrow. Plus, the weather can make the roads very slippery which can make your scooter slide.
  • Rent A Car – This is similar to renting a scooter but a bit more expensive. But it is generally the safer option. The only downside you should know about is that parking may be limited depending on where you want to park.

Where To Stay In Taroko

Because Taroko National Park is one of the biggest attractions in all of Taiwan, it’s only expected that the area will have many options for accommodation.

I generally recommend to either stay within the park at Taroko or somewhere in Hualien which is right next to Taroko.

Staying In Taroko

  • Tienhsiang – This place is just outside the park which makes traveling very easy to do. The hostel offers accommodation and room for lodging, dining and meeting in our center. The price includes buffet-style breakfast, sheets and a clean private bathroom; there’s also a pool tables and Internet In the public area.
  • Taroko Village Hotel – Located right next to a popular hiking trail – Swallow Grotto.
  • Silks Place Taroko Hotel – This is the most luxury hotel you can find if you are wanting to stay in Taroko. It offers uninterrupted views of the surrounding greenery. It features an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and 2 dining options.

Staying In Hualien

  • Hualien Wow Hostel – This place is really close to the train station which makes it easy because the Taroko Bus Station is also located here. It is basically a 40 minute drive if you were to drive from here to Taroko. The hostel has private guest rooms, mixed dormitories and female dormitories. All units come with a flat-screen TV and an attached bathroom. For private rooms, slippers and toiletries are offered.

There are many if not hundreds of places to stay in Hualien. All which are relatively good. So I would highly recommend you to google around the city first to see which hotel or hostel suits you the best.

Best Hiking Trails in Taroko National Park

There are a number of different trails at the Taroko National Park. They are split between 3 categories.

The categories are:

  • Scenic Trail
  • Hiking Trail
  • Mountaineering Trail

And depending on which type of category you choose, the type of trail will differ from each and every one.

You can see a full list of hikes and trails in this picture:

Obviously we will not be reviewing each and every trail as that is simply too much. Plus, we haven’t had a chance to go on every single one.

However we will be reviewing the trails that we think are the best trails for any visitor to see.

So here are the top 9 Trails we think anybody should visit.

Jiuqudong (Tunnel of Nine Turns)

Jiuqudong (Tunnel of Nine Turns)

This trail which has been closed for 7 years has finally been re-opened. It is about 700 meters (each way) along the old cross mountain highway showcasing the amazing section of the gorge. When visitors come here, they can experience an impressive view of the Liwu River from an imposing height. Not only that but you can closely observe the faults, folds, and layering of the marble walls of the Gorge canyon, in addition to the vegetation that grows on its steep walls. With each and every turn offering some dramatic views, this trail is definitely a sight to see.

Swallow Grotto Trail

Swallow Grotto Trail

Swallow Grotto Trail is one of the most spectacular areas of the Taroko Gorge. It stretches about 1.37 km long and is a narrow canyon that bares sheer rock cliffs on both sides and features some of the narrowest and deepest sections of the Liwu river.

Surrounding the area are 700 meter high cliffs that are covered with deep pock markets which have been formed by thousands of years of sand and grit abrasion as the water has slowly carved the amazing canyon.

Shakadang Trail

Shakadang Trail

Shakkadang Trail is one of the more accessible and beautiful areas of the National Park. It stretches to about 4100 meters long with the first 1.5 km being the most beautiful.

The trail that you see today was carved by the Japanese in the early 20th century. Which means that the trail is somewhat low in height because of the short stature of that time, so you’ll want to be careful to not hit your head.

While on the trail, you’ll see an abundance of lush vegetation such as Camphor and Fig trees as well as some Autumn Maples, Crape Mertles and even a few Oak grow along the way. There are also many types of fish and marine life you’ll see that surrounds the crisp blue river.

Huide Trail

Huide Trail

Huide Trail is a 750 meter trail that is actually part of the old Suhua Coastal Highway. Going along the trail, you’ll be met with beautiful views of the famous Qingshui Cliffs. The reason these cliffs are so famous is because they came straight down from the mountains and fell down into the Pacific Ocean. These cliffs themselves are 21 km long and over a kilometer in height. They are considered to be one of Taiwan’s Eight Wonders.

Not only that, but this trail is also spectacular because you are able to see quite a few monkeys that live around the area as well as the breathtaking panoramic view of the ocean.

Lushui Trail

Lushui Trail

Do not confuse this with the Lushui-Wenshan Trail. This trail is much shorter and more easily accessible to roam around in. It is about 2000 meters long and passes through a small stone tunnel and goes along a cliff and through a forest.

It is here where you can find the rare Taroko Oak that grows on the path and is considered to be a symbol of vitality. Not only that, but you’ll also see something that you probably haven’t seen before. Ant nests! These things are clumps of dirt that are in trees, so be careful when you walk around them.

Baiyan Trail

Baiyan Trail

This 2100 meter long trail passes through the lush verdant forest and seven tunnels on its way to the beautiful Baiyang waterfall.

On your way here, you’ll want to keep your eye out for the “Elephant Rock” as well as bringing a flashlight for the many tunnels around here. At the end of this trail, you’ll be met with an access point which takes you through the Water Curtain Cave. This is a beautiful place that is covered with raining water.

Changchun Shrine Trail (Eternal Springs Shrine)

Changchun Shrine Trail (Eternal Springs Shrine)

This 2000 meter long trail is a short trail that is carved into the cliff which takes you directly to the beautiful Eternal Springs Shrine temple platform.

This beautiful shrine which was built on top of a spring fed waterfall, commemorates the 226 people that died during the construction of the Central Cross Island Highway in the middle of the 1900’s.

Not only that but sitting above the Eternal Springs Shrine Temple are two beautiful pagodas. They are the Taroko Tower as well as the Bell Tower.

Lushui-Wenshan Trail

Lushui-Wenshan Trail

The Lushui-Wenshan Trail is one of the longest and most tiring trails in the entire national park. It stretches to about 5500 meterse long and is a true adventure into the depths of the Taroko Gorge. It is routed deep in history because you can find many stone remains of several Japanese outposts which can still be seen along the trail today.

Zhuilu Old Trail 

Zhuilu Old Trail

Are you scared of heights? If so, this might not be the trail for you. Not only is this trail at a staggering 700 meters above the canyon floor, the trail at parts is also only 90 cm wide! Not only that, but there are no ropes or guardrails through the trail.

This is Zhuliu Old Trail.

It is about a 6 km round trip hike that is definitely not for the faint of heart. You will most likely be spending about 3 to 6 hours in total just hiking up and down this incredible trail.

This trail does require a permit so make sure if you do want to hike this trail, BE PREPARED.

_____

Overall, Taroko National Park is the prime treasure of the island of Taiwan.

It is a beautiful place that is filled with all sorts of things to see and do.

From the beautiful scenic hikes to the wild animals and wild plants living here, it is definitely a sight to see.

Hopefully this post was able to show you a deeper insight as to what the Taroko National Park is and what it has to offer.

Also, if you are planning to visit Taiwan anytime soon, you might also be interested in some of my other Taiwan posts.

Or you can check out my complete list of things to do in Taiwan by clicking here.

Let me know how your trip goes!