Taroko National Park in Eastern Taiwan is famous for its rugged landscapes and canyons, particularly the impressive Taroko Gorge, a steep canyon that offers not only amazing views but also historical shrines, hot springs, mountain forests with wildlife, and activities such as whitewater rafting and trekking. As one of the main tourism destinations in Taiwan, Taroko Gorge area has many hotels and tourism services to offer.
Scenic Taroko Gorge is located in Taroko National Park in the East coast of Taiwan, 15 km north of the city of Hualien. The main landmark of the park, Taroko Gorge is a 19 km long marble and granite canyon carved by the Liwu River that is one of the deepest in the world. The name Taroko, meaning “magnificent and beautiful” was given by the local indigenous Truku people. Taroko National Park, established in 1986, contains over 120,000 hectares of mountainous landscape rising steeply from the sea level to over 3,700 meters in just 20 kilometers, and includes some of Taiwan’s tallest mountains. Besides tourism attracted by the scenic landscapes, Taroko Gorge area has also hosted mining for marble and jade.
Sights and activities in Taroko National Park: landscape, temples, trekking & rafting
The main attraction of Taroko Gorge is its phenomenal landscape with a very steep relief rising from the sea level into high mountains, deep canyons, and mountain forests. Some of the most famous sights in Taroko Gorge area include the Tunnel of Nine Turns, a twisting cave with spectacular views over the canyon, the Eternal Spring Shrine the Swallow Grotto, the Wenshan Hot Springs, and Baiyang Waterfall. There are also several temples and bridges to visit in the area and you can buy handicrafts from local indigenous people along the gorge.
Outdoor activities. Several long and short trails for trekking in Taroko Gorge area. You can also try biking or whitewater rafting in Taroko Gorge. The Liwu River that flows through the canyon is excellent for rafting during the summer months. The National Park contains a lot of wildlife, including Black Bears, monkeys and over 140 species of birds. Taroko Gorge also hosts an annual marathon on the road through the gorge in November.
Taroko Gorge travel information and practical tips
Taroko Gorge enjoys a subtropical climate that is generally mild but varies depending on elevation. The winters are mild with a possibility of snow in high elevations, while summers are pleasantly warm.
There is plenty of rainfall in Taroko area throughout the year, with a possibility for occasional typhoons from July to October.
Traveling to Taroko Gorge is done via the coastal city of Hualien. It has an airport with domestic flights and trains from Taipei, as well as hotels and amusement parks. There are several daily buses to Taroko Gorge from Hualien and you can also reach the area by taxi. Scooter and car rental in Hualien and daily sightseeing bus tours to Taroko Gorge are all available from the city. Entry to Taroko National Park is free, but visiting some of the ecological protection areas within the park requires a permit and a local guide.
Accommodation & services. There is a nice amount of hotels in Taroko Gorge as well as in nearby Hualien, and a good variation of accommodation types from campsites to five-star hotels available. Restaurants in Taroko Gorge are not as numerous, concentrated mainly in the hotels and in Tienshiang village and serving local cuisine. Hualien has more restaurants to visit. Taroko Gorge area does not have any particular nightlife to offer. English is not widely understood in the area, so learning a couple of phrases in Chinese is recommended.
Safety. Taroko Gorge is a safe place with no crime problems. The only dangers in the area are falling rocks and flooding in canyons after heavy rains. The steep topography of the area makes driving in Taroko rather scary at times.