As we talk about Hualien, first image that comes up in your mind probably will be Taroko Gorge(太魯閣峽谷). With amazing canyons and cliffs, Taroko Gorge has become a must-see in Taiwan for foreigners. There are distinctive trails in Taroko National Park. Among these trails, Zhuilu Old Trail(錐麓古道) is the most famous one due to the magnificent scenery. Though the beautiful view does attract people, it’s not an easy challenge if you want to visit Zhuilu Old Trail. The narrow path, physical energy required and park entry permit are the reasons that stop people for coming. Well, now you don’t need to worry about these annoying things. We’ve sorted out every detailed things you should now before you go to Zhuilu Old Trail. Get ready to enjoy the beauty of Zhuilu Old Trail!
ABOUT ZHUILU OLD TRAIL
The Zhuilu Old Trail, the remains of the Old Cross-Hehuan Mountain Road, is the only Culture/historic Area in Taroko National Park. It’s an important connection between Truku villages in the early days. Originally the trail was only 30 cm wide, barely enough for two feet side by side. in 1917, the width of the trail was expanded to 1.5 m for transportation as well as the movement of artillery in Japanese era. It was a difficult can dangerous work that the local indigenous men needed to use dynamite on the cliff walls to clear the rock for tunnels. Though the trail is still not easy to walk, we still need to give appreciation to the local indigenous for giving us a chance to enjoy the astonished landscape.
Currently the east 3.1 km of the trail is open to hikers.(the rest of trail remains closed due to the rockfalls damages.) Starting from Zhuilu Suspension Bridge, the trail leads to the Cliff Outpost, where hikers must doubleback to the trail entrance in order to exit. (Resource : Taroko National Park)
Made of hard marble, Zhuilu Old Trail won’t fall off easily even if the road is washed away by the stream. What has formed over the years is the cliff with an altitude of 1,100 meters. This is the most attractive and shocking part of Zhuilu Old Trail. It’s called “Zhuilu Cliff” and is also known as “The Sky Trail of Taiwan”.
Past Jinheng Bridge, cliffs on both sides of the gorge steepen and draw closer to each other. On the Central Cross-Island Highway at 178 km, the rock becomes one completely vertical, marble cliff stretched about 1,200 meters wide, with a height of 1,100 meter. The Zhuilu Cliffs stand opposite the highway below, while above the highway are the Fuji Cliffs. With merely 20-plus m between them, these majestic cliffs are the masterpiece of the Liwu River, cutting through Mt. Sanjiaozhui. There’s a wider section on the highway below the cliffs, where visitors can park to take in the view. From this spot, you can hardly see the very top of the Zhuilu Cliffs, but the outline of sky between the cliff edges looks very much like the shape of Taiwan when viewed from west to east. (Resource : Taroko National Park)
VISIT ZHUILU OLD TRAIL
Due to the unique characteristics of the Zhuilu Old Road, visitors are required to apply for a park entry permit.
Application Time｜1-30 days before you entry the park
Entrance Limitation｜96 persons on weekdays and 156 persons on weekends and holidays per day
Time you need｜1 day
Though there are some flat stairs set along the trail, the trail is mostly ups and downs which is really steep. Therefore, in addition to the raincoats, first-aid supplies, water, and food/snacks are necessary for mountain climbing, it is highly recommended to prepare trekking poles, hiking shoes, hats and towels. With professional mountaineering supplies, it is safer and more protective to walk up the mountain road. Hat, towel and water are especially important when you visit here in summer or you will easily get a heatstroke.
Those who want to climb must have enough strength to deal with it. Although it only takes one day to finish Zhuilu Old Trail, the mountain road can be ups and downs. It takes a lot of effort to pay attention to watch the steps while climbing. Those who don’t have regular exercise habit must start physical training if you want to visit Zhuilu Old Trail. With a healthy body, you can not only ensure your own safety but also enjoy a wonderful trip.
This trail is rugged along much of its length and the cliff section is very narrow. Do not attempt it if lacking fitness, scared of heights or suffering from heart disease. The weather in the mountains is very changeable. In the afternoon, wind and fog are common. Please be careful and stay warm.
Zhuilu Cliff Section is around 500 meters long(2.6K-3.1K). When crossing the cliff:
●Do not use your cellphone, run, jump, or play, and do not get too close to the edge.
●Walk as close to the inside edge of the trail as you can and grip the rope at all times; when passing others coming the other way, be careful, wait in a spacious place and give way.
●When taking pictures, please be careful.
(Resource : Taroko National Park)
▸Bus: Take a Hualien Bus(No. 1133A/302) bound for Tianxiang, Luoshao, or Lishan, and alight at Swallow Grotto (Yanzikou).
▸Drive: Head west on the Central Cross-Island Highway. The Swallow Grotto is approx. 500 m after exiting from the Xipan Tunnel.