Taroko Gorge Off The Beaten Path

  • View along the Jiangkuo Mountain Trail
    View along the Jiangkuo Mountain Trail
    by kenmerk
  • Bamboo Forest along the Tali/Tatung Trail
    Bamboo Forest along the Tali/Tatung...
    by kenmerk
  • Changwang Temple, Taroko Gorge...
    Changwang Temple, Taroko Gorge...
    by kenmerk

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Taroko Gorge

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    Sacred Tree

    by kenmerk Written May 5, 2003

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    Sacred Tree in Taroko...

    One of the musts of a Taiwanese resorts is to have a "Sacred Tree" and Taroko is no exception...

    Any tree old enough to have survived the Japanese occupation is held sacred by the locals. (Japan liked to chop down all the trees and send them back to Tokyo to make chopsticks, tatami mats, and the like) Note: There are no sacred trees in Korea, as the Japanese pretty much chopped down everything in sight there.

    This particular tree is probably on the order of 1000 years old... There was one in Alishan, near Chiayi which was said to be about 3000 years old, but it was unfortunately felled by a typhoon a few years back...

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    Lotus Lake

    by kenmerk Updated May 5, 2003

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    Trailhead for Lotus Lake...

    Nice hike, about 12 KM's round trip. You can see a small lake up in the mountains of Taroko National Park. Also, there is a good view point along the trail where you can see flat spots on the surrounding mountains that show where the water level once was in this area. (Much higher elevation than the present)

    The trail continues past Lotus Lake, but where it goes, I do not know. This will be saved for a later day....

    Directions: Drive about 5 KM past Wenshan hotspring area. At the first hairpin turn in the road is the trail head. Follow this trail for about 2 KM until you reach a fork in the path. Go to the right over the bridge. Trail continues another 4 KM's uphill until you reach this small lake in the mountains.

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    Lichin Waterfall

    by kenmerk Written Mar 9, 2003

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    Lichin Waterfall, Taroko Gorge

    This waterfall is located about 1 KM west of the Eternal Spring Shrine. You can view it either from the road side, or there is a hiking trail that leads to the base of the waterfall.

    On my first attempt to follow the trail to the base, I apparently took a wrong turn, and ended up on another trail that follows the river several KM's west towards the dam. This section of the trail appears to follow an abandoned section of road that is notched into the side of a cliff.

    Retracing, it appears that the trail to the waterfall is a rough trail heading uphill just prior to the third tunnel. (Shortly after a bridge that spans a creek) I'll will confirm this at next opportunity.

    Note: Bring a flashlight for the tunnels. Also, The trail condition is not great, so wear long pants, hiking boots, etc. And watch out for the many bats that hang out in the tunnels.

    Directions: Drive about 1 KM past the Eternal Spring Shrine, the trail head for this waterfall is on your right. (A tunnel entrance, just before crossing the bridge)

    To view the waterfall from the road, head another few hundred meters west, and look up in the mountains on the north side of the road.

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    Houran Pavillion Trail

    by kenmerk Written Feb 25, 2003

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    View Along the Houran Pavillion Trail...

    This trail is not long, but it is straight up hill if started from the Tienhsiang side. There is a good view of the Paiyang waterfall at about the half way point in the trail, also there is an excellent view of Tienhsiang from the top of the trail.

    For those of you who are too lazy to make the walk, but just want to see the view, drive about 5 KM past the hair pin turn at the Lotus Lake trail head, and you can stop at the Houran Pavilion on your left.

    Note: The last time that I went up here, the middle of the trail was damaged by a landslide and was not passable, so it would be best to check the trail condition before starting the hike.

    View of Tienhsiang from the Houran Pavilion
    Directions: Either hike straight up the mountain from Tienhsiang (Trail starts from behind Youth Activity Center, or Hike straight down the mountain from Houran Pavilion.

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    Jiangkuo Mountain Trail

    by kenmerk Written Feb 25, 2003

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    View along the Jiangkuo Mountain Trail

    This hike is STRAIGHT uphill, and took about 5-6 hours round trip. We turned around at an old abandoned aerial cable lift terminal, where there are excellent views of the surrounding mountains..

    The trail continues on along some abandoned logging trails towards Jiangkou Mountain, although this appears to be at least a two day hike to make it up and back.

    My legs were still sore 3-4 days after this hike, so I think I'll rest up for a couple weeks before I try another one like this...

    The trailhead for the Jiangkou Mountrain Trail is just past Holiu. There is a small suspension bridge at the Yuehwang Pavilion that crosses the Liwu River. Cross this bridge, and the trail heads straight up hill after crossing the bridge.

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    Tali/Tatung Trail

    by kenmerk Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Bamboo Forest along the Tali/Tatung Trail

    This challenging trail heads straight uphill from Higway 9 to two small aboriginal villages high up in the mountains that overlook Taroko Gorge. (Tali and Tatung)

    Although warned by the locals that the villagers up here were once proficient head hunters (Atayal Tribe), we did not encounter any hostile natives. The only hostile encounter that we had was with two rock monkeys that ran across the path about 5 meters in front of us. The monkeys screeched at us from the trees, as it seemed like we were infringing on their turf...

    Note: For an interesting loop hike, I'd recommend ascending from the Visitor Center side, and descending to Sanchienwu, which is at the end of the Mysterious Valley Trail. You can then follow the Mysterious Valley trail back to it's trailhead, and walk through the new highway tunnel back to the Taroko Visitor Center. This route will allow for a nice long cold soak in the Shakatang river after completing this difficult hike.... (This routing should take about 5-6 hours at a moderate pace.)

    To get there: Park at the Taroko Gorge Visitor Center. Walk back down to Highway 9, and follow this road east for about half a KM. You will see two large waterpipes coming down the side of the mountain. Follow the cement stairs up along the side of these waterpipes to the trailhead for the Tali/Tatung Trail.

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    Changwang Temple

    by kenmerk Written May 24, 2003

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    Changwang Temple, Taroko Gorge...

    Located across the foot path suspension bridge at the end of the Eternal Spring Shrine Temple. (A short, though steep 11.5 KM hike)

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