the beaten track at
Taroko Gorge (Part 2)
By Lishea Chen Translated
by Ann Lee
The Bu Luo Wan terrace trail has a walk
that takes you directly to the essence of Taroko Gorge--the
Swallow Grotto (Yanzihkou) Trail. While watching the
darting swallows, also take a look at the stone-walled
grotto opposite of where you are standing and you will
see that this particular cave actually connects to another
Head west and you'll reach the Tunnel
of Nine Turns (Chiu-cyu-dong), part of the old Central
Cross-Island Highway, where there are separate passages
for vehicles and pedestrians, as well as old excavation
marks on the tunnel walls. The track next to the walking
path is the beginning of old gold-mining trails created
by the Japanese long ago. Continue along the road and
you'll see Kelan River, where "the carp leaps over
the dragon door". This U-shaped gorge is unique
among the other gorges, which are usually V-shaped.
After passing the Tzumu Bridge and
Frog Stone, you will see a full-facility camping ground
area (free use), which in earlier days was a timber
collection and distribution area. There are 12 wooden
camping spots now. Yueh-wang Bower is nearby and a suspension
bridge takes you right up to the Yanhai Logging Road.
Go west and you'll reach the Lyushui and Tiansiang areas,
where plum trees can be seen.
The Grand Formosa Taroko Hotel (038-691-155)
provides high-end dining and accommodation packages.
Depending on the season, they also incorporate local
flavors into their meals. You can also enjoy the luxury
of the hotel's spa pools and gym. The Grand Formosa
Trial will let you explore the remains of Taroko Tapido
(meaning "palms") clan, which believed that
all roads led home. Along the way, there is a panoramic
view of Tiansiang. When standing on Jhih-huei Bridge
at the Plum Garden, you can get a clear view of Dasha
River and the Tacih Jili River beneath, which flows
into Liwu River.
Taroko's Baiyang Waterfall and Wunshan
Hot Springs are also reached by interesting trails.
The Jhulin Trail at Plum Garden is a scenic route, but
will take you eight hours round-trip. The Lianhua (Lotus)
Pond Trail takes six hours round-trip and has plenty
of open-meadow scenery along the way. While passing
Sibao, there is the Huo Ran Ting ("clear-thinking
pavilion"). Go down the hill about two hours and
you'll reach the Tiansiang Youth Corps Activities Center
(038-691-111). During your next trip to Taroko Gorge,
a personal exploration of these trails will certainly
help make your trip even more memorable and enjoyable.