We came to Taiwan specifically to visit Taroko National Park and hike the Zhuilu Old Trail. It was our first time trekking in a jungle and in intense humidity.
We hiked in late May 2014 and to say that it was hot is an understatement. Every time I stepped outside it felt as though the searing wind slapped me in the face.
The Zhuilu Old Trail is stunning. We traversed alongside the river bed, uphill through jungle forest and walked along a cliff edge where we had a bird’s eye view of Taroko Gorge and Liwu River below.
Hot wind would blow cloud through the gorge and cover our view completely. We had poor visibility and could only see a few meters in front of us.
We would walk past signs signalling falling rock and tiny gravel rubble would fall every now and again as we walked along the cliff edge.
As we headed back down into the jungle we encountered barking deer and aggressive monkeys that started screeching at us.
At the end of the Zhuilu Old Trail we crossed a bridge that connected us to the hoards of tourists visting Taroko Gorge.
We finished with a lovely view of Taroko Gorge.
Zhuilu Old Trail is truly spectacular and definitely worth a visit, although I would recommend hiking during the cooler seasons.
To hike the Zhuilu Old Trail you will need to apply for a permit as they only allow a certain number of people on the trail each day. Any Taiwanese local can apply for this permit for free, however as a foreigner it is a bit more difficult. We were able to ask our driver to apply for this permit for us. You could potentially ask your hotel to do this for you.
On some websites it states that you need a guide to do this trek, this was not the case at all – we were able to hike by ourselves.
Zhuilu Old Trail Information
- Distance: 10.3km
- Start: Swallow Grotto (燕子口)
- Finish: at Bridge of Motherly Affection (慈母桥)
- Permit: Required
- Closures: Check this page for closures