Zhuilu Old Trail is the best hiking trail with the awesome view in Taroko Gorge. There is no doubt about it. Before arriving at the trailhead, you have to make sure you are well prepared. Or you may be refused to enter the trail and come away empty-handed. Therefore, Eye Travel Taiwan (ETT) summarizes the top 10 of the most frequently asked questions and hope it will offer you some help.
Notice: since 2017 March Taroko National Park charges every hiker TWD 200. Please check No.11 how & where to pay the admission fee.
No.1 How do I apply for permit?
You must have two kinds of permits to get access to Zhuilu Od Trail, one is the permit of Taroko National Park and the other is the permit of National Police Agency.
Step1: Permit of Taroko National Park
Apply Online: Please go to the link (Permit application of Taroko National Park), and fill in an application form online. But the most importance is you have to find someone to be the emergency contact window on the tab of “Person On Duty” and that person should be the Taiwanese and have a local phone number to let the Taroko National Park officials contact directly.
Capacity Limitation: It allows 96 people per day on the weekday and 156 people per day on weekend. From our experience, if you don’t want to be confined to the capacity limit or don’t want to see the crowded trail with visitors on the weekend, we highly recommend you come to Zhuilu Old Trail on the weekday.
Deadline for Application: Before 7 a.m. of a day before the scheduled departure date. For example, if you are planning to Zhuilu Old Trail on Wednesday, you have to submit the application before 7 a.m. on Tuesday. If on Saturday or Sunday, you have to submit before 7 a.m. on Friday because of two days off on the weekend. After submission, your “Person On Duty” will receive a phone call as confirmation. After that, the permit will be issued by email or also can be downloaded with application number & ID here.
Step2: Permit of Police
Apply Online: Apply through the website of National Police Agency (Here). Sorry for poor online service of it and this website is only in Chinese, not in English. You only apply online at least 5 days or more before the scheduled departure date.
Apply In Person: Apply for the permit in local Police Station with your permit from Taroko National Park right on the scheduled departure date. The local police station is located next to the headquarter of Taroko National Park. *** Please make a copy of the permit of Taroko National Park in case the police officer keeps your permit.
Service hours: 07:00 a.m. ~ 05:00 p.m.
Location: Google Map location
If you would like to simplify the all application process and save your time, signing up a tour may be another good option for you. We offer a mini-group tour (3pax-8pax), especially for the solo traveler who does not want to spend a lot to sign up a private tour. For further detail, please check “Zhuilu Old Trail Hiking Tour” on Eye Travel Taiwan’s official site.
No.2 How do I arrange the trip?
If you have a tight time budget in Hualien and happen to have one spare day to visit Zhuilu Old Trail, you can take the earliest train from Taipei to Hualien and take the train back to Taipei around at 6:00 ~ 7:00 p.m. Except for the special case mentioned above, it would be better to stay in Hualien for 1-2 days and take your time to explore this beautiful mountainous and coastal city. There are a lot of worth visiting attractions in Hualien, such as Taroko Gorge, Mugumugi Valley, Qixingtan (Chishingtan Beach)…etc. That beauty will be enjoyable only when you slow down your pace. You also will taste local yummy cuisines and find many hostels and hotels with reasonable prices here. However, the shortage of train tickets from Taipei to Hualien always drives people crazy, we will show you how to do it later.
No.3 How long will a hike take?
It takes 3-4 hours to complete (half-route) for hiking experts and it may need 6-7 hours for those who don’t have much experience. In general, most people are able to complete this beautiful trail. For example, this German ma’am also completed the tour by herself. (Connect to the blog of Zhuilu Old Trail) This trail is not recommended to those who are afraid of height and have the heart attack and hypertension.
No.4 What to bring?
- Two kinds of permits are required
- Passport of each participant is needed
- Hiking boots or sports shoes
- Sportswear (no jeans)
- Rain suit or rain poncho
- Lunch & hiking foods
- Water (at least 1L/person)
- Backpack for hike
- Please put on the helmets for your safety. You can borrow the helmet at the service center of the riverside or the headquarter of Taroko National Park.
- Charge admission fee TWD 200 since 16th March 2017.
No.5 How to get to the trailhead?
The trailhead is located next to the entrance of swallow grotto (Google map). You can get there by bus, car or scooter. If you go by yourself, please pay attention if there is any traffic control in Taroko National Park. Entrance and exit of the Zhuilu Old Trail are the same, and remember to turn back at 3.1km because of road damage behind 3.1km and sign up at the entrance again as you leave.
No.6 Full or Half of Zhuilu Old Trail? (half trail only since 2017)
The full route is 10.3 km and will take 6-9 hours. You absolutely will see the most beautiful scenery on full route, but you will feel completely exhausted in the end. Unfortunately, the full route was been destroyed by the typhoon and it seldom opens in most of the time. As for the half route, it is 6.2km long and needs 5~6 hour. Compared to the full route, the half route is much more friendly and easier for most people. No worry about the scenery on half route, it includes the most breathtaking part of this trial- Zhuilu Cliff.
No.7 Is it dangerous?
There is no outdoor activity without potential risk and Zhuilu Trail is no exception. Its risks include falling rocks (especially near the big cliff), stumble and fall from the cliff, poisonous sneaks (May-October) and wasps ( in Autumn). Rent the helmet is highly recommended in case of the falling rocks. If you are still worried about those risks, you can join the local tour, they will completely meet your need including your safety.
No.8 Can we go in the raining day?
Yes, but watch out your steps in the slippery area of the trail. Generally, drizzle and light rain won’t influence the activity on the trail, except for the heavy rain like the typhoon. Don’t give up too early when it starts to rain because the most beautiful scenery always appears at this moment.
No.9 How about the weather?
If you check the weather forecast on Central Weather Bureau, it always shows a higher chance of rain in Hualien compared wother citiescity in Taiwan. From our experience, except for the typhoon seasons (July-September), it only rains lightly in the most of time. In summer time (June-August), the temperature is between 28-35oC (82-95oF). In winter time(December-February), it is between 8-18oC (46-64oF). Please refer to the two photos below for what to wear on the Zhuilu Old Trail in different seasons.
No.10 Is there an easier way to go to Zhuilu Old Trail?
Of course! Let Eye Travel Taiwan arrange the whole tour for you, our service includes the hotel or train station pickup and drop-off, permit application, insurance, helmet rental and the hospitable tour guides who will accompany you all the way to assure your safety, bring you to explore the past of this trail and take you to taste the local foods. We also help our customers book the train tickets if they make a request. If you are a budget traveler or solo traveler, welcome to sign up our mini group (3~8pax) and enjoy the tour with friends from all around the world. Chick HERE to see what other travelers said about us. 🙂
No.11 How and where to pay the admission fee? (since March. 2017)
It’s 5 minutes drive (20 minutes walk) ahead of the trailhead. See the google map location as follows:
Zhuilu Old Trail (Zhuilu Old Road) Toll Station is the same location for helmet borrow. (see the following pic.)