Unforgettable Taiwanese food and friendly people are the main reasons make foreign visitors come back again and again. What’s more, the beautiful nature scenery, especially underwater world, and high mountain views also impressed visitors. Today, we are going to show you the most breathtaking one-day hiking tour in Hualien: Zhuilu Old Trail
Zhuilu Old Trail: Zhuilu Cliff
This is a cliff with an altitude of 800 meters, but how tall are 800 meters? In fact, this marble cliff has the same altitude with the tallest building in the world-Burj Khalifa tower at Dubai (828m). Zhuilu Old Trail located at 550 meters cliff, which is the same height of Taipei 101. If you don’t have time to visit Taipei 101, you can try this single day hiking on 550 meters trail.
If you take a look at a distance, the trail looks like a line in the high cliff. I wonder why someone would like to build this trail in such a place.
Overlook on the trail of the cliff, you will see Taroko Gorge and the cross-island highway. All vehicles under your feet look like small matches. Please do not kick the rocks, that might cause falling rocks and hurt somebody beneath.
In summer, you can see the cloud on the top of the distant mountain. Taiwan is located in the subtropical region, therefore plants are evergreen. No matter which season it is, mountains always wear comfortable green clothing.
Moreover, You can see the different scene of Zhuilu Old Trail on a rainy day. Imagine walking into the mountain covered by cloud, it makes you feel like in the wonderland of Chinese landscape painting.
Permits are required in Zhuilu Old Trail
Two kinds of permits are needed to enter Zhuilu Old Trail, one is Taroko National Park and the other is the local police station.(How to apply?)
Where is Zhuilu Old Trail?
Zhuilu Old Trail trailhead is located in Taroko Gorge, Hualien. General travelers will stay 1-3 nights in Hualien City. Hualien, a city is embraced by mountain and ocean, and there are many famous spots and activities like Mugumugi water paradise, river tracing, and the well-known daylily blossom …etc. The most convenient and efficient way to get to Hualien from Taipei is taking the train, but it’s not easy to get the train tickets, especially on the weekend, so you’d be better to reserve tickets in advance.
Chick HERE to see how to book train ticket by yourself.
Chick HERE to see how to transport from major airport (Taoyuan airport) to Hualien
The origins of Zhuilu “Old” Trail:
Time back to 1895-1945, Taiwan was under Japan colonial rule. In order to seizure the natural resources like gold and precious wood log in the remote mountains and control and monitor the local aborigine, Japanese started to construct this trail on such a tough area in 1914. Although this trail didn’t originate as tourism purpose and had many sad stories behind, we are lucky to stand here and see the historical remains (Two pictures below are shot at the same location but in the different time.)
After checking with your ID and permits, the ranger will unlock the gate of Zhuilu Old Trail for you and lock again after you step into the trail. That means you are not a tourist but an adventurer from now on. The tourists without permits can only stand outside and are jealous of your good luck to walk on the beautiful suspension bridge.
The beginning is the continuous 1km uphill and that sounds very tough, but tree shades and breeze will make you feel comfortable a little bit on hiking.
You will find the cement pillar ruins on Badagang outpost at 1 km. Badagang was the biggest military base once, but you can only see the remains nowadays. After Japanese left, this place became the haven of wildlife.
Badagang 2nd Bridge
Soon after, we will arrive at Badagang 2nd Bridge. You can overlook the whole valley and warm up to adapt yourself to the height of Great Zhuilu Cliff.
Have you ever been to China? Even so common thing, fresh air, you feel extravagant breathing in China. In past years, many countries like Singapore was affected by air pollution from adjacent countries also. I’m extremely lucky to stay in such a tranquil place to enjoy the fresh air in the greening mountains.
The highway is getting clear as you ascend. Later, we are going through the highlight of this tour, the Zhuilu Cliff with 500-meters height. Take a rest here and ready for next challenge.
The great cliff appears suddenly as passing the sign of 2.4 km. No need to describe how beautiful it is, experience yourself.
For people who are afraid of height, this might be a long long day for them. 🙂
At 3.1 km, you will find a place with wooden bench and rocks and can use them to be your diner table to enjoy your lunch. Most of the hikers have lunch here and then head back to the entrance. Before you leave, remember to bring all of your personal belongs including the garbage with you.
You probably bump into wild monkeys on this trail. Don’t be afraid, they are not dangerously aggressive monkeys. In order to maintain the balance of the ecosystem here, please do not feed them, especially with human artificial food.
The spectacular view on this trail is definitely world-class. I’m an experienced local tour guide and conquer Zhuilu Old Trail over 150 times. Even most of my clients have been to several countries, but there is no doubt that they give “Taroko Gorge” a very positive review. You have to be well prepared before hiking (2 permits/round-trip train tickets/ shuttle…etc). If you don’t want to spend so much time on it, the easiest way is to ask for local tour operator’s help!
Our team provides mini group tour (3pax~8pax) or private tour with English or Mandarin speaking local tour guide to ensure the best experience & safety, including the permits application. If you are interested in our tour, please go to the following link for more details. https://eyetraveltaiwan.com/pkg/Hualien/ZhuiluOldTrailGroup/
Further reading: Top 10 Questions of Zhuilu Old Trail
William Ho, a senior tour guide in Eye Travel Taiwan. I have been to this trail for more than 170 times and still enjoy there every time.