Taroko National Park

China in the 21st CenturyCreated by Ted Mitchell

Taroko National Park in Taiwan
Taroko National Park in Taiwan

Taroko National Park Slideshow

Taroko National Park Photo Gallery (Downloadable Pictures)

Taroko National Park in Eastern Taiwan covers a wide area including parts of Hualien, Taichung and Nantou Counties . Its topography is mountainous: valleys, gorges, mountains, rapid rivers and waterfalls characterize most of the area. Its spectacular scenery has long been world-renowned, especially along the Central Cross-Island Highway between Taroko and Tiansiang.    
Taroko is located where the Central Cross-Island Highway and the Suhua Highway meet. The spot is marked by a Chinese-style gate to commemorate the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway . The starting point for the highway, a famous photo spot, is a gathering place for many local aborigines who still wear traditional costume for photographers. The Highway winds its way through the mountainous forest. The Tunnel of Nine Turns (Jioucyudong) is a man-made wonder created by the builders of the highway. Here the highway penetrates the mountains through winding stone caves and tunnels. On one side of the road is a deep valley and on the other side are vertical stone cliffs. It's not hard to imagine how difficult and heroic its construction was. Cihmu Bridge is another attraction along the Highway. The bridge is faced with snow-white marble from Hualien and is located at the confluence of the Liwu and Laosi Rivers .  
Taroko Gorge is formed by the Liwu River cutting through the marble mountains. Because of the continuous tectonic movement in this area, cliffs, faults and creases in the marble surface are very common. As the river flows through the gorge, it forms V-shaped valleys and precipitous cliffs, on which beautiful stone patterns can clearly be seen. In some places, the stone walls of the valley stand so close together that they only allow a thin line of sunlight through to the floor of the gorge. Waterfalls cascade off the cliffs, and trees cling to their vertical surfaces. The majestic scene is like that of a poetic Chinese brush painting. The Gorge is one of the natural wonders of Asia and should not be missed.
The Eternal Spring Shrine was built to commemorate those who died building the Central Cross-Island Highway . A plume of white water flows down from the cliff before the shrine. Behind the shrine are some stone steps, called “The Heavenly Stairs”, leading up to Guanyin Cave and Changuang Temple . Swallow's Grottos (Yanzihgu) are natural holes carved out of the marble by the erosion of the Liwu River . During late spring and early summer the holes are the nesting place of thousands of swallows.  
Tiansiang marks the terminus of the Taroko section of the highway, and the township has lots of tourist facilities such as the Grand Formosa Hotel, the Tiansiang Suspension Bridge , Pudu Temple , and the nearby Baiyang Trail. Return back down through the gorge and you'll reach the Suhua Highway , which is set between the Pacific and the high mountains of Eastern Taiwan . The Cingshuei Cliffs are a particularly magnificent sight that you don't want to miss.
(Taiwan: The Heart of Asia)