Hike the Zhuilu Old Trail, Taiwan

1.9 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Joshua and Macayla Fryc

Trek over suspension bridges, through the jungle, and across 500 meters of a narrow, jaw-dropping trail, the cliff edge on one side, the marble mountain face on the other.

You'll start off crossing the stunning marble gorge on a suspension bridge. An epic way to start any excursion. Several kilometers in, and perhaps a couple monkey spottings later, you'll feel on the top of the world, 90 centimeters between you and open air, looking down to the Liwu river hundreds of meters below, the force that carved the centuries-old marble gorge. 

The start of this hike is easily accessible by the hop-on hop-off bus that runs through Taroko National Park. If you plan to visit the park, stay in the nearby city of Hualien, on the East Coast of Taiwan. From the main bus station in Hualien (next to the train station), take one of the ever-plenty buses headed toward Taroko National Park. Once in the park, exit the bus at the Yan Zi Kou bus stop (by the massive suspension bridge) and make your way to the tent across the street. There you will check in with your hiking permits and passports. 

(Please note permits are mandatory and it can be highly difficult find any accurate information on how exactly to apply. We know, we tried. They are also free and definitely do not require paying a travel agency to acquire. For DIY step-by-step instructions, see our guide here.)

The trail was orignally built as an old Japanese road created to aid their efforts in controlling the indigenous population during the Japanese occupation in the late 1800s. As a result, the climb is a series of steep rocks and bridges that take you high into the mountains. It is not overly strenuous, but climbers should be in good physical condition, and well prepared for heat and humidity. If you have a severe fear of heights, think twice about going. 

Due to the recent typhoon, the Zhuilu Old Trail is partially closed after 3.1 kilometers, but don't worry, the epic cliff's-edge portion of the trail is still accessible. 

Gear up, and bon voyage! 

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🥇Top Contributor

almost 4 years ago

Aka "Vertigo trail"

Finally got the chance to do this hike, and it lived up to expectations! After climbing up through the forest, the trail eventually hugs the wall of the gorge and leaves you quite exposed with a 2000 ft drop to one side (this is where it gets the nickname "Vertigo trail"). In the very narrow and exposed sections, there is a cable to hold onto in most places, and the trail widens at a few turns which gives enough space for passing hikers. This trail used to be possible as a through hike, but damage from a landslide a few years back has kept part of the trail closed past the Zhuilu outpost (3.1k). If you're planning to go to Taroko, this is definitely a hike worth checking out!

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