The Hualien County is mostly characterized by a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean while its topography is mostly of mountains, rocks and cliffs. Much of Hualien makes up plenty of impressive rock formations but the most famous of them all would definitely be Taroko Gorge.
This stunning 19-kilometer long canyon is basically made up of metamorphic rocks that include marble, gneiss and schist. When directly translated, the name “Taroko” means “magnificent and splendid” in the Truku language, which is the dialect of one of the aboriginal tribes who live in Hualien.
The gorge also goes by the name Taroko National Park and was officially established in November 28 of 1986. At the time, the opening of the gorge marked a significant period for the country that saw policies being geared towards environmental protection. This was because Taiwan was on its way to extraordinary economic success that was being seen to have led to negligence of their natural resources. However, with the establishment of the park, the Taiwanese immediately vowed to pay more attention to it in order to protect and rescue the natural scenery, conserve its resources and further promote environmental education.
There is simply not a single special aspect to mention that will make the Taroko Gorge National Park stand out as the entire park itself is phenomenal. Within a few hours, visitors will see themselves going through the rugged coastal cliffs of Hualien, a maze of tropical forest canyons and eventually to high elevated forests of the area.
The park is seen at 60 kilometers above sea level while some of its tallest peaks can reach to about 3,400 meters high. Such steep cliffs and narrow canyons are due to two forces: the strong currents of water and the fast rate of geological change. These two factors have produced one of the world’s deepest marble canyons. But the canyon was not born overnight as it’s been said that the gorge is a product of over 70 million years of erosion and natural environmental activities. The slot that was produced by such forces remain remarkable with canyons reaching to about a thousand feet high and only a few yards apart to separate them.
A visit to the park does not only present tourists with stunning natural formations but also a remarkable collection of species, flora and fauna of the area. The park is home to 144 species of birds, 300 species kinds of mammals, 251 kinds of butterflies, 32 types of reptiles and 18 types of fish. Many claim that there are many other species unaccounted for as the numbers are but a fraction of the variety of species that actually live in the park.
Taking a Taroko Gorge Tour includes a visit to the Eternal Spring Shrine, Tunnel of Nine Turns, Swallow Grotto, Tiansiang, the Lioufang Bridge, the Hill of Yu the Great and Buluowan. Taking the tour will help people realize that the beauty of Hualien was produced over millions of years and how nature can really create the most stunning pieces of art.