Taiwan’s Vertigo Trail - Jhuilu Old Road, Taroko
The Jhuilu (錐鹿古道) Trail in Taroko Gorge is probably one of the most stunning day-hikes in Taiwan. All of the trail is superb - the middle section is truly breathtaking - walking on a narrow ledge over 500 meters above the gorge.
We now offer a package tour for this (we've nicknamed it the Vertigo Trail) hike. This trail is for hikers in average to above-average fitness who enjoy big views. This hike is not for anyone very out of shape or suffering from acrophobia - a fear of heights!
The Jhuilu Old Trail is part of the long Japanese-era Hehuan Trail that once linked Taroko with garrisons on the west side of the central mountains. This section, damaged and closed for many years, is only now open to hikers. Most of it is a gorgeous hiking trail winding through beautiful forest, with an initial ascent/final descent of around 600 meters (2000 feet). What makes this truly spectacular are the middle sections that pass along sheer cliffs, where the cars and buses in the gorge half a kilometer below are...small, and a wrong move means...
The 10.3 km route takes up to 7 hours, so setting of at 7 or 8am makes sense. Hikers must carry plenty of water and snacks for this tough workout. Taroko National Park strictly enforces rules regarding the required permits (I've seen them fining people).The trail starts from Zimu (Cimu) Bridge and ends at the suspension bridge at the Swallow's Grotto (Yanzikou). This is usually the best direction of travel - and sometimes required. On most of the most exciting parts (path less than 70cm wide) of the trail there is a fixed safety line to hold onto; in a couple places there is a simple rail between you and a long, long fall. Start and end sections of the trail are more conventional - yet beautiful, passing through lush forest and remains of colonial-era stations and memorials.
Permits - both ‘park’ and ‘mountain’. Maps
Return Train tickets from Taipei to Xincheng (Taroko, Sincheng) Station, where you will be met by our agent and driven to good accommodation near the gorge.
In the morning he will transport you to the trailhead, and be waiting when you descend in the afternoon for transport back to Xincheng Station.
There is a limit to the number of permits issued for each day - weekends may be difficult to obtain. We usually need at least a week to obtain the permits and make the other arrangements - but last minute can work too.
Not included: accident insurance, personal gear.
This is perfect for people who have previously been to the gorge before, have walked all the standard trails, and now want something a bit different. Itinerary fully customizable - discuss your requirements with us.
Can advise on itinerary planning.
Additional photos here.
Contact Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org