Taroko Gorge – Xiulin Township, Taiwan - Atlas Obscura
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Xiulin Township, Taiwan

Taroko Gorge

An extraordinary natural landscape of mountains, waterfalls, and rocky cliffs riddled with tunnels. 

Made up of towering walls of marble and limestone, covered in abundant sub-tropical greenery, dotted with shrines, riddled with tunnels and spanned by hanging bridges, the extraordinary and dramatic landscapes of the Taroko Gorge were originally recognized as a National Park from 1937-1945 during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945).

Once the land of the indigenous Truko people, in whose language Taroko means “magnificent and beautiful,” the land was recreated as a national park by the Taiwanese government in 1986. Driven out by the Japanese in 1914, today the only remains of the Truko people in Taroko National park are the ruins of the 120-year-old Tupido Tribe Trail on the Tianhsyang mesa.

The picturesque Eternal Spring Shrine has been rebuilt twice following landslides, and remembers the 212 who died during the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway.

The Tunnel of Nine Turns follows a particularly dramatic series of tight turns along the narrow gorge. Another long, unlit tunnel known as the Baiyang Waterfall Trail allows hikers willing to brave the dark some extraordinary views of sheet waterfalls at the far end.

An annual international marathon is run at Taroko National Park each year in November.