Zhuilu old road current trailhead?

Hi everyone,
I got the permit to walk the Zhuilu old road trail tomorrow (through a local) - he tells me the hike trailhead is at the swallow grotto suspension bridge, after which you hike up for about 3km, then return back to swallow grotto. Is this currently all that is open? Looking at descriptions online, I read that the trail should be about 10km starting from Zimu bridge and ending in swallow grotto. Can somebody confirm what the situation is?
Thanks a lot!
Greg

The trail is marked as open on the Park’s site
http://www.taroko.gov.tw/English/?mm=0&sm=0&page=3

It’s been open all year as far as I know, so yes it’s about 10km long and runs from Cihmu Bridge to Yanzikou.
They ask you to walk the trail from W to E, i.e. starting at Cihmu Bridge.
There’s usually a guy stationed at Yanzikou from about 7am, and he’ll prevent you from starting there (although I once did persuade him to let me walk it that direction, E to W). The Yanzikou gate leading to the suspension bridge is usually locked too.

edit - there may be trail issues that I don’t know about, and you currently have to start & stop at Yanzikou, hiking up to see the Zhuilu Cliff and then turning around. Just check with Park HQ on the way up.

Thanks Nuit. I just found this on the chinese version of the park website:
taroko.gov.tw/zhTW/Content.a … &page=1#up

If google translate is right, only the Yanzikou side is open. I’ll check with park HQ as you suggest. Thanks, time to get some sleep!

The trailhead is at the swallow’s grotto suspension bridge and the trail is closed at the 3.1km marker due to land slides further on in the trail. If it was the alps or the rockies it wouldn’t be closed as I think the damage is only a scree slope that isn’t safe in the rain. The 3.1km includes the good bit, so it is still worth your while to go! Just give your permit to the sleepy looking guy at the bridge and you are good to go. Very straight forward.

This info is very accurate. I was just up there yesterday, and will up there tomorrow. Maybe see you on the trail!

[quote=“HualienOutdoors”]The trailhead is at the swallow’s grotto suspension bridge and the trail is closed at the 3.1km marker due to land slides further on in the trail. If it was the alps or the rockies it wouldn’t be closed as I think the damage is only a scree slope that isn’t safe in the rain. The 3.1km includes the good bit, so it is still worth your while to go! Just give your permit to the sleepy looking guy at the bridge and you are good to go. Very straight forward.

This info is very accurate. I was just up there yesterday, and will up there tomorrow. Maybe see you on the trail![/quote]

I was there exactly one year ago and did the trail from the other side, ending the hike at the Swallow Grotto. I remember we had to negotiate two or three landslides. They looked like the most dangerous thing one could try to hike on in the rain, though that day the weather was nice and dry and we had no problems. Are the landslides you’re talking about newer/worse?

I don’t really know what the exact damage is but they closed the whole trail after some heavy rains last May, I think. The big typhoon in August didn’t help either. When I ask what the problem is all I get is a ‘na bien bu hao zuo’. I haven’t seen any pictures. My guess is that they are avoiding opening it because of the ‘hassle’ factor. More than any other national park in Taiwan the Taroko folks try to avoid hassle. My guess is they just don’t want people who don’t know what they are doing pushing the limits of what is safe on an unsafe day.

On a different note, I ran into some workmen when I was up there last week and they are about to open a new trail! It will run from the park headquarters to swallow’s grotto and take about 8 hours or so following the old Japanese road up there. I can’t wait! I will post more details when they come.

[quote=“HualienOutdoors”]
On a different note, I ran into some workmen when I was up there last week and they are about to open a new trail! It will run from the park headquarters to swallow’s grotto and take about 8 hours or so following the old Japanese road up there. I can’t wait! I will post more details when they come.[/quote]

That is great news! :slight_smile:

I wrote to a contact in the national park today and was told there is no trail of that description about to open. Can you get more information about it? I would love for this person to be wrong so I can add one more example to my weighty complaint about the general utter uselessness of Taiwan civil servants.

Well, next time I head up to the office I will see if I can find out the details. I have heard rumors about it for about 6 months from the guys manning the gates at the swallow’s grotto. My conversation with the guy on the trail just above the swallow’s grotto suspension bridge went something like this(in Mandarin of course):

me: Hey! What you doing up there?!
him: cutting grass…
me: what why?!
him: we are opening a trail!
me: right on! to where?
him: from the park headquarters to here.
me: really? when does it open?
him: soon I think, we are just cutting the grass, it is almost done, maybe a month, I don’t know
me: what about the suspension bridges…
him: already fixed!
me: awesome! add oil!

I am sure the disconnect from the Truku work crew to the brown uniform wearing office workers is a big one, but I do think the trail will open before the summer starts. I will ask at the office when I go up there next. In person it is a lot harder to shrug off responsibility…

My contact was set up by the Tourism Bureau specifically to answer my questions about the park and let me know what is happening. If she missed something as big as this I will be making it well known to her superiors.

That would be incompetence of the highest order, even by Taiwan standards.
Still, my money is on the man cutting grass. More info asap on this trail-to-be, please.

did Zhuilu yesterday. Asked at the Police Station about New Trail, he laughed and said “Impossible!” Just saying. No sign of it from the Zhuili trail itself either, although I didn’t look too hard. This is the bit of the Zhuilu which has caused the closure. Repairs seem virtually complete & whole trail should re-open soon, IMO.

High up there :slight_smile:

Is it difficult to get a permit if you are a solo hiker? The permit says your “team leader” must be Taiwanese… is this for real? and if so, does my “team leader” need to be there? :slight_smile: I’m going to Taroko mid-May and have never applied for one of these permits before. I really want to hike that trail!

If so, we can put together a group. I would like to hike there in mid-may, too.

I’ve hiked it both solo and with friends (none of whom were Taiwanese).

Your troubles start with the Park HQ - you need to apply at least 2 days in advance, it may be more. Gets booked out on weekends.

I’ve always applied in person, but this last time my friend managed to get it done by e-mailing the permit application to them. ARC holders can’t apply on-line, as the Id no is the wrong format (as is often the case). I think if you check with Park HQ first, you can apply on-line with a Taiwanese as ‘team-leader’, and they don’t have to hike, but then you need to enter another Taiwanese’s Id as an emergency contact.

Once you have the mountain permit, you need to get the police permit on the day. That’s another 20 minutes of worthless form-filling and waiting at the Police Station by Taroko HQ.

Bear in mind that only a third of the trail is still officially open.