Lushui Wenshan Trail – A hidden treasure
Feeling Relaxed in the wild hot spring after an intensive hiking day.
Taroko National Park’s Lushui-Wenshan Trail is part of the Old Cross-Hehuan Mountain Road. It is around 5.5 km long and is roughly a 4 to 5 hours walk. As a result of several typhoons in 2005 the trail collapsed in a number of places and was closed for quite some time but has re-opened since July 2017. The trail has primitive forest and rich ecology and also Japanese era police station and aborigine village relics, making it an ancient trail with a strong natural and cultural flavor.
The trail is quite long and requires a reasonable level of fitness. Visitors should weigh up their physical ability carefully before deciding to walk the trail.
HOW TO GET THERE?
The cheapest way to get to Taroko Gorge from Hualien is by public bus. Buses depart from the orange bus station next to the train station on left side as you walk out of the main front exit. The earliest bus from Hualien leaves at 7:00, and the last one departs from Tianxiang at 17:00. This schedule is likely to change, so it’s important to get a copy of the timetable from the bus station before you leave. A 1-Day Pass costs NTD$250 and allows you to hop on and off at any bus stop along the Taroko Route. Purchase the ticket at the bus station, Family-Mart, or 7-11 before you get onto the bus.
Tourist Shuttle – 1133A Taroko Route from Hualien to TianXiang.
Departs from Hualien Station: 07:00 / 08:30 / 09:10 / 10:00 / 11:10 / 12:00 / 13:20 / 14:10 / 15:10
Return from Tianxiang: 08:40 / 10:00 / 10:40 / 11:40 / 12:50 / 14:10 / 15:00 / 15:50 / 17:00
Bus fare: 1-Day Pass $250, 2-Days Pass $400
Journey Time: Approx. Approx. 1hour to Lushui Bus Stop
Detailed Time Table: http://www.hualienbus.com.tw/bus/userfiles/files/149826391848833.pdf
Get off the bus at Lushui bus stop and then start hiking from there if you already have a permit.
You can also cycle there if you are fit enough. From Hualien city to the entrance of Taroko is about 25KM, and it’s another 20KM to Tianxiang along the amazing gorge. You will experience ultimate freedom in this way, but you might feel a bit tired on the way back.
For the experienced driver, you can hire either a car or a scooter; there are some scooter/car rental shops in front of the train station. It costs around NTD$500~800/day for a scooter, and NTD$1,600~2,000 for a car. The road inside Taroko is narrow and winding. It can be challenging with all the tourist buses on the same narrow road with you. Drive carefully.
- The trail itself is easy to recognize. It’s suggested to remain quiet while hiking if you wish to encounter some wildlife.
- Beware of wasps, snakes, and leeches.
- Make sure to arrange the Mountain Entry Permit before the hike if possible.
- Wenshan Hot Spring is not officially open to the public. It’s been closed since 2005 after typhoon damage. To enter this area is at your own risk, and be very careful when walking on the slippery stone steps.
- Check if there is any construction inside Taroko and make plan carefully if you go there by bus.
There is construction on Highway #8 at 166.5K between Wenshan (165K+500) and Tianxiang (168K+500) by the time we wrote this post in December 2017. They unblock the road so you can across for 10 minutes every hour on the hour from 7:30 to 17:30. For example, if you arrive at 7:30, you will have from 7:30-7:40 to cross. If you arrive later than that, you will have to wait until 8:30 to cross again. Be very careful making your plan and make sure to arrive Tianxiang before the last bus leaves at 17:00.
WHAT TO BRING?
- Passport or copy of it (for mountain entry permit)
- Water (at least 1.5 liter)
- Walking pole
- Hiking boots
- Rain jacket
- Quick dry clothes
- Bathing suit, towel, and dry cloth.
- Medicine and a first aid kit including one with some antihistamine
Apply for a Mountain Entry Permit on-line one week before your hike. If you didn’t manage to do it on-line, you can apply for it on the spot at the Tienxiang Police Station.
Hualien County Police Bureau – Tianxiang Police Station
No 22-1 Tianxiang, Xiulin Township, Hualien County 972
03 869 1139