Taroko National Park

Introduction of Taroko National Park

Taroko National Park, situated in the eastern part of the Taiwan and established on November 28, 1986, covers more than 92,000 hectares in the northern section of the Central Mountain Range. This park features high mountains and sheer gorges. Many of its peaks tower above 3,000m in elevation, with many natural wonders. The spectacular Taroko Gorge and the scenic beauty of Liwu River can be conveniently viewed from the Central Cross-Island Highway. The varied mountain peaks, numerous waterfalls, diverse plant forms and animal life, together with the indigenous Taroko people, create the rich texture of this unique natural ecosystem.

The formation of Taroko Gorge

According to theory of plate tectonics, the Penglai Orogeny was caused by the collision of the Philippine Oceanic Plate and the Eurasian Continental Plate. The Penglai Orogeny occurred 4 million years ago. At that time, thick layers of calcareous rock that had been raised from the marine depths during earlier orogenies were now gradually pushed high above the ocean surface to form lofty peaks. During this period of immense tectonic forces, the high pressures and temperatures of compression folded and metamorphosed the original rock (limestone) turning it to marble. At present, this region is still being uplifted at the rate of O.5cm a year. The area has experienced both geologic uplifting and river erosion by the Liwu River. This area is unique for its marble gorge that occasionally forms hundreds of meters high, a phenomenon seldom found elsewhere in the world.


There are 34 species of mammals found in the park, including the black bear, Formosan Macaque (rock monkey), serow, wild boar, and sambar deer, etc. There are 144 species of birds, such as Swinhoe's pheasant, Formosan blue magpie, Finches, and Formosan Laughing Thrush, etc.



The elevation ranges from sea level up to 3700m and includes several different climate zones. The vegetation found in the park includes: alpine juniper forest, dwarf bamboo formation, fir, hemlock, spruce, pine and hardwoods, Taroko oak and Chinese photinia.


Cultural Heritage

There are three categories:

(1). Prehistoric sites Firstly, 7 prehistoric sites which are estimated to be about two thousand years old were found in the park and the park entrance.

(2). The Aboriginal Taroko Culture: In the old days, the facial tattoos were culturally significant in the Toroko tradition. Everyone at 7 or 8 must be tattooed on the forehead for tribal identification. At 14 or 15, a young man would be tattooed on the chin after his first successful head-hunting. The head-hunting initiation rite was banned in 1914 during the Japanese Occupation. Both facial tattooing and head-hunting were completely abolished by the 1930s. The human head was replaced by a large wild game like a boar or a black bear. A young woman would be tattooed on the cheeks when she had mastered weaving at 15 years old.

(3). The Old Trails and the Present Highways The Su-hua Old Trail was built in 1874 during the Qing Dynasty (present Su-hua Highway). The Old Cross-Hehuan Mountain Road (built in 1914), was a major east-west route for the migration of the Toroko tribal people from the mid-west of Taiwan to the east. The remaining sections of the Old Cross-Hehuan Mountain Road were the 16 kilometers section from Badagan to Laoxi Creek and the 32.7 kilometers section from west of Tianxiang to Bilu Sacred Tree. The Central Cross-Island Highway built in 1956-1960, at the cost of 226 lives of courageous veterans. More than 780 people were wounded.

Sources from: http://www.taroko.gov.tw/English/?mm=3&sm=2&page=1#up