Clear blue water rushing through smooth marble rocks surrounded by lush green vegetation and dramatic marble cliffs, this is the scenery of the Shakadang Trail at the Taroko Gorge National Park near Hualien City, Taiwan.   The main focal point of this trail is the crystal clear Shakadang River that flows through it.  The trademark of this river is its rich blue colour (sometimes with a tinge of green), which is attributed by the mineral deposits in the rocks that the river flows over on.  According to the guide that took us through this trail, rain or shine, the river is always clear and never murky.  Simply a very stunning trail to explore…       

The beautiful Shakadang River viewed from the entrance to the trail.

The Shakadang Trail is a relatively easy 4.4km flat hiking path along the crystal clear Shakadang River, in which most travel books estimate that it will take about 4 hours to complete the entire trail (round trip).  It is one of the first trails from the entrance of the Taroko Gorge National Park, just about 1 km from the visitor’s centre.  Interestingly enough, the trail was formerly called The Mysterious Valley Trail, because of the fact that some found it secretive.   Regardless of what it was called, its a very enjoyable trail to take in such beautiful scenery.  Instead of trying to describe the beauty of this trail in words, I will let the pictures do the talking instead.  Enjoy…

Entrance to the Shakadang Trail from the red bridge.

View of the red bridge that we entered the Shakadang Trail from.

Off we go, walking through the Shakadang Trail.

Stunning view of the Shakadang River flowing through a valley.

Crystal clear waters of the Shakadang River.  Doesn’t it look so crisp and refreshing?

Close up of the natural marble boulders in the river.  Notice the pretty marble effects on the boulders?

Some awesome jagged rock formations along the trail.  Its actually solid marble!

An interesting rock formation along the trail, doesn’t it look like a man’s face?

One of the many dramatic cliffs seen along the trail.

More marble rock boulders…

One last look at the amazingly clear blue Shakadang River…


What other stunning national parks have you been to?  Please share your experiences in the comments below!  Cheers!

Alec Chan

Alec Chan is an intrepid traveler, travel writer, author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and self professed Asia travel ambassador. Traveling all around Asia since 2003, and still traveling, Alec is an accomplished and passionate traveler seeking to bridge the cultural gaps in Asia. Through his unique perspective as a Canadian born Chinese, Alec shares his special insights on Asia to help others around the world to have a better understanding on Asian culture so that they can have a more meaningful, fun, and stress free trip to Asia. Alec has written numerous travel guides on several destinations in Asia and is the editor in chief of

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4 Responses to Magnificent Taroko Gorge, Part 1 – Mysterious Shakadang Trail

  1. […] nuffnang_bid = "22722c1fffb48fff8848720bebeb15d0"; Alec Travel Guide Travel. Eat. Drink. Explore. Skip to content HomeAboutOfferStoreTravel ResourcesContact ← Magnificent Taroko Gorge, Part 1 – Mysterious Shakadang Trail […]

  2. Daniel says:

    Thank you Alec for your description of the Taroko Gorge. Can I ask where did you stay when you were there? How long did it take you to cover both the Shakadang Trail and the Eternal Spring Shrine hike? Did you venture into other areas of the National Park and how did you move from one point to another?


    • Alec says:

      HI Daniel;
      Thanks for the comment! I sent you a more detailed email on this. But as summary here is a quick answer to your questions:
      – I stayed at the Debonair Motel in Hualien City
      – each trail I spent about 1 hour, but you can actually spend more time dependant on how much time you have
      – I ventured in to the Swallow Grotto Trail, plus other sites along the way
      – I hired a driver to get from one point to another (most convenient and flexible way)

      Hope this helps! Cheers, Alec

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