Mysterious potholes in the solid cliff faces, along with magnficent rock formations are found throughout the Swallow Grotto Trail at the Taroko Gorge National Park.  These dramatic rock formations and potholes are the highlights of this trail.  I am guessing these rock formations were basically millions of years old formed by years of earth quakes, ice, water and volcanic activity.  I’m no geological expert, but all I can say it is simply a marvel to hike through this simple trail.                             

The start of the trail.  You can see a supension bridge in the background.

As you can see the unique rock formations with pot holes in them along the trail.

Before you enter the trail it is highly advisable to pick up your free safety helmet that you can get on loan from the park rangers office right at the entrance of the trail.  This is because along this trail there is a high risk of falling rocks from above, so its better to be safe than be sorry.

As we began the journey through the Swallow Grotto Trail, we noticed that all the potholes were all of random sizes.  We could not even fathom what kind of creatures are hanging out in these potholes.  At the bottom of the towering cliffs is a narrow river that flows through it.  Words cannot describe the huge scale of these cliffs.  So rather than me trying to describe it, let me show you what I saw.

The sharp dramatic rock formations with the river flowing below.  Notice the amazing marble effects on the rock formations.

Random potholes on the cliff face.

More random potholes.  You dare to venture inside them to see what creatures are there?

More dramatic rock formations on the cliff face.

More random potholes.  Strange and mysterious eh?

I took this picture because I was amazed how the cliff face had kind of a spiral effect.

That’s me posing with my safety helmet!

The towering cliffs all around.

As we reached midway through the trail, the valley opens up and there is a rest stop where you can go for a toilet break.  As we were taking the pictures of the scenic valley around the midway area, we noticed there is one rock formation that really caught our attention.  It was so unique.  Basically if you look closely enough, it resemebled the side view of a skull!

Heading towards the mid point of the trail.

Some scenery pics we took

More scenery pictures.

More scenery pictures.  A nice waterfall that I saw.

More scenery pictures.  But do you see the skull?  (hint:  look towards the centre of the picture)

You see it now?  A close up view of the skull. (hint: If you still can’t see it, its on the lower centre left of the picture)

My wife and I with the skull in the background.

The trail finally ends after you walk through a series of tunnels.  These tunnels were carefully contructed through the mountain to ease traffic congestion, and to provide a pedestrian viewing walkway along the Swallow Grotto Trail.  It was quite remarkable how they contructed these tunnels through the mountain.  Basically they had to carefully bore and dynamite their way through solid marble and rocks!  One thing to take note is that it does get quite dim these tunnels, so please walk with caution.  So this is it, my quick picture guide through the Swallow Grotto Trail at the Taroko Gorge National Park.  I hope this serves you all well, and makes you tempted to visit this awesome trail!  See you all next time!

Walking through one of the many dark tunnels.

What were some interesting national parks you have been to?  Please share 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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2 Responses to Magnificent Taroko Gorge, Part 3 – The Swallow Grotto Trail

  1. Grace says:

    Hi. I would like to know whether we will need guide for the shakadang trail or it is fine to venture on our own.

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