TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Swallow Grotto Trail is the most easily accessible trail in the world-famous Taroko Gorge of Hualien County, Eastern Taiwan. The Swallow Grotto Trail in Taroko National Park goes along a section of the Liwu River valley flanked by towering and almost vertical cliffs on both sides, offering magnificent views of one of the most spectacular natural wonders in Taiwan.
The rock layers in the valley are mainly made of marble, and the magnificent Taroko Gorge was formed after the river cut through the marble layers for millions of years. The trail, chiseled out of the surface of the cliff on the right side of the valley, is actually a long manmade grotto, where sunlight only comes from one side of the grotto that looks out over the gorge.
Interesting shapes were carved out from the marble rocks in the valley by the flowing water of the Liwu River after millions of years, and the most well-known shape is the silhouette of a “chieftain” called “Indian Chieftain's Profile” or “Head Rock.”
Another interesting geological phenomenon is the many small caves seen on the walls of the opposite cliffs, called “pot holes,” and spring water can be seen flowing out from some of the pot holes.
Since Swallow Grotto is named after swallows, people often ask the question: Are there swallows in the gorge? The answer is yes.
The swallows commonly spotted at Swallow Grotto are Pacific Swallow, and if you pay more attention, you will be able to see them winging swiftly through the gorge. In spring and summer they build nests on the rock walls of the grotto to keep and feed their baby birds.
Walking along the Swallow Grotto Trial allows you to experience Taroko Gorge at close range, but because of the weathering of the rocks, the natural phenomenon of rockfalls might happen. So when you come into the gorge area to enjoy the scenery, don’t forget to wear a helmet.
(Video courtesy of Taroko National Park)