Emerald Valley is a popular river tracing spot near in Xiulin Township of Hualien County. It is also home to the Emerald Valley Old Trail, a trail used by Taroko Aborigines and Japanese to connect to Taiwan's central mountain range. The Dam, tunnel, and suspension bridge here are all remnants from the Japanese era.
Emerald Valley Old Trail dates back to over 200 years ago and was used by the Taroko tribe to travel deep into the Taiwan's central mountain range, along the Mugua river. During the Japanese control of Taiwan after 1895, the Japanese built a bridge, tunnel, and waterworks here and mined copper, and set up an artillery shelter, among other things.
The area has been basically untouched since the Japanese era, and now a popular hiking trail connects the tunnels to the made made waterfall and river tracing valley beyond.
How to get there:
By car/scooter: Take provincial highway 9 southeast until you reach the Tongmen bridge and keep going. There is free parking on the side of the road.
Looking for a scooter rental in Hualien? You can search KKday here or Klook here to look for options. You can also check out our scooter rental guide here.
If you are looking for car rentals in Hualien, you can also search Klook here or KKDay here. You can also check out our car rental guide here.
By bus: Take bus 1131A or 1131 from Hualien about an hour to Tongmen Village. You can book tickets to travel to Hualien via inter-city bus on Klook here.
Book tickets via the normal train (TRA) on Klook here.
When to visit?
Hualien is great year round, but it can get a little hot in the summer, and Typhoon season and heavy rain season last from about May to October. If you are afraid of the heat and rain then you can visit during winter when the temperatures are mild and the climate is usually dryer.
Where to stay?
Most of the accommodation you will find is near the city center. If you only want to visit Hualien City and Taroko Gorge, you can consider booking a hotel near downtown, walking or cycling around the city, and taking a bus to Taroko Gorge.
We have stayed at and recommend Dream Taiwan Homestay (Agoda / Booking.com / Expedia / Hotels.com), a high quality hostel for the money in downtown Hualien, Farglory Hotel (Agoda / Booking.com / Expedia / Hotels.com), right next to Farglory Ocean Park with amazing views of Hualien, and Goldenflower B&B (Agoda / Booking.com) in Yuli right next to Sixty Stone Mountain.
You can find out where to stay in our Taiwan hotels guide or search for the best hotel deals in Taiwan here.
You can also book Wifi and SIM cards for Taiwan on Gigago here.
Need travel insurance? Compare prices on Insubuy here.
You can find more tours and activities in Hualien such as River Tracing, River Rafting, Kayaking, Canoeing, and much more on Klook here or KKday here.
Please see below:
We have been to Emerald Valley once, and it was a fun and short family hike. The entire walk takes about half an hour or less, and there is amazing scenery and history to see along the way.
View from the bridge near tongmen village, also worth a visit.
Here there is a sign that bans touching the water, swimming, driving a car, or driving a scooter.
On the far side of the river is a grassy area where they have aborigine dances and activities, I assume.
Here you can clearly see the broken down Japanese suspension bridge that would have started the Emerald Valley Old Trail connecting Tongmen Village to the central mountain range.
Soon you will come to the first tunnel and it gets really dark. In the past, the Japanese drove mining trucks through here.
View out the other side.
Looking up river.
View down river as it started to rain.
Someone else loves Taiwan too!
Another amazing view up stream.
First view of the waterfall.
View down stream.
Small waterfall down stream.
Main waterfall area.
There are usually tons of people here taking selfies.
Another concrete barrier.
The really amazing scenery is further up stream. This place is an amazing river tracing spot.
Take a look at Xiaofei's video above to see what I am talking about.
Walking back through the dark tunnel.
Finally we made it back.
You can find more tours of Hualien on Klook here or KKday here.
You can also check out our full guide to Hualien here, our full guide to Taroko Gorge here, and our full guide to Taroko National Park here.
You can also check out our full travel guide to Taiwan here.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.