Zhuolan Grand Canyon (aka Zhuolan Gorge) is actually a short river canyon near Zhuolan Township of Miaoli County. The canyon is only a few years old, caused by land uplift during the large 921 earthquake that struck Taiwan. It is a bit off the beaten path, but has incredible views of this new nature made wonder.
The Zhuolan Grand Canyon formed soon after the 921 earthquake on September 21, 1999 when the ground in the area was uplifted by quite a few meters. This combined with later torrential runnoff from Typhoons later created a large gap between both sides of the Da'an River (大安溪), creating a canyon about 300 meters long and nearly 20 meters high in some parts.
If it were not for river runoff, the land in the Zhuolan valley would be mountains. The land is constantly being uplifted by tectonic forces, but constant river runoff has cut through the easily eroding soil to create the valley and this canyon.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take county road 140 east out of Zhuolan past the gravel digging area (follow the map below). You can park for free on the side of the road. The walk to the canyon takes 15-20 minutes.
By Bus: Take Hsinchu bus no. 5663 from Zhulan to Zhulan Grand Canyon stop. The canyon is about another 30 minute walk from the bus stop.
Please see below:
We have only been to the Zhuolan Grand once, and we went the wrong way. Keep going after you get to the gravel pit, or else you will have a dangerous/unfriendly walk to the canyon. You can see from Google Maps there is a trail from the road next to the canyon.
Check out our drone footage of the canyon below:
Getting to the grand canyon was half the challenge.
According to the information from Google Maps at the time, I thought the entrance was this gravel digging pit. I parked my car near the pit and started walking.
I noticed that helmets were required here...but I kept moving.
I could see the entrance from the canyon from the gravel pit, so I walked toward it.
I had to dodge dump trucks and backhoes, but I made it to the entrance.
I had to walk through some thick brush and grass to get there, so don't be like me. Drive further up the road where there is a trail down to the canyon.
First real view of the canyon in its glory.
View of the canyon from the entrance. A drop here would hurt.
The terrain here is made of loose clay that easily erodes. I parked here and started flying.
View of the deepest part of the canyon looking east.
Looking down on the canyon.
Another view looking east.
Looking back west to Zhulan and Huoyan Mountain (and the gravel pit).
Some guts were fishing in the river too.
The canyon walls get pretty high here.
More people fishing along the river in the canyon.
Another view looking east.
People down below enjoying the beautiful blue water.
Another view further back.
After I was done flying my drone, it was time to go back. I almost died from being crushed from falling rocks dumped by those trucks. Again, avoid the gravel pit at all costs.
Also I had to do a five foot jump across this stream.
Looking west on the river bed.
It was a fun adventure even if I got scratched and scraped from grass and bushed along the way and almost killed by falling boulders. Learn from my mistakes, go further down the road to see the canyon.
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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.