East Rift Valley National Scenic Area (Huadong Valley)
Compared to the urban bustle of Taiwan’s north and west, the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area (Huadong Valley) offers up some of the island’s loveliest and most unspoiled scenery. Sandwiched between protective mountain ranges, the narrow valley is an entrancing escape, whether you plan a multi-day trekking itinerary or a gentle, introductory driving tour. Adventurous types can frequent hiking trails like the Nanan Walami Trail, Ecological Trail in Fuyuan, and the Luntian Trail; enjoy whitewater rafting on the Xiuguluan River; or embark on numerous cycling circuits. Relaxation can be found at the Ruisui and Hongye Hot Springs, Liyu Lake, and the Lintian Mountain Forestry Center, which offers more information about the area’s history.
To do it your own way, plan an independent itinerary. Alternatively, guided tour offerings take all the hassle out of exploring the region. Book a multi-day tour to see highlights like the Matai'an Wetlands Ecological Park and Mr. Brown Avenue, and leave the logistics and navigation to someone else. Many itineraries include hotel stays, meals, and attraction tickets in the cost for added convenience.
Things to know before you go
- Because there is so much to see in this park, 2- or 3-day itineraries are recommended if you want to discover its major highlights.
- Visiting with kids? Head to the Fuyuan Forest Recreation Area, which offers butterfly watching from March to August, plus hot springs and other attractions.
- Want to extend your trip? The Scenic Area connects with the wild and rugged Yushan National Park, home to Mt. Jade: Taiwan’s highest peak.
How to get there
The East Rift Valley National Scenic Area measures some 93 miles (150 kilometers) in length. If traveling from the north, set off from Hualien (which is connected by rail and by plane to Taipei); in the south, depart from Taitung City (connected by bus to Kaohsiung). If you plan to travel by car, take Provincial Highway 9, which traverses the length of the park.
When to get there
The East Rift Valley National Scenic Area is a popular destination all year long. In January, blooming rapeseed flowers create a patchwork of yellow fields, while August and September see flowering orange daylilies cover Liushishi Mountain (Sixty Stone Mountain). Summertime brings a range of festivals and events, and is often the busiest time at the park.
Annual Festivals and Events
The East Rift Valley National Scenic Area offers a range of popular events throughout the year. Visit in the spring to take in the Hualien International Triathlon Contest held at Liyu Lake, while the banner Taiwan International Balloon Festival and Night Glow Concerts are held at the Luye Highland in July and August. Visit later in the summer to attend the Aboriginal Harvest Festival, and learn more about the indigenous tribes that call the region home, or drop by in October and November to attend the Chishang Autumn Rice Harvest Festival.
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