I’ve been in Taiwan for eight years, and I recently got to check one destination off my Taiwan bucket list: Taroko Gorge‘s Wenshan Hot Spring (文山溫泉, also spelled Wunshan). The scenery, famous location, and inaccessibility of this Hualien hot spring make it, in my opinion, one of the most intriguing hot springs in Taiwan.
History of Wenshan Hot Spring
Destruction of Wenshan Hot Spring
How to Get to Wenshan Hot Springs Today
Wenshan Hot Spring is located at kilometer 166 on Provincial Highway No. 8, about 2.5 kilometers past Tianxiang. It is easily accessible by scooter or bicycle, but you could also catch any of the buses that terminate at Tianxiang and walk the rest of the way. There is a small parking lot on the river side of the road just before a tunnel with the Chinese characters 泰山隧道.
The entrance to the path is no longer roped off like it used to be, though there are still some warning signs. Within less than a minute of walking, you will get your first view of the hot spring beside the Dasha River (大沙溪) 70 meters below. The stairs going down are in fairly good condition but can be quite slippery. The trail passes through a small tunnel that used to be blocked by a metal gate, as well as an old changing room that is no longer in use.
Besides those two pools, the only remaining pool that you can easily soak in today is hidden around the corner to the left in a small cave about 3 meters above the river. The water is piping hot, at about 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit). It is so hot that you will have to enter it inch by inch, and even once you sit down, you won’t want to move around much because the movement of the water creates a burning sensation on your skin. The hot spring water here is of the carbonic acid variety. Carbonic, or carbon dioxide springs are said to lower blood pressure, while acidic ones are said to have an antibacterial effect and be good for the skin.
Overall, what makes Wenshan Hot Spring truly stunning is the surrounding scenery of the Dasha River Valley, the lack of crowds that characterize other sights in Taroko Gorge (you might just have the place all to yourself, as we did), and the adventurous feeling of visiting somewhere you aren’t really supposed to. You can also get a pretty good feeling for how impressive these springs must have been in their heyday.
Warning about Wenshan Hot Spring
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