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One of the great secrets of Taiwan that few visitors are aware of is the remains of Taroko Gorge‘s Wenshan Hot Spring (文山溫泉, also sometimes spelled Wunshan Hot Spring or Taroko National Park Hot Springs), located in Xiulin township, Hualien County.
The awe-inspiring scenery, hidden location within a famous national park, and relative inaccessibility of this Hualien hot spring make it, in my opinion, one of the most intriguing hot springs in Taiwan, and one of the top places to visit in Taiwan for nature lovers. Inaccessible as it is, though, you could even visit this hot spring as a day tour from Taipei if you plan it right.
If you’re putting together your Taiwan itinerary, you most likely are going to be visiting Taroko Gorge already, so read on to find out how to include a visit to Wenshan Hot Spring!
Besides these hot springs near Hualien, hot spring lovers should also check out my complete guide to Beitou Hot Spring right in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei.
History of Wenshan Hot Spring
Destruction of Wenshan Hot Spring
How to Get to Wenshan Hot Springs Today
The fastest way to travel from Taipei to Hualien is by flying. See here to book a Taipei to Hualien flight from Songshan airport in the Taipei city center. Alternatively, you can catch the regular train to Xincheng (Taroko Gorge) Station or Hualien Station and rent a scooter from there (license may be required).
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.
You could also charter a private car and knowledgeable driver from Hualien or all the way from Taipei. 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
I never travel without a good guidebook! Here are my recommended ones: