Karst topography is the most popular highlight in the Kenting National Forest Recreation Area, a geological treasure like a scene from the movie Tomb Raider (Taiwan Edition).
The most famous signature of the Kenting National Forest Recreation Area is the uplifted coral reefs caused by diastrophism (movement of the earth’s crust). The structure of the coral skeleton and the coral reef that used to carry coralline algae, shellfish, and polyzoa can be seen everywhere in the recreation area. During the slow process, the uplifted coral reefs are gradually eroded by the action of rain, wind, and seawater; it’s the formation of a unique spectacle in Taiwan.
Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is the main component of coral limestone. It easily reacts with rainwater containing carbonates to form soluble calcium bicarbonate that flows to the underground rock layers. When passing through the limestone cave, which produces an oversaturated solution due to suddenly coming to a larger space and sharply dropped pressure, the precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) emerges. The accumulation starts from the ceiling of the cave and becomes conical, forming a protrusion called a stalactite. If the accumulation starts from the drops falling to the ground, it’s called a stalagmite. When both meet and join, it’s called a stalagnate. Another formation, the bar-shaped cave bacon, is formed when water runs down the walls of the cave. These are formed by a constant supply of slowly dripping water rich in calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The formation of just 1 cm in length takes 30 years; they are Taiwan’s most precious geological treasure.
The “Fairy Cave” and the “Silver Dragon Cave” in the recreation area show the variations of karst topography. With the lighting, the atmosphere becomes more like scenes from the movie Tomb Raider – absolutely beyond your imagination. The Fairy Cave has a length of 127m with a 30m-long cave branch – Taiwan’s longest limestone cave – and all the scenes inside the cave are the mineral formations called stalactites. The shapes make people associate them with various deities in the East, and the cave is consequently named Fairy Cave. Besides this, the Silver Dragon Cave next to the Seaview Tower presents a fabulous spectacle different from those in the Fairy Cave; it’s an adventurous route, long, narrow, and curvy. Stalactites formed on the walls look like dragon scales, offering a fantastic scene with the diffusion of light.
If you’re an adventurer, you can’t miss the secret land in the cave at the Kenting National Forest Recreation Area. All sorts of fantasies in the world of the undersea wonderland are visible on the land, making this a forest recreation area perfect for environmental education.
● Administrative Area：Hengchun Township, Pingtung County
● Altitude：200 – 300m
● Road Condition：Mountain paths and steps
● Trail Length：8.1 km
● Best Time for Hiking：Throughout the entire year
● Scenic Attraction：Uplifted coral reefs, solutional cave (karst cave)
● Time Required：4 hr (round trip)
● Route：1.Visitor Center→2.Green House→3.Flower Garden→4.Stalagmite Cave→5.Looking-glass Mangrove→6.Seaview Platform→7.Fairy Cave→8.Silver Dragon Cave→9.Valley of Hanging Fig Roots→10.A Thread of Sky→11.First Ravine→12.Ape Cliff
● Remarks：The estimated time required includes a guided tour