Long-time travelers tend to prefer the off the beaten path places while focusing on the downsides of famous places. Typically it sounds like the following: Machu Picchu was incredible except for the lines and crowds. I loved Akgkor Wat except for all of the tourists and vendors. The beaches were beautiful it was too hard to get a photo that didn’t include someone with a selfie stick. I am not innocent in this. My favorite places are those with longer hikes or a little off of the beaten path but I have also been to Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat and they are incredible places and I loved my time there.
The most famous waterfalls in Taiwan obviously pale in comparison to Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat but they get dismissed in the same way. For example only one of these waterfalls will be in My Favorite Waterfalls of Taiwan list (more focus on the hike or swimming possible) published later this year but there is no denying that they are spectacular. There are a few waterfalls that compare from a physical and beauty standpoint but they are located in rather remote areas and don’t get the same tourist numbers.
This list is part of a 5 year project that I have been working on. During that time I have visited and added over 100 waterfalls in Taiwan to my waterfall guide. Earlier this year I posted a list of Ten Easy Waterfall Hikes in Taiwan. This list is similar to that since most of the roads and hikes to all ten of these waterfalls are in good condition and anyone is able to visit them. They are mostly located in northern and central Taiwan. There are several great waterfalls in southern Taiwan but they aren’t as well known and some of them are very isolated.
Some other waterfalls that were considered. Lover’s Gorge Waterfall is one of my favorites but it doesn’t seem as well known throughout Taiwan. Liangshan Waterfall is probably the most visited waterfall in southern Taiwan but it lacks the raw size and beauty of those on this list. Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail is very popular among hikers but it doesn’t seem to be as well known overall. Manyueyuan was a consideration for the list but I haven’t been there yet and the waterfalls itself don’t seem to be as famous.
Can you think of any that should be on the list? How many have you been to?
- Wufengqi Waterfall (五峰旗瀑布) falls in three separate tiers near Jiaoshi, Taiwan. The bottom two tiers are nice but the highest tier is the special one. The highest tier falls in three streams (if there is enough water) in a lush green bowl. Unfortunately they often close the trail to the highest tier for safety reasons.
2. Xiao Wulai Waterfall (小烏來瀑布) is my pick for the most physically impressive waterfall in Taiwan. The photos don’t really do it justice but it is really big with a high flow. Xiao Wulai is easy to get to but the facilities (like parking) struggle to match the popularity of the place. Xiao Wulai can be viewed from across the gorge, from near the base after a short hike or visitors can go out on a skywalk above the falls. To give you some idea of the scale of the waterfall the skywalk is in photo with 20+ people just above the falls.
3. Shanlinshi (horrifically romanized as Sunlinksea in English) boasts two waterfalls on this list. Chinglong (Green Dragon) Waterfall (青龍瀑布) falls over 100 meters into a beautiful turquoise pool. Unfortunately the trail doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the waterfall but it is a beautiful waterfall.
4. Songlong (Pine Dragon) Rock Waterfall (松瀧岩瀑布) is just 5 km away at Shanlinshi but it is a completely different waterfall. This waterfall isn’t nearly as tall but visitors first see an idyllic pond before walking through a large cave next to the waterfall. In addition to the waterfalls there are several nice hiking trails, a botanical garden and a 5m penis totem (link).
5. Huangjin Waterfall (黃金瀑布) is much smaller than all of these waterfalls but its unique rust color and its proximity to Jiufen make it a very popular destination. Debate continues as to whether or not the color is the result of mining upstream or naturally occurring due to the high mineral content of the area but there is no debate that the water is toxic.
6. Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布) is Taiwan’s most famous waterfall and its most picturesque. You will be surrounded by crowds and concrete but the many little cascades are a stunning sight. In addition to this you can take the train to 4 other great waterfalls along the Pingxi Rail Line. The best is the Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail (三貂嶺瀑布) with three beautiful waterfalls.
7. Wulai Waterfall (烏來瀑布) is the highest (80m) in northern Taiwan and it was the first waterfall that I took photos of for the waterfall guide. It is located immediately across the Tonghou River from Wulai Village. In addition to hot springs you can also ride a cable car to the top of Wulai Waterfall, rivertrace or go to Neidong Waterfall.
8. Neidong Waterfall (內洞瀑布) competes with Shifen Waterfall for the most beautiful waterfall in Taiwan. It is also located a few km away from Wulai Waterfall and can easily be combined as a daytrip from Taipei. Unfortunately Typhoon Soudelor devastated the Wulai region and Neidong is closed until they can rebuild the trails and roads.
9. Taoshan Waterfall (桃山瀑布) is not as convenient to reach as many of the others on this list but it is a very popular hike at Wuling Farm in Sheipa National Park. Not only does the trail lead through a beautiful forest at the base of several 3000+ meter peaks but it is also wheelchair accessible. There is also a chance that hikers will see a Swinhoe Pheasant (photo link) along the trail.
10. Taroko Gorge is Taiwan’s most famous national park and Baiyang Waterfall (白楊瀑布) is one of its most hiked trails. Originally the trail was a road for large hydroelectric project but thankfully the idea was abandoned. The hike starts in several hundred meter long tunnel and passes through 7 more tunnels before ending at Water Curtain Cave. Water Curtain Cave is actually another tunnel but it is unique since they hit an underground spring when constructing the tunnel and water pours from the ceiling uncontrollably.