I love a challenging waterfall hike but in a (near) tropical country like Taiwan there is nothing better than swimming at a perfect secluded pool on a hot day. I have already published a list of My Favorite Easy Waterfall Hikes and a list of Taiwan’s Ten Most Famous Waterfalls.
It was very, very difficult to reduce this list to just 17 waterfalls with great swimming pools. Initially I started with 40 great waterfall swimming holes and it was very difficult to leave off so many of them. The ones I left off might be just as good and will likely contain many of your favorites as well.
Which waterfall is your favorite swimming hole in Taiwan?
Most of these waterfalls are less known and you can find yourself in an idyllic setting all by yourself. Despite not being very popular, they aren’t very long hikes but they might require hiking off trail (usually in the river bed).
Tragically many drownings have occurred at some of my favorite waterfalls because people went immediately following heavy rainstorms. Usually these swimming holes are as dangerous as the deep end of a swimming pool but after heavy rainstorms (or typhoons) it is possible to be swept downstream or unable to swim out (if inexperienced) against swirling currents. These situations can happen very quickly and even happened on one of my trips (no injuries luckily). If you see fast moving water then it is a good idea to avoid it and alert others to the possible danger unless you are very experienced.
- All 170 waterfall guides (and some hikes) are linked on the above map
Lover’s Gorge Waterfall 情人谷瀑布 (Kaohsiung) was one of the first waterfalls that I visited in Taiwan many years ago. It is a short hike from the parking lot up to a beautiful pool. A landslide has occurred since I last visited and the trail is passable but might be marked as closed.
2. I had rather low expectations for Shuishang Waterfall 水上瀑布 (Nantou) last winter. The creek was mostly dry downstream from the waterfall and the few pictures that I had seen looked alright. We walked around the corner and found a perfect double drop waterfall with a huge swimming pool. I definitely plan on coming back here this summer for a swim in the icy water.
There are many waterfalls near Puli and Sun Moon Lake that could be visited on the same day. I recommend Menggu Waterfall.
3. Aohua Waterfall 澳花瀑布 (Yilan) is one of those amazing waterfalls that would be very popular except that it is located very far away from any major population center. But if you are in Hualien then it isn’t that far and you can also visit Qingshui Cliffs on the drive.
4. Shuiliandong Waterfall 水濂洞瀑布 (Tainan) isn’t very big and it isn’t very well known but the grotto is a great place for a swim on a hot day. You can also stop at Bianfudong (Bat Cave) Waterfall for a second refreshing swim on the way back home.
5. Caihong (Rainbow) Waterfall 彩虹瀑布 on the Malalou Trail (Taitung) is a giant waterfall that falls down a sheer cliff. Ordinary hikers can’t access the base of the waterfall but they can get to an idyllic pool with a small waterfall. This trail is short and adventurous with numerous creek crossings in <1km. Avoid this trail if there is a threat of rain though.
Caihong Waterfall is near the very famous Sansiantai and you could easily visit both on a daytrip.
6. Feilong Waterfall 飛龍瀑布 (Pingtung) is a personal favorite of mine since it is so close and features a large grotto where you can swim under the waterfall. I always like to stop at one of the aboriginal restaurants in Wutai for a large meal of fatty pork, sausages and local vegetables. You can also stop for a swim at Shenshan Waterfall on the way to Feilong Waterfall.
7. Guguan Dam Waterfall 谷關水壩瀑布 (Taichung) might not be a natural waterfall but the blue water looks amazing for a swim. Maling Hot Spring is another 1.5 hours past Guguan Dam Waterfall.
8. Shalawan Waterfall 沙拉灣瀑布 (Pingtung) is one of Taiwan’s best waterfalls. It is just one of many impressive waterfalls in this remote part of Pingtung. The other waterfalls are varying levels of really difficult to impossible to get to though but Shalawan is an easy 30-40 minute walk from the end of a terrible road. It drops about 80 meters into a huge pool.
Currently Closed – Might open at the end of the year.
9. Meihua Waterfall 梅花瀑布 (Hsinchu) is a fun challenge to get to. There are many river tracing guides that lead trips up to the waterfall and I recommend using a helmet and felt shoes if you DIY. The waterfall is great for swimming and the more daring can jump from a variety of heights (not something that I recommend).
10. Kuhuatan Waterfall 苦花潭瀑布 (Miaoli) isn’t far from the very popular Shenxian Waterfall but there isn’t much of a trail back to it and very few people even know about it. Further down the road is the even less known is Fengmei Waterfall.
11. Qinglong Waterfall 青龍瀑布 (Chiayi) is just one of many virtually unknown waterfalls near Zengwen Reservoir that are great for swimming. The hikes to most of the waterfalls are also an adventure since any paths have long since washed away.
12. Jinyue Waterfall 金岳瀑布 (Yilan) is a full blown river trace and one of my favorite experiences in Taiwan. I did this one 5 years and have wanted to go back ever since.
13. Lingjiao Waterfall 嶺腳瀑布 (New Taipei) is one of the many waterfalls in the Pingxi area and it is my pick for the best swimming hole in the area. It is a broad waterfall in the Keelung River just upstream from the much more famous Shifen Waterfall.
14. I saw a photo of this waterfall but they only knew the name was 1000 step waterfall and you just take the train station road out of Chiayi. It took me a little time to find Fenghuang Waterfall 鳳凰瀑布 but it is easy to get to and amazing for a swim on a hot day. Be warned though – there are more than 1000 steps down to the waterfall and you will need to go up at some time.
15. Golden Grotto Waterfall 黃金峽谷 (Hualien) is one of my favorite waterfalls in Taiwan but the famous waterfall isn’t that great for swimming. There are two smaller tiers downstream that you must climb up and each of them has perfect swimming pools in an enclosed gorge. Guide and gear highly recommended.
16. You won’t be able to do any actual swimming at Qikong Waterfall 七孔瀑布 (Pingtung) but it is perfect for relaxing on a hot day.
Check out the Jialeshui Scenic Area first and then stop for a swim afterward at Qikong Waterfall.