Jiaoxi Waterfalls

Jiaoxi, Yilan

A fantastic hike to visit a couple of high and dramatic waterfalls, Wufengchi and Yuemeikang, then finishes at the Linmei Shipan Trail (a circular trail up a river gorge past another waterfall)

Access: take the bus to Jiaoxi from the Taipei City Hall Bus Terminal, departures are frequent

Length: 8.5km

Difficulty Level: 3/5

Trail Conditions: stone trails and steps around Wufengchi; dirt trails, short rope sections, and short river tracing to Yuemeikang (bring and extra pair of shoes or sandals with you for the river tracing); dirt trails on Linmei Shipan Trail

Update on Yuemeikang: the waterfall which used to be little known and peaceful has been discovered. On my last visit here in September 2017 I saw lots of young people on the trail and families including little kids and mom dressed in a skirt looking at their phones trying to figure out how to get upstream to the waterfall.

Wufengchi Waterfall

There is a tourist shuttle bus that goes to the falls. The bus also stops at the Tourist Information Center. The bus drops you off at a small park beside the river a few hundred meters downstream from the waterfall area. It is easier just to take a taxi from the bus terminal.

Link for Taiwan tourist shuttle bus routes and schedules: http://www.taiwantrip.com.tw/Main/Lang/?redirect=/About/&lang=en-us

To reach the falls from the bus stop walk up the river for about five minutes, then take the stairs at a small car park and river crossing going up past the washrooms. This brings you to some snack stalls at the end of the road. The falls are a short hike from here. As the falls are very easy to reach and are spectacular they are very popular. The upper level falls are closed off due to rockfall dangers. Just go around the gate if you want to see them. The nearby round church, built on the site of a supposed appearance of the Virgin Mary sometime in the early 80s, is also worth a visit.

lower Wufengchi Falls

Wufengchi upper falls

round church

Hike to Yuemeikang Waterfall

Yuemeikang Waterfall is easily the most spectacular waterfall in northern Taiwan. It is one of the highest and widest (only Shifen is wider) and is a completely natural setting. No viewing platforms or crowds here. The flow over the falls is also heavy year round. This is a great hike to make on hot summer days. What better way to cool off than swimming at the falls?

To start the hike to Yeumeikang, go down to the bottom past the snack stalls and washrooms from Wufengchi. At the bottom, cross the river to the other side. You’ll find a dirt trail here that leads up river.

cross the river from Wufengchi

The trail climbs gradually as it follows near the river.

follow the trail until you come to the Earth God shrine

Eventually you’ll come to a Land God shrine and a fork in the trail.

Earth God shrine

Take the right fork.

take the right fork at the Earth God shrine

The dirt trail on the side of a steep hill slope descends back down to river level, crosses the river over a metal bridge, then crosses another river over a concrete bridge.

follow the trail down to the river and across the bridges

From here the trail begins to climb again, gradually at first then steeply with a couple of zigzags.

after the bridges the trail climbs again

After the last zigzag look for a trail branching off on the left, marked by flags and a handwritten white sign in Chinese, pointing the way to the waterfall.

turn left here after the last zigzag

This narrow dirt trail descends back down to river level yet again along the side of a steep hill slope.

follow the trail down to the river

Near river level you’ll come to another fork. Look for a rope going down on the right. Use the rope to help you get down then go straight to the river ahead. Now it is time to get your feet wet. You’ll see a large boulder in the middle of the river in front of you. Stay on the right side of the river and around the other side of the boulder you’ll see some ropes. Use these ropes to help you cross the river.

and use the ropes to help ford the stream

After crossing follow the trail up the bank going past some rocky cascades.

then follow the trail on the left bank

After following the river for a short distance, the trail will descend steeply using ropes back down to the river. Walk in the river through the narrow gorge. Do not take the rope going up on the other side of the gorge.

back into the stream between the rocks

Continue to walk in the river up a small cascade, then you’ll see a rope climbing steeply up on the left side. Climb the ropes up the top and be prepared for your jaw to drop when you reach the top as Yuemeikang reveals itself before you.

climb the rocky cascade ahead

then use this rope to climb past the small waterfall

at the top of the rope Yeumeikang Waterfall will appear before you

There is a large pool at the base of the falls that is great for swimming.

hit the water and enjoy a swim

 To Linmei Shipan Trail

Return all the way back to the fork at the Land God Shrine. Take the left fork this time. The trail is a mostly flat dirt trail. Just keep following the trail and after a short, steep drop you’ll come to another fork. Take the left fork. There is another white hand-written sign in Chinese pointing the way to Linmei. From the fork the trail climbs up to the entrance of the Linmei Shipan Trail.

hiking to the Linmei Shipan Trail

fork left here

You’ll emerge at a rest area and a tall wooden log with the trail name on it written in Chinese. You’ll also be back in the crowds. The Linmei Shipan Trail is quite popular. The trail goes in a loop and takes less than an hour to complete.

start of the Linmei Shipan Trail

The trail is mostly dirt and follows the river up a narrow gorge. At first the trail goes along a steep hillside and crosses a few wooden bridges before reaching the stream and gorge. The trail follows the stream up the gorge past a few rocky cascades. Then you’ll emerge at a very scenic spot on the trail where the gorge widens a little. The trail crosses the stream over a wooden bridge. A very steep staircase them climbs up to the highest point. At the top there is a viewing platform for the Linmei Shipan Waterfall. The trail crosses the stream over the top of the falls and loops back to the start.

on the Linmei Shipan Trail

on the Linmei Shipan Trail

Linmei Shipan Waerfall

To leave the area, take the wide trail where the crowds are coming or leaving from past a pond and a golf course to a road. Turn left and walk down the road to a traffic circle. You’ll see the bus stop at the traffic circle. This is the same bus that you took to Wufengchi Waterfall at the start of the hike.

Map of the Hike

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