Xiongkong Waterfalls

Sanxia District, New Taipei City

Introduction

Xiongkong (熊空) is a tiny village located near the Full Moon Forest Park (滿月圓國家森林遊樂區). There are three waterfalls near the village: Sister’s Falls, Cloud Heart Falls, and Forest Mountain Falls.

Access: to reach Xiongkong take bus 807 leaving Sanxia bus terminal at either 8:30 or 11:00 on weekends and get off at the Xiongkong stop. The ride takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Length: 10.5 km, 6 hours (the actual hiking time is only around 3 hours but you’ll need to spend 6 hours here due the infrequent bus schedule)

Trail Conditions: wide, mostly flat dirt trails

Difficulty Level: 2/5

The Hike

Xiongkong is located at the meeting point of several streams and is a somewhat popular but still quiet destination on weekends. There is a small store at the bus stop that sells cold drinks, fruit, and not much else. There are also public washrooms just down the road, back in the same direction that the bus came from, behind a small building with a fish sign on it.

Xiongkong is also the starting point of the excellent Jiajiuliao Trail, one of my favorites. Click here for more details on this hike: https://bikehiketaipei.wordpress.com/jiajiuliao-trail/

store at the bus stop in Xiongkong

store at the bus stop in Xiongkong

To start the hike walk along the road across from the store, going alongside the same stream that the bus crossed over just before reaching the village.

walk up this road to reach the waterfalls

walk up this road to reach the waterfalls

This road will follow the stream at first, then climb away from the stream making a couple of sharp turns.

walking on the road

walking on the road

After the second sharp turn you’ll soon come to a fork in the road and a small parking lot just downhill on the right. Take the right fork here to reach Sister’s Falls.

fork right here for Sister's Falls

fork right here for Sister’s Falls

Walk through the parking lot and keep going straight following the trail downhill, still actually a rough dirt road. The trail passes an abandoned house at the bottom of the hill then levels out.

abandoned house

abandoned house

Follow the trail until you reach another fork. Take the right fork here again (the left fork soon deadends at private property).

fork right here again for Sister's Falls

fork right here again for Sister’s Falls

After the fork the trail turns into an actual hiking trail descending to quickly reach the river bed.

trail leading down to the river

trail leading down to the river

Once you reach the stream follow it downstream for a short distance.

walk downstream to the top of the falls

walk downstream to the top of the falls

This brings you to the top of Sister’s Falls. To reach the bottom of the falls climb down on the right side of the river bank, in front of a small cave.

climb down here to get to the bottom of the falls

climb down here to get to the bottom of the falls

Sister's Falls

Sister’s Falls

After seeing the falls return back up to the road and walk along the road for about another 100m to another fork. Fork right here again. This is start of the trail that leads to Cloud Heart Falls.

fork right here for Cloud Heart Falls

fork right here for Cloud Heart Falls

This mostly flat dirt trail contours the hillside and is usually wide enough for two-way traffic.

trail to Cloud Heart Falls

trail to Cloud Heart Falls

trail to Cloud Heart Falls

trail to Cloud Heart Falls

trail to Cloud Heart Falls

trail to Cloud Heart Falls

trail to Cloud Heart Falls

trail to Cloud Heart Falls

After about 30 minutes the trail will reach river level again at a point where three streams meet.

back at river level

back at river level

The trail crosses the first small stream then goes across a landslide area. Follow the white arrows painted on the rocks through here.

crossing the landslide

crossing the landslide

After the landslide the trail follows up the middle stream for a short distance before crossing it over a log bridge with the aid of ropes.

stream crossing

stream crossing

After the crossing the trail reaches the third stream and Cloud Heart Falls. The pool at the base of the falls is good for swimming in.

Cloud Heart Falls

Cloud Heart Falls

To reach Forest Mountain Falls climb up the trail on the left of Cloud Heart Falls marked by flags. It’s about a 10-minute climb up.

trail to Forest Mountain Falls

trail to Forest Mountain Falls

This trail climbs steeply up the the top of Cloud Heart Falls then follows the stream. At a fork in the trail at the top, take the right fork to reach Forest Mountain Falls.

trail to Forest Mountain Falls

trail to Forest Mountain Falls

Forest Mountain Falls

Forest Mountain Falls

The left fork leads further up the mountain, however the hike described as Walk 37 in Taipei Escapes 2 leading over the mountain to Full Moon Forest Park is not longer passible due to landslide damage. However far you decide to explore up the trail, you’ll have to return back to Xiongkong.

Back in Xiongkong if you have extra time to kill there is a café where you can wait over tea or coffee. Go down the stairs across from where the road to the waterfalls starts and keep going straight through the parking lot at the bottom.

Buses back to Sanxia leave from the store at about 3pm and 6pm. Get back on the bus going in the same direction as you got off. From Xiongkong the bus goes to the Full Moon Forest Park then returns to Sanxia without going back through Xiongkong.

Map of the Hike

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