Yuanyang Valley 鴛鴦谷瀑布 is a known but not crowded hiking destination in Hsinchu county. In addition to several waterfalls, there are numerous nice trails leaving the road that I must explore sometime. This is a great choice for an overcast or rainy day since most of the hike is a road walk and the valley takes on a surreal look.
How to get there – Follow highway 120 along the historical Neiwan railroad line. Go through Neiwan and go 2 more kilometers to Jianshi. In Jianshi go straight on Hwy 120 for 5-6 more kilometers and turn left at a bridge onto hwy 58. Follow this about 3 more kilometers until you see the two parking areas. The hike starts shortly after the two parking lots at a makeshift gate. Scooters are able to go all the way up to the waterfalls on the road although I think the road is supposed to be closed to traffic.
The hike: There are two large parking lots near the hike entrance. The hike is a road walk to the waterfalls but there are several nice hiking trails going north from the road. The first waterfall is the biggest but it is very easy to miss. There is a mark on the road near the 1.5 km mark and usually a couple of ribbons leading to a worn path down to the creek. The main waterfall is about 200 meters down a trail that ends at a viewing platform. The trail is marked with a Chinese sign and is at a hairpin turn in the road.
Mass transit – Not easy but possible. Hsinchu bus 5631 departs every 4.5 hours from Hsinchu East Bus Station.
Date visited: 4/12/2014 – 1/14/2017
Other blogs – Josh Ellis at Yuanyang Valley