Duona Village has been busy rebuilding after the devastating typhoon in 2009. It now has a bustling main street with several restaurants and busloads of tourists during the day. Duona Village might be popular again but Guifu Canyon is not on the radar of most of the tourists. It is an incredible narrow canyon of hard black rock with two waterfalls. Guifu translates to Ghost Axe which might be an indication of how dangerous the canyon would be in the summer.
Rating and length – Easy – 4-5 kms – 2 hours round trip
Accessibility – Poor roads and no trail (riverbed rock hike)
How to get there – Enter Maolin Valley on Kaohsiung 132 and follow this road all the way to Duona. There are two roads that lead to the start of the hike.
Cars should take a longer route around Duona village. Instead of turning left entering the village, go straight and follow the winding road around the village and down to the riverbed. There are two Y junctions where you veer left on the main road and eventually you go all the way to the river.
Motorcycles can turn left and go through the village. Once you are in Duona follow the main street all the way to the end and take a left down a VERY steep twisting road. This road ends at the river and the hike is to the east up the river.
It is possible to get to Duona using mass transit. Buses from Kaohsiung and Tainan go to Qishan and from there you can take a bus to Maolin or Duona. It will probably take most of the day to take the bus and the hike (including an extra km downhill/uphill).
The hike – The trailhead is nothing more than a flat spot of broken up black rock and kind of looks like an industrial wasteland. Buried 10+ meters below is the famous Duona Hot Springs that will likely never be rebuilt.
Start at the riverbed below the village and walk up the valley to the right (east) for about 2 km. There is no trail but the riverbed is easy to follow. After about 30-40 minutes you enter a tight gorge that is very rare in Taiwan. It is at least 50 meters high with nearly vertical walls more similar to the canyons of the American Southwest. The main waterfall is not far from the entrance of the canyon. It is possible to go further upstream (over the 2nd waterfall) but it requires some ropes and river tracing equipment.
Caution – During the summer and after heavy rains this canyon is very dangerous due high and fast moving water.
GPS data – parking N22.914387 E120.720554 – waterfall N22.9151 E120.7305
Date visited – 2/16/2014 and 12/25/2015