Fenghuang translates to Phoenix and Fenghuang Waterfall has literally risen from the dead like its name. In 1999 the 921 earthquake destroyed significant portions of the nearby bird aviary and a large portion of the trail fell off of a cliff making the waterfall unreachable (AFAIK) for over a decade. A later typhoon did further damage to the already damaged aviary. The bird aviary is back although the habitats seem inadequate and significant effort has been spent on bulldozing a new trail to the waterfall. Fenghuang Waterfall is known as Hidden Lake Waterfall within the park.
The hike – The hike starts at the entrance of the bird aviary. You will be able to walk past a variety of bird habitats. The two best ones allow you to walk through habitats and get close to the birds. All roads in the aviary go down and end at the bridge to the waterfall. The signs along the way direct you to Hidden Lake Waterfall. After the bridge follow the trail to the right towards the waterfall. The trail to the left goes past the pavilion and only takes you to a bathroom. It only takes 15-20 more minutes to get to the waterfall. There are 3-4 trails that turn left from the main trail going downhill. All of the trails later converge and end at a viewing platform for the waterfall. You are not supposed to go further. On the return hike there is a small shuttle that will take you up the hill. Pickups are at designated spots with tents and a schedule posted.
How to get there – You will need your own transportation for this one. Turn off of the 3 freeway onto Highway 3 and start following signs to Xitou forest recreation area. After 2-3 kms on Highway 3 turn left onto Nantou 151 (a very busy mountain road to Xitou and Shanlinshi). By now there should be frequent Fenghuanggu Bird Aviary brown signs to follow. On Nantou 151 the road splits several times but the brown signs direct you each time. Turn left onto Nantou 56 and follow this for another 8kms until you reach the aviary. Nantou 56 continues into the mountains and is a great drive after the aviary going past a large river valley, bamboo farms and Muguakeng Waterfall.
GPS – N23.73175 E120.79890
Other info – 40NT entry and 20NT for a car (not real sure about prices but it’s cheap)
Date visited – 11/8/2014