Shuiliandong Waterfall is one of my favorite waterfall day hikes in Taiwan. The hike isn’t especially hard but it is in a very remote part of Nantou County and it will require some effort to reach. The hike goes down a very nice and recently repaired trail. Before reaching the waterfall, hikers will need to cross an amazing red bridge that goes over a 100-200 meter deep canyon with vertical walls. Pinglai Waterfall is at the end of the canyon and it is actually more spectacular than Shuiliandong Waterfall. Unfortunately it is frequently dry. Shuiliandong can finally be seen from the top of the stairs. There is a little better view if you go down the stairs on the other side but it isn’t possible to go down to the base. It might be possible to river trace up to the waterfall but it appears that several 3-4 meter tall rocks block the route.
Rating and length – moderately easy – 3 km (1.5 hours) round trip
Height – 80-100 meters (my estimate)
Accessibility – The road is narrow and in poor condition but cars are fine – The trail is in very good condition and they recently (2016) repaired a landslide section with a new trail
How to get there – In Xinyi turn west following road signs to Aiguo on Hwy 59. This is a small road that actually looks like an alley. Cross the bridge and follow the road until you exit Aiguo. You should be on Pinglai Industry Road on the left side of Pinglai Valley. You will pass by the exit for glass bridge walkway (worth doing) shortly after Aiguo. This road is narrow but it is well maintained and easy to drive in a car. Keep following this road until the 6.5km mark where there should be a chain across the road and a small parking area with room for three cars.
The hike – The hike begins at a small car parking area with a small orchard below it. Don’t follow the road down but take the trail with wood fence. The trail was really well built originally and it was recently repaired (2016). After a few minutes you will come to a nice small waterfall. After another 15 minutes you’ll reach an impressive red bridge spanning the gorge with outstanding views. From here you can see down into a tight gorge and if it has rained recently you can view Pinglai Waterfall (much taller than Shuiliandong). After this you’ll walk uphill on a newly built trail to a viewing platform. You can walk about 50 meters to the end of the platform for a great view of everything or descend down some stairs for a closer view of Shuiliandong Waterfall. The stairs only descend about halfway down but there is an overgrown trail at the bottom that goes another 10 meters to a slightly better viewpoint.
Seasonality – Pinglai Waterfall goes dry if it hasn’t rained in the last 2-3 weeks. Shuiliandong Waterfall could be dry from December to April some years.
GPS – Parking lot N23.66137 E120.82836 – Waterfall N23.65486 E120.82836
Elevation – 850 meters