Yumenguan Waterfall (玉門關瀑布) is a great swimming hole that is easily accessible in Nantou County. Yumenguan translates to Jade Gate and there are several places where the walls close in to form a door like path for the creek. There is no trail to the waterfall itself and you will have to swim a short distance, walk on the rocks in the creek and then climb down a few rocks. Doing so is prohibited by a sign posted but it appears to be visited often. Proceed at your own risk but definitely stay out after heavy rains or when fast moving water is present.
Difficulty and length – Moderately easy – 1.5 km (<1 hour) round trip
Height – 10 meters (my estimate)
Elevation – 550 meters
Accessibility – It is on a small but good road. The hike is short but it requires swimming a short distance and crawling around on rocks.
How to get there – Yumenguan Waterfall is located near Caotun in Nantou County where Freeway #6 and Highway 14 crisscross each other numerous times. Turn south off of Highway 14 into Beishan on county road 147. Cross the bridge with the red railing and continue straight down the alley. At the end of the alley turn right and then immediately turn left staying on county road 147. Follow this for a few minutes and turn left onto county road 68 just before you cross under Freeway #6. Just past the 3 km marker there is a sign of Yumenguan (Jade Gate in English). Don’t drive down the small but instead park on the other side of the driveway (room for 2 cars).
The hike – Go down the path past the farmhouse and chicken coop. The trail turns left at a temple and goes down the stairs to the river. Yumenguan is about 10 minutes downstream. Scramble down the rocks to the stream and you will have to swim across the pool. After that it is easiest to walk along the right side of the river down to the waterfall. It is easy to stand on top of the waterfall but you will need to climb down about ten meters to get a good view. This is challenging but not difficult for most. There is a nylon rope to assist you.
Swimming and rock scrambling required. Do not go after heavy rains or if the water is fast moving.
Seasonality – unknown but could dry up in late winter or early spring some years
GPS – Parking N23.963418 E120.890080 – Waterfall N23.963907 E120.889240
Date Visited – 11/5/2016