Qingshan has become a popular hike on the north side of Yangmingshan. It is an easy 1.5km hike on a well made path up to the waterfall. In addition to that there are several spots where you can escape the summer heat by soaking in the creek.
Rating and length – easy to moderately easy – 3 kms to the waterfall (round trip) – 5 kms for the loop hike
How to get there – The north side of Yangmingshan has significantly fewer public transport options than other places near Taipei and New Taipei but there are several options for travel to Qingshan Waterfall.
Option 1 – The best option is to drive a car or scooter. Take Hwy 2 east from Danshui for about 30 minutes. Go through Sanzhi and near Laomei (km marker 26) turn right onto county road #17. It is clearly marked and also has a sign to Zhucaotian. Follow county road #17 for 5+kms. Turn left at a bridge with a Qingshan Waterfall sign. The trailhead is about 1 minute ahead marked by a roadside pavilion on the right and a bathroom on the left.
Option 2 – There is a regular bus leaving from the Danshui MRT that goes through Laomei. The bus will be marked Sanzhi/Shimen/Jinshan and also stops in Laomei and many other places along Hwy 2. Once you arrive in Laomei you will have to roadwalk 5+ kms to the trailhead or find a taxi.
Option 3 – It’s possible to hire a taxi from the Danshui MRT. Someone in our group was able to negotiate down to 600NT for a one way trip.
The hike – The hike starts at a small pavilion that sells snacks and drinks (at least on weekends). It follows the creek up to the waterfall on a well made path. It’s never steep and there are a few spots to stop and play in the water. At the waterfall there is a small seating area and there are also some rocks near the water to sit on.
You can return to the trailhead from here or you can continue on the trail. The trail becomes quite steep at this point for the next kilometer. There are several sections of rock and wood stairs and ultimately you reach the top. At the top there is a lesser used trail (Erpingdeng – spelling?) that looks like an interesting longer hike sometime but the main trail now goes down the mountain. It stops at the odd Jianshan Monument before going down to a small, barely used road. The Jianshan Monument is actually a Japanese monument and the link at the bottom includes a news article about its fascinating history. Follow this road for 5 minutes and you reach the main road. Going right on this road takes you to the Tudigong (Earth God Ridge) hike (Walk #41 in Richard Suanders Yangmingshan guide). Turning left takes you back to the trailhead (15 minutes).
Richard Saunders describes another route in his Yangmingshan book (walk #40 Laomei Waterfall) but we all missed the turn to Sanzhi Cold Springs.
GPS data – trailhead N25.246976 E121.558683 – waterfall N25.238319 E121.556917
Other info – free – snacks available – bathrooms at the trailhead
Date visited – 4/4/2015
Resources – Richard Saunders’s Yangmingshan Guide Walk #40 – Read more about the Jianshan Monument at the China Post