Swan Lake Recreation Area is one of Taiwan’s many once popular but now nearly forgotten places. I have read numerous accounts of waterfalls that were destroyed but usually it was only the trail that was destroyed. It is difficult to compare to an old blog (Camping in Taiwan’s visit to Swan Lake) that I found but it looks like Swan Lake Waterfall is much shorter (the creek was filled in with rock) than it was before Typhoon Morakot. The route to the waterfall is now quite difficult but the waterfall itself is perfect and there won’t be any people around. In addition to Swan Lake Waterfall (天鵝湖瀑布) you can also visit Lover’s Lake Waterfall (情人湖瀑布) (only 3-4 meters tall). Both of these places are great for a swim.
Taiwan doesn’t have many lakes and they use the word extremely liberally. Neither Lover’s Lake nor Swan Lake are anything resembling a lake although the typhoons might have filled them in a little.
Rating and length – moderate – 3 km (2+ hours) round trip – add 30-40 minutes if you walk the two track road marked in green
Accessibility – There is a good road until Dewen Village. The last 1+ km marked in green on the map is an awful road. The trail is in awful shape and most of the hike is on rocks in the riverbed.
Estimated height – 10 meters
Elevation – 700 meters
How to get there – Take Hwy 24 through Sandimen and towards Wutai. 1-2 km after the mountain checkpoint turn left on county road 31 and go towards Dewen. Swan Lake Waterfall isn’t marked anymore but it is immediately following a recently rebuilt section of road between the 4 and 5 km markers. There was a pile of dirt off to the side at the turn when we visited. Most with cars will want to stop at the turn and walk since the road is in awful shape. We drove.
The hike – Follow the road (2 track) until a parking spot and then it turns into a single track road/path. You will pass by an old visitor center, bathrooms (unusable) and a few other buildings that have been retaken by the elements. The path continues towards Lover’s Lake Waterfall. Stay to the right at one spot with a small intersection. Eventually you will end up in a small gully. There is no trail at this point and follow this gully down to the creek. Lover’s Lake Waterfall is to the left. Once you get back to the visitor center you will need to find a faint path down to a gully and follow that down to the creek. The waterfall is 10-15 minutes upstream.
The hike to Swan Lake is almost entirely off trail and on rock. Lover’s Lake is a little easier but it would be best to hike these in a group.
Seasonality – unknown
Other info – The driver of all vehicles will need to present their ARC and sign the group in at the mountain checkpoint on Hwy 24.
GPS data: parking N22.794537 E120.706823 – Swan Lake Waterfall N22.794179 E120.712805 – Lover’s Lake Waterfall N22.792481 E120.708570
Dates visited – 12/6/2016
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