Guguan Dam Waterfall isn’t a natural waterfall but the colors are too beautiful to be excluded from this guide. It is actually an outlet pipe from the Guguan Dam upstream and it falls into the river along the route to Maling Hot Spring. It has its own pool of stunning blue but icy cold water that is perfect for a swim on a hot day.
Five minutes past Guguan Dam Waterfall is a temple built into a retaining wall at riverbed level. Thanks to some super sleuthing from a friend we know that it isn’t actually a temple but rather part of a bridge support that led to the dam’s power plant. Check out this wikipedia link for a vintage photo of the power plant entrance.
Further up the river is Maling Hot Spring and Shimen Waterfall. They can both be dayhiked but camping overnight is a better option to enjoy the area.
How to get there – Drive through Guguan on Highway 8 on the still closed Central Cross Island Highway. Drive 3 km east from Guguan and turn left just before the checkpoint (you can’t go through it) at a 0km marker. Follow this small road < 1km down to a building site. The building site is for dam employees but it seems okay to park here.
Mass transit – There are buses to Guguan but you would likely have to walk the remaining 4km to the river.
This hike is in the riverbed and could be very dangerous during a rainstorm. In addition they do weekly discharges from the dam upstream. I am unsure how high river levels are during the summer/fall but it might be dangerous or inaccessible at that time.
The hike – The road is blocked off with a gate that you will need to climb around. There is a warning sign (in Chinese) so proceed at your own risk (you can ask at the police station below). Walk down the road until you come to a landslide section. Follow this landslide down to the riverbed and then walk upstream as far as you want. Guguan Dam Waterfall and entrance (looks like a temple) to the power plant are not far upstream. Maling Hot Spring and Waterfall and Shimen Waterfall are further upstream. You will have to cross the river many times to get to either of them.
Permits – I found out after my hike that you are supposed to get a police permit in Guguan to hike here. Police permits seem simple enough to get in most cases and they will check if there is a dam discharge on that day. I didn’t do this but will check on my next trip.
Date visited – 3/5/2017