Caihong Falls 彩虹瀑布 – Malaolou Trail

Caihong Waterfall 彩虹瀑布 is one of the east coast’s tallest waterfalls at 200 meters but you won’t be able to hike all the way to the base. Instead you will have to stop at the perfect secluded swimming hole in front of a lower 8 meter tier of the waterfall. Caihong translates to rainbow and is one of the most common waterfall names in Taiwan.

How to get there – The Malaolou Trail 麻荖漏步道  is located near Sanxiantai and the small city of Chenggong.  Turn west towards the mountains just north of the church and the CPC gas station when entering Chenggong (km 113/114).  There are several forks in the road but there are some small signs to the Malaolou Trail 麻荖漏步道showing the way. It will be about 6 kms to the waterfall.  It is a small mountain road but cars can handle it. The worst part is a steep uphill section at a sharp corner right before the parking lot. You could park on the side of the road and walk instead of going up it.

The hike – This is not a long hike but it is a difficult hike due to a trail consisting of slippery, ankle breaking rocks.  The first 5 minutes of the trail are well made but after that the trail becomes rockier and more slippery.  It’s relatively easy to follow the trail looking for red paint markings.  You will have to cross the stream 6 times total (ropes provided when needed) before reaching the end. At the end you need to climb up some rocks with ropes to reach the final pool at a smaller tier of the waterfall. You will not be able to avoid getting your feet wet on this hike

Caution – you will be in the creek and dangerous flashflood situations can happen here (see the comments below). Do not start a hike if there is a chance of rain.

GPS map link – N23.129823 E121.347494

Nearby Waterfalls – Luoshan WaterfallTiefen WaterfallNanan WaterfallShanfong Waterfall

Date visited – 2/11/2013 and 12/31/2016

8 Replies to “Caihong Falls 彩虹瀑布 – Malaolou Trail”

  1. Do not go if it is raining or threatening to! A couple of friends and I were caught in a flash flood on the way back down. As mentioned above, you have to cross the stream several times… let me tell you, that “stream” will change before your very eyes into a torrent of water. And don’t underestimate just a light drizzle of rain. We did, and that got us into trouble. To be fair, it’s not that hard to wait for the rain and current to die down, but by the time we were on the return trip we were on a time crunch so we *had* to maneuver our way back and forth across the rushing river to get back to the main path. We never even reached the waterfall.
    SO,
    I plan to go back one day when it’s not raining, because the hike itself is awesome. And.. I guess I like chasing waterfalls. The fact that it is not your traditional Taiwanese hike solely on a clearly carved dirt or cement path makes it a challenge and a breath of fresh air.

    1. Thank you for the feedback and I have added a note about flashfloods for this waterfall.

      Were you there during New Year’s Weekend? I tried to include this on my east coast trip but I wasn’t able to do this hike that weekend.

      1. No I went around 中秋節 2015. I’m looking forward to doing it again sometime! Do you know of any other fun day hikes on the east coast that involve getting away from a dirt path?

        1. The two best that I can think of are Nanao River Tracing to Jinyue Waterfall (I have done this) and Golden Grotto (I have not done this – yet). I am not able to visit the east coast very much but it is really nice.

  2. Hi we just got back from the trail. We were caught on a flash flood. Trail is beautiful though, true rain forest. There are several falls on the way to the Rainbow one, it was still rewarding but if we had kept going it could have been very dangerous on the way back as several rocks you have to step on to cross the stream were already underwater and the current getting stronger and stronger.. Beautiful place to visit! Make sure you pack a backpack and go in the morning as it generally rains in the afternoon. Trail isn’t hard but it’s not easy either. The red arrows help a lot. Good luck!

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