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