Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Houdong Waterfall 猴洞瀑布
Houdong Waterfall is the first scenic spot in Yilan county you come to after exiting the Xueshan tunnel from Taipei. The trail to the waterfall runs right underneath the highway.
Unless there has been a lot of rain, the waterfall is just a thin stream of water that races down several cataracts in a steep ravine. It's a narrow but pretty place, and there is a fine view across the Lanyang plain to the Pacific from the top. However, if you just want to look at a beautiful waterfall, you should go to Wufengqi Falls above Jiaoxi, which are much bigger.
The reason to go to Houdong is to swim. At the top of the falls are a series of wonderful shallow rocky pools. On a hot day, the water is very cold, clean and refreshing - the perfect mountain swimming hole.If you go here on a weekday you'll probably have the place to yourself. You can climb over some rocks and into one of the higher pools for complete privacy and enjoy a clothing-optional swimming hole.
The path to the waterfall isn't well marked, so you might have to hunt to find the trailhead. You can get onto the path from several places, but most are hidden away down a maze of narrow winding roads in a residential neighborhood. The easiest entrance to find is underneath the No. 9 highway. Between the Xueshan tunnel and the main road in Jiaoxi is a river. The trail begins on the left side of the river, under the highway.There is a small sign in Chinese near the road, but the sign is easy to miss. Just look for the river. Park on the left side of the river and start walking uphill along the stone path. Soon the you will be walking next to a large riverbed which is usually dry unless it has recently rained. Keep going. You will reach the falls after an easy 25 minute walk.