While most travelers to Taipei hardly make it out of the city, Taiwan’s north coast is blessed with bountiful natural wonders, breathtaking landscapes, gorgeous waterfalls and excellent hiking opportunities. One of the best Taipei hidden gems and certainly a worthwhile attraction near the city is Qingshan Waterfall (青山瀑布) — a stunning 30m-high waterfall neatly tucked away among lush jungle in a lesser-explored part of northern Yangmingshan National Park.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and enjoy a beautiful day hike near Taipei, visiting Qingshan Falls is an excellent add-on to any Taiwan tour. In this guide, I’ll show you everything you need to know about visiting Qingshan Waterfall — one of Taipei’s best-kept secrets!
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Things to know before you visit Qingshan Waterfall
If this is your first visit to Taiwan, read my detailed Taipei itinerary. This guide on visiting Taipei for the first time and this Taipei day trips guide will also come in handy. For more hiking inspiration, be sure also to read my post on the best hikes in Taiwan.
Here are a few things you need to know before hiking Qingshan Waterfall trail:
How long is Qingshan Waterfall Trail?
It’s only a 1.5 km hike to the waterfall, which sounds easier said than done. If you want to continue past the waterfall, you can follow the circular route, which is an additional 2 km longer. However, you should probably know that once you pass the waterfall, the trail gets quite intense. I would not recommend completing the circular course unless you are fit enough to do so and have experience in rope climbing. If that sounds too intense, it’s best to return the same way you came.
How long does the hike take?
Depending on your fitness level, it shouldn’t take more than 40 minutes to reach the waterfall. If you want to allow more time to take in the incredible scenery, take photos, or dip your toes in the creek along the way, work on at least 2-3 hours there and back.
What is the trail’s difficulty level?
Qingshan Waterfall Trail is an easy to moderate hike, but expect to break a sweat. While the walk starts off easy enough following a well-paved footpath, most of the trail involves scrambling over rugged terrain.
Are there any restrooms?
You’ll find toilets near the parking lot. Make sure to use them before starting the trail as there are no other facilities further afield. If you’re going to swim, remember to change here.
In a rush? Pin this Taipei waterfall guide for later.
Hiking in Taipei Packing List
Here are a few things I highly recommend packing for Qingshan Falls.
- Proper footwear: Make sure to wear appropriate footwear. Since most of the rocks are quite slippery, you really do need to be careful. Therefore, it’s best to wear non-slip shoes or hiking boots.
- Umbrella or hat: While a tree canopy covers most of the path, it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella or a hat along. That way, you’ll stay protected from the harsh UV rays.
- Sunscreen: Make sure you apply plenty of sun block before and during the hike. It’s best to pack a waterproof eco-friendly sunscreen that will keep you safe from the sun and protect the environment while swimming.
- Swimsuit & towel: You can swim here, so remember to pack your swimsuit. Make sure to pack a microfiber towel that will dry quickly and won’t weigh you down. If you’re not already wearing a swimsuit, remember to change by the toilets near the trailhead.
- Insect repellant: Taiwan’s jungles are home to some pretty weird bugs. Make sure you stay protected from bites or stings by packing a decent eco-friendly bug spray.
- Snacks: On weekends there might be a few local farmers selling fresh fruit and light snacks along the trail. But, since you’re probably going to be hungry after the trek, it’s best to bring some snacks with you. Oh, and travel tip — there are no bins, so please remember to take your trash with you.
- Water: It’s essential to stay hydrated, especially if you’re hiking Qingshan Falls during summer. Remember to bring enough water with you.
- First-Aid Kit: It might be a good idea to pack a small travel first-aid kit in case of an emergency.
If you still need some help figuring what to pack for a hiking trip, this outdoors gift guide includes all the essentials you’ll ever need.
How to Get to Qingshan Waterfall
Even though Qingshan Waterfall is less than an hour’s drive from Danshui, Taipei, there is no direct public transport here.
Here are a few ways to reach the Qingshan Falls:
Bus: The nearest bus stop to Qingshan Waterfall trail is at Shuntian Shengmu Temple. But you’ll need to take a 2h30 ride and then walk the remaining 1.6 km to the trail. Catch bus #867 at Danshui MRT Station if this is an option for you.
Taxi: While it is possible to take a taxi from Danshui, expect to pay steep prices. You should probably also know that it will be quite tricky to get a ride back. A one-way Uber ride is likely to set you back anywhere between NT$760 – NT$1000.
Join a day tour: If you do not have your own transport, it’s best to join an organized Taipei day tour or a Taipei private tour that will allow you to explore the area and a few other hidden gems without the headache of planning out a trip.
Hiking Qingshan Waterfall Trail
Qingshan Waterfall (also spelled Chingshan Waterfall) is tucked away in the mountains near Shimen District in New Taipei City. The waterfall sits at an elevation of 310 meters and is accessed by a narrow trail that runs under a dense jungle canopy.
The trailhead starts right near the parking lot, and you’ll need to climb a flight of steep stairs first before being surrounded by verdant greenery. Once at the top, make sure to make a photo stop before going further as you can get a beautiful glimpse of the valley and Pacific ocean in the distance from here.
The first leg of the trail follows a well-paved narrow walkway running along a water channel, which twists and turns past exquisite scenery of lush mountains and gentle streams below. Along the way, you’ll hear birds chirping and the humming of all kinds of bugs.
Once you get closer to the river, you’ll reach the 700m signboard. From here, the terrain becomes quite rugged, so get ready to scramble over rocks and along a natural footpath. The trail is quite slippery and steep at times, so remember to slow down and hold on to the stones or vegetation along the way.
There are also three bridges along the trail which offer unique vantage points over the river’s rushing streams, cascades, and beautiful moss-covered boulders. It’s a tranquil area, and you’re likely to see a few locals taking a rest next to the water or dipping their toes in the slightly chilly waters along the way.
Once you reach the third bridge, the waterfall comes entirely into view. It’s a spectacular sight to see and such a reward after trekking for 40 minutes. If you want to sit on the rocks with your feet in the water or take a dip, there’s a narrow opening next to the viewing deck from where you can access the waterfall pool. It’s quite slippery, so go slowly.
When to Visit Chingshan Falls
Since the trail is mostly covered by a lush canopy, you will be protected from the harsh rays along most of the journey. That said, summer in Taiwan (June – August) is sweltering and humid, so if you aren’t used to intense heat, this might not be an ideal time for you to visit. It’s also best to check the weather forecast before hiking Qingshan trail during typhoon season (July – Aug) as the area is prone to landslides. For more pleasant temperatures, it’s best to visit Chingshan Waterfall during spring (March – May) or autumn (Sept – Nov).
Hiking in Taipei: Qingshan Falls Trail Conclusion
While Qingshan Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Taipei, it remains a real hidden gem. Since the area is mostly untouched by tourists, it’s the perfect place to get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in Yangmingshan’s serene nature.
Trekking Qingshan Falls is a very rewarding hike, and undoubtedly makes for a great add-on to any Taiwan itinerary!
Well, that’s all I’ve got on Qingshan Waterfall. If you have any tips to add to this Taipei waterfall guide, let me know in the comments below.
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