The Fenghuang Waterfall (鳳凰瀑布 [Fènghuáng Pùbù]; translated as "Phoenix Waterfall") was one of a handful of pretty straightforward waterfalls that we visited while self-touring the less-populated Eastern Taiwan. Since my Mom and I visited this waterfall on the day after visiting the famous Taroko Gorge to the north, we wound up with a splendidly serene and more tangible experience as we were the only people here to enjoy it on the morning of our visit. It contrasted mightily to the busier and grander (yet strangely distant) attraction to the north. And while this waterfall was more modest in size (we're guessing it was probably about 15m tall), it still chilled us out as the light mist from the falls contrasted the stifling tropical heat and humidity that affected most of our visit to Taiwan at the end of October and early November. Apparently, the lack of Autumn during our visit was a bit unusual according to my relatives who live in Taiwan.
Aside from finding the falls (see directions below), our visit was very easy. Once we stopped the car at a pullout next to a shelter with prayer flags adjacent to it at a hairpin turn, we then walked up a short and gently uphill paved walking path lasting a mere 30m or so ending right at the base of the Fenghuang Waterfall. There were a couple of greenish stones marking the end of the short trail (Mom thought initially they were jade-like, but I figured they would have been quarried or stolen if they really were jade). With a little rock hopping, I was able to get a more frontal look at the twisting falls from the middle of the waterfall's stream. Other than that, there wasn't much else to do with this waterfall so we don't have much more to say about it. Overall, our visit only took about 25 minutes away from the car most of which was spent taking pictures.
We drove to the Fenghuang Waterfall from Hualien City (花蓮市 [Huālián Shì]) so that's how we'll describe the driving directions. Heading south of Hualien City along the Tai-9 Highway (台力) for about 31km towards the town of Fenglin (鳳林 [Fènglín]; meaning "Phoenix Forest"), we then kept right at a fork to leave the Tai-9 onto Zhongzheng Road Section 2 (中正路二段 [Zhōng zhèng lù èr duàn]) to go into the town itself (as staying on the Tai-9 highway would bypass the town). Continuing on Zhongzheng Road Section 2 for the next 1.2km, we then turned right onto Shuiyuan Road (水源路 [Shuǐ yuán lù]) or Hua-46 (花46). By now there should be signs for the Fenghuang Waterfall (or 鳳凰瀑布).
Continuing on Shuiyuan Road for about 2.4km, we passed through an archway then entered some kind of park or parking area. Then, we saw a faint brown sign for the Fenghuang Waterfall telling us to turn right and follow a narrow road past a bridge over the Fenglin River (鳳林溪 [Fènglín Xī]) before continuing up a narrower paved road that climbed the final 550m up to a hairpin turn, where there was a shelter and shoulder space for parking. This was the trailhead for the falls. Overall, we spent about 45 minutes on this drive.
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