The Qingshan Waterfall (青山瀑布 [Qīngshān Pùbù]; translated as "Blue Mountain Waterfall") was a modestly-sized waterfall on the quieter north side of Yangmingshan (陽明山 [Yángmíngshān]), which was an area more known for hot springs than a nature hike like this. Our relatively quiet experience with both the hike and the waterfall itself was a bit of a surprise to us because it was so close to the metropolitan city of Taipei (as it was just on the other side of Yangmingshan), yet it seemed like a whole other world away as the scenery was very naturesque and tranquil. Anyways, as you can see from the photo above, this waterfall had a pleasing fan or triangular shape (though it was probably aided from the heavy rains in the area earlier on in the morning of our hike), and I'm guessing it was probably about 15-20m tall.
From the signed car park, we walked back along the road towards a roadside stand. After passing through the stand, which had picnic tables and locally-sourced food, we then climbed up a flight of steps ascending above the road and ultimately towards a small plot of farm land adjacent to the trail. The trail initially meandered alongside the small plots of land (where they were growing local vegetables) then it curved alongside a valley carved out by the Laomei Stream (老梅溪 [Lǎoméi Xī]; translated as "Old Lady Stream"). Along this stretch of the trail, we followed along a ditch that I'm guessing diverted water from the creek from further upstream and ultimately irrigated the small farm plot.
The trail continued to follow along the ditch while the valley closed in the further along the trail we went. After another 300m or so, the irrigation ditches started to disappear as the trail then crossed and meandered alongside one of the forks of the Laomei Stream. After crossing a few bridges traversing the stream, the trail then became a bit rougher as it followed along the stream banks involving a small bit of minor bouldering. We had to be careful due to the wet nature of the boulders given the rains. Anyways, this stretch would persist for the next 400-500m before we finally climbed up to the lookout deck yielding the view of Qingshan Waterfall that you see pictured at the top of this page.
Once we were at the falls, I noticed that the trail apparently kept going up the mountain, but it was closed so we can't say anything more about it. Thus, we spent time basking in the reward of making it all the way here, and when we had our fill of this place, we did the mostly downhill hike all the way back to the car. On the return hike, we noticed quite a few more people making their way up (we were the only people at the falls as well as the entire hike up here), which illustrated just how popular this place can be despite the bad weather. When all was said and done, we wound up finishing the hike in a little over 90 minutes covering a distance of around 3km round trip.
Since we made our visit to the Qingshan Waterfall from Keelung (基隆 [Jīlóng]), we'll make the recommended driving route from there. We'll spare you the unnecessary detours that our Taiwan GPS made us go on and give you the most direct route.
So from the junction of the Tai-2 Highway and the Tai-2甲 Highway (the character is pronounced "jiǎ") in Keelung, we drove north along the Tai-2 for about 15km before turning left at a light onto the Zhucaotan Road (豬槽潭路 [Zhūcáotán Lù]; also labeled as 北17 Road where the character is pronounced "běi" meaning "north"). Pay attention to this left turn because we missed it when we first got here, and we didn't recall seeing a sign for the Qingshan Waterfall going west on the Tai-2, but we did see it going east on the Tai-2 when we were backtracking.
Nevertheless, we would continue on the 北17 Road for the next 5km eventually reaching the well-signposted turnoff for the car park on our left as the road was climbing just past Qingshan Waterfall Trailhead, where there was a food stand. There were a couple of legal spots on the upper part of the car park, but there were more unpaved parking spaces further down the car park if the upper part was full. Overall, this drive would take us a little over an hour covering about 42km.
Finally, for some geographical context, Keelung was about 24km northeast of Taipei (臺北 or 台北 in simplified Chinese [Táiběi]; taking roughly 30 minutes using mostly the expressways). However, we also managed to make the 42km drive from Qingshan Waterfall to Taipei City (to return the rental car) though that wound up taking us nearly 2 hours due to the heavy congestion within Taipei City itself as this route was devoid of expressways.
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