Huangjin Waterfall (黃金瀑布 [Huángjīn Pùbù]; Golden Waterfall)

Ruifen District / Jinguashi / Jiufen / Keelung, Xinbei (New Taipei City), Taiwan

About Huangjin Waterfall (黃金瀑布 [Huángjīn Pùbù]; Golden Waterfall)


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2016-11-03
Date last visited: 2016-11-03

Waterfall Latitude: 25.11744
Waterfall Longitude: 121.86152

The Huangjin Waterfall (黃金瀑布 [Huángjīn Pùbù]; translated as the “Golden Waterfall”) had to have been one of the more unique and unusual waterfalls we had encountered in Taiwan.

Not only did this waterfall have a pleasing size (it was wider than it was tall) with a vein-like percolating appearance, but its underlying rock had a striking bright brownish orange color to it.

Huangjin_Waterfall_004_11022016 - Huangjin Waterfall or ('Golden Waterfall')
Huangjin Waterfall or (‘Golden Waterfall’)

Perhaps even stranger still about our experience with this falls was that just up the mountain was the popular mining village of Jiufen.

Jiufen was a very popular tourist spot that felt more like a United Nations of Tourists as visitors from all over the world would converge here.

Yet, down at the Huangjin Waterfall we hardly saw any foreign tourists, and I suspected that transport options might be far more limited despite this being a roadside waterfall.

It still didn’t stop this place from being visited by crowds of locals, taxis, self-drivers, some Chinese tour buses, and even the odd motorcycle gang.

The Golden Heritage

Jiufen_011_11022016 - The Huangjin Waterfall was down the mountain from the very popular mining town of Jiufen, which packed quite a punch in terms of scenery, an atmospheric marketplace, and some heritage museums
The Huangjin Waterfall was down the mountain from the very popular mining town of Jiufen, which packed quite a punch in terms of scenery, an atmospheric marketplace, and some heritage museums

It seemed fitting that the Huangjin Waterfall would be associated with gold.

After all, one could say that this association could be drawn from the sulfur-tinted color of the waterfall’s underlying rocks.

The presence of the sulphur might be controversial considering that it might have been a byproduct of mining operations.

However, I suspect that the heritage of gold around this waterfall had more to do with the gold mining heritage during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan.

Gold_Museum_014_11042016 - The Gold Museum in Jiufen was a place to learn about the living and working conditions in the Gold Mines during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan
The Gold Museum in Jiufen was a place to learn about the living and working conditions in the Gold Mines during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan

Indeed, I had learned that my Mom’s side of the family, who were mostly based in the nearby city of Keelung (基隆 [Jīlóng]), actually had a personal connection with these mines in Jiufen.

One of her older brothers had actually lived and worked in these mines (initially for gold and later for coal).

She also had a granduncle who was commissioned by the Japanese government to survey the area around Keelung including this waterfall and the towns of Jiufen and Jinguashi.

By the way, Jiufen was written as 九份 [Jiǔfèn], which meant “9 portions”, and Jinguashi was written as 金瓜石 [Jīnguāshí], which meant “golden nugget” or something like that.

Experiencing the Huangjin Waterfall

Huangjin_Waterfall_092_11022016 - It can get quite busy at the Huangjin Waterfall though during our visit in November 2016, we pretty much blended in with the rest of the Taiwanese visitors as I didn't recall seeing any international visitors
It can get quite busy at the Huangjin Waterfall though during our visit in November 2016, we pretty much blended in with the rest of the Taiwanese visitors as I didn’t recall seeing any international visitors

The Huangjin Waterfall was as close to the definition of a drive-to waterfall as you can get in Taiwan.

The only walking required (if you’ve self-driven or taxi’ed here) would be to cross the road and walk along the railings.

We were able to view the falls from a variety of different angles within this lookout area.

Apparently, these railings were put in not that long ago when Chinese tour buses started showing up and getting themselves into preventable accidents.

Huangjin_Waterfall_049_11022016 - Looking back in the other direction from the Huangjin Waterfall towards the ocean
Looking back in the other direction from the Huangjin Waterfall towards the ocean

Even with the railings, the falls was wide enough to make it difficult to capture the whole thing in one go, which gives you a little idea of its scale.

Mom and I spent about 30 minutes away from the car.

Of that time spent, it was pretty much taking pictures of the falls while also looking further down the hill towards the ocean and the nearby Keelung Mountain.

Authorities

The Huangjin Waterfall resides in the Ruifang District near the city of Keelung in Xinbei (New Taipei City), Taiwan. It may be administered by the Ruifang District Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.

Huangjin_Waterfall_014_11022016 - Looking towards the Huangjin Waterfall looking golden during our visit
Huangjin_Waterfall_024_11022016 - Looking towards what I think was Keelung Mountain with a bunch of motorcycles parked around the lookout area for the Huangjin Waterfall as some kind of motorcycle gang just so happened to have shown up when we did
Huangjin_Waterfall_029_11022016 - Closer look at part of the Huangjin Waterfall and its underlying colored rock surface
Huangjin_Waterfall_034_11022016 - Broad look from the far side of the Huangjin Waterfall as seen from the lookout close up
Huangjin_Waterfall_038_11022016 - Another look up at one of the thicker strands of the Huangjin Waterfall as seen from the main lookout
Huangjin_Waterfall_044_11022016 - Looking back towards Keelung Mountain from the Huangjin Waterfall area
Huangjin_Waterfall_052_11022016 - Looking towards some buildings across the gully or river from the Huangjin Waterfall near the ocean
Huangjin_Waterfall_055_11022016 - Context of the road leading up to the Huangjin Waterfall backed by some coastal mountain-hugging town and the ocean
Huangjin_Waterfall_065_11022016 - Closer look across most of the width of the Huangjin Waterfall
Huangjin_Waterfall_073_11022016 - Another angled look towards the Huangjin Waterfall from the main lookout area
Huangjin_Waterfall_097_11022016 - Another contextual look at people taking pictures before the Huangjin Waterfall from the main lookout

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We’ll describe the driving directions to the Huangjin Waterfall from Taipei first since that would be perhaps the most common approach (and the route that we took).

Later, we’ll describe the approach from Keelung, which was the biggest neighboring city to the Huangjin Waterfall.

Driving from Taipei to Huangjin Waterfall

So from the junction of the National Expressway 3 and the National Expressway 1 (east of Taipei City), we kept going east towards Keelung along National Expressway 1.

However, we exited the National Expressway 1 to go onto the Tai-62 Expressway (towards Ruifang or 瑞芳 [Ruìfāng]).

Huangjin_Waterfall_001_11022016 - Looking ahead across the street towards the Huangjin Waterfall backing the busy but limited street parking area across the street
Looking ahead across the street towards the Huangjin Waterfall backing the busy but limited street parking area across the street

We then took the Tai-62 Expressway east towards the coast for 10km as the expressway ended near Ruifang.

Next, we turned right onto the Tai-2 for a little over 5km before turning right onto the Dongding Road (洞頂路 [Dòngdǐng Lù]; there were signs leading to Jiufen at this turnoff).

Note that Dongding Road was also labeled as 北34 (the character was pronounced “běi” meaning “north”).

We then drove up this local road for about 400m before turning left to cross the bridge over the river (we could already start to see the Huangjin Waterfall further upslope).

Huangjin_Waterfall_042_11022016 - Looking back towards a bunch of taxis either waiting for people to check out the Huangjin Waterfall or to pick up people looking for a ride from here
Looking back towards a bunch of taxis either waiting for people to check out the Huangjin Waterfall or to pick up people looking for a ride from here

Ultimately, we continued another 400m or so to one of the limited car park spaces right across the street from the Huangjin Waterfall.

Overall, this 26km drive took us around 30 minutes not including the time it would have taken to get to the interchange of expressways 1 and 3 from within Taipei City.

Driving from Keelung to Huangjin Waterfall

From Keelung, we could simply drive east along the Tai-2 coastal route for about 17km.

Next, we’d turn right onto the Dongding Road.

Huangjin_Waterfall_090_11022016 - Looking back away from the Huangjin Waterfall towards the lookout area and small car park across the street towards Keelung Mountain
Looking back away from the Huangjin Waterfall towards the lookout area and small car park across the street towards Keelung Mountain

Once on Dongding Road, we’d follow the directions as above.

Note that had we continued driving upslope from the Huangjin Waterfall, the road would re-join the 北34 then turn left to continue on the 北34.

After the next 2.5km, we’d be at the Jinguashi Gold Museum.

Continuing another 1.6km along the 北34, we wound up at one of the nearest car parks (by a cemetery) for the Jiufen Old Street.

Pretty comprehensive video showing the various angles that we were able to experience the falls with a little noise pollution from a biker gang that also happened to be here at the time

Trip Planning Resources


Tagged with: xinbei, new taipei, taipei, county, keelung, jiufen, ruifen, northern taiwan, taiwan, waterfall, gold, golden, roadside, coal



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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