Songlong Rock Waterfall (松龍岩瀑布 [Sōnglóngyán Pùbù])

Shanlinhsi ("Sun Link Sea") Nature Park and Resort; Xitou, Nantou County, Taiwan

About Songlong Rock Waterfall (松龍岩瀑布 [Sōnglóngyán Pùbù])


Hiking Distance: 10km round trip (without shuttle bus)
Suggested Time: 3.5-4 hours (without shuttle bus)

Date first visited: 2016-10-31
Date last visited: 2016-10-31

Waterfall Latitude: 23.6192
Waterfall Longitude: 120.80233

Waterfaller Newsletter

Get over the hump of the mid-week blues! Subscribe and get exclusive curated content delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

The Songlong Rock Waterfall (松龍岩瀑布 [Sōnglóngyán Pùbù]; meaning “Pine Dragon Rock Waterfall”) was a waterfalling experience that had a lot going for it, especially since it was part of the Shanlinhsi (杉林溪 [Shānlínxī]) Nature Park.

For starters, visiting this waterfall also meant that we got to hike in a more comfortable temperate alpine forest.

Shanlinhsi_145_10312016 - The Songlong Rock Waterfall in the Shanlinhsi Nature Park
The Songlong Rock Waterfall in the Shanlinhsi Nature Park

At an elevation of 1600m, we were hiking above the inversion layer.

This contrasted with the steamy jungle climate that we had to endure for almost all the other waterfall hikes we’ve done in Taiwan.

The hike also allowed us the opportunity to see monkeys in a more natural habitat as well as walking through a greenhouse in a traditional folk village (something I don’t think we had ever done before on any waterfall hike).

We even got to see an ancient red cypress as well as a “Heaven’s Eye Rock”.

Shanlinhsi_236_10312016 - The Songlong Rock Waterfall reflected in a clear and calm pool
The Songlong Rock Waterfall reflected in a clear and calm pool

All this was in addition to the impressive 30m (or so) Songlong Rock Waterfall itself, which was reflected in a calm pond.

Adjacent to the falls was also a deep Hamilton Pool-like alcove further adding to the scenic allure of this place.

Indeed, the diversity of the experiences on this trail (let alone the Shanlinhsi Nature Park as a whole) was the big takeaway here.

Hiking to the Songlong Rock Waterfall – longer than it needed to be

As for the hike to the Songlong Rock Waterfall itself, it turned out that we probably made things a bit longer and more difficult than they needed to be.

Shanlinhsi_239_10312016 - The Songlong Tribe facility, which was the last shuttle stop in the Shanlinhsi Nature Park
The Songlong Tribe facility, which was the last shuttle stop in the Shanlinhsi Nature Park

You see, when we did this hike, we didn’t know that there was a shuttle bus service until it was too late.

So to make a long story short, we wound up hiking about 10km round trip.

The difficulty rating that we’ve given this waterfall reflected us having to exert ourselves in this manner.

That said, we’ve done longer hikes that were more rugged than this so I guess it could be argued that the difficulty rating could be bumped down a bit.

Shanlinhsi_244_10312016 - Because we missed the last (5pm) shuttle at the Songlong Tribe facility, Mom and I had to walk all the way back to the Sun Link Sea Hotel
Because we missed the last (5pm) shuttle at the Songlong Tribe facility, Mom and I had to walk all the way back to the Sun Link Sea Hotel

In any case, with hindsight being 20/20, you definitely have options in terms of seeing as much or as little as you want here.

Similarly, you have just as much flexibility in terms of how much exercise you want.

If I had to do this all over again, I would’ve still hiked from the trailhead all the way to the Songlong Rock Waterfall (and even further to the Eye Rock).

However, I would then take the shuttle bus all the way back to the trailhead to cut the overall hiking distance more or less in half.

The Songlong Rock Waterfall Trail Description – from the Sun-Link-Sea Hotel to the Flower Center

Shanlinhsi_027_10302016 - The Chulin Trail pretty much followed along the eastern banks of the Jiazouliao Stream en route to the Flower Center in the Shanlinhsi Nature Park
The Chulin Trail pretty much followed along the eastern banks of the Jiazouliao Stream en route to the Flower Center in the Shanlinhsi Nature Park

Our hike began from the Chunlin Trailhead near the Sun-Link-Sea Hotel (see directions below).

The well-developed forest trail pretty much followed the eastern banks of the Jiazouliao Stream (加走寮溪 [Jiāzǒuliáo Xī]).

The path itself was relatively flat as it meandered amongst tall trees while passing by some viewing decks as well as some rest shelters with some colorful trash bins along the way.

Shanlinhsi_040_10302016 - Mom on the Chunlin Trail en route to the Flower Center and ultimately to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Mom on the Chunlin Trail en route to the Flower Center and ultimately to the Songlong Rock Waterfall

This part of the hike yielded some views of the stream, and it was peaceful enough to really appreciate the scenery.

After about 1.8km along the Chunlin Trail (穿林棧道 [Chuānlín Zhàndào]), we reached what appeared to be a village.

On the other side of a red-railed bridge, we found ourselves walking through a greenhouse.

It turned out that this “village” was the Flower Center, where lots of things were being grown.

Shanlinhsi_060_10302016 - Mom walking through a greenhouse within the Flower Center en route to the Songlong Rock Waterfall in the Shanlinhsi Nature Park
Mom walking through a greenhouse within the Flower Center en route to the Songlong Rock Waterfall in the Shanlinhsi Nature Park

Beyond this Flower Center, the hike to the Songlong Rock Waterfall resumed as the Yuehsan Trail (樂山步道 [Yuèshān Bùdào]; “Music Mountain Trail”).

The Songlong Rock Waterfall Trail Description – the Songlong Tribe Village and the waterfall itself

When we started to hike the Yuehsan Trail, we saw some monkeys foraging high up on a nearby hillside.

I guess this illustrated the kind of wildlife that could be found here as there didn’t seem to be a crush of people during our visit.

Anyways, we’d continue for the next 1.2km passing by a junction with the Tiyen Trail (which was closed during our visit).

Shanlinhsi_075_10302016 - The Yueshan Trail, which was between the Flower Center and the Songlong Tribe faciilty
The Yueshan Trail, which was between the Flower Center and the Songlong Tribe faciilty

We’d eventually reach a suspension bridge spanning the Jiazouliao Stream.

On the other side of the bridge was the Songlong Tribe village, which was where the last shuttle bus stop was while also featuring some facilities and some statues.

We continued upstream from the Songlong Tribe facility, where the trail looped around a large and calm pond.

That loop would eventually return to the suspension bridge we had just crossed.

Shanlinhsi_117_10312016 - Mom getting her first glimpse of the Songlong Rock Waterfall as we walked the loop trail ultimately going into a deep alcove adjacent to the waterfall itself
Mom getting her first glimpse of the Songlong Rock Waterfall as we walked the loop trail ultimately going into a deep alcove adjacent to the waterfall itself

While doing this loop, we were able to finally see the Songlong Rock Waterfall reflected in the calm waters of the pond.

The trail continued going into a very deep alcove that was recessed enough to block out a fair bit of daylight and create a nearly cave-opening-type experience.

We continued to follow the looping path, which allowed us to get almost up to Songlong Rock Waterfall itself.

The path also swerved around its base so we could experience the falls from all sorts of different angles.

Shanlinhsi_150_10312016 - Looking back across the calm plunge pool from within the acoustically tricky alcove adjacent to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Looking back across the calm plunge pool from within the acoustically tricky alcove adjacent to the Songlong Rock Waterfall

From within the alcove, I could have sworn that the acoustics were playing mind tricks on me.

For example, while I was facing the Songlong Rock Waterfall, it sounded as if there was water rushing from somewhere behind me, but there was none to be found!

The Songlong Rock Waterfall Trail Description – the Heaven’s Eye Trail

Anyways, after finishing the loop around the Songlong Rock Waterfall, we then did some additional hiking up the 900m Tianyen Trail (天眼步道 [Tiānyǎn Bùdào]; “Heaven’s Eye Trail”).

This trail branched off from the Yueshan Trail near the red suspension bridge.

Shanlinhsi_187_10312016 - Looking back at the front of the Songlong Rock Waterfall in context with its alcove in the dark shadows to the right of it from the Tianyen Trail
Looking back at the front of the Songlong Rock Waterfall in context with its alcove in the dark shadows to the right of it from the Tianyen Trail

The Tianyen Trail climbed steeply up some switchbacks while yielding one last elevated view of the Songlong Rock Waterfall.

Then, the trail kept going up through a tunnel (with a tunnel bypass option) before continuing its climb further upstream of the Songlong Rock Waterfall.

Eventually, we’d reach the Ancient Red Cypress, which was basically a large tree stump being held up by wires as the rest of the tree had already been felled.

After intersecting with the Tiyen Trail at the Ancient Red Cypress, we had to go up one more final climb, which involved a few more switchbacks.

Shanlinhsi_198_10312016 - Mom climbing up around the Ancient Red Cypress on the way up to the Heaven's Eye
Mom climbing up around the Ancient Red Cypress on the way up to the Heaven’s Eye

Once we finally made it to the top of this climb, that was when we were finally face-to-face with the Tian-ti Yen (天地眼 [Tiāndìyǎn]; Heaven’s Eye or something like that).

This particular formation was really nothing more than a pair of small recesses in the rock that I guess could resemble an eye.

In hindsight, we probably didn’t need to do this extra hike beyond the Songlong Rock Waterfall.

That said, at least we could say we did almost the full experience here.

Shanlinhsi_214_10312016 - Finally arriving at the Heaven's Eye (or Tianyen)
Finally arriving at the Heaven’s Eye (or Tianyen)

Anyways, with this being the end of the trail, we backtracked down to the Songlong Rock Waterfall and the Songlong Tribe facility.

The Songlong Rock Waterfall Trail Description – missing the last shuttle bus

When we returned to the Songong Tribe facility, it turned out that we wound up missing the 5pm bus, which was the very last one for the day.

Thus, we had to walk all the way back to the Sun Link Sea Hotel area.

As Mom and I were making the long walk back along the road, we did notice that there were additional trails near the Flower Center area and further down the road closer to the Sun Link Sea Hotel complex.

Shanlinhsi_255_10312016 - We noticed this windmill across some garden near the Flower Center around the half-way point of our return hike to the Sun Link Sea Hotel from the Songlong Tribal facility
We noticed this windmill across some garden near the Flower Center around the half-way point of our return hike to the Sun Link Sea Hotel from the Songlong Tribal facility

In fact, one of the trails down there happened to be the 220m Yenan Trail (燕庵步道 [Yān ān Bùdào]), which featured a modestly-sized waterfall that we didn’t get a chance to visit due to darkness.

When all was said and done, we wound up spending on the order of a little over 3 hours to take in the whole experience (almost).

The 10km distance that my GPS log indicated also encompassed some extracurricular walking between the Theme Hall and the Sun Link Sea Hotel spanning roughly another kilometer.

Authorities

The Songlong Rock Waterfall resides in the Shanlinhsi (or Shanlinxi) Nature Park near the Zhusan Township in Nantou County, Taiwan. It may be administered by the Taiwan National Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.

Shanlinhsi_009_10302016 - Bridge leading further into the Shanlinhsi Nature Park closer to where we started our hike to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_015_10302016 - The trailhead for the Chunlin Trail, which was where we started our walk to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_018_10302016 - Context of the start of the Chunlin Trail as Mom was reaching into her pack to put on something warmer before hiking to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_022_10302016 - Mom hiking amongst some tall trees while on the Chunlin Trail en route to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_034_10302016 - View of the Jiazouliao Stream while hiking along the Chunlin Trail
Shanlinhsi_043_10302016 - Mom continuing along the Chunlin Trail past some signage along the way
Shanlinhsi_045_10302016 - We saw quite a few of these colorful rubbish and recycling bins throughout the hike to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_051_10302016 - Mom on the bridge leading to the Flower Center at the end of the Chunlin Trail
Shanlinhsi_055_10302016 - Looking downstream from the bridge towards other buildings at the Flower Center, which was roughly the half-way point to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_063_10302016 - Near the Flower Center, we noticed these monkeys foraging high in the mountains nearby as we were about to resume the hike on the Yueshan Trail
Shanlinhsi_068_10302016 - Mom resuming the hiking on the Yueshan Trail en route to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_070_10302016 - View of the Jiazouliao Stream from the Yueshan Trail en route to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_071_10302016 - Mom on the Yueshan Trail, which undulated up and down steps like these
Shanlinhsi_072_10302016 - Looking up at an alternate trail that we didn't take while on the Yueshan Trail en route to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_080_10312016 - Context of the Yueshan Trail and the Jiazouliao Stream as we were getting closer to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_090_10312016 - Mom still hiking along the Yueshan Trail towards the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_091_10312016 - The scenery along the Yueshan Trail was starting to open up as we got closer to its end by the Songlong Tribal facility
Shanlinhsi_095_10312016 - Looking across the stream towards the Songlong Tribe area
Shanlinhsi_097_10312016 - Looking ahead at a suspension bridge perched above some man-modified intermediate cascades near the Songlong Tribal area
Shanlinhsi_100_10312016 - Full contextual view looking ahead at a suspension bridge and some man-modified intermediate cascade near the Songlong Tribal area
Shanlinhsi_106_10312016 - Mom on the suspension bridge crossing over the Jiazouliao Stream as we were about to get to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_109_10312016 - Looking towards the walkway leading up to the deep alcove by the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_119_10312016 - Nice reflections in the calm plunge pool of the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_125_10312016 - The attractive Songlong Rock Waterfall reflected in the pond in long exposure
Shanlinhsi_130_10312016 - Broad view of the Songlong Rock Waterfall reflected in its plunge pool
Shanlinhsi_230_10312016 - Looking back at the walkway and the suspension bridge over the Jiazouliang Stream downstream of the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_139_10312016 - The trail hugging the walls in the darker depths of the alcove adjacent to the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_143_10312016 - Looking towards the Songlong Rock Waterfall from within the deep alcove
Shanlinhsi_153_10312016 - The trail actually led pretty close to the plunge of the Songlong Rock Waterfall. I wondered if at one point, they used to let you go behind the waterfall before it got too dangerous
Shanlinhsi_159_10312016 - Looking out from the Songlong Rock Waterfall towards the pond downstream
Shanlinhsi_167_10312016 - Clean look from right in front of the Songlong Rock Waterfall from as close to the front of the falls as the trail would let us
Shanlinhsi_172_10312016 - Context of the path leading across the base of the Songlong Rock Falls
Shanlinhsi_178_10312016 - Some people walking before the Songlong Rock Waterfall for a little bit of a sense of scale (though there was still more of the falls below the bridge)
Shanlinhsi_182_10312016 - Mom now on the Tianyen Trail as it ascended above the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_222_10312016 - Looking down towards the Songlong Rock Waterfall from the Tianyen Trail
Shanlinhsi_190_10312016 - Beyond the Songlong Rock Waterfall, we walked the Tianyen Trail, which led up to this tunnel
Shanlinhsi_192_10312016 - Walking through this tunnel on the Tianyen Trail well above the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_193_10312016 - Looking back at the exit of the tunnel along the Tianyen Trail
Shanlinhsi_200_10312016 - Mom encountering some hikers around the Ancient Red Cypress on our way up to the Heaven's Eye
Shanlinhsi_201_10312016 - Another look back at the base of the Ancient Red Cypress on our way up to the Heaven's Eye
Shanlinhsi_203_10312016 - Still more climbing beyond the Ancient Red Cypress en route to the Heaven's Eye
Shanlinhsi_223_10312016 - Making it back to the suspension bridge after having completed the optional hike up to the Heaven's Eye Rock
Shanlinhsi_227_10312016 - Another look back at the suspension bridge from near the deep alcove by the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_236_10312016 - Last look at the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_238_10312016 - Bear statues by the Songlong Tribal Center in Shanlinhsi Nature Park
Shanlinhsi_240_10312016 - Looking towards some kind of totem pole by the Songlong Tribal area in Shanlinhsi Nature Park
Shanlinhsi_246_10312016 - Mom on the long walk back towards the Flower Center and eventually to the Sun Link Sea Hotel after having our fill of the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_248_10312016 - Mom walking through the Flower Center area on the return hike from the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_249_10312016 - Looking towards some kind of colorful momument near the Flower Center on our way back from the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_251_10312016 - Looking upstream towards a side canyon where I'd imagine there was another waterfall, but it was getting dark so we couldn't pursue it on our way back from the Songlong Rock Waterfall
Shanlinhsi_252_10312016 - Looking at some kind of windmill near the Flower Center as seen during our long hike back from the Songlong Rock Waterfall to the Sun Link Sea Hotel
Shanlinhsi_256_10312016 - It was dark by the time we finally made it back near the Sun Link Sea Hotel area

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


The nearest main cities to the Shanlinhsi (or Shanlinxi) Nature Park is most likely Chiayi (嘉義 [Jiāyì]) to the south and Taichung (台中 [Táizhōng]) to the north.

Even though we started or ended our route from neither of these cities, we’ll describe the driving directions from there anyways.

Driving from Chiayi to Shanlinhsi Nature Park

From the Chiayi vicinity, we’d drive north on the National Expressway 3 for about 48km to the Tai-3 Highway exit.

Shanlinhsi_002_10302016 - Arriving at the car park for the Sun Link Sea Resort and Forest Reserve
Arriving at the car park for the Sun Link Sea Resort and Forest Reserve

We’d then turn right to go south on the Tai-3 Route for a little over 2km before turning left onto the Hwy 151甲 (the character is pronounced “jiǎ”) before turning left after another kilometer to continue going east on the Hwy 151.

We would continue on the Hwy 151 for the next 17km before turning right onto the Shanlinhsi Highway (投95; the character is pronounced “tóu”).

This turnoff was near the very busy Xitou (溪頭 [Xītóu]).

We then drove the remaining 18km or so on the mostly uphill winding road passing by numerous signs from the Chinese zodiac telling us how far we had gone so far.

Shanlinhsi_003_10302016 - The parking lot at the Theme Hall between the entrance gate and the Sun Link Sea Hotel
The parking lot at the Theme Hall between the entrance gate and the Sun Link Sea Hotel

Near the end of the highway, we entered the Shanlinhsi Nature Park, where the first main car park past the entrance gate was for the Theme Hall, where there was a visitor center.

Another kilometer further up the road was the Sun Link Sea Hotel.

The Chunlin Trailhead was about 100m or so before the parking for the Sun Link Sea Hotel.

Private vehicles were not allowed on the road beyond the hotel as that was reserved only for the shuttle bus.

Shanlinhsi_004_10302016 - Looking towards the visitor center and hotel for the Sun Link Sea Resort and Forest Reserve
Looking towards the visitor center and hotel for the Sun Link Sea Resort and Forest Reserve

Overall, this drive would take around 2 hours.

Driving from Taichung to Shanlinhsi Nature Park

Coming from Taichung, we’d head south on the National Expressway 3.

Then, we’d get off at the same exit for the Tai-3 Route as above.

Once on Tai-3, we’d follow the directions as above to reach the Shanlinhsi Nature Park.

As for some geographical context, Chiayi City was about 70km northeast of Tainan (or over an hour drive), 114km north of Kaohsiung (a little over 90 minutes drive), 99km south of Taichung (about 90 minutes drive), and 262km southwest of Taipei (under 3 hours drive).

Checking out the front of the Songlong Rock Waterfall from a variety of positions near its base


Longer video showing the front of Songlong Rock Waterfall reflected in a calm pool before exploring the cave-like alcove while seeing the falls from other angles

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations



join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


Tagged with: songlong rock, pine dragon, shanlinhsi, shanlinxi, sun link sea, nature park, resort, nantou, taiwan, waterfall



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls
Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.