Tiefen Waterfall (鐵汾瀑布 [Tiěfén Pùbù])

Yuli Township, Hualien County, Taiwan

About Tiefen Waterfall (鐵汾瀑布 [Tiěfén Pùbù])


Hiking Distance: 600m round trip with short scramble
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2016-10-28
Date last visited: 2016-10-28

Waterfall Latitude: 23.35098
Waterfall Longitude: 121.3521

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The Tiefen Waterfall (鐵汾瀑布 [Tiěfén Pùbù]) was a seemingly secluded waterfall that we found to be one of the pleasant surprises along our tour of the less-dense Eastern Taiwan region.

It appeared to have a pleasant 20-25m drop as its stream plunged into a wide pool that was surrounded by cliffs on at least three sides.

Tiefen_Waterfall_023_10272016 - Tiefen Waterfall
Tiefen Waterfall

While I did have concerns about the rockfall and landslide danger since we were quite literally flanked by nearly vertical walls, it wasn’t lost on me that this would be quite the nice swimming hole.

After all, on hot and muggy days (like the day we showed up), the water felt real refreshing.

Meanwhile, the stream was pretty shallow (at least when we were there), which meant the deepest parts were only at the plunge pool at the base of the waterfall itself.

My Mom and I weren’t dressed for it, but under different circumstances, I’m sure I would have taken a dip to cool off while worrying about the mozzies later.

Tiefen_Waterfall_035_10272016 - The seclusion of the Tiefen Waterfall as it was practically surrounded on three sides by nearly vertical gorge walls
The seclusion of the Tiefen Waterfall as it was practically surrounded on three sides by nearly vertical gorge walls

That said, the little cove that the falls fell into had noticeably cooler air than the surrounding area as if it had its own micro-climate.

Scrambling to the Tiefen Waterfall

Our visit to the Tiefen Waterfall started from a somewhat informal shoulder near a picnic area and clearing (see directions below).

We then had a choice of walking towards the stream (which was strangely flanked by concrete) or continue walking along the road leading towards a dead-end.

It turned out that there was a landslide blocking further vehicular progress on that road.

Tiefen_Waterfall_010_10272016 - The landslide that prevented further vehicular access to the Tiefen Waterfall so we had to backtrack to where there was parking space and then walk the rest of the way
The landslide that prevented further vehicular access to the Tiefen Waterfall so we had to backtrack to where there was parking space and then walk the rest of the way

That was the main reason why we had to back up and park at that clearing in the first place.

The path continued around the landslide, and then it eventually joined up with the concrete creek bed alongside the Xiuguluan River.

Afterwards, we continued going upstream until we reached some kind of dam or retaining wall.

There was no signage or anything letting us know where to go next, but we could definitely hear that around the bend up ahead was a waterfall.

Tiefen_Waterfall_011_10272016 - Mom on the concrete-flanked Xiuguluan River as we went past a rock slide en route to the Tiefen Waterfall
Mom on the concrete-flanked Xiuguluan River as we went past a rock slide en route to the Tiefen Waterfall

So we had no choice but to climb the wall (which was probably 3-4ft or 1m tall) to proceed.

After scaling the wall, we then just stream scrambled another few meters or so on the rocky stream before getting our direct glimpse of the Tiefen Waterfall.

The falls had a pretty healthy flow when we were there, but apparently this stream can slow down quite a bit in the drier months like around Winter and Spring (when the weather would be coming more from the north instead of the east).

When we had our fill of this spot, Mom and I returned to the car for a round trip distance of about 600m.

Tiefen_Waterfall_058_10272016 - Mom climbing some kind of dam wall in order to get past this obstacle and continue to the Tiefen Waterfall
Mom climbing some kind of dam wall in order to get past this obstacle and continue to the Tiefen Waterfall

It took us around 40 minutes away from the car to soak in the experience (pun intended).

Given the waterfall’s relatively close proximity to the town of Yuli (玉里 [Yǜlǐ]; which I think means “inside Jade”), it was surprising that it was only Mom and I at this waterfall.

Perhaps it was because we showed up right before the weekend that there was no one else here?

Either that or this was just a seemingly locals kind of waterfall.

Tiefen_Waterfall_028_10272016 - Mom scrambling over the slippery boulders en route to the Tiefen Waterfall after having made it past the dam obstacle
Mom scrambling over the slippery boulders en route to the Tiefen Waterfall after having made it past the dam obstacle

Perhaps there were just enough hints to find this place for foreigners, but it would otherwise go undetected by all but locals in the know or those intrepid enough to explore places a bit off the beaten path on their own wheels.

Authorities

The Tiefen Waterfall resides in the Yuli Township in the Hualien County, Taiwan. To my knowledge, it is not administered by an official governmental authority. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Taiwan Tourism Bureau website.

Tiefen_Waterfall_006_10272016 - Walking past some picnic shelter after leaving the clearing where we parked the car in pursuit of the Tiefen Waterfall
Tiefen_Waterfall_008_10272016 - Mom walking along the narrow single-lane road that we initially had thought we could drive to get closer to the Tiefen Waterfall
Tiefen_Waterfall_012_10272016 - Looking up towards the landslide that buried the path to the Tiefen Waterfall as seen from the concrete stream bed
Tiefen_Waterfall_014_10272016 - Context of Mom approaching some dam or retaining wall en route to the Tiefen Waterfall
Tiefen_Waterfall_016_10272016 - Mom trying to figure out if it possible to get to the lower opening at this dam obstacle in order to keep going upstream to the Tiefen Waterfall
Tiefen_Waterfall_018_10272016 - There was enough water in the stream (probably because Eastern Taiwan was battered with lots of rain and typhoons before we showed up at the end of October in 2016) to cause us to balance ourselves while crossing it in pursuit of the Tiefen Waterfall
Tiefen_Waterfall_022_10272016 - Looking ahead at the Tiefen Waterfall after having scaled the dam or retaining wall obstacle
Tiefen_Waterfall_034_10272016 - When it came to the Tiefen Waterfall, seclusion was the operative word
Tiefen_Waterfall_051_10272016 - Last look at the Tiefen Waterfall before we turned around and headed back
Tiefen_Waterfall_055_10272016 - Mom scrambling back towards the dam obstacle after having had our fill of the Tiefen Waterfall
Tiefen_Waterfall_062_10272016 - Mom walking along the stream bed on the way back to the car after having had her fill of the Tiefen Waterfall
Tiefen_Waterfall_069_10272016 - Mom making her way back out of the stream bed and towards the clearing where we parked the car to end our Tiefen Waterfall excursion

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We drove to the Tiefen Waterfall from the Fenghuang Waterfall, which was around 35km south of Hualien City (花蓮市 [Huālián Shì]).

So we’ll pick up the directions from the Fenghuang Falls.

For directions on getting there from Hualien, see that page’s directions.

So once we found our way back onto the Tai-9 Highway (台力), we then continued driving south for about 51km towards the town of Yuli (玉里 [Yǜlǐ]).

We remained on the 9 as the road skirted the eastern part of town, then turned left to cross a long bridge over the Xiuguluan River (秀姑巒溪 [Xiùgūluán Xī]) before we took a signposted left turn to leave the Tai-9 and go onto the Route 193.

We then followed the 193 north for about 3km before a sign for the Tiefen Waterfall (鐵汾瀑布) had us turn right onto a narrow road before turning left onto another narrow and winding road.

Tiefen_Waterfall_004_10272016 - The pullout or clearing where we stopped the car and pursued the Tiefen Waterfall by foot
The pullout or clearing where we stopped the car and pursued the Tiefen Waterfall by foot

We followed this road for the remaining 1.2km to another fork in the road, where the signs indicated that the falls was to our right.

That was when there was a road shoulder (more like a clearing) where we could park the car.

The road actually kept going further, but we had to back out when we were stopped by a landslide.

Overall, this drive took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

For geographical context, the Yuli Township was about 92km south of Hualien City (roughly 2 hours drive) and 95km north of Taitung (台東 [Táidōng]; over 2 hours drive).

180 degree sweep of the secluded cove containing the waterfall with a couple of top down sweeps of the full height of the falls thrown in there

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations




Tagged with: yuli, hualien, rift valley, eastern taiwan, taiwan, waterfall, scramble, swimming, landslide



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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.
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