Wulai Waterfall (烏來瀑布 [Wūlái Pùbù])

Wulai District / Taipei, Xinbei (New Taipei City), Taiwan

About Wulai Waterfall (烏來瀑布 [Wūlái Pùbù])


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

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

Waterfall Latitude: 24.84742
Waterfall Longitude: 121.55205

The Wulai Waterfall (烏來瀑布 [Wūlái Pùbù]) was possibly the best known waterfall in Taiwan besides the Shifen Waterfall.

I suspect the reason for this was its relative close proximity to Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei.

Wulai_Waterfall_143_11022016 - The Wulai Waterfall and the Wulai Town
The Wulai Waterfall and the Wulai Town

There was pretty good reason for this popularity as you can see from the photo above as the waterfall featured an 80m drop right across from the Atayal aboriginal-themed town of Wulai.

While the main drop was the easiest to see, there were actually more hidden cascades and waterfalls further upstream from the valley comprising the overall Wulai Waterfalls.

Those were only visible by cable car.

So technically speaking, the overall Wulai Waterfall could very well be a much taller drop if you count these other cascades and waterfalls.

Experiencing the Wulai Waterfall the Easy Way

Wulai_Waterfall_057_11022016 - context of the Wulai Waterfall and one of the roads snaking through the town of Wulai
context of the Wulai Waterfall and one of the roads snaking through the town of Wulai

Once we made it to the town of Wulai and found parking (see directions below), it was pretty straightforward to see the Wulai Waterfall.

It sat pretty much right across the Nanshi Creek (南勢溪 [Nánshì Xī]), which was the main watercourse cutting right through the Wulai Valley.

This creek eventually joined up with other tributaries as the Xindian Creek (新店溪 [Xīndiàn Xī]) cutting through Taipei.

There appeared to be multiple levels of the Wulai town, but of these, we experienced two of them.

Wulai_Waterfall_028_11022016 - Looking across the full height of the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall from the Wulai Town
Looking across the full height of the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall from the Wulai Town

The lowest level was where there were lookout areas peering right at the waterfall.

Down here were also a lot of cafes and shops as well as a toilet facility.

Further up towards the uppermost level was where we caught the cable car leading up to the tops of the neighboring cliffs.

We didn’t experience the remaining levels so we can’t really say more about them.

Experiencing the Wulai Waterfall via Cable Car

Wulai_Waterfall_093_11022016 - This was one of the hidden upper waterfalls seen at the top of the cable car station above Wulai
This was one of the hidden upper waterfalls seen at the top of the cable car station above Wulai

In addition to the easy way of seeing the Wulai Waterfall, we also paid to experience it via cable car.

During the cable car ride up, we were able to look down at some hidden cascades and waterfalls further upstream of the waterfall’s main drop.

Once we made it to the top, there appeared to be a restaurant and accommodation up here.

We also got birdseye views back down towards the Wulai Township as well as the scenery further down the valley.

Wulai_Waterfall_096_11022016 - Context of the accommodation and cable car station above the town of Wulai
Context of the accommodation and cable car station above the town of Wulai

As we explored this cliff-hanging area, we also saw that there were yet more cascades tumbling towards the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall.

Moreover, we even gained a new appreciation for the power of Mother Nature when it came to the landslides that would occasionally cut off Wulai from Taipei.

Indeed, we were able to see the extent of the scarring done to the mountain’s slope given this commanding view.

Given Taiwan’s history with typhoons, I’d imagine that it would be a constant battle to keep the roads available should the next landslide hit any part of them.

Wulai_Waterfall_099_11022016 - Birdseye view towards Wulai Town and the valley surroundings. Note the big scar in the landscape above the town
Birdseye view towards Wulai Town and the valley surroundings. Note the big scar in the landscape above the town

Even though experiencing Wulai Waterfall didn’t require a hike nor did it require the cable car, we wound up spending nearly 90 minutes here.

This did include some relaxing walks around town as well as the cable car return trip itself (which strangely required us to do more waiting than moving on the rainy day that we visited).

Authorities

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

Wulai_Waterfall_008_11022016 - After we parked the car in Wulai, we walked down the steps to the lowest level to experience the views of the Wulai Falls from down there
Wulai_Waterfall_009_11022016 - Mom continuing to walk down the steps flanked by tall buildings and steep slopes in Wulai
Wulai_Waterfall_019_11022016 - Our first full look at the impressive main drop of Wulai Waterfall from the lower level of the Wulai Town
Wulai_Waterfall_034_11022016 - Another look at the full height of the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall showing more of the landscape to the right of it
Wulai_Waterfall_048_11022016 - In front of the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall was a walking plaza with this Atayal statue
Wulai_Waterfall_049_11022016 - Angled look back towards the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall while exploring the lookout plaza at the lowest level of the Wulai Town
Wulai_Waterfall_053_11022016 - Looking towards the rest of the lookout plaza at the lowest level of the Wulai Town where we got some of our frontal looks at the Wulai Waterfall
Wulai_Waterfall_064_11022016 - Another look from a slightly different angle of the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall from further towards the edge of the center of the Wulai Township
Wulai_Waterfall_068_11022016 - Contextual look at the Wulai Waterfall backing some restaurant or cafe at the lowest level of the Wulai Town
Wulai_Waterfall_149_11022016 - Looking down at a car park below the cable car station backed by the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall
Wulai_Waterfall_077_11022016 - The cable car that was about to take us up above the Wulai Waterfall above the Wulai Town
Wulai_Waterfall_145_11022016 - Looking down at the main street from the elevated level where the cable car station was in Wulai Town
Wulai_Waterfall_083_11022016 - Looking back down at the Wulai Town from the upper cable car station
Wulai_Waterfall_087_11022016 - Looking back at the cable car from the upper end well above Wulai Town
Wulai_Waterfall_089_11022016 - Context of Mom checking out one of the hidden tiers of the Wulai Waterfall further upstream of the upper cable car station as we were exploring around
Wulai_Waterfall_119_11022016 - Focused look at the Wulai Valley from the upper cable car station
Wulai_Waterfall_125_11022016 - Waiting for the cable car operator to bring us back down to the Wulai Town
Wulai_Waterfall_128_11022016 - Looking down at one of the hidden tiers of the Wulai Waterfall seen only from the cable car as we were making our descent back into town
Wulai_Waterfall_131_11022016 - Looking down at another one of the hidden tiers of the Wulai Waterfall seen only from the cable car during our return back to town
Wulai_Waterfall_136_11022016 - Looking down at the full main drop of the Wulai Waterfall from the cable car as we were almost back in Wulai Town
Wulai_Waterfall_150_11022016 - The upper floor where we boarded the cable car in Wulai Town

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We’ll describe how we drove from Taipei to the Wulai Waterfall as well as some other options worth considering.

Driving from Taipei to Wulai Waterfall

From the Taipei City area, we headed west on the National Expressway 3 from say its interchange with the 3甲 Expressway (the character is pronounced “jiǎ”).

We proceeded to its exit near Bitan (碧潭 [Bìtán]) some 5km later (there were signs for Wulai or 烏來 [Wūlái] at this point).

After taking this exit, we then headed south on the Zhongxing Road Section 1 (中興路一段 [Zhōngxīng Lù yī duàn]) some 2km or so before keeping left to go south along the Tai-9 route.

We then followed the Tai-9 route for about 1.3km before turning right onto the Tai 9甲.

Next, we’d continue on the 9甲 for about 13km before turning right and crossing the bridge onto the Huanshan Road (北107; 環山路 [Huánshān Lù]).

Wulai_Waterfall_075_11022016 - Looking down at the context of where we parked the car near the cable car station right across from the Wulai Waterfall
Looking down at the context of where we parked the car near the cable car station right across from the Wulai Waterfall

After following this road for the next 3km, we finally made it to Wulai, where we managed to find some parking near the cable car station.

Overall, this drive of about 27km from the 3甲 Expressway to the Wulai Town took us about 45 minutes.

Driving from Southern Taipei to Wulai Waterfall

If we were coming from the other direction along the National Expressway 3 along the southern outskirts of Taipei, then we’d exit at the Huanhe Road (環河路 [Huánhé Lù]) exit.

Then, we’d turn right onto Huanhe Road itself and driving for another 1.5km before turning left onto the 北100 Road then shortly thereafter turning right to go south on the Tai-9.

Wulai_Waterfall_079_11022016 - Context of the road in Wulai next to the parking spaces that we used to explore both the town and the Wulai Waterfall
Context of the road in Wulai next to the parking spaces that we used to explore both the town and the Wulai Waterfall

From there, we’d follow the directions as above to get all the way to Wulai.

The Possibility of Mass Trasit from Taipei to Wulai

Finally, while we didn’t exercise this option (though we might do this next time if self-driving in the city wouldn’t be an option), it was possible to visit the Wulai Waterfall from Taipei by public transportation.

This would especially be appealing since driving in Taipei may not be desired due to traffic congestion and parking.

It would involve catching the MRT (Taiwan’s metro/subway system) to Xindian Station (新店站 [Xīndiàn zhàn]) then catching a bus the rest of the way to Wulai.

Closest look at the Wulai Waterfall from the public restroom area and viewing deck


Sweep covering the other side of Wulai Waterfall before approaching an Atayal statue and having one last closeup sweep of the falls


Tracking the Wulai Waterfall while riding the cable car


Video examining the upper unseen tiers of falls (at least if you didn't take the cable car up) as well as the view of the valley, which also revealed a giant landslide area that might have closed access here after one of the typhoons that caused damage to the area in the past

Trip Planning Resources


Tagged with: xinbei, new taipei, taipei, county, wulai, waterfall, northern taiwan, valley, atayal, aboriginal



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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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