Xinliao Waterfall (新寮瀑布 [Xīnliáo Pùbù])

Dongshan Township / Su'ao / Luodong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan

About Xinliao Waterfall (新寮瀑布 [Xīnliáo Pùbù])


Hiking Distance: 2km round trip
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2016-11-02
Date last visited: 2016-11-02

Waterfall Latitude: 24.6018
Waterfall Longitude: 121.74511

The Xinliao Waterfall (新寮瀑布 [Xīnliáo Pùbù]; some signage also spelled this “Sinliao Waterfall” or “New Liao Waterfall”) was our excuse to visit the southern end of Yilan County.

Even though the signage suggested that this waterfall was 30m tall, I’m guessing it was more like a modestly-sized 15-20m waterfall.

Xinliao_Waterfall_064_11012016 - Xinliao Waterfall
Xinliao Waterfall

That said, our experience was more memorable due to the trail scenery and the weather as opposed to the modestly-sized waterfall itself.

Actually, we had intended to visit the nearby Jiuliao Waterfall (舊尞瀑布 [Jiùliáo Pùbù]; “Old Liao Waterfall”) together with this falls.

However, the bad weather prevented us from doing that due to swollen creek crossings.

Anyways, as you can see from the picture above, the Xinliao Waterfall was quite attractive in its own right even if the sour weather made the scenery a bit more moody.

Xinliao_Waterfall_075_11022016 - Close-up look at the Xinliao Waterfall in high flow from the rain
Close-up look at the Xinliao Waterfall in high flow from the rain

The experience was also a bit more adventurous than what I’d imagine a typical visit to this waterfall would be like on a more benign day.

Restructuring the Xinliao Waterfall Trail

Getting to the Xinliao Waterfall was a pretty straightforward affair.

We essentially hiked on a 1km mostly flat trail largely composed of wood chips, gravel, and dirt (with the occasional rock surface).

This trail surfacing was actually a major departure from the Asian tendency to have concrete or asphalt trails (often enabling some women to visit waterfalls like this in high heels).

Xinliao_Waterfall_008_11012016 - Mom on the pleasantly naturesque trail to the Xinliao Waterfall
Mom on the pleasantly naturesque trail to the Xinliao Waterfall

I suspect that the damage and landscape changes from Typhoon Parma in 2009 made the authorities re-evaluate the way trails were constructured.

Therefore, this new, more minimalist naturesque approach (which was more in line with what we’re used to in America) was the more cost-effective method.

After all, with the increase in frequency and intensity of typhoons due to Global Warming, all that investment in paving and going overboard with the conveniences on the walking surface would likely be undone with the next flood.

Moreover, on a rainy day like when we were here, this also meant that the trail wasn’t as slippery as it would be had it been all concrete.

Xinliao_Waterfall_028_11012016 - The Xinliao Waterfall Trail pretty much followed along the Xinliao Stream, which had some intermediate cascades
The Xinliao Waterfall Trail pretty much followed along the Xinliao Stream, which had some intermediate cascades

It would also be more forgiving on our knees.

On top of all that, they also regulated the amount of hikers on this trail by limiting it to 350 people per day.

Fortunately for us, we didn’t have to worry about that restriction since the rain kept most people away when we checked in at the trailhead.

The Xinliao Waterfall Trail Description

As the Xinliao Waterfall Trail meandered alongside the southern banks of the raging Xinliao Stream (新寮溪 [Xīnliáo Xī]), we were flanked by tall green mountains with low clouds hugging and obscuring their tops.

Xinliao_Waterfall_015_11012016 - The Xinliao Waterfall Trail passing by this 'Landscape Planting Area' on a particularly flat and flood-prone stretch, where the trail momentarily split before rejoining later on
The Xinliao Waterfall Trail passing by this ‘Landscape Planting Area’ on a particularly flat and flood-prone stretch, where the trail momentarily split before rejoining later on

In a way, this moody scenery reminded us of the kind of scenery depicted in Chinese watercolor landscape art.

The mostly flat trail meant that even with the rain, it was pretty easy to enjoy the walk with an umbrella or rain poncho.

Throughout the hike, we saw numerous interpretive signs discussing things like the effect of Typhoon Parma, the eco-friendly focus of the trail, the area’s recovery since the trail was re-opened, and the flora and fauna that called this area home.

There was even a “Landscape Planting Area” where many flowers and plants were grown in an open area.

Xinliao_Waterfall_048_11012016 - Moody scenery as we approached the Xinliao Waterfall
Moody scenery as we approached the Xinliao Waterfall

Prior to this re-planting zone, this area would otherwise have been a featureless clearing filled with leftover debris from the flood that swept through here during Typhoon Parma.

After about 25 minutes, we started to get distant views of the Xinliao Falls, including the one featured at the top of this page.

The further along the trail we went, the more it became rockier (though still very tame).

The very end of the trail involved walking on an elevated boardwalk leading right to the misty lookout deck in front of the Xinliao Waterfall.

Xinliao_Waterfall_089_11022016 - Context of the boardwalk leading to the viewing platform in front of the Xinliao Waterfall
Context of the boardwalk leading to the viewing platform in front of the Xinliao Waterfall

While the falls was kind of underwhelming up close, there was no denying the somewhat raging personality it took on given the heavy rains during our visit.

After having our fill of this spot, we returned the way we came (with a slightly different detour at the Landscape Planting Area).

That brought the total hiking distance to 2km and the amount of time spent away from the car at a little over an hour.

Authorities

The Xinliao Waterfall resides near the city of Dongshan in Yilan County, Taiwan. It may be administered by the Yilan County Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.

Xinliao_Waterfall_003_11012016 - The official trailhead for the Xinliao Waterfall
Xinliao_Waterfall_006_11012016 - Mom walking along the mostly soft-surface Xinliao Waterfall Trail flanked by lots of green
Xinliao_Waterfall_018_11012016 - Closeup look at a wildflower blooming alongside the 'Landscape Planting Area' of the Xinliao Waterfall Trail
Xinliao_Waterfall_019_11012016 - It was unusual for us to see that there were some flowers blooming at the 'Landscape Planting Area' when it was supposed to be late Autumn. Then again, maybe these particular flowers would typically bloom at this time
Xinliao_Waterfall_021_11012016 - During the Xinliao Waterfall hike, Mom thought this was one of the more attractive signs that she had seen in Taiwan
Xinliao_Waterfall_024_11012016 - Mom continuing along the mostly flat and very lush Xinliao Waterfall Trail along the Xinliao Stream
Xinliao_Waterfall_032_11012016 - Mom continuing along the lush and mostly flat Xinliao Waterfall Trail in the persistent rain
Xinliao_Waterfall_034_11012016 - Approaching one of the few spots that wasn't flat along the Xinliao Waterfall Trail
Xinliao_Waterfall_036_11012016 - Looking across the Xinliao Stream towards some side springs or ephemeral waterfalls tumbling within the thick bush
Xinliao_Waterfall_037_11012016 - This was one of the few rocky parts of the Xinliao Falls Trail
Xinliao_Waterfall_042_11012016 - Mom continuing along the lush Xinliao Waterfall Trail under the continuing rain
Xinliao_Waterfall_050_11012016 - This was our first look at the Xinliao Waterfall from a distance. Note the lookout deck right across from it
Xinliao_Waterfall_071_11012016 - Looking downstream towards the V-shaped contours of the valley carved out by the Xinliao Stream
Xinliao_Waterfall_077_11022016 - Another look downstream from the lookout area for the Xinliao Waterfall
Xinliao_Waterfall_080_11022016 - Direct look at the Xinliao Waterfall from the viewing deck at the end of the trail
Xinliao_Waterfall_082_11022016 - Context of Mom on the wooden viewing deck for the Xinliao Waterfall checking out the falls
Xinliao_Waterfall_084_11022016 - Context of someone exercising in the rain while at the viewing area at the end of the trail for the Xinliao Waterfall
Xinliao_Waterfall_086_11022016 - Looking downstream along the Xinliao Stream as we were about to start our walk back to the trailhead
Xinliao_Waterfall_090_11022016 - Mom making her way back from the Xinliao Waterfall as we headed back to the car park
Xinliao_Waterfall_092_11022016 - Looking back at the wooden plank trail leading right up to the lookout deck for the Xinliao Waterfall
Xinliao_Waterfall_093_11022016 - Context of Mom on the Xinliao Waterfall Trail as we made our return from the lookout deck
Xinliao_Waterfall_096_11022016 - After getting our fill of the Xinliao Falls, we had to walk back the same trail but it seemed like the rain became more intense
Xinliao_Waterfall_098_11022016 - Looking back at the Xinliao Waterfall as the clouds sunk lower, the rain became more intense, and the skies seemed to get darker
Xinliao_Waterfall_101_11022016 - With the worsening rain, we now had to watch our step on these wet rocks on the Xinliao Waterfall Trail
Xinliao_Waterfall_103_11022016 - There was so much moisture in the air that my camera started to fog up on our return hike from the Xinliao Waterfall
Xinliao_Waterfall_105_11022016 - Mom on the wet Xinliao Waterfall Trail on the return hike to the car park
Xinliao_Waterfall_107_11022016 - Continuing along the gentle Xinliao Waterfall Trail accompanied by the sounds of rushing water and heavy rain

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We drove to the Xinliao Waterfall from Taipei (臺北 or 台北 in simplified Chinese [Táiběi]) so that’s how describe the driving directions here.

So from the National Expressway 3 skirting the southern edge of Taipei City, we drove east past the city towards its junction with the National Expressway 5.

If you’re on the National Expressway 1 going around Taipei’s northern end, then you’d have to go east of the city to interchange with the National Expressway 3, then go south towards its junction with the National Expressway 5.

Once on the National Expressway 5, we then followed it through a series of tunnels (including a long 12km tunnel) eventually getting us to Yilan County.

We then kept driving another 16km going past Jiaoxi then Yilan.

We’d eventually exit the expressway at an offramp onto the surface streets beneath the expressway along the Route 191甲 (the character is pronounced “jiǎ”) towards Luodong Township.

Next, we followed the 191甲 for about 3km before turning right onto Chuanyi Road Section 2 (傳藝路二段 [Chuányì Lù èr duàn]).

Xinliao_Waterfall_001_11012016 - The car park for the Xinliao Waterfall
The car park for the Xinliao Waterfall

The Taiwanese GPS then had us turn left onto Guangrong Road (光榮路 [Guāngróng Lù]) and follow it for 2km (eventually going west onto Route 9 in the process) before turning left onto Yicheng Road Section 3 (義成路三段 [Yìchéng Lù sān duàn]).

We then followed this road for about 3km (along the way becoming section 2 of this road), then turning right onto Wanshan Road (丸山路 [Wánshān Lù]).

Next, we went on this road for about 1.3km before turning left onto Xinliao Road (新寮路 [Xīnliáo Lù]).

We followed Xinliao Road for 2km (going past the visitor center and also crossing the bridge over the Xinliao Stream) before keeping right at the fork (going onto Xinliao 1 Road) to drive the remaining 2.2km to the well-signed car park.

Xinliao_Waterfall_002_11012016 - After parking the car, we had to walk along this road towards the trailhead for the Xinliao Waterfall
After parking the car, we had to walk along this road towards the trailhead for the Xinliao Waterfall

Overall, this roughly 72km drive would take us less than 90 minutes depending on traffic.

For geographical context, the nearest town to the Xinliao Falls would be Su’ao (蘇澳 [Sū’ào]; about 17km east of the falls) or Luodong (羅東 [Luódōng ]; just south of Yilan City), and further to the north would be Yilan City (宜蘭 [Yílán]; 25km north of Su’ao) as well as the Jiaoxi Hot Springs (礁溪溫泉 [Jiāoxī Wēnquán]; 11km north of Yilan City) even more northwest of there.

These would be perfectly good places to stay overnight if you’re not in a hurry and want to enjoy places that would be a little less hectic than the big city.

Long video starting with a distant and rainy look at the falls before making the approach to the misty viewing deck

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Tagged with: dongshan, suao, su'ao, yilan, county, northern taiwan, eastern taiwan, taiwan, waterfall



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Johnny Cheng

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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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