A return visit to Yuemeikang Waterfall: Paradise (not yet) Lost

The walk is described on pages 222-227.

The walk is described on pages 222-227.

It had to happen sometime, and it seems to be starting to happen now. My very favorite ‘secret’ spot in the Taipei area is gradually becoming known. Yuemeikang waterfall in Yilan is the perfect destination for a hike during a boiling hot Sunday in June, as the only way to it involves a short but fun wade up the stream through the narrow gorge below the falls, and with three (yes three!) pools below the falls that are deep enough for a swim, it never fails to enchant me.

The gang, wetted and refreshed, below Yuemeikang Waterfall

Such a remarkable place couldn’t remain a secret for long, and it seems the word is finally getting out. This must be by word of mouth, as apart from this blog the only place it seems to be advertised is on a Chinese language blog, and it doesn’t look very stunning there, as the writer stopped at the bottom of the gorge and got a long-shot of the top half of the fall. It’s certainly not on any maps I’ve ever seen.


 Well, there’s now a sign marking the all-important, once very indistinct turn off to the falls, the trail itself is much more obvious, due to a steady stream of hikers walking this way now, and on our arrival, a large group of locals had staked a claim for the day on the lowest of the three pools, below the tiny cascade that pours out the mouth of the narrow cleft below the falls.

The lowest of the three pools, below the mouth of the gorge below the waterfall

Only time will tell what happens here now. Luckily although it’s only a short walk (45 minutes), several stream crossings and that final wade upstream will hopefully prevent this place from becoming swamped with weekend day trippers – perish the thought! – but I strongly recommend seeing this place soon; I wouldn’t mind betting it’s not going to stay the enchanting pristine place it is for much longer.

4 thoughts on “A return visit to Yuemeikang Waterfall: Paradise (not yet) Lost

  1. Great photos of a beautiful place!

    Perhaps you enticing descriptions and photos will make it even more widely-known and attract even more visitors. I guess nowadays, facebook, flickr and the GPS coordinates people tag their photos with will help, too. I’d love to see it. I’ve seen some beautiful falls and hot springs all over YiLan, including some that involved quite a hike to get to, without even a well-marked trail. But I had not previously heard of this one.

    I hope it does not become over-used, over-run, and littered. I also hope it does not become over-developed– with steps and wooden walkways, etc.

    Scott Cog

    • Very good point! I often wonder whether to mention beautiful, unknown places like this, and publicize their existance, but think those that have the curiosity to find it after reading the blog (there’s no description on how to get there in any of the three entries), or even after reading a description in one of my books will be relatively few. These places will be naturally discovered by locals by word-of-mouth, and since it’s going to (and indeed is now becoming) better known, it’s seems only fair to tell interested people about it in case they want to make the effort to find it before it becomes common knowledge. It’s not solo hikers that spoil these enchanting places but insensitive or just plain clueless local authorities (Pingxi Three Peaks and Huangdidien come to mind, so does Dream Lake near Xizhi) and groups of picnickers who fail to appreciate the beauty of these untouched places.
      I don’t think it’ll become over-run with tourists, simply because it’s just hard enough to reach to keep the big groups away, and anyway there are enough popular, easy sights nearby, plus a couple of very popular waterfalls, that will always attract the bulk of tourists. It would also be difficult, not to say utterly stupid, to try to build walkways up there: the topography of the cleft-like gorge below the waterfall would mean the walkway would be washed away at the first typhoon unless it were built pretty high up, which would be expensive and completely ruin the beauty of the place at the same time. Fingers crossed.

  2. Pingback: Hike: YueMeiKeng Waterfall « Hiking and Riding in Taipei

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