This last week I’ve been looking through thousands of digital photos from trips and hikes over the last decade, in search of waterfalls for my new website (a guide to the waterfalls of Taiwan, which will be up and running soon!). In the midst of my search I came across this beautiful place that we found, more or less by accident, a few years ago, on the outskirts of Keelung city. With summer over and the cooler, hiking-friendly days of autumn well on their way, it’s time to (more-or-less) call a halt to the season’s river tracing (an activity that we’ve really got into this last summer) so to bid a fond farewell to magical days spent in magnificent scenery, knee-deep in fast-flowing, crystal clear, cold water, here’s one last place that’s perfect for boiling hot summer days, and, unlike most of the rivers we’ve traced this season, dog friendly too!
The Jiangziliao Cliff is (or at least was, when we last visited, way back in 2008) surprisingly little-known, considering it’s such a beautiful spot, and quite easy to reach – if you have your own wheels. It’s pretty simple to reach. Simply take national route three from Xizhi towards Wudu and midway between the two towns turn right on the Xiping Road, section 2 (a beautiful road which heads south over the mountains to Pingxi). In a kilometer or so, fork left along a smaller road beside the Jiangziliao Stream, and in another kilometer or two, when the road bends sharp left away from the stream near a small Earth God temple, park and follow the trail beside the stream, past a small concrete dam.
It’s a pretty walk of about 45 minutes along a dirt trail to the first feature, a small but lovely waterfall. The impressively overhanging Jiangziliao Cliff itself is just upstream, looming above the brink, but the main drawcard here is the streambed just above the waterfall, which is wide and smooth, and has been worn by the stream into lots of tiny, cascade-fed pools with smooth, rounded floors, like mini Jacuzzis and perfect for a private soak. We never found out what happens further upstream as the trail ends at the waterfall, but it would make a great river trace one day.
About the only downside to this place is you really do need your own transport to get here. These days I’m generally carless, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and next summer, as the days hot up, I fully intend to make it back to this fondly remembered spot for another look at its lovely landscape, and another cool off in those lovely pools!