The central mountain village of Dongpu is an aboriginal village home to hotsprings and a wonderful waterfall hike along the ancient Batongguan Trail
Dongpu is nestled right on the border of the Yushan (Jade Mt.) National Park. It is easily accesible by car.
Dongpu was once a popular spot for tourists to drive up and enjoy hot springs and cool mountain air. It also had (still has) a very popular hike to the Yunlong waterfall. However, several typhoons wiped out direct routes to Dongpu and the trail to the waterfall was closed for several years due to landslides.
Dongpu has bounced back a little since then. The old town is still quite old and beat up looking. There is one large hotel there, usually for tour buses, and a few small cheap alternatives. However, a few modern, hotspring, "resorts", have popped up just outside Dongpu. These new hotels are modern, more open, and offer nice hotsprings.
Dongpu is home to many in the aboriginal "Tsou" tribe. The name "Dongpu" comes from the Tsou word "Tompu" which means "Axe".
We visited Dongpu for the night with the intent of walking to the Yunlong (Cloud Dragon) Waterfall. This is different from the "Rainbow Waterfall" which is an easy 20-30 minute walk from the center of Dongpu village. This walk is busy with tour groups and day travelers. Above is pictured the parking area right before entering the town of Dongpu. There are bathrooms and plenty of parking spaces. Park there to start your hike.
From the parking lot, you can see a large suspension bridge. There are some great views from here. In order to walk to the trailhead of the Yunlong Waterfall, you need to cross the bridge. The floor is see through, so if you're afraid of heights, don't look down.
Dongpu is often foggy and rainy. If you can get there on a clear day, you'll see some great views into Yushan National Park.
Once you cross the suspension bridge, walk up the stairs to the road . Head back toward the town about 2 minutes and you will see the trailhead for the Batongguan Trail. There is a big map (below) which marks the trail.
The Batongguan Trail is an ancient trail and was a main road during the Qing Dynasty period. The trail is over 40km long and goes basically across the central mountain range to the eastern side of Taiwan. Batongguan is known for its beautifu alpine meadow and access to 3,000 meter peaks including Jade Mt. However, landslides often occur on the shale layered mountains so getting to those places is not as convenient as in the past. The Yunlong Waterfall is 3.9 km along the Batongguan Trail.
The walk to the Yunlong Waterfall is 1.5-2 hours. From the trailhead map, you will head up some stone steps that will turn into a forest access road. Keep winding your way up.
As you progress up the road, you will start to see the valley and some small aboriginal villages below.
Here is a set of signs in Chinese.
20 minutes or so up, hikers will come to a small rest stop. There is a small temple area here to make a prayer. Also, there is a famous jelly type snack call "Aiyu". Many Taiwanese will walk up to here just to have a bowl of the cold Aiyu. It's good on a hot day.
Aiyu is yellow in color and a little sweet. It is served cold.
The Aiyu fruit is actually picked up on the mountain so it's very fresh. That is why it's popular among Taiwanese visitors.
After the Aiyu stop, keep walking up the trail.You may see an English sign or two pointing you in the right direction. Eventually the dirt road narrows and turns into a proper hiking path.
Once you get on the path, you will start to see distance markers. The Yunlong waterfall is 3.9km from the trailhead. There are markers every .5 km.
The trail eventually opens up and you will start to notice you are among higher mountains. There is a famous cliff along the trail called "Fuzi Cliff". Translated, this means "father/son cliff". It's named liked this because it's so steep that if a father's son fell off, the father would be unable to save him.
There can be many falling rocks on some parts of the walk. If you here some rock movement, move as close as you can to the wall so the rocks will fly over your head.
More examples of the trail.
Above is a landslide on the trail that has been repaired. Some areas are slippery, so there are ropes to hold as you walk along.
Above is a bridge built over a small gorge.
When you arrive at the Yunlong Waterfall, you will be amazed. It is quite beautiful. Walk past it across the bridge to get a shot of the entire falls.
A view of the falls from above.