Updated: Jun 28
What's Beyond the Double Dragon and Danlong Waterfalls in Wufeng Township?
Lots of people have been to the Double Dragon Waterfall in Wufeng, but what lies beyond - not below, but above?
GPX, route maps, and practical information are at the end of this article.
Except where otherwise noted, all recommendations, times, photos, and other information in this post are for drought conditions with far lower than average water levels. Please also see important safety notes for river tracing (below).
Once he showed it to me on sattellite imagery, there was no mistaking it: This... THIS was worth the planning, effort, energy, and multiple days in the deep jungle that it would take to reach!
So let's get this out of the way right away: Lots of people have been to the Double Dragon Waterfall in Wufeng (NOT Xinyi!) and the Danlong Waterfall right next to it. It's a BEAUTIFUL, and pretty easy, trace, it packs in a lot of scenery in a short distance, and you get not one, not two, but three top notch, amazing waterfalls all in one spot right at the end of a bare half hour or so of tracing. There are pictures and information here about that, and I might do a more detailed blog post about it some day, but this... this is not that post. No, this post is about something far, far more challenging and mysterious, and the Double Dragon area is only the beginning.
Having been to the Double Dragon many, many times, and knowing very well how to go downstream and what is in that direction (again, that is not this post), our group recently set out to answer a question we had wondered about for years: What lies beyond it - not below, but above?
We couldn't be sure... but one of us thought he had discovered something amazing, deep inside a remote canyon, just waiting to be revealed.
Swimming towards the Double Dragon and Danlong Waterfall area with a multi-day pack for the push beyond
If you're not familiar, the Wufeng Double Dragon Waterfall (五峰雙龍瀑布), and the Danlong Waterfall (丹龍瀑布) right next to it, sit together at the intersection of two rivers in Wufeng Township of Hsinchu County in Taiwan (台灣新竹五峰鄉). It's important to clarify this - there's another, different, and also very famous Double Dragon Waterfall much further south in Taiwan in Xinyi.
Our Double Dragon, however, is undeniably special. The side river, one branch of the Maibalai River System (麥巴來洗), pours into a deep, natural cul de sac, flows out a few meters, and pours into the main branch of the river system. It then pours right over the much more massive Danlong Waterfall, which in my personal opinion is one of the most beautiful non-curtain waterfalls in Taiwan. Opinions vary of course, but I've spent at least five solid years seeing more waterfalls than you can shake a stick at on this island (and jumping off as many as possible), so in this case I don't mind making an audacious statement about it!
Danlong Waterfall during drought
If that was all there was to it, this would already be an amazing destination. But like your favorite used car salesman said that one time, "But wait - there's more!"
Danlong... is jumpable.
Jumping into the abyss at Danlong Waterfall during normal waterflow
...and by jumpable, I mean JUMPABLE! As in, 18 solid meters (roughly 55 feet - and yes, I know that's not the exact math, deal with it! ;^) of air until you make major contact with a swirling, white pool of water surging up from an abyss of ridiculous depth and surrounded by azure-turqouise water the likes of which, outside of Taiwan, I've only ever seen in places like the Philippines or the Carribean, THAT kind of jumpable.
Double Dragon Waterfall during drought
"Wow!" you say? "But wait! There's STILL more!" I respond, going full in and doubling down on the used car salesman schpeel. You see, even despite Danlong, it's the Double Dragon itself that's the real draw. Not only does it pour into that cul de sac, it's not just one waterfall. It's a pair of twin waterfalls at least 15 meters (45 ft) high pouring - and roaring - over a cliff with equal portions of gracefull ease and raw, surging power. There's absolutely no way to jump this thing (at least not if you want to survive, it's far to shallow at the bottom), but that's not the point.
No, it's when you stand there in the cul de sac, staring up at this pair of massive, watery beasts, feeling the wind and not-rain roaring and spraying all around you, creating their own weather in an unending storm all day, every day, even on a sunny day. It's when you have the audacity to walk between and even behind the twin torrents, when you give in to dilusions of your own grandeur and dare it to knock you down as you venture under the relentless, pounding power of the behemoths themselves, taking the full force all over your body, if only for just a few, fleeting seconds. That... THAT is the point of coming to the Double Dragon Waterfall - and the point at which you realize that there's so, so more to the name of this place than mere poetry.
"Even despite Danlong, it's the Double Dragon itself that's the real draw."
Double Dragon Waterfall seen as few ever see it: from above!
So yeah. That's the famous Double Dragon Waterfall. But what's far less famous, known to but a few, is what lies beyond. Not downstream beyond Danlong... but upstream. Those cliffs, they're completely unscalable by any but the most professional and well equiped of climbers - if that. It would be much easier to jump (or climb) down below Danlong and keep going, or just turn back happy with the amazing day you've already had.
But not for us...
Not that day...
Not knowing what
John looks down from above Shuanglong Waterfall (Double Dragon Waterfall)
One of our most accomplished and capable tracers, John, had been pouring over maps and satellite imagery of the upper reaches for years, and he was convinced he had discovered something. Once he showed it to me on sattellite imagery, there was no mistaking it: This... THIS was worth the planning, effort, energy, and multiple days in the deep jungle it would take to reach!
Johan pauses to take it all in
After failing to find a mysterious, supposedly easier path he had seen upriver on a map, we had already made two expeditions as a group to find a way around starting in the Shuanglong area. We finally succeeded on the second attempt, but were forced to turn back due to time constraints and how long it had taken us to finally work out the correct path. Make no mistake, that was important! This is advanced tracing and mountainside scrambling and the area can be deadly. It's no exageration to say that one false step on the wrong path could really be your last - it already almost had been for one of the others in our group.
Don't be fooled by the beautiful, obvious, and easy looking path in this picture - I guarantee this is the ONLY section that looks this way!
So now we finally came to it. The stars alligned (read, our schedules alligned), the forecast was amazing, and the current drought meant that water levels were unusually low. We assembled a group of three highly capable and experienced tracers and set off, determined to get as far into the canyon as we could.