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Meihua Waterfall (梅花瀑布): Hsinchu's Amazing Rainbow River Trace!

Updated: Oct 30, 2023



 

INDEX

 
 

"Dappled light streams through the vines in the canopy far above. You snake your way through the river like an explorer in some long-forgotten pocket of primordial forest from ages past, swimming and scrambling past waterfalls, moving ever closer to one of the most breathtaking destinations in Northern Taiwan..."

Introducing this week's adventure:


Meihua Waterfall (梅花瀑布): Hsinchu's Amazing Rainbow River Trace!

 

With low, medium, and high jumps, rainbows everywhere, and a sparkling, turquoise swimming area, Meihua Waterfall (梅花瀑布) is a perfect day trip for thrill seekers and beginner river tracers alike!

 

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Parking and Trailhead


Located in Hsinchu County's Jianshi Township (台灣,新竹縣,尖石鄉), Meihua Waterfall (梅花瀑布) is without a doubt one of the best river tracing destinations in Hsinchu and all of Northern Taiwan - and one of my personal favorites! It's also close to both Bilin Waterfall in the Naluo River (那羅溪比麟瀑布 - companion post) and the Xiaojinping Hot Spring area (小錦屏溫泉), making it a great option for either a day trip or a full weekend adventure.


Go up this hill...

First of all, access is easy (but fear not - the Meihua Waterfall river trace is anything but boring!). Getting there is a breeze, and tracing in from the road is neither technical nor difficult nor long. Drive past Neiwan Old Street (尖石內彎老街), up this hill...


Turn left at this school...

...left at the school...


Arrive at the Meihua Waterfall Trailhead parking area...

...down the other side of the hill...


...and park! It's just that simple.

...and boom, you've arrived at the Meihua Waterfall Trailhead!


Follow the obvious trail down from the parking area, and just head up stream!.

Walk down the obvious trail next to the parking area, jump right into the water, and just head straight up stream.


David, Dave, and Joe at the beginning of the Meihua Waterfall river trace (梅花瀑布溯溪路線登山口)

Get ready to get wet - one of the really fun things about this trace is that you're really, really in the water right from step one!


Tracing Meihua Waterfall with Wilang Explorer (探險威狼)

Small Waterfalls and Beautiful Scenery


The first of the many small waterfalls of the Meihua River (梅花溪小瀑布)

At less than a kilometer total to the waterfall, the trace itself is not long. But for something so short, it's absolutely jam-packed with beautiful scenery, small waterfalls, and jungle adventure. Dappled light breaks through the vines of the canopy far above as you snake your way through the river like an explorer in some long-forgotten pocket of primordial forest from ages past, swimming and scrambling past waterfalls, moving ever closer to one of the most breathtaking destinations in Northern Taiwan...



Another good thing about the Meihua Waterfall river trace is that water levels are almost never an issue. Take a look at this waterfall in high water flow (above) and low water flow (below). Water levels in the Meihua River can vary significantly from one visit to the next, but it is not really a problem. There is always an easy way around!



The footing is not difficult or slippery, and there are many points where you can choose the easy (beginner) or fun (challenging) path: Want to go straight up that waterfall? Go for it! Not so sure? No problem, just walk around and enjoy the view.


Do you want to go around the small waterfalls, or climb straight up? The choice is yours!
This fallen, jungle tree conceals a secret... long ago, it stood out gracefully over a beautiful swimming pool!

Even though Meihua Waterfall is not remote or difficult to get to, it can feel wild and untamed, and sometimes it likes to remind you that, even here, you are still in Mother Nature's domain. Take a look at the fallen tree above. It used to jut out over one of the most beautiful swimming areas of the entire trace (below). I have many memories of spending time with friends in that exact spot - but after a violent storm one year, it fell into the pool, and now you would never even know there had been a pool there at all.


The beautiful, lost pool that once existed where the fallen tree rests today

I tried to reach Meihua early on the first day after the storm and was probably the first person ever to see that the tree had fallen - and in fact, rocks, dirt, and bits of root and tree were still falling from above and, after a few more rockfalls further upstream, I decided to turn back. It was a very sad day for me, and it remains the first and only time out of over a hundred visits to this, my local waterfall, that I ever failed to reach Meihua itself.


Another of the many beautiful, minor waterfalls of the Meihua River during high water flow

Now take a look at this beautiful, minor waterfall. Can you see the easy way up? Look closely!


And the same spot during low water flow
This small waterfall is another example of how you can always choose your difficulty level on this river trace!

There it is! Just go up and around to the left (river right)!



The Tunnel

Meihua Waterfall in Hsinchu County's Jianshi Township (台灣,新竹縣,尖石鄉) is one of my personal favorite river tracing adventure travel destinations in Taiwan!

But for those of you who are more advanced, well, I DID promise you some adventure, and it's time to add a little into what has so far been a pretty easy - if stunningly beautiful - river trace.



After a while, you will come to this, the last of the smaller waterfalls between the trailhead and Meihua Waterfall.


CHALLENGE! Read on - but don't scroll down too far. See if you can find the correct passage up the waterfall!

So, listen up, adventurer: it's time for a challenge! Look at the photo below and don't scroll down any further! See if you can find the correct way up!



Did you look? Now look at the next photo...





Did you look CAREFULLY?





Are you SURE you know your best guess?




OK....



...scroll down...











There it is! That's right - it's a tunnel! You don't actually climb up this waterfall, though if you're advanced and confident enough, you could pull it off. Even still, though, you can climb up waterfalls on any old trace. This, though, is different. This is fun!


The Meihua Waterfall Tunnel entrance

Head up the right (river left) side and start climbing, and you will see this tunnel entrance.


Looking back down and out of the tunnel

It's only a short tunnel, but you still have to be careful. It's easy to get mixed up and go the wrong way!


Be sure to take the TOPMOST of these two tunnel exits - the bottom one will put you in a dangerous spot.

Be sure to take the TOPMOST of these two tunnel exits - the bottom one will put you in a dangerous spot.


A random goose we encountered once at the pool above the waterfall tunnel. It jumped off and tried to fly down rather than hanging out to see whether or not we would eat it!

Once you get out of the tunnel, you will find a pool (above) and a view (below).



Now, remember those rainbows I promised you? If you're there in the morning on a sunny day, this is a really great place to look for one - especially when there's high water flow!


Entering the waterfall tunnel under a beautiful rainbow

The two pictures above and below were both taken from the same place, but roughly five years apart. As you can see, it's a great place to look for rainbows - though I've never quite found a pot of gold hidden in the tunnel at their end. Still, it's really cool to think that you're passing under a secret rainbow into a hidden tunnel around a waterfall in the middle of a primordial jungle!


Looking back at the waterfall from above during high water flow
The beautiful, azure swimming pool just above the tunnel waterfall - but just wait until you see what's next!

"Meihua Waterfall pours over the edge of a cliff, sparkling in the sunshine like a river of diamonds falling into a vast pile of gems of every type and description."

Meihua Waterfall


Once you've passed through the tunnel, you are almost there - Meihua Waterfall is waiting for you, and it's just around the next bend!


Bathed in sunlight and doused in all the colors of the rainbow, this is the amazing Meihua Waterfall in Hsinchu's Jianshi Township (台灣,新竹縣,尖石鄉).

Soon you get your first views of the mighty Meihua Waterfall, and then it comes fully into view. Set in a gorgeous, canyon-like setting with colors of every hue on all sides and one of the best azure pools in the Hsinchu area, the waterfall pours over the edge of a cliff, sparkling in the sunshine like a river of diamonds falling into a vast pile of gems of every type and description.


Hsinchu's Meihua Waterfall and its azure swimming pool during high waterflow

No matter the weather this waterfall is always beautiful, but if you are there on a sunny day as the sun begins to pass overhead, you're in for a REALLY special kind of treat!


Meihua Waterfall during low waterflow

Some days it can be a raging torrent, and other days it is reduced to a mere fraction of its regular volume, but either way Meihua Waterfall is always a sight to behold!


One of the many guided river tracing tour groups that frequent Meihua Waterfall

When you get to Meihua, there's a good chance you might run into a tour group or two. In fact, you may well encounter (and pass) them as you trace in. This is especially true on weekends and holidays. I often make a point of tracing in quickly (my record is 13 minutes from the parking area to the waterfall, you might consider more like 20 or 30), swim, do some jumps (an absolute MUST at Meihua!!), and then take a much more relaxed stroll on the way out to enjoy the scenery.


Wilang Explorer (探險威狼) dives from the low jump spot into the Meihua Waterfall swimming pool

The tour groups usually tend to be big, filled with inexperienced beginners, or both, and move pretty slowly. If you want the best pictures, and a little time to yourself at the waterfall, it's best to get past them as quickly as you can.


Looking back from the cliff face at the hidden Meihua Waterfall rainbow

The swimming area in front of the waterfall is an amazing place to get pictures. The best time is when the sun is just overhead on a bright and sunny day, especially a few days after a storm, when there's a lot of water but it is not as murky as the first day or two.


Climbing up onto the cliff next to Meihua Waterfall

If you swim across to the cliff face just next to the waterfall and look back, you can sometimes see another hidden rainbow. It's never visible from the front side, but standing there looking back you often get to enjoy it.


Climbing up onto the cliff next to Meihua Waterfall
Looking back from the cliff face at the hidden Meihua Waterfall rainbow

Jumping!


Now of course there are rainbows, swimming, and so many other amazing things about this place, but jumping is what it's really all about! And, without a doubt, the biggest, scariest, and most exhilarating challenge of all is the Meihua Waterfall high jump!


The two medium and one high jumping spots at Meihua Waterfall. The red line shows the approximate normal water level - it was incredibly low water that day!

There are several places to jump from at Meihua Waterfall. To the left (river right), and just out of frame of the picture above, there is a long, low ledge just a few meters above the water. It's good for beginners and can be seen clearly in the pictures above (click here to see the low jump spot). Next, there are the two medium jump spots circled in red above. These are a lot of fun and offer a compromise for anyone who's ready for something beyond the beginner level but not quite up to the high jump (top circle) just yet.



But even advanced high jumpers shouldn't write off the medium jumps - getting up to them is a fun adventure of its own! First, swim across to the ledge to the side of the waterfall. Make sure to look back and see the hidden rainbow (above)!



Next, climb up the rock face. There are plenty of good, easy hand and foot holds, and the rocks are not slippery. With the waterfall just to your left spraying and covering you with freshly fallen water, it makes for a lot of fun!


Climbing up the rock face at Meihua Waterfall
Climbing up the rock face at Meihua Waterfall
Jumping from the medium jump spots at Meihua Waterfall

Then, once you are up, choose either of the two platforms and jump right back down again! The whole pool is super deep so, as long as you've done the obligatory check of the depth before the first jump of the day, you should usually be just fine jumping almost everywhere. DO check every time, though, no matter how many times you've jumped a place - you never know what's fallen or washed into a jump spot since you last visited!