Most visitors driving along the scenic route 61, which heads east from the popular strawberry-growing town of Dahu, are heading for either Xuejian (雪見), a fine forest park in a remote corner of Shei-pa National Park, or to one of the many homestays in the oddly-named Xiangbi (象鼻; ‘elephant’s trunk’) area. A few might even be headed for northern Taiwan’s only surviving natural eternal flame, although that’s recently been disfigured forever by a hideous ‘olympic flame’ type development that robs it of all its former curiosity value.
The road is also the way to one of the trailheads for Mount Malabang (famed for its maple forest which provides probably the finest show of autumn colors in Taiwan north of Nantou county. There are also several waterfalls, however. A couple of very attractive (un-named) examples can be seen from the car, plunging off tributaries into the main stream, which the road follows for a distance. Zhongxing Waterfall lies close to a route up Mount Malabang, just behind tiny Zhongxing village and just a kilometer or so below its fascinating eternal flame. The only way to get there is a quick trespass around a gate and up a private drive for a few meters before dropping down to the river bank, from where it’s just five minutes’ trace upstream to the edge of the big pool below the lovely, pristine waterfall.
ACCESS: Moderate. Very short, but requires an (easy) river trace. Prepare to get wet feet!
Zhongxing Waterfall (trailhead) 24.392873, 120.919380