Escaping into nature at Butterfly Falls
By Daniel White
Translated by Angela Cheng
Taichung is a great city, with plenty of excellent cultural events each weekend, restaurants filled with delicious cuisine and myriad places to find entertainment. However, there are times when the urban crowds and pace of life can become overwhelming, so that something a bit quieter and more natural is needed. In Greater Taichung, there are lots of choices for such an escape, from the Guguan hot springs to the Gaomei Wetlands, but none is more peaceful and serene than Butterfly Falls.
Upon reaching the trail head, you'll have about a 90-minute hike to the waterfall. It's not particularly difficult as the path is fairly well prepared, though you'll likely need to take a break or two along this mountainous jungle route. While walking, be sure to look up from the trail every once in a while as the scenery around you will be quite breathtaking at times, especially as you climb higher up the mountain.
At the end of the trail, you will come to a spectacular waterfall cascading into a fairly large pool of water. This is ideal for splashing around in, especially a little closer to the falling water, where the large rocks give way to coarse sand and the water is about two meters deep.
Like me, you will probably want to enjoy the waterfall as long as possible, although I caution you not to stay until the sun begins to set. My friends and I found ourselves in total darkness with only a smart phone light to illuminate our way down, making the going somewhat treacherous and slowing our pace considerably. A sudden thunderstorm and heavy rain didn't help matters, either. However, upon making it back to my scooter, I was filled with an exhilarating feeling that this adventure was totally worthwhile.
There are two trails to Tangmadan Mt. where could lead to Butterfly falls, one at the ShongHe village at the 29-km. mark of Provincial Highway No. 8. The other is at LiLeng village at the 26-km. mark. Both lead to Butterfly Falls and are great hiking options.
After driving across the Dongshih Bridge, turn right on Provincial Highway No. 8, heading towards Guguan, and then turn right at Lileng Bridge at the 26.1-km. mark of Provincial Highway No. 8. After crossing Lileng Bridge, turn left and drive about one kilometer and then turn left and go through Lileng District before turning left again at the intersection heading towards Goya Spring Resort. Cross the Tongxin Bridge and turn left. After about five meters, turn right up and continue about 100 meters to the Lileng forest trail. You will then arrive at the entrance of Lileng forest trail, which leads to Tangmadan Mt. There's a spacious parking lot near Tongxin Bridge and you can also park on the roadside.